THE bells of St Wilfrid’s Church will be refurbished in the New Year following a successful fundraising campaign.

A total of £175,000 has been raised as part of the Grappenhall church’s Bell Project, and restoration work is now set to begin in January.

It will be the first time in 52 years that the bells have been refurbished, and the bells will ring for nearly three hours later this month to celebrate the occasion.

The restoration will see four of the old bells dating back to the 1890s melted down in order to create 10 new bells.

Four other bells, which are around 300 years old, will be retained and hung above the new bells and used for the clock chime and the church chiming bell.

On Sunday, January 6, the eight old bells will ring for the final time with work scheduled to start the following day.

The new bells will be cast between January and March, with the frame set to be re-installed in May.

It is hoped that the bells will then ring out over the village again from late summer 2019.

Part of the bell project includes work on the church clock, which will be taken out and renovated along with the bells.

St Wilfrid’s has been granted permission to ring a full peal to mark the bells’ impending departure.

The first full peal since 1987 will take place on the afternoon of Sunday, December 30 – consisting of a minimum of 5,000 changes and lasting nearly three hours.