Hear the bells sound for the Olympics!

27 July 2012

Hear the bells sound for the Olympics! photo


THE OPENING OF THE LONDON OLYMPIC GAMES 2012 was rung in across the Diocese this morning with church bells being rung in Dibden, Moordown and Bursledon.

At St. Leonard’s, Bursledon, Bob Bax, Lay Chair of Eastleigh Deanery, and Colin Swift, a St Leonard’s choir member (pictured above) rung the church’s fixed bells for three minutes at 8.12am this morning as part of the nationwide ‘All the Bells’ event.

Hear St Leonard's ringing in the Games

The event, ‘All the Bells’, thought up by Turner prize-winner Martin Creed, encouraged everyone to ring any bells they could find as loud and as fast as possible to mark the opening day of the Olympics.

The timing of the bell ringing was chosen to be exactly 12 hours before 20.12 and amongst the bells rung nationally for the occasion, Big Ben was rung for the first time outside its normal schedule since February 15 1952, when it tolled every minute for 56 strokes for the funeral of King George VI.

Bells in Bursledon

In Bursledon, the ringing brought out some people from surrounding streets.

Bob said the church chose to participate in the bell ringing because of his prior involvement in Olympic projects.

“Running a local Olympics Inspire project, I have been looking for anything that would celebrate the Games – and this sets off our Opening Ceremony service that starts at 8pm in St Paul’s where the community is invited to watch the Ceremony on our TV.”

A once-in-a-lifetime moment

For both Bell Ringers, the event was made even more exciting by their memories of the 1948 Games.

Colin, who has assisted Bob in ringing the bells, recounted a friend who had caught the train to London every day in 1948 to watch the events, commenting: “this time, I was pleased to be able to do something that is involved with the Olympics myself.”

“For me, it was great to ring the bells for a once in a lifetime event because I missed the 1948 Games as I was on my way to Thailand,” Bob added.

Bell parties and beyond

Bursledon was not the only parish with plans to welcome the Olympics today with 86-year-old Ray Merrick and 11-year old Ellie Watford ringing St John’s bells together in Moorsdown.

Rev. Stuart Miller of St John's said: "It was a lot of fun, the idea came from the congregation and members had bell parties in their houses too, enjoying an early breakfast then ringing the bells they had brought."

Meanwhile, nearly 150 people gathered at St Andrew's, Dibden, to ring bells, including bicycle bells and in one case, a fire engine bell, before enjoying a leisurely tea and croissant afterwards!

Anne Murphy, an administrator at St Murphy's said: "It was really good, John Currin, our vicar,. and Mike Hutchinson actually sketched the Olympic rings out in the carpark last night and we left chalk out for the children to colour in the rings."