AN APPEAL for £30,000 launched to improve one of the Seven Wonders of Wales has proved a hit.
Northern Marches Cymru has donated almost £20,000 to the Gresford Church bells appeal and, with other donations, two new light bells can be bought to lighten the load for the younger ringers.
The additional bells are to create a stand alone light ring of six at All Saints’ Church in the village.
Tower captain Hilton Roberts says the new bells will maintain the excellent sound and will also encourage more youngsters to take up ringing, as many find the existing bells too heavy.
“We are delighted with the donation and help we have had so quickly from Northern Marches and the publicity in the Leader,” said Mr Roberts.
“Donations also made specifically for the bells will now enable us to go ahead with the purchase.”
Gresford has 16 ringers aged 10 to 70 and the church draws tourists and ringers from all over the country due to the bells’ inclusion in the ‘Famous Seven’.
“The bells are physically demanding to ring,” said Mr Roberts. “In 2006 four light bells (in weight and sound) were installed to enable more people to learn to ring.
This has been quite successful and though we attract a steady intake of new ringers, about half are forced to leave because they do not have the strength to ring the heavy bells.
“In order to provide a better ring of bells which can by rung by a much greater range of ability, we are hoping the two additional bells will create a stand alone light ring of six.
“This improved facility will help us to maintain the art of bell ringing in Gresford, ensuring a future for our famous bells and providing an activity which is open to all ages and abilities.”
Some youngsters in the village are already using bell rings as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme.