Most of you will recognise the Master's Badge shown here. But did you know that the badge was made by Neil Lomas [Wilmslow]? Moreover, the badge is made from bell metal!
The story goes that in October 1976, a group of ringers (which included Pete Dyson [Poynton]) had just finished ringing for the morning service at St Mary's [Stockport] and they decided to go look at the redundant tower at Christ Church [Heaton Norris]. Sadly, there was only one bell left from an original clock chime of 5 (by Warners, cast in 1896). When they went back 3 weeks later, that bell had also been stolen. However, they did manage to find two pieces of bell metal in the church yard. Obviously, the thief had simply thrown the bell out of the window, and when it landed, the bell broke into pieces. The theft was reported to the police, but Pete kept the two pieces that he managed to find until the Guild decided to have a Master's badge made during the Guild Centenary in 1987. Pete gave one of those pieces to Neil Lomas [who taught metal work at the time] and he cast the badge from that piece.
Has anyone ever been killed in East Branch by a bell? Your knee jerk reaction might be to say "No", but the fact is that someone was indeed killed by a bell. Admittedly, it was a long time ago.
At the back of the ringing chamber in St Bartholomew's Church [Wilmslow], just above the door on the left hand side, there is a stone that reads "John Son of Robe[rt] and Penelope Hunt was killed by the first Bell on Sunday Augu[st] the 30th 1767". It seems the teenage boy managed to sneak into the belfry when no one was looking, and was accidentally killed when he was hit by the moving bell.