Church's bells are dedicated after £130,000 restoration project
PUBLISHED: 11:46 02 December 2018 | UPDATED: 11:46 02 December 2018
Restored bells at a Suffolk church – which sounded for the first time in 200 years on Remembrance Sunday – have been dedicated at a special service.
The bells at All Saints Church in Little Cornard, near Sudbury, were installed in October after a four-year campaign raised more than £130,000 to fund the restoration project.
The church bells, which had not been rung full circle in living memory, sounded for the first time on Armistice Day.
Supporters of the fundraising campaign were invited to the dedication service on Saturday, which was led by the Rt Rev Dr Mike Harrison Bishop of Dunwich, and around 100 people attended.
Robert Mackman, vice-chairman of the bells committee, said: “The bishop led a wonderful service, which was very well attended.
“We had an open ringing, and bells ringers from all over the country came to sound the restored bells.
“It’s been four years of hard work, with only around half a dozen people involved in it.
“We had a service of remembrance to mark 100 years since the start of the First World War in 2014 and we said we wanted to get the bells restored and ringing for the 2018 Remembrance and we’ve been able to do that.
“The final bit was the dedication and it’s great that the bells are now up and running.”
The project involved the restoration of the five ancient bells – with the oldest dating from 1399 and the youngest from 1712 – as well as adding a new sixth treble bell.
Lesley Ford-Platt, a former mayor of Sudbury and fundraising secretary of the bells committee, purchased the new sixth bell – which is dedicated in memory of her son Michael Ford, who died in 2010, aged 30.
Mrs Ford-Platt was able to ring the bell dedicated to her son at the weekend.
“The bell ringers were very insistent that Lesley and [husband] Tony should sound Michael’s bell,” Mr Mackman added.
“It was a very special moment for them.”
Reverend Steven Morely, vicar at the church, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled that the bells are ringing again at Little Cornard after getting on for 200 years of silence.
“It’s been a wonderful effort by all involved in terms of raising the money and doing the repairs and everything that needs doing.
“Both inside and outside of the church, they sound terrific.”
Rt Rev Harrison said: “It’s so wonderful to have these bells restored and dedicated.
“It’s great for the heritage of the building but also for worship today. Bells are about announcing what is going on, whether that’s services or weddings, but also a note of joy about what it is we are celebrating.”