A NEW church bell to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee will be hoisted into place this weekend and will ring out for centuries.

Villagers in Steeple Aston have collected their new tenor bell after raising £20,000 in just six months to fund it.

The old one was out of tune and bellringers at SS Peter and Paul Church had been talking about replacing it for years. Then a chat about the up-coming Diamond Jubilee prompted the launch of an appeal to buy a new bell.

Within six months they had enough cash, and on Thursday, tower captain Graham Clifton collected the new 650kg bronze bell from the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, in London.

Its first stop was to pupils at Dr Radcliffe’s School in the village, including Jamie Chapman, 10, the village’s youngest bellringer, with Mr Clifton and the bell.

Today it is due to be paraded around the village, and will be on display outside the village shop and pub, before being hoisted into place tomorrow.

Mr Clifton, a bellhanger with Whites of Appleton, said: “It will ring for the first time after Sunday service and will be up there for centuries.”

The old bell will be melted down and used as part payment for the new one. Villagers expect to get about £5,000 for it.