The Belfry Repair Fund ("BRF") is the charitable part of the Association to help church towers carry out restoration work on their bells by giving out grants as well as providing information and advice to keep bells in good working order. The BRF provides grants for or towards the cost of bells, their fittings or their repairs, or for structural, mechanical or sound control work. The first grant was made in 1953 The with a payment of £10 to Walton on Thames. Since then, the fund has given a total of 99 grants, totalling over £153,000, to towers in all parts of the Association. 2005 was a ground breaking year when a total of £23,300 was paid out to 6 towers, and in 2014 a record grant of £20,000 was given to St John the Divine, Merton, towards the installation of a new ring of 6 bells.
The BRF Committee are pleased to receive grant applications towards any suitable project, no matter the size. Download a copy of the grant application form. If you would like more information about the grant application process, or to obtain other financial and fund raising information, please contact the BRF Secretary.
Belfry Repair and Maintenance The BRF can provide advice on general aspects of bell and tower maintenance. We can come and visit you and your bells to discuss any concerns. Alternatively, information and advice on bell maintenance, repair and restoration projects, and fundraising can be obtained from the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers website. It is likely that much of your bell maintenance and repair work will be undertaken by yourselves and volunteer labour. The Health and Safety of those undertaking this work is extremely important and serious accidents can and do happen, for example, as a result of working at height, working with heavy objects, and dropping things. Before carrying out any work please do consider the risks involved and undertake an appropriate risk assessment. You should be looking to eliminate and reduce risks, and mitigate and protect against them. If you have any questions or would like advice on the above please contact the BRF Secretary.
Fund Raising Funds are raised for the BRF in various different ways, including:
• One off and regular donations from individuals, Towers and PCCs. All towers or PCCs are requested to consider making regular donations to the BRF. One day you may be in need of a grant. Donations from individuals can be Gift Aided to give additional benefit to the fund. To make a donation and/or to gift aid your donations please use the form.
• Collections at District and General meetings. Individual donations and bequests. Recently this has included a generous donation from Michael Uphill representing the proceeds from his recently published book "Tales from the London County Crypt".
• Sales from clothing, mugs and other items. The Association produces a range of clothing with an embroidered logo of the Surrey Association. Garments include sweatshirts, polo shirts, T-shirts, rugby shirts and fleeces. Go to the clothing page for more information and to obtain an order form.
• The Brockham Bonfire, in recognition of the help we provide during the event.
• The Numbers Club. The Numbers Club has grown over the years to be a very successful monthly prize draw It typically boosts the BRF funds by around £600 a year. This club is open to all members of the Association and of all the money collected, 55% is paid out in prizes and 45% goes to the BRF. If you are interested in taking part, why not download an application form.
The BRF Secretary is the point of contact if you would like to make a donation to the BRF. Cheques should be made payable to the Surrey Association and details of where to post the cheques can be found on the Gift Aid Declaration Form. As a registered charity, we are able to accept Gift Aided donations and claim tax back from the Inland Revenue.
Current Projects Here are details of some of the projects we are currently supporting:
• Southwark Cathedral - Major overhaul: A major overhaul of the frame and fittings is in the planning stage, and some fund raising has commenced.
Southwark Cathedral rehang
Recently Completed Projects
The BRF is pleased to support any project that meets its criteria however big or small. Here are some of the recent projects that we have been able to give grants to:
• Merton, St John the Divine (2014) - a new ring of 6 bells was installed to mark the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the church and dedicated on 13th July. Three bells were acquired from the Keltek Trust, and the BRF paid a grant of £20,000, their largest yet, towards the total cost of about £150,000.
• Wandsworth, All Saints (2013) - a grant of £1,000 was made towards the repair of fittings to make the bells ringable and installation of sound control.
• Epsom, St Martin (2012): The project of refurbishing the bells included pulleys, bearings and clapper bushed. The BRF provided a grant of £2000.
• Burstow, St Bartholomew (2012): A grant of £1500 was provided towards the cost of strengthening the bell frame.
• Battersea, St Mary (2011): Work included the replacement and repositioning of the pulleys. A grant of £250 was made towards this work.
Members pages: our online information resource for members is accessible here.