Bell Repair Fund



100 Club



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The Trustees of the Bell Repair fund are:-

Christopher L D Munday

Graham K Smith - Secretary

Prof. Michael J de C Henshaw - Chairman

For the Constitution click here.

To see the Guidelines for Applicants click here.

To see the Data Protection covering the Bell Repair Fund - click here.

Bells are one of the most valuable single items of equipment a church may own and ringers have long recognised their obligations to help maintain these bells in a safe and usable condition.

In 1972, the Society decided that the frame and fittings at Nunburnholme were in need of some repair and as there was no local band this would fall to the Society to undertake. Norman Chaddock put together a team of volunteers to perform the work and it was quickly realised that other towers may be in a similar position and so it was decided to create a Bell Repair Fund (BRF).

The following year the fund took on real purpose and serious work was done at Burstwick and a band was taught there as a result. Income was from 5 main sources:- collections at the monthly meetings (£ 25.03), donations (£ 55.53), sale of newsprint (£ 33.19), lottery tickets (£ 25.08) and a one off sponsored walk (£ 127). Quite often after meetings or peal attempts a group would assemble for a meal. The bill would be rounded up and the surplus would be donated to the BRF. In 1975 a Grand Draw was held and raised the amazing amount of £ 238.97. Sponsored events were the norm for the next few years. Barn Dances often featured in the calendar and any surplus would go into the BRF.

Grants were made to Middleton on the Wolds and Kirk Ella in 1974, new ropes were provided for Burstwick and paint was purchased for the frame at Walkington. Ian Campbell's garage at his home on Ings Road was forever filling up with old newspapers but by the end of 1975 the price had fallen and it was decided not to continue this revenue stream.

The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (CCCBR) carried out a national survey of Bell Repair Funds in 1976 based on 1975 figures. Three categories were measured:- Income per head, Capital per head and Expenditure per head. The Society came out top in both Income per head and Expenditure per head and was second in the Capital per head. (Ref Ringing World 1977 p107)

In 1976 Roddy Horton, who was employed by a firm of Chartered Accountants at the time, made some preliminary enquries about charitable status and as a result the committee formally appointed him to register the BRF as a charity. At the time the Charity Commission had 2 offices:- Liverpool and Bristol. The Liverpool office dealt with charities North of a line between London and Bristol but the CCCBR had no experience in dealing with Liverpool and so we were able to liaise with John Barnes (Chairman of the Bell Restoration Funds sub committee of the CCCBR )and assist the Council put together a model code of rules for other ringing societies to use. Once registered, covenants became a new regular income stream along with the associated tax relief. Three trustees were appointed :- George Ledgard, Keith Goldthorpe and Rev Giles Galley and the Society recorded its wish to be able to donate at least 10% of any bell repair work taking place in its area.

By now a further £ 100 had been given to Kirk Ella, £ 75 towards new ropes at Holy Trinity Hull, £ 100 to North Ferriby and £ 65 to Cottingham. In 1977 Withernsea was subject to a major restoration including rehanging 2 of the bells.

1978 was a landmark year in some respects. The Trustees decided that the financing of fund raising events was not within the remit of the BRF and so the Society created a Project Fund. A 100 club was also formed. The intention of the 100 club was to involve as many friends and family of Society members as well as ringers from outside the area. This recruitment drive was a success and on the 1st January 1979 the Club was formally activated. A monthly prize draw was the main feature of the club and this became the main source of income for a good many years generating normally around £ 400 per annum. An annual social for members to meet was also an event that was very well received for many years. 1979 also saw a significant donation of £ 935 to Market Weighton who were adding 2 new bells to create an octave. In addition £ 300 went to Scarborough. This year also saw the constitution amended to include Sound Control.

1980 was a quiet year but 1981 saw £ 200 granted to Cottingham and £ 650 to Filey. During the 1980s the amount of interest received increased dramatically but along with it inflation raised the cost of work to be done. Grants were now being given on a regular basis and normally in the hundreds of pounds.

In 1990 the BRF actually gave a bell rather than cash and the beneficiary was Flamborough. The cost of the bell was £ 2,286. This year also saw the 100 club realise that inflation had taken its toll and so subs were increased and the amount donated each year rose £ 1,000.

1992 saw George Ledgard retire and move to Scotland and consequently resigned as a Trustee. He was replaced by Christopher Brown. Very sadly Christopher died in 1997 and was himself replaced by Graham Smith, a past President of the Society. A year later Keith Goldthorpe stood down and his place was taken by Tony Wragg, a past President of the Society.

In 1994 the Society worked with The Ringing World to produce a calendar. This project was led by Derek Watson and the proceeds of £ 1,616 were donated to the BRF.

A grant of £ 900 was given to Escrick in 1996 to help re-home the ring of 12 bells from St Martin's Birmingham.

1997 saw the biggest project to date and this is an extract from the BRF Sub Committee report for that year :-
"1997 has been a year of considerable expenditure with seven grants being paid. There is no doubt that the BRF grants have made a significant difference to the projects to which they have been allocated, in some cases tipping the balance in favour of proceeding with a project which a PCC is anxious to complete, but doubtful about their ability to find the necessary funds. However, the substantial drain on our fund means we are not in a position to give a similar level of support should the need arise in 1998.

In February the BRF paid £ 7,109 to Kilham PCC, which comprised an appropriately inscribed bell, cast to commemorate the Society's fiftieth year in 1996. Kilham now have a ring of four bells and are well on the way to achieving the objective of a ring of six. News in the summer that the Millenium Commission had agreed a significant grant towards the project means that we anticipate completion during the next couple of years."

A Barn Dance in 1999 raised £ 720.29 but sadly we recorded the passing of George Ledgard, one of our original trustees.

Grants in 2001 included £ 4,000 each to Nunburnholme and Hessle, the latter undertaking a project to augment to 8 bells from 6.

See the new treble at Hessle

See the new second at Hessle

Nafferton received a grant of £ 5,000 in 2010. This went a good way to assist the project to remove the original 3 bells and install a new bell frame and the ring of 6 from St Minver in Cornwall.

Sadly, in 2011 Tony Wragg passed away and was replaced by Prof Michael J de C Henshaw, a past President of the Society.

Roos was granted £ 8,000 in 2012 to augment from 5 to 6 bells. This grant included the gift of the new treble bell. 2 years later Roos received a further £ 10,000 which moved them up to 8 bells.

See the new treble at Roos

Roos treble ready to be installed

Two young Roos ringers with their new treble

The Archbishop dedicating the new treble at Roos

The next major grant was in 2018 when St Mary's Beverley decided to augment from 10 to 12 and include a sharp second, which enables a lighter octave to be rung. £ 10,000 was granted and this included the donation of the sharp second bell.

Casting the new bells for St Mary's Beverley

Casting the new bells for St Mary's Beverley

The new bells for St Mary's Beverley

The new bells for St Mary's Beverley

The new bells arrive at St Mary's Beverley

The new bells ready for installation at St Mary's Beverley

In 2021 the new band at Bubwith removed their ring of five for refurbishment and tuning. While the bells were out they decided to augment to six with a new bell cast by the Royal Eijsbouts Bellfounders in Holland. £11,000 was granted towards the refurbishment and augmentation.

The bells at Bubwith.

Dedication by the Bishop of Selby with some of the local band.

In September 2022 Christopher Munday replaced Rev Giles Galley as a Trustee.

It is clear that the BRF has now matured from the petty cash fund to buy a few tins of paint into a Charity making significant grants to Bell Repair projects in our Churches.
Since its formation the BRF has had total income of £ 130,000 and has made Grants of £ 107,000 leaving some £ 23,000 as contingency at the end of 2023.

A full list of Grants by Tower can be found by clicking here