An appeal has been launched to raise funds for the urgent repair of bells and a clock at a village church.
Villagers in Seaton and Thorpe by Water are hoping to raise £25,000 for the work to be done at All Hallows Church in Seaton and are calling on the generosity of others to help.
The church has five bells dating back to the 16th century but a recent inspection revealed that their bearings need replacing if the bells are to continue to ring.
There is room in the bell tower for a sixth bell and if sufficient funds are raised the appeal would like to install a treble bell.
The church tower also has a clock that is a memorial to the men from the villages who fell in the First World War. The clock is in working order but its face needs restoring.
Appeal chairman Air Commodore Allan McLoughlin said: “This is a challenging target but I’m confident that we’ll achieve it.
“A church and a village without bells would be a sad development. To me, the sound of church bells ringing out across the valley epitomises Rutland village life. To lose it would be tragic.
“With the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War next year I also believe that we owe it to those who sacrificed their lives to have the clock fully restored by then.”
The appeal committee, with representatives from both villages, the church, the parish council, and the village hall, has already organised several fundraising events, including a cake stall in Uppingham Market Square and cake and coffee mornings in the village hall.
Other planned events include a musical extravaganza on Friday, December 20 and Saturday, December 21, by the Seaton Starlights called Step into Christmas, a charity shoot on Thursday, December 19, and quizzes, talks, storytelling, and sales next year.
Air Commodore McLoughlin added: “Our next big event is a Christmas tree festival in the church on Saturday and Sunday. It will be a fantastic occasion, with a display of over 40 lit and decorated trees, a raffle, refreshments, and games for children.
“Although we’ve only just started, we’re extremely grateful for all the support we’ve had so far and especially for generous personal donations we’ve received.”
Entry to this weekend’s event is £2.50 for adults and free for children.