Church joy rings out to break years of silence
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.