THE sound of a bell sounded for the first time in three years at All Saints Church in Longhope – signalling the success of a mammoth fund-raising campaign.

This year the Friends of Longhope Church (FOLC) have raised some £60,000 for the final phase of strengthening works to the church tower – bringing the total raised to £193,000.

During the FOLC annual general meeting on Sunday (February 11), Margaret Willis, one of Longhope bell ringers, had the pleasure of chiming one of the bells that had been serviced and re-assembled.

The bells at the medieval church fell silent after an inspection revealed weaknesses in the structure of the tower.

The campaign to make the tower safe drew on donations, grants, the “Anchor Appeal” – to sponsor strengthening rods – a generous legacy and the work of Phil Davies works project manager.

Chair of FOLC Tina Coull said: “The strengthening anchors have been fitted, the stonework  to the grade II listed tower has been extensively repaired and the re-hanging of the bells will be completed early in March

“To hear a bell ring from the tower which has been silent for over three years was very emotional start to what continued to be a very happy and jolly AGM.

“The meeting closed with popping of many large confetti bombs and a big cheer from all.”  

Two bells for the eight-bell peal have been made, two need repair and four can be reassembled.

It is expected they will be re-hung early in March, ahead of a re-dedication service by the Bishop of Tewkesbury, Rt Rev Robert Springett, on Tuesday, April 30.

Mrs Coull added: “The Friends of Longhope Church would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their loyal support shown towards this project over the last few years.

“The village and surrounding areas have been magnificent and please be assured the “fun, fun, fun” won’t be stopping, as too much has been had along the way for the fun to stop now.