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Youngsters chime in with church ringers

PUBLISHED: 09:25 13 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:43 07 July 2010

A new generation of bell ringers are chiming across a Norfolk village every Wednesday night.

The six bells at St Mary's Church in East Rudham were installed after the tower was renovated in 2007 and since then a group of youngsters have been learning the ancient art.

A new generation of bell ringers are chiming across a Norfolk village every Wednesday night.

The six bells at St Mary's Church in East Rudham were installed after the tower was renovated in 2007 and since then a group of youngsters have been learning the ancient art.

The ringers - Sophie Skinner, Helen Petchey, Alligan and Kaira Bundock and Jos Granger-Townsend - meet once a week and are taught by Brian Laing.

They also join in with the older bell ringers, and sometimes help at the Sunday service.

Helen Petchey, 11, said that controlling the bell was hard at first but she was enjoying learning the skill and had improved a lot.

“I like the sound of the bells and how they work,” she said.

“You don't really know what's going to happen and you can be quite startled if the bell goes all wobbly.”

Sophie Skinner, also 11, said: “I just like ringing the bells, it was difficult at first but I think I am getting better.”

The children have also benefited from a new set of hand bells, which were financed by the Youth Evangelism Fund and the Richard Phayre Charity.

Tower captain Catharine Bundock, whose daughters are learning bell ringing, said the hand bells were a good way of introducing people to ringing and they would like to take them to local schools.

She said the bell ringers had come a long way since they started.

“It really is quite a big achievement for them because it's not easy, it takes a lot of determination just to control one bell on your own,” said Mrs Bundock.

“What they are doing now is learning to ring with other people around them, keeping the rhythm and keeping their place. They are mainly just ringing rounds in the same order but gradually they will learn more complicated call changes.

“I think they really enjoy coming along here and joining in with us.”

Mrs Bundock added that even if the youngsters stopped practicing as they got older, it was a skill that would always be with them and something that would make them welcome at bell towers across the country.


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