A SOUND that will have a familiar ring to it will be heard across Tyldesley tonight, Thursday.

For after more than a 40-year absence the old bells of St George’s Parish Church will chime again and the congregation wants to warn its neighbours to be prepared.

“People are going to notice a difference because we had volume control on the recording we’ve been using in recent years,” said Threna Allum, who has helped orchestrate the bells’ return.

“The bells are going to be heard for miles around now.”

Ringers are travelling from different counties to Tyldesley to ensure the bells are in tune for their latest performance at 6.30pm before the community carol service.

After more than four decades of silence, the bell ringing art has died out in Tyldesley but Threna and another member of the congregation have been learning the skill so that they can at least help out.

However there will be no shortage of volunteers wanting to ring the church’s bells as they are a complete set and are now on the Church Buildings Councils Preservation List.

“They are rare in that there are six bells and they form a full octave,” said Threna, who is the church treasurer.

“Bell ringers from around the country will pay us to ring the bells because they are so rare.

“They travel around the country with their sleeping bags just so that they can ring different bells.”

In 1825 six horse-drawn carts collected the church bells from Leigh and carried them to Tyldesley.

Before this was done the largest was turned upside down and filled with ale from all the inns in the town and the public drank from it.

St George’s Parish Church bells fell silent in the 1960s after the tower was deemed unsafe due to subsidence and it was feared their ringing might make the cracks worse.

However, a more recent inspection revealed they posed no threat and the Lancashire Association of Change Ringers financed repairs.

“After more than 40 years, the bells were still in good condition, but the frame was rusty and needed repairs,” said Threna, who lives in Church Road in Astley.

n If you would like to learn how to ring the bells call 01942 886988.