The bell-ringing prowess of Trowbridge’s town crier has been reinvigorated after local woodturners fashioned him a new handle for his bell after the old one cracked.

Members of the Kennet and Avon Woodturning Club offered to make a new handle for the bell, which is a replica of the traditional Trowbridge town bell, free of charge after Trevor Heeks told them it had cracked when he attended one of their competitions at Easter.

He was officially presented with the restored bell, with a handle made out of Indian ebony, when he attended the group’s first gallery evening at St John’s Church hall in Upper Studley last Thursday.

Mr Heeks said: “The old handle was moving about two inches every time I rang it.

“They said to let them have it and they would restore it as a project.

“It’s beautiful now. They have made it exactly the same size as the old one, which is lovely.”

Mr Heeks has been town crier for the past 24 years and will celebrate his silver anniversary in the role next year.

John Aitken, who is chairman of the woodturning group, was responsible for making the new handle.

He said: “Once the old handle was removed I discovered that the ferrule around the base of the handle had started to split but luckily Hiscocks engineering in Trowbridge managed to braze it back together.

“The handle itself is turned from ebony, a dense even-grained timber from India that turns nicely and can be polished to a high shine.”

Mr Aitken added: “The bell’s clapper had to be muffled when it was in the workshop as every time it moved my ears would ring.”

He added: “There cannot be many new handles required for bells in this day and age and through this we have gained knowledge in this area and also helped a much-loved and respected member of our town.

“It was an honour to work on something that gives so much pleasure to so many people in Trowbridge.”

The woodturning club is affiliated with the Association of Woodturners of Great Britain. It meets on the second Thursday of every month at St John’s hall from 7.30pm.

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