Church bells set to chime

A CHURCH bell which has not rang for 15 years is set to chime again thanks to a £9,000 fundraising drive by the community.

Work looks set to start on a new “21st Century” bell at St Andrew’s Church, in Hesleden Road, Blackhall, after generous locals and grant-giving organisations stepped in to bring it back.

It follows a year-long fundraising drive, which saw local chimneysweep Bob Waite raise money towards the target by being sponsored to make his way from Folkestone, Kent back home to Blackhall with nothing but his bus pass.

Another donation came from the Freemasons of County Durham, who gave a £500.

Reverend George Liddle, from the church, said: “This bell was taken down about 15 years ago because it was unsafe and it was beyond repair.

“I was approached by members of the community to see if we could get the bell back in.

“We are really delighted that the target has been reached.

“The bell stands for the voice of the community. People of a certain age missed the sound of the bell for services, baptisms and weddings.

“A great big thank you to all involved.”

Rev Liddle said work will start to install the new bell on November 2 and instead of a rope it will be operated by an electronic striking device.

It is hoped the work will be complete by St Andrew’s Day, on November 30.