Our Fundraising Target

We have now exceeded our initial target of £245,000, although donations are still very welcome to cover running costs and to provide the best possible experience for visitors and trainees.  The remainder of this article describes where we were in late 2021 with the exciting prospect of work getting under way, all the work being completed by the end of 2022...

We have been awarded over £48,000 in grants, including major support from the EDA Bell Restoration Fund.  Most of the rest has come from individual ringers and their families, in recognition of the pleasure and benefits they have received from this activity, typically at minimal cost to themselves.

The work can now go ahead with confidence that sufficient funds are available.  About half the money will go into creating the ringing chamber and the access to it.  The bells will be rung from the first floor of the tower which needs some structural alterations and to have the large opening into the nave filled with a glass screen with doors.  The doors will open onto a new balcony, and that will be linked by a short staircase to the landing outside the existing upstairs meeting room.  All this will be to a high architectural standard in keeping with the work recently completed to build a kitchen and toilets as well as the meeting room.

In the top stage of the early 19th century tower is a timber structure which supported a spire until it was taken down in the 1920s.  There are also two bells which pre-date the tower: one of about 8cwt (400kg), and the other a small sanctus bell.  Half of the timber structure needs to be removed, and the top half supported by a new steel ring beam.  The large bell will also be supported by the new steelwork and hung dead as a service bell.  That will make space for the new bells, a 6cwt (300kg) ring of 6 bells which will be a tight fit in the tower.  The existing windows and openings in the tower will be double glazed and be partly openable in order to control the sound level outside.

Further funds will be spent on equipping the installation with a simulator (to create simulated sound in the ringing chamber during teaching sessions when the clappers are tied and no sound is audible outside) and other teaching aids.  We also want displays of information to interest visitors and encourage them to give ringing a try.

The final requirement for money is to operate and maintain the facility until it is able to sustain itself through charging those making use of it.  We need a part time manager if it is to be open to the public on most days of the week.  Income will come from payments for lessons and from those using the bells, and from giving demonstrations to visitors.  We hope to be making enough to pay the manager and the running costs without having to ask for further donations by the end of the first year.