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St Agatha's bells will be coming down on Monday 3rd April, in the first stage of their repair and refurbishment. They will be available to view in church until Thursday, when they will go to Whites of Appleton for the first stage of work. Our picture shows handbell ringers in action at a special service on Sunday to mark the occasion.

In an article in the latest edition of The Villager, David Greasby writes:

'Like well honed runners on the starting blocks, complete with hard hats, metal toecaps and boiler suits we are poised ready to help with the dismantling process!

'The bells will be lowered from the tower through existing trap doors. Pulleys and all the ringing gear will be removed leaving the frames in situ for strengthening and repair work. They will be transported to Appleton for most of the restoration work and the cracked 7th bell will eventually visit Newmarket for a specialist welding repair. Hopefully no similar faults will be found with the other bells as this repair process is very costly!

'The bells will then go all the way to Whitechapel, London for tuning, this being the only place in the country with specialist equipment for the job. Finally, they will be transported back to St Agatha’s for re-installing in the tower later in the year probably around September/October time if all goes well.

'The craftsmanship and traditional skills associated with the bell-hanger profession is truly outstanding and has to be seen. We hope to arrange a visit to Whitechapel to view the tuning process and the work of the oldest bell foundry in the country.

'St Agatha’s bells will be silent for a while but, when all is done, the church will have a peal of bells that will be good for generations to come and a fitting legacy to the generosity, effort and enthusiasm invested by so many.'

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