A tower captain who is buried by the church at which he rang bells for 80 years has bequeathed £120,000 to a project which will see his legacy live on.
When Albert Driver passed away in 2010, aged 95, he was buried next to the bell tower at St Mary the Virgin Church, in Redgrave, where he and other generations of his family had rung bells for many years.
The money left in his will led to planning consent being sought to allow a ring of nine bells to be constructed at Redgrave’s 14th century church.
Robert Hayward, chairman of the Redgrave Church Heritage Trust, said: “He told a couple of us that there would be some money for the bells but we never in our wildest dreams imagined that he would leave that much. He rang the bells there for 80 years and he was active right up until he died.”
Following planning consent, which was given last month, the church’s existing six bells will be put into a new steel frame, along with three new bells.
The crowns of the three new bells will be cast with the names of three generations of the Driver family who, dating back to 1850, have been bell captains in Redgrave - Albert, Frederick and George.
The existing 18th century wooden bell frame will be dismantled, re-erected and preserved on the floor below, complete with original fittings.
“Albert is getting exactly what he wished, which is the correct solution, both from a heritage and local people’s point of view,” said Mr Hayward.
When the existing bells are inspected, fibre glass moulds will be taken so they can be displayed in the church for visitors to see.
The project, which is expected to be completed by Autumn next year, will mark the final phase in a series of renovation projects at the church.
These began in 2005 with the Churches Conservation Trust spending around £500,000 on repairs.
“If they hadn’t done the original work, we wouldn’t be where we are now - there would be no building to put the bells into,” said Mr Hayward.