Council strives to keep bells ringing

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Thousands of pounds that has been raised for urgent work to restore the bells at Ilkeston’s St Mary’s Church looks set to be match-funded by Erewash Borough Council.

Though a number of donations have been made, thousands is still needed to repair the frames and ball bearings at the historic church.

The estimated total cost of the work is around £33,000.

Erewash borough councillors are expected to approve funding to assist in the repair and maintenance of the bells at a meeting today (Thursday).

The bells at the church have rung out in Ilkeston since 1732 with the original bells being recast and added to in 1910,

An appeal was launched earlier this year following a lack of financial support.

The council is likely to agree to match-fund money raised by St Mary’s Church - at a cost of up to £9,500 - to pay for the restoration of the church bells.

Councillor Geoffrey Smith, the council’s lead member for regeneration and planning, said: “The council values our local heritage and it is hoped the church bells and clock of St Mary’s will continue to ring out and chime in celebration for future generations.

“St Mary’s Church is of significant historical importance with the chimes of the clock being heard in Ilkeston for over 275 years”

Restoration work will include replacement of the bells bearings with urgent work required to repair the frames, wheels and clappers after a 100 years of ringing. The council funding will help secure the long-term future of St Mary’s bells.

Donations have already been received to help meet the cost of repairs from members of the congregation, local residents, businesses and a grant from the

Derbyshire Association of Church Bell Ringers.

To make a donation, post it to: ‘Bell Fund’, PCC Treasurer, St. Mary’s Church, Market Place, Ilkeston DE7 5JA.