St James’ Church in Barrow is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the restoration of its bells this weekend.

The rehanging and restoration of the eight bells was completed in 2014 after they were sent away for extensive work to repair corrosion.

On Saturday March 9, the town will be alive with the sound of bells ringing as part of a demonstrative celebration.

Alongside an exhibition about the bell restoration and church activities over the past decade, they are also ‘excited’ to show off a new Wombel (one-bell) simulator that has been funded by ‘generous grants’ from Westmorland and Furness Council's Micro to Mighty scheme.

The bell ringing can even be followed online and watched on a live video feed taken from the ground floor of the church.

Residents of the town can visit St James’ between 1pm and 5pm to learn about and marvel at the ancient practice of bellringing.

The Captain of St James’ Bell Tower Andy Pollock described the Wombel.

He said: “It is an 8ft tall tapering galvanised frame with a wooden bell frame sat on top with a vertical wheel that has bell-shaped weight on the side, and a bell rope dangling down beneath it.

“It is collapsible and transportable and will be taken to youth groups, community centres and other public spaces. There are sensors and a laptop to signal when to play the sound of a bell on the speakers when the bell is rung. It also includes a projector and screen to play videos, present slideshows, and display the virtual bellringers that the computer software simulates. 

“The main objective of the Wombel is education to demystify what bellringing is all about and promote the all the benefits of ringing from maintaining a tradition, learning the skills (both mental and physical) and the teamwork and social side of bellringing.”

The event hopes to inspire and interest new recruits, who have not been introduced to bellringing before.