During my three years as steward, I have “accrued” a small but dedicated team of like-minded colleagues who assist with tower inspection and maintenance issues.
When called upon to carry out a bell installation inspection report, I duly set out a report, following a route from point of entry to the Church, through each area of the tower to the bell chamber and back down. Part of the report contains the following statement :-
“The Steward has no authority to demand action be taken on any subject so described in this report. The inspection is free of charge and the contents of the report are recommendations and/or advisory. The Steward and team, who are all insured, can, at his/their discretion, capably carry out minor repairs or adjustments in order to maintain the integrity of the bell installation on behalf of the Church.”
Undoubtedly, essentials materials such as grease, replacement fixing hardware, stays etc. will be charged for, but the approximate cost will be notified & agreed before any work commences.
During the last three years, the style of reporting has changed but nevertheless, is highly detailed with every aspect of the bell installation. This includes recommendations and/or advice about :- ladders, stairways, frames, headstocks, sliders, stays, ground pulleys, slider bars, end stops, wheels, crown staples, clappers, clapper bearings, lubrication, ropes, obstructions, accessibility, rope guides, mats, health and safety signage and lighting, in fact, every facet of the bell installation.
The end product of our tasks are realistically straightforward, we have minimised wear and tear on our heritage bell collection, which, can be relied upon and capable of, ringing out for many more years to come.