Bells will ring out to mark start of London 2012

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CHURCH bells across the Diocese of Ely and parts of Norfolk will ring out in the morning (Friday) to mark the start of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

At 8.12am, bells in dozens of towers will peal for three minutes as part of an arts project by Turner Prize-winning Martin Creed, commisioned by the London 2012 Festival.

People everywhere are being encouraged to take part in the ‘performance’ using whatever form of bell or bells they have. For more information, go to www.allthebells.com

Arguably the loudest contribution reaching the most number of ears will be from participating church bell towers, a reminder of their primary purpose for the last four hundred years in calling people to worship.

However, while many are familiar with the sound of bells, few understand how those sounds are made and controlled to produce the intricate and pleasing change-ringing they hear on Sunday mornings or at weddings - or what a satisfying, sociable and enjoyable pastime the art of church bell ringing could be for them.

The Ely Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers sees this occasion as an opportunity to reach out to those hearing the bells on 27 July and extend an open invitation to come and learn to ring.

Philip Bailey, the Association’s Education Officer said: “A warm welcome awaits all prospective new bell ringers, regardless of age, sex and whether or not they are churchgoers. We’d also like to see the return of people who used to ring or learned years ago but didn’t continue.

“With the long-term future of bellringing in mind, we are particularly keen to attract young people. There’s a bit of a myth that bellringing is just for old-timers, but there are plenty of young people who are keen ringers ready to bring on the next generation. There’s even an iPhone app!”

Anyone interested in learning to ring church bells can contact Philip Bailey in the first instance on 07968-788425 or e-mail billythebellringer@yahoo.co.uk