Church joy rings out to break years of si­lence

Rochdale Observer - - BELLS DEDICATION - Da­mon.wilkin­son@men-news.co.uk @Da­monWilkin­son6

THE bells rang out at Christ Church, Healey, for the first time in four years this week­end.

A spe­cial ded­i­ca­tion ser­vice was held at the church to mark the re­fit­ting of its his­toric bells.

In 2013 the bells fell silent for the first time in 140 years to al­low ex­ten­sive ren­o­va­tions.

But they are now back in place and on Satur­day a re-ded­i­ca­tion ser­vice was held fol­lowed by a hog roast bar­be­cue to cel­e­brate their re­turn.

The ser­vice was at­tended by the Bishop of Mid­dle­ton the Rt Rev Mark Davies, the Mayor of Whit­worth Coun Alan Neal and the deputy Mayor of Rochdale Coun Mo­hammed Za­man.

Spe­cially en­graved tankards were also pre­sented to vol­un­teers from Lan­cashire As­so­ci­a­tion of Bell Ringers, who car­ried out the re­pair work free of charge.

John Maloney, from the church, said: “It was re­ally nice to hear the bells ring out again.

“And the church was packed for the ser­vice, we haven’t seen it that full in a long time.”

Ear­lier this year, dur­ing the re­fur­bish­ment of the spire at Christ Church it was dis­cov­ered that there was some ‘se­ri­ous de­cay’ within the tim­bers of the bell frame.

The church has a peal of six bells, weigh­ing in at be­tween 372kg and 803kg, cast in Lough­bor­ough, by John Tay­lor & Co. They were first heard ring­ing out on the morn­ing of Easter Sun­day 1870.

Ex­cept in times of war they have been peal­ing out across the parish ever since.

All six were trans­ported back to the John Tay­lor Bell Foundry, where they were re­stored and re-tuned be­fore be­ing mounted on a new steel frame and re-fit­ted in the tower.

●●Pic­tures by Colin Horne

●●The Rt Rev Mark Davies, Bishop of Mid­dle­ton, with the Mayor and may­oress of Whit­worth, Coun Alan and Janet Neal, deputy mayor of Rochdale Coun Mo­hammed Za­man and church war­dens at the re-ded­i­ca­tion of the new bells at Christ Church in Healey

●●Ringer Pam McGrath and her col­leagues put the bells through their paces

●●War­ren Robin­son sorts out the hog roast to feed the hun­gry guests

●●Two-year-old Jo­hanna John­son plays hair­dresser to mum Jana’s hair dur­ing the ser­vice.

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