After 15 months, a project to restore the bells at St Peter’s Newnham has finally been completed allowing the Sunday service ringing to restart after 25 years.
The bells have needed restoration for a long time as they were too heavy for the tower, and notoriously difficult to ring, especially for novices. It had been difficult to raise the full funds for the work, with fundraising efforts taking three years. The money was eventually raised by the church itself along with grants from the National Lottery and the Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust.
The renovation of the bells has seen some substantial improvements that will provide a real draw to the town. They have been fitted with technology to see how they ring in order to educate people who visit the church as well as to help ringers in their understanding of them. With this technology and the new feature that allows the bells to be rung silently, the church provides an excellent opportunity for people to learn how to ring without disturbing the neighbours.
There was a recent visit to Newnham by members of the Welsh Colleges Bell Ringing Society and the organiser said;
“We found the bells very easy to ring and hear, and with great access to the ringing room. Our group has quite a large range of abilities, with some quite new learners all the way up to experienced 12-bell ringers, and everyone liked them. They were especially good for the ten-year-old son of two of our ringers, who has recently started learning but is still very small – they were just perfect for him.”
Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust, who gave a grant of £7,500 to this massive project, relies on donations to help with important work like this. Founded in 1980, the trust has helped with more than 460 projects over the years. To find out more about the work of the Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust visit their website www.ghct.org.uk