THE success of fundraising endeavours by community groups often comes down to the time and commitment given to the cause by its members.

In an age when everyone seems to be raising money for something, it is often difficult to convince people to part with their cash, but when faced with passion, enthusiasm and a cause they can buy into, it clearly can work.

The bellringers from St Mary’s Church in Richmond have raised a staggering £177,000 in 14 months, and managed to secure a grant of more than £56,000 from Heritage Lottery Fund, to replace its old bells and ageing bell frame, and to open a wider project involving the community.

The group will get eight newly-cast bells to fit in a single level on a new iron and steel frame, while the old bells, some of which date back to the 17th century and came from various other church towers in the surrounding area, will be displayed for the public.

The heritage project will see the bellringers working with the local community, collaborating with schools and local museums, and encouraging more people to get involved in bellringing.

The fundraising efforts were certainly strong from the start – the group kicked off the challenge with an open day at St Mary’s Church to introduce people to the bells, and since then have organised concerts, exhibitions, and two of its members have even cycled from Richmond, Surrey, back to Richmond, North Yorkshire, while visiting churches to ring the bells along the way.

It was an inspired idea, especially with the two bellringers being called Glenys and riding together on a tandem bike, and netted more than £10,000.

We look forward to seeing how the heritage project progresses.