Hands up if you ring the bells: Church ringers back in action

This brave band of bell ringers have been filling the air with ceremonial jangling once again after the easing of coronavirus restrictions.

The bell ringers from left to right are Vicki Sivess, Laura Burrows, Andy Digby, Claire Ramsey and Josh Oakley.
The bell ringers from left to right are Vicki Sivess, Laura Burrows, Andy Digby, Claire Ramsey and Josh Oakley.

The ringers have been back in action at Holy Trinity Church in Meole Brace, Shrewsbury. They returned on August 2 after five months away.

Tower captain Michael Carding said: "There are eight bells in the tower but a maximum of five can be rung in line with social distancing."

Michael and steeple keeper Andy Digby have done a full risk assessment and produced a plan for resumption of ringing.

He added: "We have about twenty active ringers and each one will make their own decision about when they can safely return. Meanwhile, because only five are allowed at once, there is a rota to give everyone who wants the chance to ring in August.

"Church bells have a long history of being used to communicate news, celebrate and mourn local and national events as well as to announce Christian worship.

"They were silent for six long years in the Second World War but very much a part of the armistice celebrations at the end. We were looking forward to recognising this at VE75 in May but it was not to be.

"When the bells fell silent in mid-March it marked the end of an extraordinary period when they had rung for Sunday morning worship on 360 consecutive Sundays.

"Some of the ringers have done some virtual ringing using zoom and a special app called Ringing Room, but its not the same.

"We are excited and pleased to be back in the tower, albeit with masks and gloves. It is an important part of the good news as the church reopens for physical worship. We have been doing some virtual ringing and the church has provided a brilliant range of on-line resources for the worshipping community. But we are all keen to return to the real experience, in the tower and in the pews."

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