Diocese of Manchester

    Record number of bell-ringers train for Ringing Remembers

    St Barnabas Church in Shore has recruited 14 new ringers of all ages for its bell tower, making it one of the biggest recruiting towers in the country for the national Ringing Remembers campaign.

    The new ringers are being trained to ring the church bells to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, when thousands of bells will ring out from churches across the country.

    The Ringing Remembers project set about trying to recruit 1400 new bell-ringers to honour the 1400 ringers who lost their lives in the Great War. And at St Barnabas Church in Shore the bells will ring out at the tower that has been silent for over a decade. 

    This surge of interest has been led by tower captain John Catanach, whose father was captain before him, and who has been single-handedly ringing and maintaining the bells for many years.

    “I was surprised by the response we got,” said John. “I was expecting about four. If we could get eight together that would have been fantastic, but we have become one of the biggest recruiting towers in the country for Ringing Remembers.

    “I think the response is due to a real sense of community here – and people want to hear the bells again. We’ve had lots of positive feedback from the local community!”

    Jamie Singleton, National Campaign Coordinator for Ringing Remembers, said, “Ringing Remembers has really caught the public’s imagination, showing how fondly bell ringing is regarded across the country, and nowhere more so than in Littleborough where they have recruited so many new ringers! It’s a fantastic effort there by everyone involved, and will be a special moment to hear the bells being rung there on Armistice Day.”

    New recruit Stuart Wildman and his 11-year-old son Zack are two of the new recruits. Stuart finds that ringing has strengthened his relationships with fellow churchgoers: “It’s been a great experience, we’ve really got to know each other better and developed a real camaraderie.

    “We always have a Remembrance service here and it’s usually a massive occasion and parade,” he added. “It will be the cherry on the cake to be the only bells ringing out in this village, remembering the people and the sacrifices they made.”

    Zack, and his friend Ben both come to bell ringing practice after football training. “I enjoy it and I get really excited every Thursday and I think ‘It’s bell ringing today’. I just look forward to it every day,” said Zach.

    Ben added: “I really like interacting with other people – concentrating on the bells refreshes my mind; it helps you forget what you’re worrying about.”

    John Catanach hopes the ringing at St Barnabas will continue after Armistice Day and that even more people will want to get involved.

The Church of England Diocese of Manchester,
Church House,
90 Deansgate,
Manchester M3 2GH

Manchester DBF Company number 149999, Charity number 249424
Telephone: 0161 828 1400