BELL-ringers in Stinchcombe will be reaching new heights after a parishioner designed and built a new elevated platform in the church.

The Friends of St Cyr’s Church decided they needed an elevated platform for their bell-ringers and spent the last year fundraising for it.

But despite receiving reasonable quotes from local companies they still didn’t have enough cash.

So parishioner John Pinch, former silversmith and jack of many trades, agreed to make it as cheaply as possible – slipping a disc in the process.

"I had previously made a large oak screen for the back of the church and have done a lot of work with wood," said John, who was head of art and design technology at Katharine Lady Berkeley’s School in Wotton before he retired.

"We at the Friends of Cyr’s did not have enough money to pay a contractor so I thought, I’ll just do it myself."

He roped in his son-in-law Chris Simkiss, who is a stonemason, and together they spent four weeks putting in the heavy oak platform 12 feet above the floor with a large trap door to allow the bells to be lowered if necessary for repairs.

Access to the platform is via a new set of oak steps, also installed by John and Chris.

"It has been an absolute pleasure and privilege to work in such beautiful surroundings and I hope that my work harmonises with the wonderful intrinsic architectural quality of the church," John added.

Friend of St Cyr’s Graham Brown said: "The creation of an elevated platform permits entry to the church via the large west door of the tower whilst the bells are being rung which is particularly useful for special occasions such as weddings.

"The platform also provides a more pleasant environment for bellringers, especially in the winter months when the stone floor is cold, draughty and often damp."

He added: "The bell-ringers are thrilled with the new platform, it has made a real difference to the church."