The late Miss Bridget Gordon, who lived in Woking and was a ringer at Send, left a legacy in the region of £180,000 to the Guild’s Bell Restoration Fund (BRF) in 2015. This was an exciting development for the Guild and provided an excellent opportunity to make major grants to projects which might not otherwise have proceeded.
The Guild Executive held a competition open to all towers in the Guild to make a bid for a large funding contribution towards a significant project. Stage 1 of the competition was an expression of interest giving brief outline details and an estimate of the cost. These bids were examined and scored by the BRF Sub-Committee and placed in an order of merit. It was agreed that the grants from the legacy would be in the order of 50% of the total cost and, once approved, the successful towers would be given two years to produce a Stage 2 Bid with comprehensive details of the project including costs, evidence of PCC and local support, fund raising proposals and confirmation of support from the DAC Bell Adviser and other relevant bodies. A total of 12 Stage 1 bids were received.
In October 2015, the Executive Committee invited the following towers to submit Stage 2 applications:
Bramley – to replace wooden headstocks and plain bearings, tune the bells and stiffen the sub-frame.
Byfleet – replace existing 3 bells with a new ring of 6 bells.
Godalming – replace existing ring of 8 bells with a new ring of 8 bells using the existing frame and fittings.
Send – comprehensive overhaul of the bells.
Weston Green – add 6 new bells to the existing ring of 2 to give a light 8.
Yorktown – replace ring of 8 with a new ring of 8 in a new frame.
Weston Green withdrew from the Stage 2 bidding process three months later and the bid from Chertsey to install a free standing ringing gallery was invited to take its place.
Current Situation as at July 2017:
The following towers have received Stage 2 approval from the Executive Committee:
Bramley – awarded a grant of £25,000. Work expected to commence in November 2017.
Godalming – awarded a grant of £40,000 towards the anticipated cost of £80,000 to remove the existing ring of 8 bells and replace with a newly cast ring of 8 utilising the existing frame and where possible existing fittings. The work was completed on the 14th of July 2017 and the Godalming ringers are reported to be delighted.
Send – awarded a grant of £8,000. Work expected to commence later in the year.
The remaining bids are still active within their two-year window and further updates will be given in due course.