Ringing Remembers. Honouring World War One’s Bell Ringers.
If you follow Almost Off Grid on Instagram, you may have spotted that I’m a trainee bell ringer at a local church.
All Saints Church in Old Heathfield, East Sussex advertised earlier in the year for recruits to learn the art of bell ringing. I went along and became a bit hooked.
I am now taking part in the National Ringing Remembers campaign.
What is Ringing Remembers?
The Ringing Remembers campaign aims to recruit 1,400 new bell ringers in memory of the 1,400 bell ringers who lost their lives in World War One.
This year marks 100 year since the end of World War 1. When the bells rang out on 11 November 1918, they announced the end of the most catastrophic war the world had yet seen. At that time, bells were at the heart of the community, marking events of great significance and as a means of communication long before modern technology connected us. At the end of the war, many people heard about the Armistice through the bells ringing.
After the war ended, the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (CCCBR) wrote to all ringing associations across the UK to compile the Rolls of Honour. At the time 1,077 men were reported as lost. During this WW1 Centenary year, the CCCBR has reviewed this list. They have discovered a further 323 bell ringers who died in service, which brings the total to 1,400 bell ringers who were lost.
Ringing Remembers will be honouring the memory of those 1,400 bell ringers, by joining with others across the nation ringing on the centenary of the Armistice in November 2018.
Do you have to go to Church to learn Bell Ringing?
Although bell towers are common in churches, you don’t have to go to church to be a bell ringer.
Bell ringers are a friendly, inclusive community with people of all faiths, and of no faith. With 5,500 bell towers in Britain, if you live in the UK there’s at least one near you! Ringing is open to adults and children alike, with the youngest learners normally around the age of 10.
By learning Bell Ringing, you are learning a new skill that is both a sport and an art, social, a mental exercise and good for focus and fitness.
Bell ringing is woven into the fabric of our society in the UK. It marks all the significant rites of passage in our lives such as christenings, weddings and funerals. And bell ringing often marks and forms part of important local occasions and national celebrations.
All Ringing Remembers recruits across the country like me will have the opportunity to mark the centenary of the end of the war by ringing on 11 November (Armistice Day) this year. My aim is to be confident enough by then to participate. One thing I have discovered though is that bell ringing is rather more challenging than it looks. So if I’m not quite ready I’ll definitely be going along to watch!
The campaign is funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in collaboration with Big Ideas and the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers.
If you would like to become a Ringing Remembers bell ringer, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.big-ideas.org/project/ringing-remembers/ for more information.
Here’s my bell ringing group, giving it some welly
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