What we do
Discover how we support the defence and security of the UK.Discover more
Apprentices from the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) have helped a community restore their century-old bells.
Around a year ago St John’s Church in Mortimer realised their bells were in urgent need of repair.
The bells at the church were installed in 1896 and had not been structurally updated since this time.
Following a request for support from the church, AWE donated the time of two apprentices to help professional bell hangers, Whites of Appleton, to carry out repairs to the timber bell frame and overhaul some of the ringing fittings.
Andrew Slater the Steeple keeper at St John’s Church said: “The support received from AWE has helped move this community project forward. And it has been great to see how enthusiastic the two apprentices have been to learn new skills from the experts at Whites of Appleton. We look forward to having a celebratory bell ring when the work is complete.”
Over a two-day period, AWE apprentices Thomas Dowson, 28 from Basingstoke and Kieran Monger, 20 from Tadley helped turn and repair six bells at the top of a 100 foot bell tower.
Thomas said: “This was a really great opportunity for me to learn new skills. It was an once-in-a-lifetime experience to touch bells that are over 100 years old. It feels really good to be able to give back to the community in this way.”
Marcus Hutchings AWE, Skills Academy Manager said: “Apprentices are crucial to AWE filling our critical skills gap and events such as this illustrate how dynamic an apprenticeship at AWE is. AWE is committed to being a good neighbour and working with local communities is really important.”
St John’s Church in Mortimer is also currently trying to raise funds to make roof repairs.
Click here to watch an ITV Meridian news clip about the work carried out by the AWE apprentices.