On 11 November 2018, 100 years since the Armistice, bells will ring out from churches and cathedrals in villages, towns and cities across the country. Big Ben will also strike at 11am to mark the centenary. For this year, in particular, the UK Government has invited all bell ringers to join the nation in marking the end of the First World War by ringing together on Remembrance Sunday. They would like the ringing to take place from 12.30pm on Sunday 11 November, in addition to any ringing for services being held in the morning.
As Ringing Master I am keen that we ring in as many Towers across the Branch as possible. Therefore over the last few months, I have been in contact will all Tower Captains and Correspondents to understand what ringing is planned, and to identify where there are any gaps or shortage of ringers. I am pleased to report that the majority of Towers have plans in place, although there may be need for additional ringers to help out. There are currently only 2 Towers of ringable bells who do not have a band available, and we are putting together bands to ring at them during the day.
Church bells across the UK remained restricted throughout the course of the war and only rang freely once Armistice was declared on 11 November 1918.
Many bell ringers joined the war effort, and many lost their lives. Just after the war, the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers wrote to all bell towers to compile the Roll of Honour. At the time 1,100 men were reported as lost. During the First World War Centenary, the Central Council of Bell Ringers has been reviewing this list and has discovered further bell ringers who died in service to come to a figure of 1,400.
To mark the final year of the First World War centenary commemorations, it was announced in 2017 that 1,400 new bell ringers would be recruited in honour of the 1,400 who lost their lives during the First World War. This campaign, called “Ringing Remembers”, aims to keep this traditional British art alive in their memory – linking together past, present and future. This campaign has been very successful, and to date there are some 1,800 new ringers registered with the website.
The Peterborough Branch has been doing its bit in encouraging new ringers, and many are being trained throughout the area. The Roll of Honour on the CCCBR website identifies 7 ringers linked to Peterborough Churches who lost their lives in the war, and I can confirm that significantly more than that number have been recruited and trained over the last year. It is intended that as many of these new ringers as possible will take part in the ringing across the Branch on Sunday 11 November.
Hopefully this post puts Elaine’s post of earlier today into context. Many of you will already have committed to ring at your home Tower, and I am aware that in a number of areas, bands have made arrangements to cover other Towers. It is not intended to duplicate the plans already in place, but assist in identifying additional ringers who can help out where there are gaps. If you are interested and able to help out elsewhere across the branch that would be brilliant.
Hilary Hardie, Ringing Master