Community rallies to get church's bells ringing again
THE parishioners of St Budeaux Parish Church have started an appeal to get their 16th Century bells ringing again.
The bells – some of which rang out for Sir Francis Drake and Mary Newman's wedding at the church in 1569 – have been silent since August last year after it was discovered that their supporting framework needed restorative work done.
St Budeaux parish needs to raise £40,000 to undertake the repairs so that the bells can ring out once again.
Sean Beaven, a church warden and bell ringer, said the parish does not have the same feel since the bells went quiet.
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"We miss hearing them. The bells were used to call people to church. The congregation would wait to hear them chime before heading out.
"It is not the real experience anymore – it is dead on a Sunday without them."
The church has six bells in total with three having rung since 1553.
Another was added to the collection in 1640 and two "modern" bells joined in 1888.
They are often rung on days of national importance, including the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the start of the Olympic Games.
Despite the bells' ages, however, Sean, 40, explains that it is not them that requires work.
"The bells are fine," said the parishioner of eight years. "It is the framework that they stand on which is corroded and rusted. Everything needs to be taken down so we can regalvanise it all. While the bells are down, we'll have them checked over and spruced up as well."
Saturday marked the beginning of the appeal with parishioners invited to come and ring out their own bells in support and "Sir Francis Drake" saying a few words of his own.
Those who want more information about the appeal can contact Peter Sparkes on 01752 362 161.