South East Wales

All Saints Church, Maerdy, bell moved to primary school

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Media captionThe church bell is to be housed in the foyer of the nearby primary school

The bell from a Rhondda church whose parishioners fought for a year to keep open has been re-dedicated at the nearby primary school.

The bell commemorates the 81 men and boys who were in the Mardy Colliery mine explosion in 1885.

Parishioners at All Saints Church in Maerdy held a sit-in protest in 2011 after the Church in Wales said it could not meet a £400,000 repair bill.

Local school pupils are conducting a history project on the pit disaster.

Image copyright Sue Belcher
Image caption The bell commemorates the 81 men and boys killed in the 1885 disaster

The church hit the headlines when supporters began a month-long sit-in, ending when the Church in Wales offered to sell it to them for a token £1,000.

The local parochial church council decided to close it in July 2011 because it was considered unviable.

Friends of All Saints Church in Maerdy turned down the offer, saying they could not meet the ongoing costs of repairs.

Maerdy Community Primary School now hosts the bell and it was re-dedicated after a similar ceremony in Maerdy's park for a plaque which also commemorates the 1885 mining disaster.

Headteacher Sue Belcher said the bell had pride of the place in the foyer of the school which has 225 pupils aged from three to 11.

She said: "We feel very privileged. We believe now with that we have to be the heart of the community and it's great responsibility."

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