Appeal to keep old bells ringing

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Thousands of pounds are needed to keep the bells ringing at an historic Ilkeston church.

The ball bearings of the bells at St Mary’s Church in the Market Place have become rusty and are in need of major restoration work.

Ilkeston man John Newton has nominated the church as a worthy cause for the Making a Difference grants initiative launched by Bellini’s of the town (see right).

He said: “The church is of historical interest and has had a peal of bells since 1732. “These bells have been added to, and recast to make up the current ring of eight bells which were installed in 1910. “The bearings that the bells turn on have become worn after over 100 years of service.

“These bearings need replacing and work is urgently required on the frames, wheels and clappers’.”

The estimated total cost is £33,000.

Richard Shaw, chief bell ringer, said: “We need to make sure the bells keep going for another 100 years. I have been ringing bells at the church for 30 years and have been trying to raise money. We have raised £4,000 over the past three to four years.

“The next thing is to get on to the Heritage Lottery people.”

Posters have been placed in local shops to appeal for support.

John said: “We hoped that interest would be generated in raising funds to carry out this urgent work.

“To date there has been little financial response.”

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