Worshippers set for 100 laps of church to fund rehanging of historic bell

Churchgoers are preparing to take on 100 laps of their church grounds in a bid to raise funds for the re-hanging of their historic bell.
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Members of All Saints in Hindley need to raise thousands of pounds to pay for the centuries-old bell, which was stolen and later recovered earlier this year, to be put back in the bell tower.

The church’s insurance is set to cover most of the cost, but worshippers are faced with having to fund the shortfall themselves.

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The sponsored walk has been inspired by last year’s heroics of Captain Sir Tom Moore and will take place on Friday, April 30, which would have been his 101st birthday.

Congregation members outside the churchCongregation members outside the church
Congregation members outside the church

Eileen Magee, who has helped organised the challenge, said: “It’s going to cost over £22,000 to put it back, because there’s a preservation order on it. It was manufactured in the 1600s by a foundry in Wigan. You can’t just do what you like with it.

“We’ve had to go through architects and get someone from the Liverpool Diocese. Our insurance covers us for re-hanging it but won’t cover its maintenance or for alarms, so we have to pay about £6,000-£8,000 to have an alarm fitted.”

Eileen and fellow All Saints members will be setting up a Captain Tom memorial weekend, taking place on Friday April 30, 2-4pm and all day on Saturday May 1, and will be accepting donations towards their target.

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Sponsorship forms are available by visiting the church, and bucket collections will also take place over the weekend.

The church bell after it was recoveredThe church bell after it was recovered
The church bell after it was recovered

It was late January when the church’s hierarchy discovered that the chapel bell, which is approaching 380 years old, had been taken from the building. It is widely thought to be the original bell from when the first chapel was built in 1641.

Brazen thieves had scaled the roof of the Grade-II listed building in Chapel Fields Lane, before detaching the bell from its tower and dropping it to the ground. Its weight was enough to leave a large hole in the ground where it landed.

But the bell was located days later at a scrap metal yard, after an appeal for its whereabouts was posted on social media.

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The yard owners had purchased the bell from an anonymous seller, and were unaware that it was a stolen item, or its historical importance.

They immediately contacted the church and offered its return free of charge.

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