Hearing the call for new bell ringers
The centuries old tradition of bell ringing is under threat from a lack of new people taking it up. Richard Solesbury-Timms, joint tower captain of All Saints Middleton Cheney, is on a quest to attract new recruits.
Richard has bell ringing in his blood and has been doing it for the last 20 years. His father, George Timms was the tower captain for 45 years before handing the reins over to his son.
Presently the experienced bell ringers there are in the area are spread between a number of churches and sometimes bell ringing services cannot be offered as readily as they previously were.
George said: “Its getting the young ones to learn it, that’s the problem. There’s some ringers from Wardington up there at the moment. We help them and they help us.”
The bells, which weigh as much as 2,500 pounds, take between six and 12 months to learn but can be mastered by young and old alike.
Despite the enormous weights involved bell ringing has little to do with brute strength.
George said: “Once you’ve got the bell up it will ring itself so all your doing is keeping it on the balance. It’s learning those two balances.”
Bell ringing is open to anyone who wants to have a try and details of local ringing groups can be found on most parish council websites.
Richard said: “It’s all about trying to bring the bells to the community rather than just a bunch of bells in a church. We want the wider community to come in regardless of faith or background.
“It should be open to anyone and that’s what we’re aiming for.”
Richard is hoping to take a model of a working bell into schools to teach children about this dying art.
To contact Mr Solesbury-Timms on 07456 716031 or email [email protected] for more information.