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Cash boost for Horsham St Faith church tower

PUBLISHED: 17:00 15 February 2010 | UPDATED: 08:09 02 July 2010

Ivan Fisher in the bell tower of Horsham St Faith church.

Ivan Fisher in the bell tower of Horsham St Faith church.

Peter Walsh

Leaders at a village church have moved a step closer to realising a dream of restoring the historic tower back to the way it used to be - after they received a major funding boost.

Leaders at a village church have moved a step closer to realising a dream of restoring the historic tower back to the way it used to be - after they received a major funding boost.

Bell ringers at Horsham St Faith Church used to have a platform to stand on when ringing out the bells for all the village to hear, but the structure was removed by the Victorians.

Since then bell ringers at the Manor Road-based church have faced a precarious climb to reach the top of the tower, but that could be about to change.

Reverend Andrew Beane, rector of Horsham St Faith, Spixworth, and Crostwick, said the church is set to receive up to £20,000 from Petans, a charity which provides professional safety and survival training both offshore and worldwide, towards the scheme which could be completed in the next year.

Rev Beane said he was delighted that the church had been given such a “significant” amount of money towards the project.

He said: “We're looking to put in a platform about a quarter of the way up the tower which was there before the Victorian's came but they took it down. The bell ringers now have to climb half way up the tower to ring them. The plan is to restore the church to how it was before Victorian times with the ringing platform.”

Plans to renovate the tower followed the death of churchgoer Josephine Fisher in 2006. Mrs Fisher, whose husband Louis was a warden at the church for almost 30 years, left money from her funeral to the church so she could be remembered in some way.

Rev Beane said: “Her grandson Ivan is captain of the bell ringers so we thought lets start to do this. We saved a bit but it would have taken us years to reach £20,000.”

Mrs Fisher's grandson Ivan, 29, said he was delighted the donation would help turn plans to remember his grandmother into reality.

He said: “When she died we had donations in her memory for something in the church. We've been raising money since 2006 and got to the stage when we were ready to draw up plans and then Petans have come up with the backing to allow us to do it.”

As part of the project Rev Beane would also like to see an office located under the platform and the tower opened up to the public so they could get a bird's eye view of the village.

Michael Wilder, general manager of Petans, said he first heard about the scheme last year and the charity decided to support it after the idea was put to the trustees.

He said: “It's a wonderful church and the village is very important to us. We had a good year last year and will fund it up to that level.”

Are you part of a community organisation which has received a major cash boost? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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