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St Botolph’s Bells will ring out over Northfleet once more.

PUBLISHED: 09:47 14 April 2011

St Botolph's Church Bells and  Derek Wilkinson

St Botolph's Church Bells and Derek Wilkinson

Archant

»Prayers will be said in the hope huge 250-year-old church bells will be ready to announce Easter Sunday service after almost two years of silence.

The eight bells of St Botolph’s Church, Northfleet, were removed on January 8 for a £16,000 restoration by specialists Whitechapel Bell Foundry in east London but were reinstalled this week. Final touches are now needed to have them ready for April 24.

Derek Wilkinson, 74, of New Barn, Longfield, is captain of the church bell-ringers.

He said: “It will be touch and go. We will have to see, but it is great to see them in the tower again. Certainly, it is only a matter of time until the period of silence is over.”

Renovation

Bell-ringing stopped when the safety of the tower was called into question in 2009, leading to renovation work.

The team required electric hoists to place the bells, weighing up to 720 kilograms, back in the tower, which has now been declared safe. Wheels for the rope ringing system and small fitting to attach the bells to their frame must be added before they can be played.

Mr Wilkinson added: “A lot of people have worked very hard to raise the money and given time to rebuild the church so it will be satisfying to hear them play.”

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