St. Andrew's Church and it's beautiful bell tower


​Next year will not only be the seventieth anniversary of the installation of the well-regarded ring of ten bells, but it will hopefully see the commencement of substantial tower repairs and refurbishment funded by the 'Heritage Lottery'. In conjunction with repairs to the roof, the bells will have to be removed from the frame and carefully lowered into the spaces beneath.   The bell wheels will also need to be dismantled and the clappers (hammers) taken out. After completion of the roof, everything will then be reinstated, with the cost being met from the grant funding.

However, a few months ago an inspection by specialist engineers from a Derbyshire bell-hanging firm revealed that all the bearings in which the axles of the bells rotate, and also a number of the clappers, need replacing.  This is not too surprising considering their age and use over the years. The 'Catch-22' situation which has arisen is that if the bell work is done at the same time as scaffolding is in place for the main project, a great deal of money will be saved. If it has to be left until a future date when the bearings seize up and render ringing impossible, the cost will be considerably more due to inflation and the need to re-scaffold the tower!

Thus, we have endeavoured to find £11,000 which is the cost of the actual bell repairs and which, unfortunately, is not part of the 'Heritage Lottery' grant.  A large proportion of this sum of money has come from the bell fund, the local bellringing association, the 'Friends', a private donation and a generous donation from All Saints' funds.  However, there is still a remaining amount to be found through grants and donations.

Hopefully, the bells will ring out in 2018, not only to announce the seventieth anniversary, but also the completion of two important projects in the maintenance of our nationally important church building.

Doug Lowther

If you would like to help the bell project you can donate by sending a cheque payable to St. Andrew's DCC (Bell Fund) at St. Andrew's Church, Talbot Road, Roker, Sunderland, SR6 9PT. All donations will be gratefully received.

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