Date: Mon 9th May 2011
Last Monday, Gareth Johnson and the Mayor of Dartford Pat Coleman, attended the “Tower Open Day” at St Mary’s Church, Stone to try out the new bells that were recently placed in the belfry.
The new bells were rung for the first time at Easter and were rung throughout the Royal Wedding.
Local parishioners raised the funds for new bells to be cast and placed in the church’s tower to replace those that were destroyed by a bolt of lightning which caused a fire in 1638.
This is the first time in almost 400 years that there is a full set of bells ringing in the church. The new bells were cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, the makers of Big Ben.
The Bishop of Rochester Rt Rev James Langstaff blessed the bells in a separate service at the beginning of the year.
Gareth said: “Since becoming an MP I have had to turn my hands to many things but this is the first time I have taken part in bell-ringing.
“It is delightful that the sounds of bells will be peeling again across Stone and we can all enjoy this very traditional and beautiful sound. It is also a marvellous example of the community coming together to raise funds for a good and historic cause.”