Church in £35k appeal joy

St Joseph's Church Ansdell
St Joseph's Church Ansdell

Members of a Fylde coast church are celebrating today after raising £35,000 to help fund a project to revamp its 100-year-old bells.

The congregation at St Joseph’s Church, in Ansdell, launched an ambitious fund- raising drive earlier this year to pay for eight replacement bells.

The fund-raising team hoped to raise the cash by December before presenting plans to the Diocese of Lancaster trustees, who are part-funding the project, which is expected to cost £56,000 in total.

But this week the team found it had already reached the £35,000 figure – allowing it to qualify for the Diocese’s extra funding.

Edwina Gillett, part of the church bell restoration appeal committee, praised the support of the community.

She added: “St Joseph’s Church is pleased to report that its fund-raising target of £35,000 towards the refurbishment of its 100-year-old bells has been achieved.

“St Joseph’s is very grateful to the many parishioners, local people and commercial businesses within the area for supporting them in this effort.”

The cash raised has come from a variety of sources, with the bulk of money from private donations, as well as a grant from the Lancashire Association of Change Ringers and a donation from the Fylde Branch of Change Ringers.

Earlier this month, the Girls Choir from Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral visited the church for an evening of singing to help raise cash.

The historic peal of eight bells were cast by Whitechapel Bell Foundry in 1908 and installed in the tower in 1911 at a cost of £800.

The updated work includes the installation of an angelus tolling unit, which will allow the bells to sound automatically at noon each day, without requiring the help of bellringers to do so.

The project will involve a thorough clean of the bell chamber, replacement of parts and removal of bells from the bell chamber and transportation to a bell foundry for cleaning and re-tuning.

The complete re-installation of the bell will involve new ringing ropes, as well as the angelus tolling unit.

If, as expected, funding is approved by the Diocese of Lancaster, the project will start within months.