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Residents and councillors in Sandwich call for chimes of clock and curfew bell at St Peter's Church to ring again

By Emily Stott

Residents and councillors are calling for the chimes of the clock and bell at St Peter’s Church in Sandwich to ring out again.

Since work began to open up the tower to the public and create an accessible staircase, the historic tradition of the clock and at times the curfew bell has not sounded.

In July, Haven Heights tower experience launched to help make the church even more popular to tourists - but the chimes have still not been heard one month after the works have finished.

First day of the Haven Heights tower tour opening

First day of the Haven Heights tower tour opening

Mayor of Sandwich, Cllr Paul Graeme said: “Peter Aires at the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) promises the chimes will be put in place and resume by the end of October then they want to do a public consultation because they want to be fair to everybody.”

He proposes the council write to the CCT to get the chimes reinstated.

At the Sandwich town council meeting on Monday, he said the end of October was not soon enough and he wanted confirmation that the clock would ring by the end of September.

It is claimed the CCT asked the council to fund a public consultation on whether the chimes should be reinstated.

The Curfew Bell in the tower at St Peters Church

The Curfew Bell in the tower at St Peters Church

Cllr MJ Holloway said the council should not pay for a consultation, as it is such an important part of the town’s tradition and should not be taken away.

Cllr Paul Carter, who helps to train curfew bell ringers, said they have not had access to the church on numerous occasions which means the bell was not rung also.

He added: “Now these curfew ringers are getting a bit browned off by the whole thing and are a bit fed up. It’s very difficult to get curfew ringers and we don’t want to upset them.”

Gabriella Misuriello, press spokesman for the CCT said: “The curfew bell tradition has continued uninterruptedly throughout the course of the works in the tower and continues to be rang every evening.

“The chiming of the clock is currently not in operation due to ongoing works on the carillon. We envisage the chiming of the clock will be back in operation by the end of October.”

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