NEW bells will ring out the Christian message for centuries to come, thanks to community support for a church in Barnoldswick.

St Mary-Le-Ghyll, this week welcomed two new treble bells which arrived on Monday morning, having set off from Derby in the early hours, to complete a £22,000 project begun in 2008 to create a ring of eight and finished in the 10th anniversary year of the Anglican Diocese of Leeds.

Sufficient money was raised back then to install a frame large enough to accommodate the extra bells and to buy three new bells, with the intention of buying the final two bells sometime in the future.

About £15,000 was raised by the bell-ringers themselves, £6,500 came from the Lancashire Association of Change Ringers, and £1,000 from the Yorkshire Association of Change Ringers.

The original three bells, dating from 1723 were re-tuned and formed bells two, three, and four of the new ring, a ‘second hand’ treble was purchased and two new bells were cast for the five and six bells, said project manager Stuart Moore.

“Since then we have been steadily raising the funds needed to complete the ring to eight. This has now been achieved. We hope that this will provide the opportunity for more people to try ringing and increase the number and variety of tunes we can ring,” said Stuart, a keen ringer.

One of the new treble bells has the quirky inscription: Installed 2023. “Hello bells four, five and six, Happy Birthday, can we join in?”

Stuart has now invited people to come and try ringing the new bells: “We are a very welcoming group and believe that having a laugh in supportive company is as important as being a good ringer. Anyone over the age of 10 is welcome (younger children tend to get ‘rung by the bells’ rather than them ringing the bells so we have to have a minimum age) and any/no faith are all equally at home here”.

Rev Sheena McMain, of the United Benefice of Barnoldswick with Bracewell praised the strong community effort was behind this resounding success: "We’re absolutely thrilled to welcome two new bells to make a ring of eight and we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to all those people involved in the project in any way, especially the people of Barnoldswick and surrounds who have fundraised and also to the local bellringers.

“We hope these bells will bring great joy for people and that they will ring out the Christian message for centuries to come.”