24th May 2017
Hope this message finds you well.
I am writing to thank you very much for the very generous donation from The Yorkshire Association of Change Ringers towards the Ypres project which is very much appreciated by myself and my fellow trustees. I would be very grateful if you would pass on our best wishes to your members for this donation.
I shall keep you infirmed on how things are going with the project, all is well at the moment.
I sent an update recently and this is what it said:
Bells4StGeorgeYpres - Project Update, May 2017
Dear Ypres Bells Supporter,
Firstly, a very big thank you for your donation to the project, with money donated and that promised we are very pleased to say that the project is now fully funded and is 100% going ahead. Donations have come from many places, individuals, groups and organisations, the response has been quite amazing. The trustees are very grateful for this support.
Members of St George's Memorial Church have been very supportive of the project and, working with them, we will do everything we can to make this the best bell installation we can.
Below is a brief update on the various elements of the project:
Bells and Bell Frame
Two of the 8 bells, the 4th and the 6th were successfully cast at the Bell Foundry of John Taylor & Co at Loughborough On Thursday 27th April 2017. The remaining bells will be cast as follows:
Thursday 01st June 2017 - The 5th, 7th and Tenor will be cast. Please note that there are a very limited number of places available on this day for visitors to witness the casting. Events will be taking place between just before 12.00noon and about 3.15pm at the Bell Foundry at Loughborough. If you would be able to be in Loughborough on that day and would like to be included the please let me know at:
This will have to be on a first come first served basis, numbers are very limited due to the industrial nature of the operation and the viewing area available. You will have an opportunity to tour the museum, the works and see the three bells cast and there will be a lunch opportunity (own cost) at a local hostelry. You should also have an opportunity to see the 4th and 6th bells that have been cast already.
Thursday 15th June 2017 - The Treble, 2nd and 3rd will be cast. This day is already fully subscribed as bells for another project are being cast so we have only a very few places.
Construction of the Bell Frame by John Taylor & Co will commence in June 2017.
Bell Foundry Open Day
On Saturday 29th July 2017 John Taylor & Co will be hosting an Open Day when visitors will be able to visit the foundry and tour the works and the museum. One of the many attractions will be the Ypres bells complete with their bell frame. We are sure this will be a wonderful event. This event will be open to ALL. We understand that no booking will be necessary - should that change we will let you know.
Manufacture of the bell wheels is almost complete, they have been made in the workshop of Mr. David Town just outside Northallerton in North Yorkshire. They have been made by hand to a superlative standard to the specifications supplied by John Taylor & Co.
Repairs to the tower roofs, both at the top of the tower and the top of the spiral staircase, are being undertaken by the Church to ensure the whole installation is protected from the elements. The trustees are most grateful to the Church for their assistance with this.
We are working with a local electrical company who will be rewiring the whole tower to make sure all the various electrically powered parts perform safely and with maximum efficiency.
Sound Control System
Due to the location of the church, near the centre of a busy town, the trustees had always planned to have a comprehensive sound control system installed, this will very much reduce the sound of the bells outside when the bells are being used for practice or longer periods of ringing but will be openable to allow the bells to be heard when ringing for services and other special occasions. It will be a state of the art system electronically controlled from the ringing room. Preparatory work has already been undertaken and the whole system will be in place for testing during June 2017, well ahead of the new bells arriving in Ypres.
The Ringing Room
Currently this is a bare brick room but, very clearly, it was designed to be a ringing chamber. The room is being paneled, most likely in light European Oak, to a design that would complement the woodwork that is in other parts of the church. The design will incorporate storage places for both the 16 hand bells that are currently being restored and the Memorial Book recording details of the project. The design will include an air conditioning system to provide the optimum conditions for ringing in both summer and winter. Decoration of the area between the top of the paneling and the new ceiling will complete and enhance what we hope will be a very beautiful and comfortable space for local and visiting ringers.
The Ringing Room will be dedicated to Rifleman Bertram Prewett, a very enthusiastic and prolific ringer who was killed in action on 31st August 1918 aged 39.
Delivery of the Bells
We have received an offer that the bells could be delivered to the Church using two preserved and working Great War lorries, a Dennis and a Thornycroft. We are working with the owners and a specialist haulier to see if this will be possible. The plan would be that the lorries and bells would travel on a modern low loader vehicle and would travel under their own power for the final few miles. If this is possible I shall update you in due course.
Training and Education
Several people have come forward from Ypres and the surrounding area that are keen to learn to ring, we aim to support this by providing experienced instructors to give the "local band" every chance of success.
It is planned that cameras will be installed in both the belfry and the ringing room so visitors to the church will be able to view what is happening in the tower on a discrete screen in the church.
Dedication of the Bells
No date has yet been fixed for this but we will update all donors once this is known.
As mentioned, the project trustees are very grateful for your support.
We also acknowledge the support of one of our founder trustees, Philip Vracas who passed away in 2016. He was a great enthusiast for the project and a very good friend to many, the treble bell of the new ring will be dedicated to his memory.
With very best wishes.
Alan Regin, David R Smith and Ian G Campbell.