Ring For The King is a nationwide call to recruit 8000 new church bellringers this year to learn the skill which gives us and those who hear the bells so much pleasure.
In 2022 church bells rang out in joyous celebration of HM Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee, and later in muffled mourning for her funeral, but it was also the year in which we returned to ringing post-COVID, to find that nationwide about 8000 ringers had been lost through death, continuing ill health, increasing age, or the lure of other activities.
In many places the local church bells have fallen silent, perhaps forever.
But not in North Yorkshire; from Norton, Hovingham and Helmsley to Scarborough, via Kirkbymoorside, Middleton, Pickering, Brompton, and down the coast from Whitby to Bridlington, there are 13 ringable towers of 5 or more bells each.
They sound out joyously for weddings and national events, toll for funerals and solemn occasions, and for many are the voice of their town or village as well as the voice of the church calling the community to worship.
A new bellringer wrote recently to the Times: “You make music without being a musician, connect with your heritage…and get a very respectable upper body workout into the bargain.”
What do you think of when someone mentions bell-ringing? Cartoons on Christmas cards of monks swinging helplessly on the end of ropes? In reality we are a very sociable, relatively normal group of people and, after proper training, very much in control of our ropes. Our youngest is 12, our oldest 92, and our backgrounds are varied: legal secretary, window cleaner, vicar, delivery driver.
If you would like to start learning the ropes now you may well be ready to Ring For The King on Coronation Day (6th May).
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 07876 423820 to find your local band and, we hope, to start on a lifelong journey with the bells.