Churches across East Cambs let the bells ring out for Olympics

MORE than 40 churches across the Diocese of Ely and dozens more community groups marked the start of the Olympics by ringing their bells at precisely at 8.12am today.

Church, hand-held and even cow bells were rung for exactly three minutes as part of a nationwide feat to mark the start of the London 2012 Games. The ringing took 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.

On Palace Green, next to Ely Cathedral, town crier Avril Hayter-Smith led a procession of hand-held bells to mark the occasion.

The small band rang their bells determinedly for three full minutes as the bells at churches around the diocese sounded about them.

The bellringers at St James Church in Stretham were also up early to mark the occasion.

Peter Binns, a member of the Stretham 2012 Society of Bell Ringers, said: “It went very well. We were all ready to go at 8.12am and we rang the bells like mad for three full minutes. Nobody in the village seemed to bat an eyelid!

“Across the Diocese of Ely we had a pretty good response, with more than 40 churches taking part.”