Lottery grant secures vital repairs to King’s Lynn chapel bells

St Nicholas Chapel, Lynn bells being taken down and loaded for building work. '''Contact: John Martin 07985 735210 ANL-140630-150101009
St Nicholas Chapel, Lynn bells being taken down and loaded for building work. '''Contact: John Martin 07985 735210 ANL-140630-150101009
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The bells will ring once more at Lynn’s St Nicholas Chapel after a £24,000 Lottery grant was secured to help pay for repairs.

A new fundraising campaign was launched after the chapel’s Friends group was told that the peal of eight bells could not be fully rung safely.

But almost half of the £42,000 needed to fund the repair work has already been raised from donations by local supporters.

And the group announced on Wednesday that it had secured the additional cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

It’s the second time that the fund has stepped in to help the chapel, having also provided most of the £2.7 million cost of the ongoing project to transform the building into a modern venue for culture and heritage events.

Friends chairman Adrian Parker said: “This grant was essential as a main part of the fundraising and will allow the bells to be rung again by the autumn.

“We couldn’t contemplate the repair and re-opening of the Chapel without its bells.

“We are enormously grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for helping the Friends again.”

The bells, which are almost 150 years old, were temporarily removed from the chapel last summer, ahead of the start of the current redevelopment work, which is expected to be finished in the summer.

They are currently being held in storage at a workshop in Oxfordshire while the work continues.

The new grant enables the Friends to order new headstocks and bearings for each bell, plus rope fittings in the tower.

The group also hopes to extend the series of talks it currently offers at the nearby True’s Yard museum, provide new opportunities for people to learn the art of bell ringing and continue its work with several town schools, including Springwood High School, St Edmund’s Community School and the Whitefriars Primary Academy.

A host of supporters, including the St Margaret’s & St Nicholas’ Parish Trust, the Geoffrey Watling Trust, the Diocesan Bell Ringers, the King’s Lynn Town Guides and the Audrey Stratford Trust have already donated towards the cost of the repairs.

Robin Llewellyn, head of the HLF in the East of England, said: “We are delighted to award this grant to the Friends of St Nicholas Chapel towards the restoration of these important bells.

“The wider planned community activities such as the bell-ringing demonstrations and talks will be a great opportunity to involve even more people in the future of one of King’s Lynn’s most fascinating buildings.”

Crispin Truman, chief executive of the Churches Conservation Trust, which is leading the current redevelopment project, added: “This is excellent news and great timing.

“The Friends have worked extremely hard to raise these funds and thanks go to them and their supporters for their on-going commitment to the chapel.

“I look forward to hearing the bells and thanking those involved in person when the chapel re-opens this autumn.”