The bells have been ringing again at a Mirfield church – a year after they were last heard.
Delighted bell-ringers were back in the tower at St Mary’s Church on Easter Sunday, after their peal of ten bells was re-cast and re-hung thanks to a mammoth fundraising drive.
A team from the Yorkshire Association of Change Ringers were in the church yesterday afternoon to ring out the peal for the first time since last year’s Easter celebrations.
The chimes brought delighted residents to the church, with many commenting on how pleasant it was to hear the bells again.
Listen to St Mary's Church bells
It has cost £89,000 to carry out the work, which included the melting down of six of the huge instruments to recast them as new bells using a process which has not changed for centuries.
Mirfield bell captain Ian Ackroyd, who organised the event, said: “It has been wonderful to see the bells being rung again.
“People have been commenting saying how ‘tremendous’ and ‘wonderful’ it sounds. There has been a really positive vibe in the village.”
Residents were also greeted with refreshments at the church where later this week Ian and his team will ring the bells again for themselves.
The refurbishment was done by famous firm Taylor Bells based in Loughborough, recasting the front six and cleaning and re-tuning the four heaviest ones at the back.
Volunteers hoisted the mammoth bells back into the tower using a trolley and their bare hands, while part of the doorframe had to be removed to allow in the largest bell, weighing 1½tonnes.
They were then physically hoisted up into the belfry to be assembled with headstocks, wheels and ropes and were then blessed by the vicar, the Rev Hugh Baker, with an ancient ritual of anointing each with crosses in holy oil marking east, west, south, and then north and seven crosses on the rim on the bell at the font.
St Mary’s spokesman Chris Breare said: “What a fantastic effort by all involved to have them all back up the tower in just a week.
“We then had another two weeks of highly skilled work when the bells were fitted into their housings. It was a really emotional moment for so many of this very dedicated team who have worked tirelessly to raise funds,
“We’d like to say thanks to all who have been so dedicated to this project which will benefit the local population for the next 100 years.”