The bells at St Andrew's Backwell in North Somerset are to be rehung as they are now becoming increasingly difficult to ring and the fittings are worn out and need replacing. The current ring was installed as a six in 1901 and augmented to eight in 1938. No major work has been done since and it is great credit to the previous Backwell ringers, particularly Jim Taylor, John Brain, Tom Philips & Jim Lott who have helped to maintain the installation, that the bells have lasted so long without a major overhaul. The current tower officers have thought carefully about the state of ringing in Backwell and North Somerset in general, and formulated a plan which they hope will ensure a strong and thriving band is maintained at Backwell for the foreseeable future and the bells at Backwell will become much more widely available to be rung and become a centre for ringing teaching and progression in ringing for the area. Our plans involve the following
John Brain left a large legacy to St Andrew's and some of this money can be used for the refurbishment of the existing bells, but we feel his generosity, and contribution to life in the area, should not go unnoticed and there should be a permanent reminder to John's achievements in life and his generosity in death. We are therefore planning to dedicated one of the new bells to the memory of John. The new bells will provide a light ring of six bells, in addition to the existing ring of eight, so that a ringing school can be established at Backwell to help maintain the traditions of English change ringing in North Somerset and to encourage young people to get the same enjoyment out of ringing that John did.
The terms of John's legacy mean that we have to raise the additional amount to cover the costs of the additional bells and this amounts to between £25000 and £35000 depending on the amount of local labour we can provide. We are now asking for contributions from ringers and John's friends to help bring our plans into reality. We feel our vision will help to maintain a strong and active band at Backwell, provide a focus for teaching young ringers in the area and allow the experienced ringers we have available to pass on their skills and knowledge to new generations of ringers. It will also provide a easily manageable ring of ten and the increased accessibility of the bells (as a 6, 8 or 10) should encourage more ringers to visit Backwell to ring and help to provide a regular income to the church from what is currently an underused asset.
We hope you will feel able to support our endeavour; all donations will be acknowledged and the names of all donors will be recorded in the tower at St Andrew's (unless specifically requested otherwise). We do feel this initiative is necessary to revitalise ringing in the area and do hope you will contribute. If you are a tax-payer, please fill in and return a signed Gift-Aid form with your donation, this will allow us to reclaim 25 p for each pound donated from HMRC. Donations may be given to any of the Backwell ringers or sent to the addresses given on the gift-aid form.
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