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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Delays mean Barrow church bells WON'T ring out for Christmas Day

BELLS in a Barrow church will not be restored in time to ring this Christmas.

The £160,000 improvement to the bells at St James’ Church, Blake Street, started in July, and was due to finish later this month.

The bells, which have not been used for at least 15 years, will not be heard until late January 2014 now after unplanned delays.

Tower captain Andrew Pollock said: “We came very close, but we need an extra week in the schedule to allow the concrete to set properly so that the new frame is secure in the tower before we start to swing and ring the bells.

“The delay was because they originally had it that the bells would be fitted into the frames, but the builders wanted the space to work without the bells.

“We just didn’t have spare time to have it done in time for Christmas.”

The setback will mean the carol service on December 12 will no longer include the re-dedication of the bells.

The inside of the tower is in the process of being transformed with the rotten belfry floor being replaced with a metal mesh floor to allow sound from the bells to escape through the louvres.

New weather proofing has been installed behind the louvres and the clappers replaced.

The wooden floor has been replaced in the new belfry and pockets made in the wall ready to receive the new bell frame.

New wiring for lighting, heating, chimes and CCTV has also been planned.

The bells are now due to arrive to be fitted by volunteers on Tuesday January 7 next year.

Mr Pollock added: “The installation of the bells should be completed at the end of January, but the re-dedication service is planned for early evening on Sunday March 9.

“We will likely use the bells before that though.

“The bells have been cleaned and retuned.

“It’s very promising. The sound should be really good, particularly for weddings.

“It can be a great hobby for people too.

“Anyone can do it, we have people still ringing in their 80s.”

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