Appeals: Arnhem Bells Appeal

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The Independent Online
The destroyed bell tower of St Eusebius' Church, the 15th-century Grote Kerk of Arnhem, in Holland, photographed in 1945. The church is 200 metres from Arnhem bridge - the centre of the Battle of Arnhem - and was almost destroyed during 10 days of fierce air and ground fighting between the Allied forces and the Germans in September 1944. To mark the 50th anniversary of the battle and the consequent destruction, the Arnhem Bells Appeal is raising money, about pounds 100,000, in Britain to pay for two of four new bronze bells to be added to the church's existing four-octave carillon.

The Battle of Arnhem was a humiliating defeat for the Allies with about 1,200 killed, and 6,642 men injured or taken prisoner on the Allied side. During the Allied air bombardment about 1,200 people gathered in the Grote Kerk: the Rev Johan Gerritson continued his sermon about courage triumphing over brutality, and even when the electricity was cut the congregation hand-pumped the organ's bellows so that they could all sing the 'Wilhelminus', the Dutch national anthem. During the battle, German snipers used the church's 305ft spire as a vantage point and soon afterwards severe gun fire caused the old bells to collapse.

The Arnhem Bells Appeal want to complete their fund-raising by September so that the bells will be in place for the anniversary celebrations. For further information, contact: The Arnhem Bells Appeal Office, St Mary Abchurch House, 123 Cannon Street, London EC4N 5AX, telephone 071-621 1122.

(Photograph omitted)