Tower Restoration and Bell Project dedicated to Fabian Stedman
2008 saw the completion of the tower repairs. The guttering round the roof was dug out to remove growth. Stone work was replaced or repaired as were the ladders and parts of the flooring inside the tower. With a lot of hard work the PCC secured several grants and raised funds to repair the tower. This amounted to about £56,000 and was no simple task. A grant from English Heritage of £35,000 was a particularly welcome boost. The work on the tower was completed in March 2008.
2012 Installation of the New Bells and Old Bells Restoration
In May 2011 the bells were cast at Whitechapel bell foundry at a cost of £39,000, then stored at Nicholson’s works at Bridport Dorset.
In 2012 because of planned changes to VAT the PCC gratefully accepted a loan of £12000 from 3 of the bellringers to make up the shortfall and enable the installation of the new bells. A full re-hang of the four old bells was scaled back to a partial rehang of three of the bells while the old third still awaits welding to repair the crack on its crown. The old bells were not hung nor was the electric chiming apparatus installed; something that will be funded once the loan has been paid back.
In August 2012 Nicholson Engineering removed the four old bells. Local builders, Stain & Co, lowered the old floor and installed some lower sound control. Once this was completed Ashley Fortey, Yarkhill Ringing Master, painted the whole of the upper walls of the tower interior with lime wash.
October 2012: the old bells were returned with the new eight and new bell frame. This work was completed by Nicholson Engineering assisted by Ashley Fortey, Andrew Mainwaring, Keith Watts, Daniel Jones, Nick Jones, Colin Ward & Patrick Gilbert. In just over two weeks the installation was ready for a test ring. It was 26th October when a crowd gathered to listen to and ring the new bells. After a few adjustments were made the bells proved to be very fine in sound and the tower acoustics delightful. On 4th November at 10:00am the bells were again rung for the first service for over 100 years, and of course Stedman Triples was rung to the delighted parishioners. A total of £160,000 to date has been spent on Yarkhill new and old bells as well as the tower restoration.
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