TEN bells have started ringing out from the tower at St Thomas' Church in Stockton Heath following a successful testing operation.

The bells were installed by Taylor's of Loughborough last year – at the same time as the Heritage Lottery-funded maintenance and renovation work was carried out on the London Road site’s tower.

Eight of the bells had previously been installed at St John's Church in Bollington but were removed after the church became redundant in 2004.

They were put into storage, while a new home was sought.

St Thomas' was approached in March 2010 as the tower was one of the few in the diocese large enough to accommodate all eight bells.

Coincidently, the Rev Michael Ridley had previously been a curate a St John's.

Grants and donations were subsequently sought from a variety of bodies, including the Chester Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers and Stockton Heath Parish Council.

The church also launched its 'peal appeal', which got a significant response from the public.

Shortly after, it was announced that bell ringer, Ashley Pugh, wished to donate two additional bells in memory of wife, Helene, to complete a ring of ten bells.

The installation and testing was completed in November and the new band of bell ringers were able to celebrate by ringing them for Christmas and the new year.

On January 8, Bishop of Chester the Rev Peter Forster led a service of dedication for the bells at St Thomas'.

The bells will now be ringing out regularly in the village.