First bell to be cast for Covid-19 memorial

Published: Wed 8th September, 2021

  • The Hope Bell - a symbol of hope, thanks and remembrance.
    The Hope Bell - a symbol of hope, thanks and remembrance.

Work to create a lasting memorial in Loughborough to mark the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on local communities will soon get underway.

The Hope Bell project, backed by Loughborough Town Deal, will see the creation of a clock chime installation comprising four quarter chime bells and the main Hope Bell to sound the hours.

The Hope Bell will be a lasting memorial to all those in Charnwood who have lost their lives in the Covid-19 pandemic and be a tribute to NHS and key workers. It will also be a beacon of hope for the future.

Loughborough is synonymous with bells, being home to the last working bellfoundry in the UK.

John Taylor and Co. will cast the first bell for the project during the National Heritage Open Day on Saturday, September 11.

Cllr Jonathan Morgan, co-chair of Loughborough Town Deal and Leader of Charnwood Borough Council, said: “The Hope Bell will be a symbol of hope, thanks and remembrance for our communities and will be a place where people will be able to go for a moment of quiet reflection.

“I am pleased the first quarter bell is being cast and look forward to seeing the project develop.”

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, co-chair of Loughborough Town Deal, said: “Taylor’s made the bells in the Carillon Tower which is Loughborough’s War Memorial so it is fitting that they will be creating the Hope Bell.

“We hope the community will get behind the project as it develops.”

Andrew Wilby, Trustee of the Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust, said: “We are honoured to play our part in the creation of this significant community Covid memorial to the citizens of Charnwood and we look forward to welcoming the community to the Bellfoundry to watch the process.”

The casting is part of a heritage open weekend at Taylor’s. People can visit the foundry over the weekend but the chance to see a bell being cast is ticket only and already sold out. For more details on the open weekend, please visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk/visiting/event/loughborough-bellfoundry-trust.

The Loughborough Town Deal Board has been offered £16.9 million by the Government to boost the local economy and bring improvements to the local area.

A series of projects backed by the Board have now been submitted to Government for further development, including the Hope Bell project.

It is anticipated the Hope Bell would be located in Queen’s Park.

The four quarter bells will weigh between 3 cwt and 8 cwt and the main Hope Bell will weigh 1 ton 5 cwt, sound the note D and measure 4ft 4in in diameter.

Some aspects of the project, such as messages left by people, could be funded by public subscription.

The Town Deal Board wants the local community to be involved in the development of the Hope Bell project and that’s why comments and views are being invited. If you would like to have a say on the project in this early stage, please visit www.charnwood.gov.uk/hopebell.

The Loughborough Town Deal board involves a range of organisations, including Charnwood Borough Council, Loughborough University, Loughborough College, Love Loughborough, Leicestershire County Council, the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership, Charnwood Together Economy and Skills Group, local businesses and Loughborough MP Jane Hunt.