Victorian church bell at Ringmer church in need of repair

Ringing in the changes - bell ringers at Ringmer church.
Ringing in the changes - bell ringers at Ringmer church.

It is the sound which announces weddings, Christmas and Easter, as well as special occasions such as the Queen’s Jubilee.

Yet the bells at Ringmer are not sounding their best because one of the 300kg metal instruments has developed a crack.

And the bell ringers of St Mary the Virgin have decided to raise the £12,000 needed to fix it.

They will launch their fundraising appeal with Tea and Tours on Saturday February 28 at the church in Church Hill from 3pm to 5pm.

There will be tours of the ringing chamber, afternoon tea and cake, a raffle and a chance for visitors to try out bellringing.

Ringmer’s ringers consist of around 20 people, ranging in age from 17 to 70 plus, who ensure the bells always ring out for special events, weddings and Sunday services.

They are also planning further fundraising events during the year including a barn dance, plant sale at the vicarage on May 9 and summer fair.

There will also be a garden fete at the vicarage on June 6.

So far they have already received an amazing £3,700 in donations.

The tower holds a total of eight bells which were made in 1884 by the famous Whitechapel Bell Foundry and hung in the tower in 1885. The tower was built in the same year.

The bells are made of an alloy of copper and tin. Since the crack appeared the ringers have been unable to use the fifth bell in case it makes the crack worse.

A specialist team will need to be hired to take the bell out of the tower through the window and it will then be sent for repair which could take several months.

Tower captain Jonathan Franklin said: “Bell ringing is very much a tradition in England. If you have a band and something is out of key it just sounds wrong. When it is fixed we can ring all eight bells as they were originally intended to be rung.”

To donate make cheques to Ringmer PCC and send to Jonathan Franklin at 9 Delves Close, Ringmer, BN8 5JW.