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/ 20 August 2019

QPR owner funds new bells to mark 175th anniversary of St John’s Kensal Green

The owner of Queen’s Park Rangers football club has visited St John’s Church, Kensal Green, to see the place where what became QPR began.

Tony Fernandes, who is also the CEO of Malaysian airline AirAsia, has donated £35,000 to St John’s for the installation of six new bells in the church tower, to celebrate its 175th anniversary.

The bells had formed part of the original design of the church when it was constructed in 1844, but they were never installed. With work on the bells and church tower flooring now well underway, the bells will be blessed on December 6th, ring for the first time on Christmas Day and for the first time the bells will “ring in” the new year on New Year’s Day.

Mr Fernandes’ donation celebrates the historic role played by St John’s Church in the formation of QPR football club. In the 19th century the church’s first vicar helped establish two boys football teams on the newly built Queen’s Park estate, the teams merged to become the QPR, which plays today. This year, St John’s recalled its role in the formation of QPR with a £1000 donation to the Queen’s Park Gardens Community and Sports Hub.

Fr David Ackerman, Vicar at St John’s, said:

“Tony’s donation has made possible a project planned 175 years ago but not realised until this year. The six new bells will be our main anniversary project and are real sign of confidence. The generosity of donors this year has been amazing, with over £70,000 pledged for our projects and in a special tribute to Mr Fernandes we have dedicated the newly commissioned music for the anniversary Evensong to him. Fittingly the music is called “Ring our wild bells”.

Visiting the church this summer, Mr Fernandes learned about the history of the Queen’s Park estate and the role played by St John’s in supporting its community, as well as meeting with a number of local groups and societies. He also toured the tower from which the bells will ring out.

Photo 1: Fr David Ackerman, Vicar at St John’s, with Tony Fernandes
Photo 2: Tony Fernandes with Joziah Bignall (the child)
Photo 3: Tony Fernandes with a representative from the Children’s Society

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