Bells may stay silent after Christmas if more ringers cannot be found for Wisbech church
- Credit: Archant
The bells at a Wisbech church may stay silent after Christmas if people cannot be found to join the ringing team.
An urgent appeal has gone out for new faces to learn to ring at St Peter and St Paul’s church after some of the team left in the summer.
The church is a rarity because it has ten bells - an unusually high amount - but the number of ringers has dropped to just four leaving more than half of the set untouched.
Churchwarden Angie Manning said: “There is a serious chance that they may not be rung after Christmas if more people can’t be found.
“There is nothing better than that sound when you walk into church on Sunday morning or on Christmas Eve.
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“At weddings it makes a huge difference having bells. They give a warm welcome.
“We are lucky to have ten bells but we really do need people to come along and learn how to ring and join us so that they can all be used.”
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Ringers do not need any experience and must be a minimum age of 11 years. All they need is a willingness to learn and a good dose of enthusiasm.
They need to be tall enough to reach the ropes - which sit at about five feet high.
“It is not about strength it is about skill,” said Mrs Manning.
“People will be given full training. It is a lovely hobby to have - there is a great social side to it.”
The oldest part of the church dates back to the late 12th century and in the tower there are ten bells with some dating back to the 16th century.
Two of the bells were a gift to the church from Dr Abraham Jobson, a vicar from 1802-28, while others were made by specialist bell manufacturers from Thetford, Downham Market and Norwich.
A spokesman for the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers said: “Bell ringing is a team activity that stimulates the brain and helps keep you fit.
“It also makes a glorious sound! Many consider ringing to be their contribution to church life, others do it for the pure pleasure and the company it brings.
“Ringers come from all walks of life and range in age from ten to those in their eighties.”
They added that many people say that when they are ringing they forget all the tensions and frustrations of the day.
Anyone interested in joining the St Peter and St Paul’s ringers on Thursday evening practice sessions should call Mrs Manning on 07754-034011 or churchwarden Lesley Mardle on 07733-522438.