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Toll bells on 4 August to number the Fallen

25 July 2014


From Wendy Graham

Sir, - I am a church bell-ringer, and, as one might imagine, there has been a certain amount of discussion, both locally and nationally in The Ringing World (the weekly newspaper for bell-ringers) about how bell-ringers might mark the centenary of the start of the First World War. Clearly, anything that might be construed as "jolly ringing" would be inappropriate, but sombre ringing such as tolling a bell, as for a funeral, was generally considered to be suitable.

I suggested in The Ringing World that on 4 August a bell could be tolled once for every life lost from the parish in that terrible war. I understand that there are very few parishes in Britain who lost no one and many quite small towns and villages lost the majority of their young men.

Marking 4 August in this way could be done by any church that has a bell, not just those with bells hung for change ringing. With a little publicity, it would increase awareness of the truly dreadful loss of life in the First World War, and how it must have affected each parish. I believe the number for my own parish is around 140, which, I am sure, is a figure that would surprise many of the parishioners.


1 Park Square, Wigton

Cumbria CA7 9PP

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