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A Further Update on the Bell Project

We now have the necessary funding and work has commenced.

We received the faculty from Lichfield Diocese giving us permission to carry out all the work that we had planned.

Our application for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund was also successful and they have given us a grant of £40800, about 45% of the overall cost. With £5000 from the Shropshire Association of Church Bell Ringers, almost £15000 raised by our local fund raising, and a reduction in the bill of about £12000 if we provide the volunteer labour to remove the bells from the tower and re-install them at the end of the project, we have almost reached our target. The Friends of St Mary's have generously agreed to meet any shortfall, and we are pleased that we shall we asking them for no more than £15000.

We announced the Heritage Lottery grant to the press at a small reception on the top of the tower on 27 July and received coverage in all the local papers and on Radio Shropshire.

The electrical work in the tower is now completed. We have new lights and heaters in the ringing chamber and emergency lighting on the stairs. We have lights in the bell chamber and clock chamber (so we can now see the dirt that has been lurking in the darker corners for many years!) As a result we have had to do a little cleaning before letting visitors up the tower.

The main bell renovation work is due to start in December. The bells will be removed from the tower during the week starting 9 December. Some preparatory work will have to be done, so the bells (and the clock) will fall silent at the end of November. We hope that the bells will be re-installed by Easter. We have run 2 afternoons of tower tours and almost 200 visitors have learned about the tower, the clock and the bells and have had a chance to enjoy the magnificent view from the top. On both days we were blessed with fine weather and good visibility.

We are running another Tower Tours afternoon on 14 September. We intend to run tours again next year when the bells return and the weather is suitable - watch the magazine for dates.

Again we would like to thank you all for your continued support and interest in the bells.

Peter Leigh
on behalf of the Bell Ringers