the £10k target to repair the bells at St Michael’s Parish Church is edging ever closer after months of hard work.
After a two-month extensive repair job, the bells were back in action last August, but the bill came to £9,780 for the work done.
But thanks to the fundraising of the church and wider community the original target has very nearly been reached - but experts say another £2000 might still be needed.
Appeal organiser Tim Brown told the most recent meeting of the kirk session that a total of £9,610 has now been raised from direct giving in the congregation, a series of book sales, coffee mornings, concerts and other church sponsored events.
But the report said that a recent survey recommended a crash net should be erected in the bell tower at a cost of £2000 to protect the bellringer, so fundraising may have to extend a little longer.
Last year, bells Santo Michael Archangelo and Meg Duncan, both re-cast in the 16th century, were removed and repaired by John Taylor and Company in Loughborough. The bell-founders also refurbished the largest bell, Alma Maria, in situ. The last time the bells were repaired was 1872 and the past 140 years took their toll, with the metal becoming thinner as it was struck repeatedly.
A fundraising book sale is being held in the kirk hall tomorrow (Saturday) where customers are invited to take as many books as they want and to give a donation to the fund.
St Michael’s is also launching a general fundraising campaign to increase church income, after insurance premiums doubled and changes in tax relief for charities will result in a reduction of gift aid income this year.