There are about 5000 churches in England with bells hung for full circle ringing, as a result most of us live near enough to hear them on Sundays, for weddings and the marking of special occasions. They make a glorious sound, grab our attention, call us to prayer and half muffled, evoke feelings of sadness and empathy. Church bells were silenced during World War II, used only to inform of an enemy invasion. When peace was restored they rang out for freedom, producing once again their glorious sound.

Chris Mew is President of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers. He has circulated a letter to churches from the Rt. Hon. William Hague M.P. requesting that church bells be rung on 9th May this year at 11.00. This is to commemorate the moment that peace broke out in 1945 ending almost six years of war across Europe. The Government recognise that the timing might not be convenient for all churches and have allocated the weekend of 8th to 10th May for ringing to take place.

Church bells often ring to commemorate historical events and in 2015 there are two major anniversaries that are worthy of celebrating in this way. Change ringers are keen to mark the anniversary of the first ever recorded peal of bells which took place in Norwich 300 years ago. Towers across the country will attempt to emulate this feat on 2nd May, ringing over five thousand changes which can take three hours to complete.

Sunday 14th June has been designated ‘Big Ringing Day’ as church bells will ring across the UK and further afield to mark the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta.  Ringers everywhere will be encouraged to commemorate the anniversary by ringing special touches of 800 changes or other methods and compositions devised to mark the occasion.
Parliament is asking the nation to celebrate the sealing of Magna Carta by joining in or organising a ‘LiberTea.’ We are invited to sit down to tea to celebrate debate and reflect on our liberties. The ‘LiberTea’ website lists organised events, the closest one to us so far being held at The Commandery, Worcester: ‘We will bring to life the key characters of Worcester’s democratic story...all to the joyous sound of a peal of bells from Worcester Cathedral.’
They are sure to produce a glorious sound.

 

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