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St John the Baptish church
St John the Baptish church
UK News

Fire-devastated church marks the return of its 18th century bells

A church in Hertfordshire that was devastated by fire two years ago is celebrating the return of its bells. 

In December 2018, a fire broke out at St John the Baptist church in Royston near Cambridge, causing severe damage to the interior, its medieval roof and all eight of its bells, some of which date back to 1739. 

Speaking to Premier, church treasurer Phil Burchell said the community is "over the moon" to see the bells back. 

"Certainly when I was seeing the bells coming back, there were no end of people, nothing to do with the church, out with their cameras actually taking pictures of the bells on the back of the lorry, and each one being taken off and moved into the church. So yes, everybody is delighted to see that."

However, it will be some time until the bells ring again as restoration works in the building continue. 

"[The church] is in a state, which just requires the inside doing now and we're hoping that will start in the not too distant future. And we will then be able to get back into that before the end of this year," Mr Burchell said. 

The completion of the works on the tower and the outside of the church has been an encouragement for the community which has been able to see their church "back into the sort of order that it was prior to the fire". 

Speaking about the donations made by many people in the community, Mr Burchell said the church congregation has been "very blessed" has now raised more than £60,000.

In 2019, investigators ruled out arson as the cause of the fire. The church said much of the repair work will be covered by insurance. 

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