People in Norfolk urged to ring in the new for 2018 - and save ancient art of bell-ringing

An appeal has been launched to recruit more bell-ringers in Norfolk. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

An appeal has been launched to recruit more bell-ringers in Norfolk. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

People across Norfolk have been urged to ring out the old and ring in a new hobby in 2018 - to help save the ancient art of bell-ringing.

Bell ringers at St Mary's Church, North Creake. Pic: Ian Burt.

Bell ringers at St Mary's Church, North Creake. Pic: Ian Burt. - Credit: IAN BURT

According to the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, there are 258 working bell towers across Norfolk and St Peter Mancroft in Norwich is often referred to as 'the birthplace of British bell-ringing'.

The first ever true peal - where a tower's bells is rung in every possible order without repeating sequences - was rung in the city centre church in 1715.

However, the central council warns that the future of bell-ringing in the county is under threat due to a lack of new recruits.

Alan Regin, 58, from the central council, who was made an MBE for services to campanology (the art of bell-ringing) in the New Year Honours, said: 'I was a youngster when I started ringing peals and wherever I rang, I was often the youngest bell ringer in the band.

St Peter Mancroft Church., considered to be the 'birthplace of bell-ringing'. Pic: James Bass.

St Peter Mancroft Church., considered to be the 'birthplace of bell-ringing'. Pic: James Bass. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2006


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'Now - close to half a century later - I am, on occasions, still the youngest, and this concerns me. I'd love people in Norfolk to help 2018 become the year that saves British bell-ringing.'

The council has launched a Ringing Remembers campaign to recruit 1,400 new bell ringers nationwide in memory of the 1,400 bell-ringers who died in the First World War.

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They hope that people in Norfolk will learn to ring bells this centenary year and save the distinctively British tradition.

Virginia Crompton, of Big Ideas Community Interest Company, who is leading the New Year call for bell-ringers, said: 'If you want to feel part of your local community, bell-ringing could be for you.

Alan Regin. Pic: Colin Finch.

Alan Regin. Pic: Colin Finch. - Credit: Colin Finch

'Bell towers are commonly found in churches but you don't have to go to church to become a bell ringer.

'Ringing bells used to be what social media is to people today – a way of sharing information across long distances.

'It's a hobby steeped in tradition and a fun way to connect to British culture.'

People interested should email ringingremembers@bigideascompany.org. The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers will connect people to a local bell-ringing teacher.

It takes around three months to learn to ring and classes are usually once a week and generally free.

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