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House of Commons Hansard
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21 February 2019
Volume 654
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3. What steps the Church of England is taking to support bell ringing in its churches. [909351]

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The Church works closely with the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, which supports local associations with a network of teachers, including one in my hon. Friend’s constituency. Following the recent successful recruitment of new bell ringers for the world war one anniversary, the Church was pleased to hear that many of the new members have decided to continue to ring with their local towers.

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I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that answer. Will she tell us what the Church of England is doing to encourage young people into bell ringing, so that we can foster the next generation of campanologists?

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I hope that my hon. Friend will be encouraged to learn that more than 250 young people will gather in Liverpool this weekend to take part in the national youth ringing contest. The Church of England is delighted to see young people rediscovering the love of these traditional community activities. Church schools and parishes provide a range of support to children and young people, and initiatives such as these show how beneficial exercise and teamwork can be for young people’s wellbeing.

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I must say to the House that I have observed bell ringing being undertaken in Winslow and in Lillingstone Lovell in my constituency, and very skilfully undertaken it was too. For my own part, I am bound to say that I think I was very maladroit when trying to bell ring. I found it a most strenuous activity. But there you go—perhaps with practice I might get a little bit better.

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Will my right hon. Friend make representations to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport about the loss of income to belfries from letting them to telecommunication companies for their antenna? As a consequence of the cack-handed introduction of the telecommunications code, the loss of income is as disconcerting to bell ringers as it is to the vicar.

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My right hon. Friend raises a worrying issue that I am sure the Second Church Estates Commissioner will be pleased to hear about and tackle on his behalf.