Longhope bells to ring again after major restoration project

Published: Friday April 12, 2024

Friends of Longhope Church celebrating with confetti and a full fundraising target board

All Saints Church in Longhope will be celebrating the dedication of their church bells on 30 April, following an extensive tower repair project.

Back in 2019, the church tower needed repair, with pieces of masonry and mortar crumbling away. A structural survey concluded that the church bells should not be rung again until strengthening and repairs had been carried out.

The fundraising goal was initially set at £165,000, rising to £198,000. Despite a brief pause during the pandemic, the PCC and the Friends of Longhope Church managed to raise the majority of the money through legacies, Friends fundraising activities, grant aid, Gift Aid, donations, church reserves and an ‘Adopt an anchor’ appeal.

The last part of the money came from an interest-free loan from the Diocese of Gloucester to avoid the threat of any further inflationary add-on to project costs and the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) supported the project along the way.

From bingo sessions to cake sales the community pitched in to save the tower and many grants were won, including from the Benefact Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust, Warneford Ecclesiastical Charity, Longhope Trustees and the Forest of Dean Rotary Club.

Longhope priest, the Revd Lara Bloom said, “The cost of the work required was close to £200k and it is a testament to the determination of the Parochial Church Council and the Friends of Longhope Church that they took on the challenge of fundraising to reach a proportion of the total cost. The PCC did have some funds available in the form of a historic legacy, but we are humbled by the support that the project has received from the local community, local businesses and from further afield. It is the story of a community coming together to restore this historic building for generations of villagers and worshippers to come.”

The Bishop of Tewkesbury, the Rt Revd Robert Springett will be re-dedicating the bells. He says he is thankful for the amazing community spirit that has been seen in this collaborative project.

Bishop Robert said, “I have so enjoyed reading this account of the bells of Longhope and the story of the restoration of the tower needed to enable them to ring out again. This has been a truly herculean effort by so many and it will be such a privilege to celebrate this great achievement and re-dedicate the bells.

“Bells are deeply significant, calling us to church for the great events of life, as well as Sunday by Sunday. Ultimately as they ring out, they remind us that God is present in this community, and as such they are sounds of hope and of confidence in the present and the future.

“The work in Longhope is thus much more than just the restoration of the tower and the bells. It is a sign of commitment, a testament to faith and a gift to this and future generations. Thank you to everyone involved for giving such a precious gift.”

A group of people of all different ages sharing a meal together

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