Chime of the times for historic bells

Members of All Hallows Church in Bispham are fundraising for the restoration of the church bells.
Members of All Hallows Church in Bispham are fundraising for the restoration of the church bells.
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BLACKPOOL’S only working church bells are to be given a new lease of life, almost 100 years after they were installed.

Members of All Hallows Church in Bispham say theirs are the only real bells to ring in the resort, as other churches play recorded chimes over a sound system.

Members of All Hallows Church in Bispham are fundraising for the restoration of the church bells.

Members of All Hallows Church in Bispham are fundraising for the restoration of the church bells.

The historical bells are to be brought down and their frames replaced in a £40,000 project.

Six of the eight bells were installed in 1920, and two more added in 1922 to mark the end of the First World War and honour those who had lost their lives fighting.

Church leaders hope they can get the restoration completed in time to commemorate 100 years since the start of the war, in 2014.

Treasurer Sue Sager said: “We knew the bells would need restoring, but thought it would be lovely if we could tie it in together with the centenary.

“I do think this is of interest to the people of Blackpool as these are the only working bells and we’re the mother church of Blackpool. It would be such a shame if this doesn’t come to fruition, but I am very confident it will. This is what the whole church wants.”

In almost 100 years, the bells have not required any significant maintenance, but a survey held last year showed it was time for the restoration which will involve removing the bells from the tower and transporting them to a bell hanger where they will be given new headstocks and clappers.

The whole process is expected to start in September and last six months.

Around half the money has already been collected from various sources, including £3,000 from Norbreck councillors Peter and Maxine Callow.

Coun Peter Callow said: “Our constituents go to services at All Hallows. Christine was christened there, we were married there and our children were christened there.”

The fund is also expected to receive up to £5,000 from the Lancashire Association of Change Ringers and £2,500 from the War Memorial Trust.

But church members are also hoping the public will sponsor some of the bell parts, or pay for part of a peal to be rung for an event or special occasion.

Bell captain Will Hulme said members had raised money through table top sales and events, and the public had been donating anything from £5 to £1,000.