12:02pm Friday 9th May 2014
WORK has begun in earnest on Evesham's Abbey Bell Tower as a lorry-mounted cherry picker was on site over the past week.
The iconic Bell Tower is in much need of urgent repairs and is the subject of a campaign, backed by this newspaper, to raise £500,000 for repairs and to conserve.
And as reported last week, with the first £81,000 secured including around £10,000 raised by Journal readers, the initial development phase has begun.
The first steps took place on Tuesday, May 6, at 8.30am, when a lorry-mounted cherry picker carefully made its way to the Bell Tower.
Unfortunately the work couldn't be completed on Wednesday (May 7) as the blustery winds meant it had to be postponed until later this month.
Stan Brotherton, treasurer of the Evesham Bell Tower Appeal committee, was there to watch the work get going.
He said: "In order for this machine to get near the north side of the Bell Tower, it came up Bridge Street, then shuffled its way carefully through Crown Passage,with inches to spare, over the carpark and then along the back of the Riverside Shopping Centre."
This platform, which is vital to properly access the exterior of the 110 ft Bell Tower, is being used by the architect, surveyors and conservators to get a close look at the condition of the building and to take detailed measurements and high-definition pictures.
Mr Brotherton added: "This work is key to the development phase of the project, helping establish exactly what needs to be done. This work will directly inform the scope, style and cost of the stonework repairs due to be delivered in 2015.
"There will be a cherry picker on site throughout the week; a large lorry-mounted one for the first two days, and then a smaller spider cherry picker to examine areas lower down the Bell Tower.
"Alongside this important on-site work, the project is also proceeding with archive research, detailed costings, and an active programme of fund-raising."
For more information on the appeal or to donate visit eveshambelltower.org.uk.
The next fundraising event for the appeal will take place on Friday, May 30, at 7.30pm and is the Brass, Pipes and Drums, Concert by Avonbank Brass Band and Cheltenham Scottish Pipe Band at the Evesham Arts Centre. Tickets are £15 and are available from The Almonry Heritage Centre at eveshamartscentre.co.uk, or from Sue Ablett on 0787 1285606 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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