Church's new bells set to ring out in time for Christmas Eve

A Shropshire church has undergone a major restoration project with the installation of six new bells in time for Christmas Eve.

Pictured with some of the bells are Andrew Ogden from John Taylor Bell Foundry, project manager Andrew Gordon and volunteer Geoff Harding
Pictured with some of the bells are Andrew Ogden from John Taylor Bell Foundry, project manager Andrew Gordon and volunteer Geoff Harding

The church committee of St Andrews Church, Kemberton, near Shifnal, has been fundraising in order to recast bells and install new ones – and the first quote came 29 years ago back in 1992.

Andrew Gordon, project manager, said that through the work of Shropshire bell ringers and volunteers who have been generous with their time, the project is "nearly there".

Currently the church has three original bells, two bells through The Celtic Trust and one brand new bell and the team are now waiting for the other two which are expected to be recast in January next year.

The bells arrive.
St Andrew's Church, Kemberton.

Mr Gordon, who is managing director of Allums Jewellers Ltd in Telford, has been part of the project since 1992 and has "great satisfaction" at seeing the project almost completed and can see the "light at the end of the tunnel" now.

The project received funding from The Celtic Trust, Allums Jewellers Ltd, the Shropshire Association of Church Bell Ringers, Historic Churches Trust and other individuals.

Mr Gordon said that the project also had a "family connection" as the father of volunteer Andrew Poole helped to build the original Kemberton Bell Tower between 1903 and 1908.

One bell is dedicated to the memory of a past bell ringer.
Volunteer Geoff Harding next to some of the bells.

"Hopefully the community will get behind it," Mr Gordon said as people often comment that they love to hear the church bells which are a part of village life.

Mr Gordon is an experienced bell ringer and this is the eighth project he has been involved in and the first one he has managed, he also trains new recruits in the art of bell ringing.

"It's one of these things I've maintained you must keep up the art of bell ringing," he said, noting that it can provide light relief and enjoyment – the same as any other musical instrument.

Mr Gordon was a bell ringer during the Silver Jubilee of the Queen in 1977 and will be doing the same for the Platinum Jubilee of the Queen next year.

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