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Hoxne church bells to be restored with donated sixth bell to be added after fundraising events

By: Craig Bradshaw craig.bradshaw@iliffepublishing.co.uk

Published: 05:00, 16 May 2021

Supported by its local community, a church has set a project in motion to restore its bells - the oldest of which was cast 600 years ago.

Hoxne Church last had restoration work undertaken in 1945, and has been one bell short of a full complement of six (all tolled) since one was cracked and subsequently sold to pay for other church repairs around 300 years ago.

With the tenor bell missing, those remaining ring in a minor key - generating a sound which is less a-pealing, so to speak.

Hoxne Church is raising funds for a restoration project for its bells..PICTURED: Church Warden Guy McGregor...Picture: Mecha Morton

Parochial Church Council member Andrew Castleden, 76, said: “Bells sound better in a major key so it’s difficult for our ringers. That is why there hasn’t been any significant bell ringing in Hoxne in recent times.”

This unfortunate situation could soon be remedied however, as a charitable organisation called Keltek Trust, which sources used bells, has donated two of them to the church.

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Restoration can be a lengthy process however, as Mr Castleden, of Hoxne, explains.

Hoxne Church is raising funds for a restoration project for its bells..PICTURED: Church Warden Guy McGregor...Picture: Mecha Morton

“The timing and cost of adding and restoring bells is extremely uncertain,” he said.

“Hoxne Church needs permission from the diocese of Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds to proceed, and the plans cannot currently be considered as there is a separate application ongoing which has to conclude first.”

In the meantime, local pub the Swan Inn has been organising a fundraiser for the project - a quiz which will take place on May 22, with a prize for the winner and a raffle with £2,000 worth of prizes.

Church warden Guy McGregor described being ‘delighted’ at the community’s support.

He added: “People are always asking how the bells project is coming along, so there is genuine excitement in the community about the church having its bells back again.”

The church will also apply to the National Lottery Fund for a grant to help cover some of the costs of the restoration - broadly estimated at around £140,000.

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