Corby church appeals for help so bells can ring in Pole Fair

Bellringers at a medieval Corby church have asked for help to make sure their traditional Pole Fair peal takes place.

Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 10:10 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 11:26 am

St John the Baptist Church in the Old Village has Corby’s only set of ringing bells but they are in urgent need of repair.

A survey has revealed that the six bells will need to be removed from the tower to enable refurbishment costing up to £33,000.

The bells of the Grade II listed medieval church have rung to herald the start of the Corby Pole Fair and with the next fair in 2022, time is running out.

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Tower Captain Cathy Mason (on left) with bell ringers at St John the Baptist Church, Corby
Tower Captain Cathy Mason (on left) with bell ringers at St John the Baptist Church, Corby

Held every 20 years in the Old Village, the ancient Pole Fair features a carnival, fair, barbecue, shows, games and many more attractions.

Bell ringer and Tower Captain Catherine Mason said: “If we don’t get the work started we won’t be able to ring them for the Pole Fair. We want them to be ringing and we want them to be safe.

“It’s part of the heritage of Corby - no other church in Corby has got a ring of bells.

The six bells would have to be lowered through the bell tower’s ceiling and transported to a specialist bell foundry in Loughborough to be refurbished.

St John the Baptist Church in the Corby Old Village

Volunteers have been found to help to rub down and to paint the metal framework that the bells hang from.

The bells were last refurbished in 1933 but now the wheels which the bell ropes go round need urgent attention.

Mrs Mason said: “I’ve had to order new bell ropes because they are worn out. They cost £100 each.

“The bell foundry want to move two of our bells round so the ropes hang straight down instead of using pulleys. That will make it much easier to use the bells.

The tower and the spire

“We could do running repairs to certain parts of the installation but in ten years it will still need doing. The quote for the work will last if we can order the work to be done by May next year.”

A fundraising committee have been organising events to reach their target of £30k including a car boot sale and a have-a-go bell ring.

Next on their fundraising calendar is a race night at the Ex-Serviceman’s Club in Lloyds Road, Corby on Friday, October 18, with the first race at 7.35pm.

Mrs Mason added: “We have had some local businesses sponsor some of the races and everyone is welcome to come along.

“We also need people to come forward to come to join the bellringing team. Anyone can come to the church on Wednesday evenings from 6.30pm to learn.”

To help with fundraising or to join the bellringing team call Mrs Mason on 01536 401598 or email [email protected]