The villagers of Horringer have waved goodbye to their church bells, but they hope to have them back for Christmas services sounding sweeter than ever.
After four years of fund raising and planning, a specialist company lowered the eight bells from St Leonard’s Church tower to take them to a foundry in Loughborough for recasting.
The bells, which are between 100 and 200 years old, were last overhauled in 1912 and project manager Brian Thaxter said two are known to be cracked and a third is thought to be.
The damaged bells could be repaired but would have sounded different and been harder to tune, so they went for the full recasting job.
“They’re being cast in a new profile so they will sound a bit different, not that most would notice, but they will be pure and sweet,” he said.
Their aging wooden frame will also be replaced with a long-lasting steel one.
The whole project is costing nearly £140,000, which includes about £20,000 for other work on the tower.
About half the cost has been met by the Heritage Lottery Fund, but the rest has been raised by the villagers over four years.
Though they had the money some months ago, the foundry has a long order list, so they were unable to do the work until now.
It is hoped that when they return, the shiny new bells will be put on show for 24 hours before they are finally raised back into place.
Students from West Suffolk College arts department have been recording the whole process for the church, complete with a time-lapse camera in the belfry to record the process of removing them.
Brian said that when they are rehung it will be the first new eight bell installation in Suffolk for 87 years.