St Mary's Church Combs
News and Events
Raising the Bells - October 2018
Following the success of raising the roof appeal, a group of parishioners launched an appeal "Raising the Bells" on Friday, October 12th, 2018. They are working to facilitate the restoration of the bells in the tower of the church in commemoration of the centenary of the end of World War 1.
Advice has been sought from a structural engineer and detailed plans have been drawn up by John Taylor & Co (the Loughborough Bell Foundry).
Our existing bells will be repaired and retuned. A new bell has been promised by a donor. The Keltek Trust have offered us three second hand bells that have been removed from redundant churches.
It is hoped that a two new bells will be cast to make a ring of ten. One bell will be cast in remembrance of the 28 men from Combs who gave their lives in the WW1. A second bell will be a Parish Bell, paid for and from the people in the parish. A plaque will be located within the church to note all those, by name, who have donated to this bell.
A member of the congregation has written the following poem that sums up the sentiment of this appeal.
Raising the Bells - a tribute to the fallen
A sacred place upon this hill, has stood a thousand years
A focus for the faithful, witness to joy and tears
Its peace envelops all within, to ease the troubled mind
And blessings give to all who seek, their steady path to find
For centuries the risen sun has shone through windows clear
To warm the hearts and minds and souls of all who worship here
A place of calm and peace and joy, prayers strengthened by belief
A place of hope, a steady rock, to those who need relief
When sons and husbands, sweethearts too, went off to fight in war
Their loved ones looked for solace here, their future so unsure
When some returned their thanks were heard, relieved they did not fall
But others came, amidst their grief - the war had taken all
For fifty years a single chime bewailed companions lost
An echo of their blessed sound and silence was the cost
But soon, once more, the bells will peal and bring the tower to life
And honour those from Combs who made the final sacrifice.
© A Maxwell
Roof Fund Update - Dec 2017 (Revised 13/01/2018)
In August 2015, a considerable quantity of lead was stolen from the roofs of the south and north aisle of St Mary’s Church, Combs. The distress caused to the local community, by the desecration of their precious place of worship, was made worse by damage to the internal plaster walls and paintwork resulting from ingress of a considerable quantity of rainwater, which immediately followed the theft of the lead roofing. The terms of the insurance policy were severely limited for the loss of roofing metal.
The rapid response from the local community was uplifting, with donations of money and the loan and fitting of tarpaulins to restrict the amount of rainwater entering the building. A “Raise the Roof Fund” committee was formed. Their sustained effort raised money from a variety of community events. Further help was also forthcoming from Mid Suffolk District Council, Stowmarket Rotary, the Town Council and the Primary School. With donations from trusts and the generosity of local people, sufficient funding became available to cover the cost of the temporary roof protection works and the installation of a CCTV alarm system and ultimately the internal repairs.
However, significant additional funding was required for the main roof repair and to tackle other high level repairs identified during the 2015 “Quinquennial Inspection”. We are extremely grateful to the National Heritage Memorial fund and the Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund who pledged a grant of up to £38,000 for this work. This grant along with other available funds made it possible to proceed with the project.
Combs Parochial Church Council is delighted that now, more than two years later, the restoration work is complete including all the internal repairs.
The PCC would like to extend their thanks and enormous gratitude to everyone who contributed and who made this possible, thereby saving our beautiful church.
Roof Fund Update - Sept 2016
Following the theft in August 2015 of about 6 tonnes of lead sheet tiles from the church roof, the Church has been raising funds for the roof repairs.
It is with great pleasure that I can report that the fundraising is complete through the generosity of many people and organisations, but principally through our successful Grant application under the governments Listed Places of Worship Scheme. Work should start in September and the church council is taking the opportunity to make other necessary repairs to the nave roof and clerestory windows. Thank you all.
We are also pleased to report that active Fundraising has begun to restore the 4 medieval bells to ringing order and augment them to 8 in a new frame within the tower. We await estimates and permissions. More details will appear on this website in due course.
Rev Chris Childs