Rob still chiming in after 84 years of work

Rob Harvey
Rob Harvey

At 95-years-old Rob Harvey could be the oldest bellringer in the country – and he is certainly the oldest in Whichford.

Mr Harvey has lived in the village all his life and started bellringing at St Michael’s Church aged 11 with a few friends.

A total of 84 years later he is still ringing the bells twice every Sunday and has no intention of giving up his hobby just yet.

“If you love doing a job, you will do it well” he said. “I absolutely love doing this and have learnt a lot from other people over the years.

“There was nothing else to do in the village when I first started ringing, so every Sunday I would go down and ring in the morning at 11.30am and again at 6.30pm. It was good exercise for the brain and the body.”

Mr Harvey has met many friends over the years who share the same passion, including those taking part in competitions organised by the popular Four Shires Guild of Bellringers, which includes churches from Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.

As well as enjoying working on his farm in the village, Mr Harvey has helped raise funds to increase the number of bells at St Michael’s from six to eight. On his 80th birthday in 1998, he rang a quarter peal with seven friends.

“St Michael’s has been given quite a reputation as it has room for eight bells,” Mr Harvey said.

“It cost about £12,000 to install the two extra ones. Most churches only have five bells, so for a small village like Whichford to have a church with more than that is really good.”

Despite having had to temporarily give up ringing when suffering from shingles earlier this year, Mr Harvey was determined to resume on his 95th birthday on June 19, and rang the treble bell he donated to the church when he turned 80.

“Although I no longer have the stamina to ring a Quarter Peal now, I am determined not to give up ringing just yet!” he said.