Regular visitors to the Grammarians website and Facebook will recall that earlier in the year the Bangor Grammarians Committee, mindful of the school’s role and sacrifice during the First World War, agreed to contribute £250 to the Bells4StGeorgeYpres project.
The appeal target was £195,000 (which was reached), with the project’s main element being to install a ring of eight change ringing bells into the Tower of St. George’s Memorial Church in Ypres, Belgium.
Here is the latest update from trustee Alan Regin, with particular reference to the recent dedication ceremony in Ypres.
Over 170 people travelled from many parts of the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe to be present at the blessing service on Sunday 22 October. The service was led by the Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, The Right Reverend Dr Robert Innes. The church was packed, with donors and bell ringers being joined by church members and VIPs from Ypres and beyond.
Immediately following the service in the church, the clergy and eight ringers went up to the ringing room, which was dedicated and named ‘The Bertram Prewett Ringing Room.’ Straight after that the new bells rang out Ypres Surprise Major to the delight of the ringers and the assembled crowd outside. Following the dedication ring over 100 bell ringers tried the new bells! As they will, I hope, attest, they sound great, especially in the wonderfully appointed ringing room.
Many donors and interested people were also able to visit the ringing room and, with the bells “down”, were able to chime “their” bell and have a demonstration of a bell being raised. Many others watched on the TV screen in the porch, which is part of the information/ education aspect of the project. The screen alternates between the belfry, with a great view of the bells, and the ringing room.
Amy Harris from BBC Midlands joined us and has sent two links. This one should take you to the TV report she filmed and edited for BBC East Midlands:
This one will take you to a radio report that aired on around 10 local BBC stations up and down the country, from BBC Leeds to BBC Jersey:
There are many people we need to thank for the ‘near’ completion of this project, firstly the Clergy, initially the Rev. Brian Llewelyn and latterly the Rev. Gillian Trinder; also the Church Council, including Churchwardens Ricky Beets and Peter Hawkins, for allowing us to proceed.
We certainly need to thank all the donors who have, with their contributions, allowed a first-class job to be done in all aspects of the installation.
Thanks go to John Taylor & Co. Ltd. for the production and installation of a wonderful new ring of bells. This includes the directors, foundry staff, steel fabricators, carpenters, bell tuner, blacksmiths, clapper makers, transport drivers, bell hangers and backroom staff. It was great that a number of them joined us at either or both of the services.
Also worthy of mention are handbell donor John Coles, Steve McEwen of Whitechapel Handbells for his wonderful work to restore them to their full glory, and Tim Noad who created the wonderful front piece for the Memorial Book.
Our work is not over yet! The next stage of the project involves putting the necessary groundwork in place to start teaching a local band to ring. We have engaged with the Association of Ringing Teachers (ART) to work on that and already have some prospective ringers.
Please note that the bells were rung last weekend as follows:
Saturday 11 November 2017 – 8.40am until 9.15am and then 10.15am until 10.45am.
Sunday 12 November 2017 – 10am until 10.30am and then 11.15am until 11.45am.