THE future of bellringing in Bridgwater came a step closer to reality as members of the ringing band went to Loughborough to watch two new bells being cast.

The casting, the first of two planned events, is part of a mammoth £200,000 expansion of the ring of bells at St Mary’s Church.

As grants from organisations including the Heritage Lottery Fund and Viridor have contributed to the project, members of Bridgwater Photographic Society were invited along to record the occasion.

The trip, to the UK’s sole remaining bell foundry Taylor’s of Loughborough, took in a tour of the foundry itself and a visit to the bell museum before the casting itself took place.

Tower captain Margaret Lee said: “The casting itself was fascinating, they heated the copper-and-tin bellmetal until it was liquid, then poured it seemingly into two holes in the ground.

“But as they had already shown us, the bell moulds were actually below the surface as they backfill around them with sand to ensure the metal cools slowly over two days, as it could crack if it cools too quickly.

“It was a historic occasion for us - we ring bells every week that are up to 400 years old and it’s wonderful to think that the bells we have seen being made could be the start of something that enduring.

“We would like to thank everyone who has helped make this project possible, we are securing the future of something that has been part of the fabric of the town for hundreds of years.”

The casting of two more bells is due to take place next month.