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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 June 2006, 21:41 GMT 22:41 UK
200-year-old bells need ringers
St Andrew's and St George's Church
Scotland's oldest peal will soon be restored to its former glory
Campaigners hoping to restore the oldest peal of church bells in Scotland are looking for people to ring them.

The eight bells of St Andrew's and St George's Church in Edinburgh are expected to be reinstalled in September this year.

The group say they have nearly reached their fund-raising target of 190,000.

The 18th Century bells are in London being cleaned and tuned at the foundry where they were cast more than 200 years ago.

Strengthening work on the belfry is in the process of being completed.

The bells should be back by 11 September. It is very exciting, there is something very special about them
Alison Campbell
Bell restoration appeal

Restoration campaigners now want to build up a team of 24 ringers for the church in George Street.

They hope to train up novices over the summer in preparation for a ceremony when the bells are returned.

Alison Campbell, co-ordinator of the bell restoration appeal, said they had received requests from ringers all over the world asking if they could have a go.

She said: "There are only two people in the congregation who have rung bells before.

"We want to get several teams who will be able to cover Sundays and other key dates like Hogmanay.

Funding efforts

"It's quite difficult to get enough people. There is a shortage of bell ringers in Scotland."

Ms Campbell added: "The bells should be back by 11 September. It is very exciting, there is something very special about them.

"We are going to hold a competition to name each one."

The eight bells of St Andrew's and St George's Church were installed in 1788 when the spire was built.

In 1903, the swing of the bells was judged to be dangerous and they were converted to a chiming device using hammers.

In 2002, the bells fell silent when the fabric of their frame deteriorated and they were later removed from the spire.

For the past two years the church been raising funds to repair and restore the bells back to "change-ringing".

They have had generous grants from several trusts and individuals, including a recent donation of 44,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.


SEE ALSO:
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Bells ringing for town's birthday
26 Apr 06 |  Staffordshire
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26 Apr 06 |  Edinburgh and East
'Oldest' church bells are saved
23 Mar 06 |  Scotland


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