The face of St Mary’s has been covered up for the first time in many years as the structural repairs to the tower are started. The scaffolding will be in place until early in the near year.
Progress Report on New Bells
The new peal of eight bells has been cast and will be taken out of the casts in the next few days. Photos to follow! The bells will then be brought over to England to be tuned before they are hung over the winter.
This Month’s Services
The church is now open again for services, and this month’s rota is as follows:
Colin Dixon, who organises the training for St Mary’s bell ringers, ready for when our new bells are installed, reports on a wonderful new piece of kit.
With very grateful thanks to John Appleby, the Friends of St Mary’s have acquired a dumb bell. This is a framework with a bell wheel and a weight instead of a bell. It doesn’t make a noise, but acts in exactly the same way as a church bell. It is an excellent training and practice device.
The dumb bell will reside at Severn View Farm on Inglestone Common and is available for both bell ringers and others to try their hand at ringing a church bell without the climb into the tower – or the noise.
Everyone is welcome to have a go. Age is no barrier. However, youngsters need to be tall enough to reach the rope properly. This means around eight years old or avoe.
When the new bells are installed n the church tower, the dumb bell will join them as a silent practice device.
Like to train as a bell ringer for St Mary’s? Please call Colin Dixon on 01454 299236 or email him.
On Tuesday 16th July 1980, the Friends of St Mary’s held its very fist Annual Meeting and stated its aim:
to assist St Mary’s PCC to maintain the structure of the church in a consistent, good state of replair
to assist the PCC to preserve and increase the beauty of the interior of the church and its furnishings
After opening a bank account on 5th June with no money at all, the Friends had already raised £758.98 from a Flower Festival, a concert by the Tyndale Choral Society and from other donations. It was noted that the exterior stonework of the tower was in need of conservation, and it would be an advantage to build a new toilet in the churchyard.
Work in Progress
Well, forty years on, and many tens of thousands of pounds later, the Friends have achieved so much for St Mary’s – nave roof, windows, gutter, doors, oil tank, tombs, carpet, funds for insurance and heating when no other sources were available, and much, much more. And now we begin, at long last, the conservation of the tower masonry and significant improvements to the vestry, while awaiting the fixing of the new bells. It will be very exciting to see the scaffolding going up and work begin, and it is hoped to have these projects complete by the end of the year. We will provide regular updates on the progress of the work.
As mentioned in 1980, a toilet is still needed, and we hope that when the tower work is complete, this can be our next project. Our architect and the Diocese of Gloucester will help to find the right solution, which we hope could be shared by visitors to both the church and the cemetery.
Friends of St Mary’s AGM 2020
Owing to Covid-19, we were unable to hold our AGM in the usual way in June, but the committee has set a date for Sunday 22nd November at 4.30pm in St Mary’s Church, to be followed by evensong at 6pm. If conditions are not favourable for a usual meeting, we will arrange a Zoom meeting and ensure that all Friends have access to the agenda.
As we celebrate the start of our latest major project, for which we have been raising funds for the last nine years, could we encourage everyone to continue to support St Mary’s through the Friends by renewing subscriptions or taking out new ones – a perfect gift for a member of your family. Visit the “Join Us” page for more details of how to renew your subscription or to join the Friends.