A three-year fundraising drive to revive a Suffolk village’s long-dormant church bells will soon come to fruition, with an open gardens event this weekend set to push it over the line.
The Little Cornard Bells Committee was set up in 2014, coinciding with the centenary of the start of the First World War, in the hope of raising at least £100,000 to restore the five church tower bells at All Saints’ Church, which have not rung since falling into disrepair during the 1800s.
The fund, named after the late Reverend Tony Moore, a major supporter of the effort to restore the bells, aimed to reach its goal by the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day next year.
It has drawn major support via fundraisers and a pair of huge donations, one of which was anonymous, of £50,000 and £10,000, respectively, as well as the donation of a sixth bell, to be installed as the other five are being restored.
Robert Mackman, a committee member, said there had been a great response to their efforts, particularly as, to begin with, many people thought £100,000 was well out of reach for such a small village.
“We have had a committee of seven of us who have believed in this from the word go,” he said. “I think we have a duty to preserve these bells. I think we owe it to them to get them ringing again.
“The two older ones are of national importance, and the other three have great local importance.
“It will be lovely to hear the bells ring over the fields of the village again.”
Mr Mackman added that the two largest donations had been an “incredible surprise”, enabling them to forego plans to apply for lottery funding.
Fundraising events in aid of the effort have included coffee mornings and quizzes.
The open gardens day takes place today, from 11am to 5pm, with 12 gardens open around the village.