Fakenham school bell ap-peal on course for ringing success

Fakenham Junior School's Get Well Bell appeal to refurbish an old bell and Tower at the school. 
Pupils LtoR Maisie Arnold (9) (Class 5W) and Hannah Fletcher (8) (Class 4H) with the Bell Appeal
Fakenham Junior School's Get Well Bell appeal to refurbish an old bell and Tower at the school. Pupils LtoR Maisie Arnold (9) (Class 5W) and Hannah Fletcher (8) (Class 4H) with the Bell Appeal

A campaign to save a bell which has called pupils to school for more than 100 years is on track to reach the funds needed.

Fakenham Junior School launched its Get Well Bell campaign last year to raise the £30,000 required to restore the bell and tower to its former glory, with officials saying it could become dangerous and removed if not fixed soon.

In a letter announcing the appeal, the Get Well Bell campaign committee said: “For many people, our distinctive bell tower is one of the things that make Fakenham such a special town.”

The school on Queens Road has been fundraising for the campaign through craft fairs, the Christmas Tree Festival, carol singing, and more – all of which the children have taken part in themselves.

School business manager Karen Rodgers said: “Ringing the bell is the pupils’ first real job. They ring the bell when they get to year six and so they then have the responsibility of ringing the bell twice a day.

“There are so few proper school bells left, so it’s really important to our heritage.”

The children ring the bell for 10 minutes before school starts at 8.40am and then again at 1.30pm to signal the end of lunchtime.

Mrs Rodgers said: “Local people in the town know what the time is because of the bell.”

She said when the school was built in 1913, the whole cost was less than £10,000, but with more than 100 years worth of weather damage and specialist work needed, the cost for the renovation is estimated to be three times that.

The committee, which has raised £6,500 so far, is now looking forward to its next fundraising ventures in the hope of getting the funds by September.

This includes a family quiz night at the school on April 28, a hoedown at the Gallow in June, and the children will be holding a sponsored bounce as well.

It is also hoped that a Heritage Lottery Grant could be obtained.

To keep up to date with the appeal, follow their Facebook page: Get Well Bell.