Church bells are on the move

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The church bells at St Andrew’s in Biggleswade turned silent this weekas they were taken down for refurbishment.

And June Essex from the Chronicle was given unique access to the church tower as preparations were made to take down the eight bells.

Tower captain Andrew Smith supervised the fitting of the lifting beams for the bells, which have not been moved for more than 100 years.

The bells will be moved to a foundry in Loughborough next Monday where they will be refurbished before joining two new bells which have already been cast, to create a peal of 10 tuned bells when they are replaced in the church in mid May.

The ambitious project has received financial support from the Bedfordshire Association of Church Bell Ringers along with technical advice.

Andrew Mills and Paul Mason of Taylor’s Foundry installed the lifting beams on Monday.

And then under the supervision of Andrew Mills and Andrew Ogden the bells will be lowered through the south window of the bell chamber to the foot of the west tower next week.

For safety reasons access to this area on Shortmead Street will be restricted. Additional volunteer labour will be supplied by local ringers.

Mr Smith, Captain of Ringers at St Andrew’s, said, “The Biggleswade townsfolk at that time have left us with a wonderful heritage.

“We must show our gratitude with this enlarged ring of bells continuing to peal over the town.

“The ultimate aim is to establish our town’s parish church as “a centre of excellence” in the county for bell ringing.

The bells were last recast in 1911.