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Bell Ringing

Volume 541: debated on Thursday 1 March 2012

A general fund provides grants to enable the repair and maintenance of historic bell towers. The Church of England is delighted that bell ringing in church buildings is taking centre stage this year during the diamond jubilee and Olympic celebrations.

Over the past few years, the bell ringers of the 12th century St Mary-le-Ghyll church in Barnoldswick have raised more than £60,000 to increase the number of bells at the church from three to six, a project that was completed and dedicated by the Bishop of Bradford in January 2010. They are now in the process of raising a further £17,000 to add a final two bells. Will my hon. Friend join me in congratulating them on their efforts?

That is a fantastic achievement by St Mary- le-Ghyll and I hope that all those six bells will ring out at 3 o’clock in the afternoon on 3 June, when churches throughout the country are being encouraged to ring out their bells to coincide with the river pageant on the River Thames. I am glad to report to the House that the lead barge—the herald barge—will contain a floating belfry, the first of its kind with a new ring of eight bells cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. Each of the royal jubilee bells will have the royal arms cast on it and will be named after a senior member of the royal family. The bells will go down the Thames and ring a quarter peal on the river, with the church bells along the route providing a musical response. It is hoped that at 3 pm on 3 June bells throughout England will ring out to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee.

No one could accuse the hon. Gentleman of providing the House with insufficient information and we are grateful to him.

Living in the house directly opposite St Thomas, Musbury, church in Helmshore, I am a real fan of campanology. Will my hon. Friend join me in congratulating our congregation at St Thomas’s on the fundraising we have done to restore our bell tower so that bells can be rung again on Sunday morning?

Absolutely, and that demonstrates that communities throughout the country are very keen to keep their church bell towers in good order.