Askrigg church bells ring out in service of thanksgiving

Bellringers Stewart Huntington, Rod Donaldson, David Liddell, Mike Barker, Kevin Sorsby and Malcolm Carruthers

By Betsy Everett

A service of thanksgiving and dedication was held at St Oswald’s Church, Askrigg, yesterday to celebrate major repairs to the clock and the bells, both of which had been out of commission for several months.

The clock was finally restored to its rightful position as the village’s main timepiece in March after weeks of work by Cumbria Clocks of Penrith, and the bells rang out to mark the replacement of the ropes by Ellis Ropes of Loughborough, one of the few remaining manufacturers in the UK.

Churchwarden Elizabeth Fawcett expressed the “heartfelt gratitude” of the church and the community to Professor Cuchlaine King of Bainbridge, a former bellringer at St Oswald’s, for making the rope repairs possible by generously funding the full cost of replacement. Mrs Fawcett welcomed Jane Ritchie, Prof King’s niece, who was representing her aunt at the service.
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She also thanked other donors, including the Elm House Trust, who had contributed to the clock repairs which ran into thousands of pounds.

“Donations poured in from the community and from visitors so that we could not only pay for the restoration but also have a contingency fund. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of Professor King, the Trust, and others who love this church,” said Mrs Fawcett.

Two plaques to mark the repairs were made and donated by local potter Suzanne Wright of Worton, a member of St Oswald’s congregation. One showed Prof King’s favourite alpine flower, the blue gentian, and the one for the clock showed plants appropriate to the seasons.

Bells ring out for the ceremony

The Revd Dave Clark with potter Suzanne Wright, left, and Jane Ritchie of West Burton