A MAJOR fund-raising project which aims to ensure the bells of one of Malvern’s most historic churches remain ringing in future generations has been given a welcome boost after it received a grant of more than £90,000.
The bells at Great Malvern Priory Parish Church have been ringing out loud in the town for more than 600 years but because they are getting much harder to ring, a campaign was set up to fund the strengthening of the church tower and the rehanging of the bells.
To do this, the ringers and church volunteers need to raise a total of £220,000 which would also include the addition of two more bells and a dumbbell to help teach new ringers.
And the committee behind their appeal have expressed their delight after the Heritage Lottery Fund donated a total of £90,200 to the project.
The grant adds to the £100,000 raised for the project which the Observer reported in December last year.
Now the figure raised so far stands at £205,000 with £15,000 still needed to reach the desired target.
The project, which could start as soon as later this year, will enable young people to learn the art and skills of bell ringing so they can join the dedicated band of Malvern Priory’s bell ringers.
The bells have traditionally have rung for weddings, funerals and other local and national events.
John Clements, the Priory Ringer’s Tower Captain, said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, which will enable us to start the Bells project.
“Malvern will continue to hear the joyous sound of the Priory’s bells, and new young people will be taught to ring the bells, and so continue the art and tradition of bell ringing.
Reyahn King, head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands, added: “This project will ensure that new hands can be taught old skills so that this impressive church’s continuous tradition of bellringing can now be passed on to future generations.”
Also welcoming the news was Malvern’s MP Harriett Baldwin who visited the bell tower last year to inspect the bells.
“Like many local people, I have been a supporter of this appeal and I share the joy and gratitude that the target has been met. Work can now be scheduled to ensure the long-term future of the historic bells and a new generation of bell-ringers will be trained to use them.”
Visit www.greatmalvernpriory.org.uk for more information about the project, to book a quarter peal or donate.