Father Ben Gilmour outside the restored bell tower of St Martin’s Anglican Church welcomes all to a service of thanksgiving this Sunday.
Father Ben Gilmour outside the restored bell tower of St Martin’s Anglican Church welcomes all to a service of thanksgiving this Sunday.

Service will ring out tower thanks

It’s the only bell tower in Byron Shire, and a year or so ago its future was looking shaky, but next Sunday a service of thanksgiving will be held to celebrate the restoration of the St Martin’s Anglican Church bell tower in Mullumbimby, made possible by a determined committee and an extraordinarily giving community.

“The generosity of the local community was second to none,” said parish priest Father Ben Gilmour.

The bell which had rung out for more than three quarters of a century to call people to service and to announce funerals and weddings, fell silent when its tower became unstable due to deterioration, and could no longer be patched up with “band-aid” operations.

A decision had to be made to undertake considerable repair work, but the quotes were daunting for a small parish, and many were reeling at the thought of the estimated cost of around $120,000.

How could they possible raise such a large sum?

But a committee was formed, strategies prepared, and with the support of the diocese, the parish set to work to fundraise and to access small grants.

And slowly the public far and wide became aware of the plight of the bell tower and in ways small and large pitched in so that the bell could be heard to ring out once again.

Donations began to trickle in and the trickle soon became a constant stream.

With funds mounting, but a long way still to go, up went the scaffolding and from then on the tower was a hive of activity for a local builder and his team as they laboured away to restore it to its former glory.

Rain held up the work from time to time, but eventually it was all done, all the money raised, and Mullumbimby once again had its beautiful tower and the lovely sound of the bell ringing out.

A service of thanksgiving to honour all who contributed to the restoration and recommissioning is to take place on Sunday at 8.30am, with Archdeacon Greg Ezzy and the Hon Pat Comben in attendance.

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