11/05/15

EDF Energy Renewables is helping a team of bell-ringers restore a Hartlepool church to its former glory. 

The Hartlepool Guild of Bell-ringers (HGB) is attempting to raise £20,000 to repair ten tower bells at St Oswald’s Church. The bells were first installed at the church 110 years ago but since then have had very little maintenance work carried out on them.  

The HGB is now leading a project to repair the bells, ropes, pulleys and other vital equipment – a move that will ensure the bells continue to ring out around Hartlepool to celebrate weddings, church services and other occasions of local and national significance. It will also continue the town’s 110-year association with bell-ringing, a pastime carried out by members of the guild, visiting ringers and the local community. 

EDF Energy Renewables, which owns and operates the Teesside offshore wind farm off the coast of Redcar, is supporting the project with a £1,000 grant from its community benefit fund. 

Andrew Frost of the Hartlepool Guild of Bell-ringers, said: “We are extremely grateful to EDF Energy Renewables for this kind donation. The bells are currently very difficult to ring due to their poor state of repair and they are in urgent need of major work. Stop-gap repairs have done little to resolve the situation. 

“Once the work is completed, the bells and fittings will need nothing more than minor maintenance during the next 50 years or so. That’s why it is vital that we secure the funding and get the work done as soon as possible.” 

HGB has 31 members, of which ten are young people under the age of 20. The guild rings the bells in three Hartlepool churches on a regular basis and at the ex-Christ Church (now the Hartlepool Tourist and Information Centre). The organisation actively encourages visiting bell-ringers, from within and outside of the local area.  

James Wilson, operations engineer for the wind farm at EDF Energy Renewables, said: “We are delighted to support this initiative as bell-ringing has been an integral part of the local community for so many years. This pastime is recognised by the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme and equips young people with a range of skills and attributes, including teamwork and concentration.

“This project will support the development of young people and keep the bells ringing around Hartlepool for years to come.”

EDF Energy Renewables launched the Teesside Offshore Community Benefit Fund in 2013 in partnership with the Tees Valley Community Foundation. Through the scheme, which has supported more than 55 local causes, community groups on Teesside are eligible to apply for financial support for projects, activities and events that benefit local people.