Appeal looks to raise £130,000 to replace historic church's four bells

An appeal has been launched to get bells ringing again at an historic church.

Wednesday, 20th January 2016, 8:09 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th January 2016, 8:14 am
Saint George's Church in Cullercoats. Picture by Jane Coltman

The bells at St George’s Church, on Cullercoats seafront, have never been heard ringing at the same time.

And now a fundraising drive has been launched to raise £130,000 to replace the quartet of bells with eight new, lighter bells at the 132-year-old church.

Officials at the church’s committee are now hoping to receive local and national backing.

Gerald Lang said: “The church has got four bells but they’ve never rung full circle, they have only just chimed.

“We’ve got a project to take these four bells out and put in eight new ones.

“The frame made from oak was designed to hold eight bells which would be swung through 360 degrees as is normal in English traditional ringing.”

The St George’s Bell Restoration Fund Project has been in touch with the English Heritage, Lottery Fund and other organisations to see if they can apply for any grants or help with the fundraising.

The Bellringers Association in Newcastle have also said they would contribute ten per cent of the costs.

Gerald said: “Bellringers in the area have said they will help us raise the funds and we’re looking for local support from the congregation and further afield.

“There have been several bell restoration projects in the north east and they have managed to complete those within two years, so we are hoping to do the same.

“If people wish to contribute to the restoration fund may do so via ‘Friends of Saint George’s Cullercoats’.

“We’re really hoping the local community can get behind this and support us.”

The bells were installed in the church when it was built by the then Duke of Northumberland in 1884 but are now suffering from extensive corrosion.

A public meeting will take place at the church on Wednesday, January 20, at 7.30pm.

Residents are invited to attend and learn more about the project.