CHURCH bells will fall silent in Milton Lilbourne, near Pewsey, over the next few months as a £100,000 project to restore them to their former glory begins.
A Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £25,200 helped the Milton Lilbourne Bells Restoration Project at St Peter’s Church, in Milton Lilbourne reach its fundraising total and ensure work could begin to restore the bells for future use.
Works will take approximately three months as the peal of bells are taken to Taylor’s Bell Foundry in Loughborough for repair and tuning.
Anne Wardell, 63, of Manningford Abbotts, has been part of the band of bell ringers for five years and said: “When you play all together creating lovely music you get a real buzz, it is like being in a choir. It is a real workout as well. The tenor bell is as heavy as a small car.
“Many people are becoming more interested in vintage things and we have had four new recruits in the last few months alone. When the bells have been restored they will be even easier to play.”
There will be once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for local people to see the bells once they have been removed from the tower and to follow their journey as they are tuned and brought back to Milton Lilbourne.
The group hopes that the bells will be removed in spring in order to be repaired and fitted in time for November to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.
Christopher Evans-Tipping, chairman of Milton Lilbourne Parochial Church Council, said: “We are thrilled to have received support thanks to National Lottery players. This peal of bells has been lovingly cared for since 1789 and this project will result in them both sounding better than ever and being preserved for generations to come.”
The church’s bell ringers are currently played by a group ranging from 13 to 74 years old, with three generations of one family taught to play within St Peter’s church.