Ringing good news as bells and organ saved

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An historic set of bells and an impressive organ in Epworth Parish Church will be made fit for the future following a cash windfall of £44,000.

The money from the Heritage Lottery Fund will cover 90 per cent of the cost of ensuring both organ and bells will remain in use for the foreseeable future.

Restoration work is needed now to preserve the special peal of eight bells that were installed 80 years ago in honour of the coronation of King George Vl.

Due to their constant use, working the bells has taken its toll on the framework supporting them.

St Andrew’s Church restoration committee chairman Melvyn Rose explained: “Work on the wheels is an urgent priority. Work is also required on the rope pulley, clappers and bell frame.”

Some sound control is to be employed to allow bell ringers to ring long peals without disturbing people in and around Epworth. And some funding will be used to train up new bell ringing recruits.

The two-keyboard manual organ inside the church is to receive a strip-down clean along with some repairs, and it will have a new blower in a sound proof box. This should see the organ sound for many years ahead, to be used in musical events and acts of worship.

Any members of the community who would like to learn more about both bell-ringing and the organ will be able to join in a workshop to take place in November this year.

Leaflets giving information about the bells and the organ will also be produced to allow people to find out more about the instruments.

Meanwhile, photographs of fabric restoration that was done recently are to be made available to the community on the church website.

This was all part of a successful project, ‘Conserving and sharing St Andrew’s’, that also received £457,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Fiona Spiers, Head of the Heritage Lottery fund for Yorkshire and the Humber said: “This is a great project which will restore St Andrew’s coronation bells ensuring the community can learn about the ancient art of campanology and enjoy the bells for another 80 years.”

She added: “HLF is dedicated to supporting projects that open up our heritage.”

Work on the parish church has been ongoing in recent years, with over £1.6 million being spent on restoration of the fabric in total.

This sum was amassed with help from English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the proceeds of many varied local fundraising efforts

St Andrew’s long history stretches back over 800 years and enjoys strong connections with the Wesley family of Epworth, who were the founders of Methodism.

The Heritage Lottery Fund uses its money to make a difference for people, communities and their heritage, from museums, parks and historic places to the natural environment, archaeology and differing cultures.

Over £445 million has been spent to date on over 3,100 projects in Yorkshire and the Humber, and over 37,000 projects across the UK.