After a long wait and a lot of hard work by many the octave Rochester St Margaret were at last back in action on the morning of Sunday 26 March 2006. This was the time when a capacity congregation saw the Archdeacon of Rochester, the Venerable Peter Lock, dedicate the newly rehung bells, which are now rung from the ground floor.
The processional hymn prior to the dedication was “Ding dong! Merrily on high”. Despite this hymn’s association with other events in the church calendar, there is in fact no reference in it to anything remotely related to Christmas – it’s all about bells and their ringers, and seems entirely appropriate to the occasion. Maybe it was the tune which somehow called up memories of wassailing. However this gave Archdeacon Peter a wonderful lead-in for his introductory remarks, something along the lines of “May I take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful Christmas”!
After the blessing and the handing over of the bells, a band of mainly local ringers rang for a few minutes and were duly applauded by the congregation.
After the end of the service a quarter peal of Grandsire Triples was rung by a group of people who’d been involved in some way with the restoration work or training the new band: Frank Lewis 1, Malcolm Smith 2, Anita Perryman 3, Arthur Vidgeon 4, Alan Driver 5, Brian Butcher 6, Neil Jones 7, Phil Stott 8.