An Ulster church is ringing in the changes after almost 60 years following an 'ap-pealing' repair job to its historic bells.
BY VICTORIA O'HARA
St Donard's, Church of Ireland, in east Belfast was forced to stop chiming its bells for the first time since 1949 on June 17.
Regular ringing for 58 years in the Bloomfield area had taken its toll on parts of the six bells in the church tower and they were in need of repair.
Bell Tower Captain Jean Jeffery (74), who has been a bell ringer at the church since 1950, said after weeks of expert attention they have been restored.
"They had echoed around the Bloomfield area for years," she said. " I think some people didn't realise the bells were being fixed, but probably thought the bell ringers were on summer holiday," she joked.
Money for the restoration of the bells, which cost around £10,000, was raised by a charity gift day and church funds.
"Specialists from Nottingham worked on the wheels and clappers and on Sunday they began to ring once more," she said.
To mark the occasion an English group of ringers travelled to St Donard's and rang a peal lasting two hours and 22 minutes on Sunday.
The bells first rang in November 1949. Just a few months later Mrs Jeffery became a bell ringer.
"My two sons and daughter and now my grandson are ringers.
"It is a nice family tradition."