Harting church bells fall silent as overhaul begins

Reg McKenzie and Graham Hills at work in the bell tower
Reg McKenzie and Graham Hills at work in the bell tower

There will be an unusual silence in Harting for the next six weeks as the bell tower at the parish church stands empty for the first time in more than 100 years.

Work to dismantle the bells began on Tuesday and today they were expected to be on their way to the bell foundry at Bridport where they will receive a major overhaul and return to Harting on D-Day, June 6.

“We have assembled a great local group which will save us over £4,000,” said Humphrey Sladden, a member of the bellringers.

Leading the volunteers is Graham Hills, of the Sussex Association of Bellringers, with helpers Nick Whitney from West Harting, Brian Park, Leslie James, Chris Rose, Richard Dale andTower Captain, Jo Gush. Bill Richardson has supplied a scaffold barrier round the trapdoor in the clock room for safety.

Mr Sladden is appealing for at least three volunteers to help for five days in June.

“None of this work could have been even thought about without the huge and most generous financial support from the Friends of Harting Church,” added Mr Sladden, “who together with a grant of £7,000 from the Sussex Bells Restoration Fund are paying the remainder of the total bill of just under £30.000.”