THERE'S been a real ding-dong in Benarty after an accusation that one of their bells was 'stolen' by Lochgelly!

Locals raised the alarm after it began to chime that a prized piece of history had been taken away and installed as a feature in the new rock climbing centre, Rockgelly, which is currently being built.

The plinth it sits on states it is the Lochgelly Town House Bell but Benarty Community Council vice chairman, Brian Menzies, said they'd got it all wrong – and Fife Council chiefs have now admitted the mistake.

He said: "One woman said they've tried to steal half the village (referring to the recent dispute over the boundary with Lochgelly) and now they've stolen our bell!

"The Times have certainly got things moving, nothing was progressing until the paper started asking questions, so thank you for that.

"They've made a mistake and an apology is acceptable but I still want to know who did this in the first place?"

St Kenneth's RC Church opened in Glencraig in 1924. It closed in 1987 – there was an amalgamation with St Bernard's in Ballingry to become St Kenneth's and St Bernard's RC Church – and the building remained empty for some years until it was demolished.

Brian, who is involved with the Benarty Heritage and Preservation Group, said there have long been plans to display the church's bell, and the bell from the old Lochcraig Church, in a new feature at the entrance to Lochore Meadows Country Park.

Both bells were gifted to the community when the buildings were knocked down.

He added: "The late Willie Clarke and myself went up to Bob Purvis' yard, about five years ago, and the two bells were being stored there.

"They'd previously been stolen and ended up in Glasgow but luckily they'd got them back. We were trying to move the bells project along, they're a big part of our heritage, but it kept getting delayed and we heard nothing."

So they were stunned to find the bell had been installed, not at the Meedies as they'd hoped, but at the new rock climbing centre.

Brian said: "They removed the St Kenneth's bell and erected it in Lochgelly, we don't know when as nothing was announced.

"Councillors turn up to the opening of an envelope so you'd think there would have been some sort of ceremony to mark this, but there wasn't anything at all.

"It's odd. I'm just glad, for the congregations' sake, especially the older members, that the two bells are going to the country park and that we've now got a date for that.

"Willie played a great part in the community for a lot of years so I couldn't sit back and do nothing.

"It's been something like 14 years we've been waiting so we've got movement and that's great."

Raymond Johnston, service manager with Fife Council's property services, said: “Unfortunately, it’s unclear how this situation has come about and who is responsible for the bells.

"However, as soon as this was brought to our attention, we offered to step in to remedy the situation.

"Working with our apprentices we’re going to arrange for the St Kenneth’s bell to be moved to Benarty and for the Lochgelly Town Hall bell, which is being stored locally, to Lochgelly.

"We’re hoping to have the Benarty bells in their new stone enclosure by Christmas.

“We'll the keep community up-to-date with how the work is progressing through regular social media posts and news articles."