Tower Cross and Bell Appeal

How it started:

The Tower Cross Appeal has now closed. See below the history of this.

In April 2002, when Rev Paul Larcombe was the Priest in Charge, investigation was done on the source of the water leak onto the centre of the nave, which appeared to be coming directly from the top of the tower. Engineers were appointed and a huge mobile crane was hired. It was soon discovered that the combined cross and weather vane was loose in its wooden mounting and needed to be removed. In fact it was removed there and then and a temporary cover was put in place. However, the members of the church were somewhat preoccupied with a more urgent task - the complete replacement of the heating system.

Nevertheless, preparation work continued and sketches and drawings were produced. In early 2005, Consulting Engineers were appointed to draw up full specifications and then in November 2005, tenders were sent to three contractors. This enabled an accurate costing of the work to be obtained and it soon became apparent that a total of over £25,000 was needed for the project. The tower is very difficult to scaffold and this is a large component of the total cost. At January 2007, the total had now risen to over £27,000 due to increases in building industry costs.

The scope of the work was as follows in 2007:

Scaffolding - Provide maintain and remove at completion, an independent scaffolding for the works to the tower roof, and walls below to allow repointing including access to the bell on the west wall.

New Cross - Carefully remove existing split wooden base, which held the old cross and lead flashing from the apex of the roof, and clear away. Supply and fit new cross, hardwood timber surround and angles and fixings.

Roof repairs - Carefully check over hip tiles to tower roof, rebed loose and repoint all open joints. Check if any additional fixing is required at the end of the hips. Check over colly weston slates of tower. Refix any loose slates using copper clips and bedding as necessary.

Lightning Protection - Allow for connecting the existing lightning protection [which runs up one of the hips] to the base of the new cross.

Bell - Allow access for bell to be inspected by specialist. Allow for cleaning back the iron fixings to the bell. The bell had not been rung for over 40yrs due to the Bell Tower not safe enough when using the bell rope from inside the church.

Rafter Ends - Allow for rafter ends to be cleaned and oiled.

Progress continued with the Rev Ron Watkinson, Priest at St Paul's from Nov 2007

In early 2008 the PCC received the go-ahead from the Diocesan Advisory Committee to make an Application for a Faculty. This is the 'planning permission' in the Church of England and allows for public consultation and church approval.

Funds totaling several thousand pounds were been kindly donated through individual gifts and at Gift Days, but the target had not yet been reached. So far, one grant of £4,000 has been obtained. Further applications were made for grants. The church has had various fundraising events including concerts to publicise the project and to raise further funds.

Once work was underway it was exciting as we saw the building surrounded by scaffolding and the builders, John Lucas, begin this massive work. It was a milestone morning when the bell was taken down to go back to the foundry where it was made. Brian and Anne Rosam were able to visit the foundry and see it having some of the weight removed in order for it to be safe to return it back to the Bell Tower. Although it would cost a large amount of money the decision had been made to return the bell to the Bell Tower and make it a fixed bell so that we could ring it electronically. The 8 ft high steel cross arrived and it was another red letter day for Rev Ron and the churchwardens and congregation when eventually it was manoevered into position on the top of the Tower.

The date of Sat 12 September 2009 was put in the diary for the Dedication of the Cross and Bell Service. It was a very special day, especially for former churchwarden, Harry Hurst (now deceased) and his wife, Gwen as this project was very special for them. The bell was rung officially for the first time for over 40years. Anne Doherty had the winning ticket to press the button to ring the bell. Many Friends of St Paul's came to share the celebration, we had asked the W.I. Choir, The String of Pearls (from near Corby), to be with us and the Cross was dedicated by Canon Gordon Steele, the Rural Dean & the service led by Rev Ron Watkinson. The service concluded with delicious refreshments in the Church Hall.
Since 2009 we have continued our fundraising and by February 2012 we had paid the final payment. The bell rings out before every service now, and also for weddings and funerals. The Cross shines out over the parish, glinting in the sun, reminding all who see it that we have a Saviour who died for our sins on the Cross, but who rose again in Glory. Christ is Risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia !

Since 2012 various improvements and refurbishment has been happening. Half of the south side Lady Chapel roof was refurbished and where necessary new collyweston slates put on and in Spring 2016, the rest of the roof was completed. In Jan. 2016 a new EDF unit was installed for the boiler (over a £1000); the paddock car park regularly has new gravel put on it-it is in use every day except Sat. unless we have a weddng or another event; in March 2016 a new Notice Board replaced the one on the Lincoln Rd side of the church; the painting, Fabrication, by local artist Julie Reid has been hung in the Sanctuary just behind the Table, where it looks amazing.This was given to the church by Julie's parents, our churchwarden Trevor & our Treasurer, Marian Bentham.  A smaller version, given to us by Julie, is on the Lady Chapel Table.

We are now raising enough money to pay for work on the roof on the north side, over the area of the organ-it is planned for first half of 2017; During 2016 we also had the gutters cleaned out, some by volunteers and the high ones by Joe who does the roof work; Rev Ron cleaned most of the gutters around the hall too. On Nov 30 we have begun the replacing of light bulbs in church with LED ones after a donation towards some of the cost of bulbs (£21 each) and cost of Joe the roofer going up his long ladder to the Nave bulbs.

We are still working towards having a toilet installed in the porch area, with necessary planning permission first of course; also of refurbishing the vestry to make it more of a kitchen area.  Lots to do, lots of money needed. Our God will supply.