Report for the year ending 31 December 2012 (adopted at AGM May 2013).
Although being removed in September 2011, the bells at St. Luke, Milland were eventually ringing again by the end of February. The work was undertaken by Whites of Appleton, and included tuning the bells. Apart from the bells and frame, all other items were renewed, and the BRF paid its promised grant of £7,500 to the PCC.
Just before Christmas 2011, the 6th bell at St. Mary, Pulborough cracked during practice. So as not have to remove the tenor bell to allow the 6th to be dropped out of the tower, it was decided to break the bell up in situe and carry all the pieces down by hand. This permitted ringing to continue on the remaining 7 bells until the 6th was recast in May this year. This work was carried out by Taylors of Loughborough, and after tuning, the bell was returned home and rehung in July. The BRF grant of £3,000 has been paid to Pulborough PCC, and the ringers were pleased to once again be ringing on all 8 bells.
A grant application was received from the church of St. Peter in the small village of Woodmancote just north of Brighton, where the 3 bells hadn’t been rung for several years, mainly due to the cracked 2nd bell. The work to remove all the bells and fit them with deadstocks for static hanging was undertaken by Whitechapel bell foundry, with the job of repairing the 2nd being sub-contracted to Soundweld. Whilst they were out, a local electrician prepared the church for the control equipment necessary for the electronic chiming apparatus. The work was completed in September, the bells were re-dedicated by the Bishop of Horsham during a service on 14th October, and we have paid our promised grant of £2,000.
During 2012, 3 BRF committee meetings have been held, and the next is due to be held in January 2013. At the last meeting, an application was discussed from Holy Trinity, Duncton, near Petworth, where the single bell is in danger of falling from its headstock. A grant of £800 has been offered.
Although we have not yet received applications for grants, it is known that there are several churches hoping to have work done on their bells in the relatively near future. These include Bury near Arundel, West Tarring, Warbleton, Lindfield and Arundel, and the church warden at Westham has been in contact with Whitechapel about having an inspection done as they haven’t been rung for about 5 years.
The project at Lindfield would entail raising 4 of the bells to an upper frame for use as clock chimes, with the remaining bells along with other metal being melted down to enable a new lighter ring of 8 to be cast, with the tenor weighing approximately 9½ cwt.
At Arundel, the estimate for work needed comes to around £50,000, and the ringers are talking of various ways in which money could be raised. It is hoped that additional funding could be found at the same time to enable a simulator to be fitted.
During the year, Nicky Twort, the Eastern Division BRF Rep organised a Bell Maintenance course at All Saints in Hastings, which was well attended. A similar course was organised by Alan Seymour, the Southern Division BRF Rep to take place at Shipley, but it unfortunately had to be cancelled due to lack of interest.
Other works have been carried out at St. Peter & St. Paul, Hellingly, and at St. Mary, Walberton, but on both of these occasions, the whole cost was borne by the respective PCCs.
At first glance, looking at the BRF Accounts, we appear to be quite well off at the moment. This of course is true, but at the end of 2012, we had promised just under £11,000 in grants, and as can be seen from the list of churches above that are hoping to have work done on their bells soon, it will not take long for the balance to reduce. We are therefore always grateful for any monies that can be donated to the fund.