SUNDERLAND Minster’s restored bells will ring out across the city in time for the Queen’s Jubilee.
Work started yesterday on repairing the tower after its eight bells were taken down in 2009.
Since then, the Minster has been silent as efforts got under way to raise the £150,000 needed to install the bells and replace the broken clock.
Despite a series of setbacks, plans are back on track and workers have started building the framework and scaffolding needed to put the bells back in place.
The Rev Martin Anderson said: “We are excited that this project is going to finally be seen through to completion.
“We have now got a team of strong professionals working together to enable the Minster as the city’s civic church to proclaim the sound of joy at city events and services.”
The preparatory work is expected to be completed by mid-March, with the bells due to be delivered by March 24.
It is then hoped the work will be finished in time for the Queen’s Jubilee celebration weekend, with the bells ringing out for the first time to mark the occasion.
Rev Anderson said: “We look forward to raising the standard up the new flag pole and having the clock dial repaired and bells peel all in time to celebrate the Jubilee and reign of our sovereign in her 60th year.”
The project started in 2000, when Friends of the Minster was formed with the aim of helping raise funds to pay for capital projects.
The group wanted the Minster to increase its bells from eight to 10 and the fund-raising drive was launched.
The Minster then discovered the bells’ rickety old frame started to move, putting two of the chimes out of action and sparking safety fears about using the rest.
But the project to restore them and add the additional bells was hit by a series of problems, including the head engineer suffering a heart attack.
Now, a new team has been recruited with architects Beaumont Brown, Pembletons Bell Engineers and Minster deputy administrator Chris Mitchell, who has a background in engineering, all on board.
“It will be wonderful to hear the sound of bells ringing throughout Sunderland for the first time in more than three years,” Rev Martin said.