'Surreal' to see cathedral bells being repaired

'Surreal' to see bells in English foundry

ANNA TURNER
Last updated 14:47 18/10/2012
Murray Reynish

REPAIRS BEGIN: Murray and Rhonda Reynish with the bells from Christ Church Cathedral. The bells are being repaired at the John Taylor Bell Foundry in Leicestershire, where they were cast in 1978.

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The bells from earthquake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral are being repaired at the same place they were cast.

All 13 church bells were rescued from the quake-damaged cathedral, but suffered varying degrees of damage.

The bells were shipped last month 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 melted down the previous year.

Former Cantabrian Murray Reynish and wife Rhonda were visiting friends in England when they went on a tour of the bellfounders.

The pair, who now live in Perth, were shown the bells from their home town.

"We were surprised when they showed us the bells from Christ Church Cathedral which had arrived at their foundry a couple of weeks previously for restoration after being damaged in the earthquakes," Murray 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 shipping company Maersk.

Foundry spokesman Simon Adams told BBC News Leicester the Anglican Church had "no option" but to send the bells to England 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,'' he said.

''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 would have to be 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 rang 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."

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- The Press

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