An elderly bellringer, Mr. W. T. Edwards, the sexton of Hartfield Parish Church, on Monday evening fell from the top of the belfry ladder, a distance of about twenty-five feet, to the floor, and subsequently down the spiral stairway of the church tower. He was found by the village schoolmaster, staggering from the church in an exhausted condition and was speedily removed to the Tunbridge Wells General Hospital suffering from severe cuts and injuries to his head. He is reported to be progressing satisfactorily. “My husband left home at six o’clock on Monday evening to oil the bells,” said Mrs. Edwards to a “Courier” reporter. “At twenty past six Mr. Noakes, the schoolmaster, found him coming from the belfry door, he was in a very bad way.” “From what my husband has been able to tell us, ha had oiled two of the bells when his foot slipped from the ladder. He crashed to the floor and hurt his head badly, lying there unconscious for some minutes. He remembers coming to his senses sufficiently to struggle to the door of the belfry to crawl down the stairs. The effort was apparently too much for him and he fell the whole way down the tower stairway. I think that rendered him unconscious again and he must have laid for several minutes before Mr. Noakes discovered him and helped him to get home. He was attended to by Dr. Norrish and taken to the hospital. He has been unwell for some weeks and was not, I think, fit enough for the work he was doing.” Mr. Edwards has been sexton of the church for many years.
Transcribed by Mark Collins