Church fund rings up £33k grant for bells' restoration
RESTORATION work can soon start on a set of 300-year-old church bells after a successful bid for a £33,000 lottery grant.
Preparations are now being made to dismantle the bells, which have been ringing out from the Church of St. Michael and St. Wulfad, Stone, since 1710.
The bells, which chimed for the last time at the weekend before the repairs start, are to be re-tuned as part of the £140,000 project.
Appeal chairman Barry Smith said he was delighted that the bid for lottery funding for the scheme had been a success.
Call WHITEGATES Today 01782 209935 ..Limited offer. Available only up on production of voucher. Sell your home for £399 plus vat.* #EPC is required to market your home not included in offer.
Terms: *Upfront payment, non-refundable in the event of property remaining unsold, being withdrawn from the market or being sold by another agent, yourself or by any other means.#EPC £62.50 plus vat
Contact: 01782 209 935
Valid until: Thursday, July 04 2013
"We are about £20,000 away now, the appeal is coming along very well and we are very pleased to get the grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund," said Dr Smith.
"It has made a huge difference to our fund-raising target. It is a very exciting time at the moment.
"Because of wear, the bells are at the point where they can no longer be re-tuned and the wooden frame is cracked and moves when the bells are rung, so this work is something which desperately needs to be done."
Dr Smith, of Foxwood Close, Stone, added: "We have held a number of fundraising events over the past 18 months to ensure we can raise enough money for the restoration of the bells and we can now look forward to the work beginning.
"This will ensure that the bells will ring out over Stone for many future generations."
The Stone Bells Appeal was launched last year following fears that the set of six church bells would have to be replaced by bells taken from the derelict St. John's Church in Hanley. But residents who rejected the idea formed a campaign to raise £140,000 for the work in a bid to secure the future of the bells.
It is thought the new bells will be heavier cast and as, part of the project, the current wooden bell frame will be replaced with a rigid metal one.
There is also a possibility of the introduction of two more bells, which will be used to enhance learning for younger members.
Church rector Ian Cardinal said: "We are getting to the point now where we are in spitting distance of our goal.
"The money we have so far has allowed us to start the commissioning of some of the work.
"The bells are currently in the process of being taken down and then there is the re-tuning and the re-hanging of them, so it is a big job but something that has got to be done.
"Once the work has been done it will mean the bells will be secure and can ring at the church for another 300 years." Members of the appeal have agreed that the old wooden frame in the church tower is of such historic interest that it will remain in place for the foreseeable future.
Anyone wishing to donate is asked to contact Barry Smith, at 4 Foxwood Close, Walton, Stone, or call him on 01785 815767.