A FREE funeral is among the numerous lots going under the hammer tomorrow (Saturday) as part of fund-raising efforts to ensure a village church’s bells continue to ring out.

Rev David Martin, Rector of St Laurence Church in Alvechurch, is offering to conduct someone’s funeral, even after his retirement, for free as part of the Grand Auction taking place at The Ark in School Lane.

Other lots up for grabs include half a lamb, a photographic family portrait sitting, a day pass to a spa centre, a cut and blow dry, a Christmas hamper, a trip for five through the Dudley Canal Limestone Caverns, dinner and theatre tickets for two, trout fishing and more.

The event is in aid of the St Laurence Bell Restoration Appeal which needs £85,000 to allow the eight bells in the church tower to be removed and sent away to be refurbished with three being re-cast. A new metal frame also needs to be installed in the tower to hold the bells.

So far £65,000 has been raised and organisers are hoping the auction will bring them within reach of the target..

Viewing of the lots takes place from 2pm with the auction starting at 3pm. Admission is free.

Rev Martin said: “I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of well-wishers who want to ensure the church bells ring out over Alvechurch for decades to come

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