Half way tolls for bell appeal

Malvern Gazette: Half way tolls for bell appeal Half way tolls for bell appeal

GREAT Malvern Priory bellringers rang a special peal to celebrate a milestone in a major fund-raising drive.

The church needs £200,000 to refurbish the bell-frame, which moves as the bells are being rung, putting stress on the tower’s structure.

To correct the problem, a new steel frame will have to be installed, in one of the biggest building projects at the priory in recent history.

While the frame is being strengthened, the existing bells will be restored, and two new ones installed.

The old frame was installed in 1887, along with three new bells, to mark Queen Victoria’s jubilee. The oldest bell dates to about 1380, and others to 1611 and 1707.

The fund-raising has now reached half way, and the ringers rang a “quarter peal”

– a performance of 1,250 different ringing patterns – to celebrate during the priory’s open day on Saturday.

Trevor Still of the priory said: “It’s a big project and I’m glad we’ve reached the half-way mark so soon after we launched the appeal earlier this year.”

He hopes the appeal will end some time next year and the work, which could take up to six months, will be finished by Christmas 2014.

“It’s currently very hard to ring the bells, which means in practice we haven’t recruited trainee ringers for some time,” he said. “Once the work is done, I hope we can encourage new ringers to join us and safeguard the future of bell-ringing at the priory.” Great Malvern Priory was founded in 1085 and substantially extended between 1440 and 1500.

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