Letting the bells ring out for Olympic-time
9:40am Thursday 26th July 2012 in Olympics
YOU won’t need an alarm clock tomorrow when handbells, church bells, cow bells and bike bells ring out in unison across Oxfordshire to celebrate the start of the Olympic games.
The project – called All The Bells – was the brainchild of Turner Prize-winning artist-musician Martin Creed, who wants “all the bells in the country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible” at 8.12am.
And dozens of bell-ringers across the county are joining in the task – timed to take place exactly 12 hours before the start of the Olympics.
Carfax Tower, Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry, and St Edburg’s Church in Bicester, will be among those taking part.
Bellringers at Drayton St Leonard Church, near Berinsfield, will be joined by Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt Rev Colin Fletcher, to ring the church bells for three minutes.
Bellringing team captain Hilarie Rogers said: “When the project launched initially, there was a lot of trepidation about it, because fast and loud is not the traditional way of ringing bells.
“I think it will be lovely to celebrate the opening of the Olympics. I’m doing the fast ringing at 8.12am and a traditional peal in the afternoon, which will be more what people are used to.
“I’m very much looking forward to the Olympics, they will bring everyone together.”
Bishop Colin urged bellringing teams to join in and pray for the 2012 Olympics.
He said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for churches to make some noise to show that we support the Olympics and the hard work that all of the athletes have put in.”
The Oxford Society of Change Ringers will be pulling the ropes at Carfax Tower from 8am to 8.30am.
Secretary Michele Winter said: “We decided if we’re going to do it, we’ll do it for half an hour, at Carfax Tower where people will be walking past anyway.
“We’re really looking forward to it.”
Members of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) are encouraging the tolling of ‘any bell, anyone, anytime’, but also, more specifically at 8.12am.
Gay and Alan Cooper, who became overnight stars after performing a handbell cover of Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On on Britain’s Got Talent last year, will be ringing in the Olympics in Wallingford’s Market Square.
Mrs Cooper said: “The spirit is to get as many people ringing as possible, so we have written out the notes for Chariots of Fire, and we’re going to perform it with anyone who wants to ring with us.
“I’m not really a sporting type, but I think everyone has been influenced by Olympic enthusiasm.”
Oxford’s own town crier Anthony Church will also be taking part in the bell ringing, but at the Olympic stadium in London.