Bell-ringing band reunites half a century on

02 November 2018

MARTIN WHITELEY

(l-r) Brian Chappell, Roger Edwards, Tim Rose, Christopher Jenkins, Anthony Whiteley, Martin Whiteley and Richard Salisbury

(l-r) Brian Chappell, Roger Edwards, Tim Rose, Christopher Jenkins, Anthony Whiteley, Martin Whiteley and Richard Salisbury

FIFTY years after they last rang together, a group of former school friends reunited to ring the bells for Founder’s Day at The Blue School, Wells.

Six of the original 1968 seven came together to ring the bells on Thursday of last week: Brian Chappell, Roger Edwards, Christopher Jenkins, Anthony Whiteley, Martin Whiteley, and Richard Salisbury. Tim Rose was the only missing member of the band, which was photographed in October 1968.

The band came together to ring the bells for Founder’s Day 50 years ago. Speaking on Tuesday, Martin Whiteley said that the occasion was recorded in a photograph taken in the tower of St Cuthbert’s, Wells, and it was the “re-discovery of this memento that provided the impetus to celebrate its 50th anniversary”.

He continued: “Not only are all the people in the original photo still alive, but they are still ringing church bells.”

MARTIN WHITELEY(l-r) Brian Chappell, Roger Edwards, Christopher Jenkins, Anthony Whiteley, Martin Whiteley and Richard Salisbury

As well as the six in the photograph, another six former Blue School students turned up to help with the anniversary ring, which was directed by Mr Whiteley.

He said: “Some of us had not seen each other since the last day of school; so it was lovely to reunite for this occasion. One of the ringers had not rung for 40 years, but she took to it like a duck to water. It was a really, really good day.”

Originally, the boys might not have had entirely honourable reasons for ringing, Mr Whiteley said: “We were delighted to ring as it meant we could skive off lessons for a while, and get out of school.”

The ringing at school inspired a lifetime hobby for some. Mr Whiteley said: “I have been ringing for fifty years now, and still ring at Derby Cathedral, but for many of the others it has been a much more spasmodic hobby.”

The assistant headteacher of The Blue School, Bridget Cox, said that it was “a wonderful occasion and the school loved to hear the bells being rung by former pupils on Founder’s Day”.

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