The Bells are changing, Darren Woodyer reports
Each month I like to be able to report on what is happening up in the belfry. I’m very lucky, being in a unique tower with views of the surrounding levels and knowing that the sound that we produce, good or bad, reverberates over the levels and brings joy to so many members of our community.
Over the time since becoming tower captain you have been told about us having new lighting, new flooring, the ringers getting involved with the local school and our Saturday practices with the surrounding towers of the county. I always get lovely responses when bumping into people in the churchyard or village and thanking me for letting them know what is going on. Well this report will be no different to those.
As I said earlier we are getting involved with the community more and because of this we have gained new ringers which is the life blood of the tower. I love teaching people and seeing them get as much enjoyment out of ringing as I do. Unfortunately though, it has become all too apparent that the many years of wear and tear on the bell frame, our faithful old bells and tower, are in need of some MAJOR TLC. In fact a complete refit!
Earlier this year, we commissioned a report by Taylors Bell Foundry and this detailed the issues which have arisen from generations of patch repairs, and wear and tear. What we have to remember, is that this large musical machine needs as much upkeep and love as say our church organ or piano.
It has been recognised that the bell frame is coming to the end of its life. Also with the bells themselves, they are not in good condition and need some serious work, not just on the mechanics but also the bells are losing their true notes.
After a lot of consideration and discussion with our PCC, they have supported the decision to start a campaign to raise funding for a new bell frame and new bells. It is a really exciting project and legacy to leave for the village for years to come. As Tower Captain I am just a custodian to the bells but I have a duty to everyone to leave it in a better place than I found it. I love this village that I have been adopted by and I want to make sure that these bells continue to ring out for another 200 years.
As this is a legacy defining project for our village, I ask for all residents to help support it. I won’t lie, we are going to need all the assistance we can get but as a community we will leave something to be proud of.
So if you are able and willing, please contact Paul Scott or me for this once in a lifetime opportunity.
What would our village be like, if our church bells had to be silenced?
NC Bellringers website: Click here for the bells!
Practice every Monday evening 7.30pm to 9.00pm - all welcome, beginners, experts, old and young! Contact Darren, Tower Captain 07718 05907
Some of the problem in the tower can be seen in these photos. The timber frame, which is around 250 years old, has warped and twisted in places, and some supports are now leaning. The whole frame is not bolted to the wall, so with every ringing of the bells, it is shifting around on its own accord! To add to the instability, many sections of the timber struts have been cut into, and poorly repaired over time.
The first task is to now raise £1,500 for a survey of the tower to assess our options.
The estimated refurbishment cost will be around £170,000 but the surveyor’s report will give us a better idea of the actual amount in due course, so it is going to take a lot of fund raising and grant applications to find the pennies needed. We are hoping to have the whole project sorted within the next 5 years.
If you would like to make a donation towards this project, please bacs to our account North Curry Bellringers
Account: 38229860 - Sort Code: 30-91-91 - Or give a cheque in person to Paul or Darren.
Together, we can succeed with this ambitious yet necessary project.
Thanks in advance for your support.
A couple of photos showing the problems we are encountering in the tower.