SUTCOMBE fell silent as the church bells were taken to be dismantled for restoration.

On Thursday, March 9, the bell ringers gathered in St Andrew Church, Sutcombe, to say farewell, for the time being, to the bells as they go off for restoration.

Five years ago Taylor’s of Loughborough was asked to do a survey of the bells and prepare a report. It was found that the steel frame was badly corroded and the only satisfactory remedy was to replace it.

Immediately fundraising began to try and reach the target of £40,000 needed for the repair.

After much support from the local community, donations and a top up of grant aid, the church’s goal had almost been reached.

Recently work was carried out to dismantle the bell frame and bells under the guidance of Brian Butcher from John Taylor. The six bells each weigh between two and a half and seven and three quarter cwt (hundredweight).

Local volunteers assisted with the work. The bells are now on their way to be overhauled and a new frame is to be constructed. The work should be completed in the autumn.

The bells were last restored in 1932.

John Daniel, captain of the tower, said he is ‘extremely grateful’ for the wonderful contributions of help in various ways which has enabled this project to be carried out.