YOUNG and old have been digging deep to raise funds for the town's Abbey Bell Tower campaign.

The Bell Tower appeal needs to raise £500,000 to repair and conserve the tower, built in 1531 by Abbot Clement Lichfield.

Since it began in June last year it has been championed by the Journal and kind hearted readers have raised about £10,000 of the £80,000 secured.

And so far the year has gotten off to a great start with Evesham schools embracing the appeal.

Before Christmas pupils from St Mary’s Catholic Primary School sang carols to customers at Tesco and raised £82.03.

A second cheque from St Richard’s CofE Primary School was also presented to committee chairman Sue Ablett.

She said: “The pupils were all so interested and knowledgeable about the Bell Tower. The visits were an absolute pleasure.

"Every 50 years there is a major conservation project on the Bell Tower. It really is important we encourage an interest in the history and heritage of Evesham in this generation.

"Based on their enthusiasm we can be optimistic the tower will be in good hands. We have also had a pledge from Evesham High and Simon de Montfort who hope to raise £1,000 for the appeal in the coming year. Another fantastic response.”

The visit to St Richard’s raised an interesting question about its wooden model of the Bell Tower, which has been at the school since it was located in Merstow Green.

Anyone with information about its origin should contact Mrs Ablett via

A generous donation of £500 from Abbot Lichfield Lodge, the senior Masonic lodge in Eveshamhas also helped the cause.

The appeal struck a chord with the lodge as its banner proudly displays an image of the tower and it is named after the last true abbot of Evesham who oversaw the building of the Bell Tower.

Lindsey Hill, master of the lodge, said: “It is wonderful to think today we can contribute to preserving and conserving the work of some of those ancient operative stonemasons.”