The sun shone down on Ely for a bell ringing open day that saw around 200 people discover the secrets and enjoyment of one of Britain’s oldest traditional team activities.
Organised by members from the Ely District of the Ely Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers, the aim was to encourage as many potential new bell ringers as possible to begin learning at their local church towers.
Ely’s Town Crier, Avril Hayter helped to publicise the event around the city and before too long, a steady stream of inquisitive would-be bell ringers were queuing up to find out more and try their hand at the end of a rope.
Among them were many children keen to be shown how to ring on the ‘mini belfry’ and larger demonstration bell erected for the occasion outside the church.
Experienced teachers from the Ely District were also on hand to give ringing demonstrations in the tower of St Mary’s and helped many visitors take their first steps in learning to ring a bell.
Organiser Philip Bailey, Education Officer of the Ely Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers, was delighted with the level of response, and the variety of people who attended.
He said: “It has been really rewarding to see so many people showing an interest in bell ringing here today. Equally pleasing has been the wide range of people coming along.
“As well as the many children wanting to find out about bells we’ve had adults in their twenties, thirties and beyond, plus a lady who hadn’t rung for over forty years but might take it up again. We even had a ringer and his young son from Brewster, New York, drop in while sight-seeing in Ely!”
Philip and his colleagues are confident that their efforts at the Open Day will result in a number of people asking to start learning to ring at St Mary’s or one of 17 other church towers in the Ely District with regular practice nights.
Anyone interested in finding out more about bell ringing and where they can ring should visit the Ely Diocesan Association’s website www.elyda.org.uk or contact Philip Bailey on 07968-788425.