AN appeal has been launched to repair two broken bells at a Hereford church.

The medieval tower and spire of All Saints church in the city centre is home to a ring of eight bells – cast at the famous Gloucester foundry by Thomas Rudhall in 1769.

The bells have been rung for a number of notable events in the city's history and are particularly associated with Nelson, who visited Hereford in 1802 and was made a freeman of the city.

But last year, bell ringers discovered that the fifth bell was cracked and were forced to stop ringing it to prevent the crack from spreading.

To repair a cracked bell it must be heated to a high temperature, welded and allowed to cool slowly.

It means the bell will have to be removed from the tower by specialist bell hangers who will do preliminary work, prior to the welding by the specialist bell welders in Cambridge.

Roger Gosling, one of the team of bell ringers, said: "The bells are an historic set. They rang out for Nelson who was particularly enamoured by them. They have been re-cast a couple of times since Nelson's visit but have been sounding out over the city for centuries and it would be a great shame should they not continue to do so."

The treble – the lightest bell – although not yet cracked, is also showing signs that it could be damaged.

The repair work on both bells is likely to cost in excess of £11,500 and while some funds have already been found, a further £10,000 is now required.

Anyone that can help with sponsoring some of the work can send a cheque made payable to All Saints PCC Hereford, along with a covering letter to say the money is towards the bell fund, to All Saints Parish Office, High Street, Hereford, HR4 9AA.

You can also call the office on 01432 370414.