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Service celebrates the repair of historic bells at Ipswich church

PUBLISHED: 15:35 30 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:35 30 April 2018

Rev Keith Jones, Mayor of Ipswich Sarah Barber, bells and lottery committee chairman John Grierson, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Martin Seeley and Rev David Cutts celebrating the completion of the bells project. Picture: DAVID EVANS

Rev Keith Jones, Mayor of Ipswich Sarah Barber, bells and lottery committee chairman John Grierson, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Martin Seeley and Rev David Cutts celebrating the completion of the bells project. Picture: DAVID EVANS

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A special service was held at St Margaret’s Church on Sunday to celebrate the restoration of its historic bells.

The eight bells from St
Margaret’s were whisked away to Holland last year to undergo repair work thanks to a £165,000 contribution from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The bells, which date back to 1630, were returned at the end of February and blessed by the vicar Canon David Cutts before being reinstalled in the tower.

A new bell ringing platform has also been built, which allows the congregation to see the ringers as they ply their skill.

Stan Gaskin, from the church, said it was great to see, and hear, the bells back at home in St Margaret’s, saying the new bell ringing platform was a spectacular sight to see.

The restored bells at St Margaret's Church in Ipswich being rung for the first time. Picture: GREGG BROWN The restored bells at St Margaret's Church in Ipswich being rung for the first time. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“People can actually see the ringers ringing the bells now – it is quite dramatic,” he said.

“The last time the bells were renovated unfortunately they all swung the same way which put a strain on the tower.

“Now all the bells have been returned so they are not all swinging the same direction.

“The service was a celebration to mark the completion of the project and the restoration of the bells.

One of the restored bells at St Margaret's Church in Ipswich. Picture: GREGG BROWN One of the restored bells at St Margaret's Church in Ipswich. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“There were a generous number of bell ringers from across the country who came along to
attend.

“The church was full – it was lovely to see it so well supported, especially by the ringers.”

Mr Gaskin said the project was given the green light two years ago so it was a special moment to hear the bells ringing again.

He added that the addition of CCTV at the church was also a huge benefit, meaning the church could remain open to the public for longer.

“We have had CCTV put in but you cannot see the cameras,” he said.

“We have signs saying we now have CCTV so that should deter some of the wrong people.

“At the moment it has been closed because we have had some problems before.

“If we didn’t have CCTV I don’t think we would have been able to open the church and leave it open.

“It is absolutely fantastic.”

They now plan to host a number of tours around the church, the bell tower and the roof to show off the fruits of their labour.

The first tour begins on Tuesday, May 8 at 2.15pm.

For more information on the tours and to book a place visit www.stmargaretsipswich.org.uk

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