Bells appeal chimes with public

A PUBLIC appeal aimed at returning the sound of an historic set of 15th Century bells to Ipswich has captured the hearts of people in the town.In just the first week of the campaign to raise the £50,000 necessary to return to use the set of five bells in the former St Lawrence's Church in Dial Lane a series of donations totalling £1,000 were received.

A PUBLIC appeal aimed at returning the sound of an historic set of 15th Century bells to Ipswich has captured the hearts of people in the town.

In just the first week of the campaign to raise the £50,000 necessary to return to use the set of five bells in the former St Lawrence's Church in Dial Lane a series of donations totalling £1,000 were received.

Dr John Blatchly, chairman of Ipswich Historic Churches Trust (IHCT), which is organising the fundraising appeal, said he had been “very, very heartened” by the response.

The campaign was launched after the Heritage Lottery Fund turned down an application for £40,000 which would have gone toward the restoration project.

Today Dr Blatchly said: “We're confident that we'll get a lot more donations in. And the main charity that we're hoping to get support from will be meeting in mid-September.

“The people who have donated already have said things like how wonderful it would be to hear these bells ringing again, or how wonderful it would be to hear an authentic 15th Century sound.

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“They've also talked of the historic connection with Wolsey and his uncle Edward Daundy.”

The St Lawrence bells would have been heard by a young Thomas Wolsey, who went on to become Cardinal Wolsey.

The oldest of the bells date back to 1450 and experts say together the five represent the oldest medieval full circle set of their type in the world.

The church tower has weakened over time, meaning that it is no longer safe to ring the bells. The restoration project would see them lowered to a sturdier part of the tower.

Donations can be sent to Dr John Blatchly, 11 Burlington Road, Ipswich, IP1 2HS, or James Hall, Birketts LLP, 24-26 Museum Street, Ipswich, IP1 1HZ. Cheques should be made out to Birketts LLP, the trust's solicitors.

Do you have a project worth supporting? Write to The Evening Star, Press House, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk