Churches across diocese will let the bells ring out for Olympics

CHURCHES across the Diocese of Ely will be doing their part to herald the start of the Olympics this week with a symphony of co-ordinated bell-ringing.

At 8.12am on Friday bells in dozens of church towers across the diocese will ring out for three minutes to mark the commencement of the London Games.

Others church towers are organising ‘Olympic rings’ later in the day to celebrate the occasion.

The ringing is taking place as part of Work No. 1197: All the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes by Turner Prize-winning artist and musician Martin Creed, commissioned 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.

The Ely Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers will also be using the occasion as an opportunity to reach out to those hearing the bells 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.

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“We’d also like to see the return of people who used to ring or learnt years ago but didn’t continue. However, with the long-term future of bell ringing in mind, we are particularly keen to attract young people.”

“There’s a bit of a myth that bell ringing is just for old-timers, but there are plenty of young people - like me - who are keen ringers ready to bring on the next generation. There’s even a bell ringing iPhone app!”

Anyone interested in learning to ring church bells can contact Philip Bailey in the first instance on 07968 788425 or e-mail