Campaign group appeals for help to keep Hertfordshire church’s clock chiming

St Mary's Church, Ashwell

St Mary's Church, Ashwell - Credit: Archant

A group campaigning to keep a village church clock chiming are appealing for help raising funds to pay for legal advice to aid their fight.

The Save the Church Chimes of Ashwell group wants to ensure the chimes at St Mary’s Church in Ashwell continue to ring throughout the night, as they have for the last 117 years.

The campaign is holding a coffee morning this Saturday, March 15, for people to get an insight into their work.

All money raised during the morning will go towards paying for a solicitor to advise the group.

Last summer residents living near the church complained about the noise of the clock disturbing their sleep.

An investigation by North Herts District Council determined that the chimes exceed the World Health Organisation’s noise limit of 35 decibels, and as a result, Ashwell Parish Council agreed to switch the quarter-hour chimes off between 11.05pm and 5.55am – with the clock still ringing on the hour – for a trial period.

Though the district council has yet to take any formal action regarding the noise levels of the chimes, Chris Pack, from Save the Church Chimes of Ashwell, said: “We want to engage a solicitor so we know where we stand legally.

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“We went to see the parish council at its last meeting to ask if they would appoint one for us, and they have agreed to look into how much it would cost. But we have decided to take it upon ourselves to find the money, because we don’t want the chimes turned off, and we know a lot of other people in the village feel the same.”

As reported in the Crow last month, the group is set to attend the annual parish meeting on March 26 to call for a parish poll on the issue.

The coffee morning will run from 10am-midday on Saturday at the Ashwell United Reformed Church Hall.