When we launched the Bells Restoration Appeal in January 2016, the target of £150,000 seemed so huge, it was hard to believe we’d ever get there. As we enter 2018 we have come a long way. We now have a date for Andrew Nicholson Engineering, the bell hangers, to start work – July 2nd 2018. If we can keep to this schedule, we anticipate that the bells and frame will be returned to the tower in October this year.So far we have raised or had promises of just over £105,000. The remaining £50,000 is still a significant hill to climb, but we are convinced it is achievable. There are at least half a dozen fundraising events in the pipeline thanks to your generous enthusiasm. We have submitted two more grant applications to major trusts and we have another three in the pipeline. We have also been invited by two of the organisations who’ve already given us a grant to reapply for more. In addition to all this, Andrew Nicholson has offered to reduce his bill by over £16,500 if we provide volunteers to help his workmen in the belfry. Several people have already put their names forward. If you are interested in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work on a part of Newnham’s heritage please talk to Andy Vivian – 516528.
There is still an opportunity to have one of the three new bells dedicated to the memory of a loved one or a special anniversary. The memorial words will be cast into the bell and the message displayed in the nave of the church. A bell is a memorial you can hear every day of your life and which could last a thousand years, much longer than a grave stone or a park bench. The cost is £10,000 and you will be invited to see the bell being installed and to strike the first blow. The Trotter family has already come forward to sponsor one bell, in memory of Rev’d Barry Trotter. Please talk to the appeal chair, Cam Dickie, if you would like to enquire about sponsoring one of the others – 516332.
The contractors: Andrew Nicholson, who is based in Bridport, is highly respected in the West Country. Not only was his quote the best we had but he has brought his considerable experience to the table as we sought ways to overcome the unexpected discovery that the bell frame is unstable. Once we know his exact schedule, we’ll announce the dates when the bells will be on show at the foot of the tower, a sight that is rarely seen.
Fieldhouse Builders has won the contract to install the new ringing platform. They have worked in St Peter’s before – installing the kitchen and toilet.
Photo credit: Mike Penny