Officials at Kirkham’s Parish Church are keen to encourage as much community involvement as possible in the unveiling of its eagerly-awaited new bells.
Scores of parishioners have already joined trips to see the new bells being cast at a specialist foundry in the Midlands and the first stage in fitting the new set at St Michael’s Church will come in October, 12 months on from the original set ringing out for the last time.
It is hoped the replacement set of 10 bells will ring out for the first time in time for Christmas – and ahead of being fitted in the tower, they will displayed in church.
“We aim to have a ‘welcome home’ party for the new bells and one idea we are looking at is possibly for local schoolchildren to be involved in naming them,” said churchwarden Tony Kay.
Bell captain Terry Williams added: “They will be displayed in church for a while so that school children, parishioners, and interested persons can come and witness this historic occasion, never to be witnessed again in our lifetime. The bells will be blessed and dedicated and will eventually ring out sometime in the mid to late December.
“We were delighted with the numbers of parishioners who joined the trips to Taylor’s foundry in Leicestershire. Both days were exceedingly interesting for bell ringers and non bell ringers alike and we were all especially pleased to our new bell No 6, which includes inscriptions of the names of current church officials.”
The present church dates from 1822, with the tower and spire added in 1844 and the original set of eight bells installed in 1846.