The Diocese recently granted us the faculty to replace the cracked ninth bell at St Andrew’s. The bell foundry atWhitechapel were then able to cast the new bell on 22ndNovember but have confirmed that it will not installed until early in the New Year. A few of the bell ringers and congregation were lucky enough to go to watch the casting.
The existing inscription on the ninth bell was reproduced exactly on the new bell:
‘In wedlock bands all ye who join with hands & hearts unite,
so shall our tuneful tongues combine to laugh the nuptial rite‘
Whitechapel added their name and date to the bell and there is now an additional inscription indicating that the new bell was cast in memory of Frank Gant and Colin Wright, two former Hornchurch ringing masters.
Frank Gant took over the ringing at St Andrew’s shortly after the end of the 2nd World War and remained in office for 30 years during which time he built a strong and successful band.
Colin Wright learnt to ring at St Andrew’s and took over from Frank as ringing master in 1977, carrying on the good work for the next 6 years. Our current ringing master was taught to ring by Frank Gant in 1974.
Past and present members of the bell ringers who knew and rang with Frank and/or Colin have given in excess of £2200 towards the new bell. Members of the congregation have also given generously to the appeal and the total amount raised isthan £5500. In addition the Essex Association of Change Ringers have awarded us a grant of £1350 from their bell restoration fund which is about 10% of our £14000 target.
The new bell was cast from copper and tin and needs several weeks to cool down.
It is anticipated that the cracked bell will take one day to remove and return to the foundry as valuable scrap. The new bell will be set up on the existing bearings at the foundry and a new clapper will be fitted and tested before returning to St Andrew’s forhanging. The hanging of the new bell will also take about one dayso the whole process should only take a week or so.
The efforts of our Vicar, Barry, Parish Wardens, Anne & Dave and Assistant Treasurer, Richard in helping the ringers with this project is acknowledged and appreciated.