'Surreal' to see cathedral bells being repaired
The bells from the quake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral are being repaired at the same place they were originally cast.
All 13 church bells were rescued from the quake-damaged cathedral, but suffered varying degrees of damage.
Earlier this month, the bells were shipped to the John Taylor Bell Foundry in Loughborough, Leicestershire for repair.
The bells were cast at the foundry in 1978. Much of the metal used came from the bells of Holy Trinity Church, Coventry, which had been dismantled and melted down the previous year.
Ex-Cantabrian Murray Reynish and his wife Rhonda were visiting friends in England when they went on a tour of the bellfounders.
The pair, who now live in Perth, were shocked to be shown the bells from their hometown.
"We were surprised when they showed us the bells from the Christ Church Cathedral which had arrived at their foundry a couple of weeks previously for restoration after being damaged in the earthquakes," Reynish said.
"It was kind of surreal. Just seeing that really brought home the damage to the city we'd lived in most of our lives. It was like finding a little piece of home on the other side of the world."
The bells were transported from New Zealand to Britain free of charge by the shipping company Maersk.
Foundry spokesman Simon Adams told BBC News Leicester the Anglican church had "no option" but to send the bells back home for repair.
"The bells fell from the tower of the cathedral in New Zealand and the entire contents of the belfry fell on top them. We have to make 13 new sets of fittings for the bells and undertake some specialist testing of the bells and further repairs."
Some of the bells were cracked and will have to be specially welded to return them to top condition, he said.
Reynish said a man at the foundry rang the bells with a hammer to demonstrate the damage.
"They actually didn't look too damaged, but he rung one and it sounded like a normal bell and then he hit the other and it sounded flat. He said it would have a hairline crack in it," he said.
"I'm really happy to hear they are being repaired."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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