Final countdown to Olympic Games begins with the sound of bells
Britain awoke on its Olympic morning to the sound of bells – lots of bells – as Turner Prize winner Martin Creed’s scheme to herald the arrival of the Games with a national collective bell-ringing was enthusiastically carried out by thousands of people all over the country.
For three minutes from 8.12am, the bells rang out: from humble village chimes to the 13 tonne Big Ben, which was struck 40 times – the first time it has broken schedule since 1952 and the funeral of King George VI. The national cacophony was broadcast into millions of homes on BBC Radio 2 and Radio 4.
On Westminster Bridge, hundreds gathered at the start of the day to hear the famous clock. Cyclists joined in with their bicycle bells while others used anything to hand, be it a mobile phone or an old Christmas toy.
Further down the Thames, the event was announced with cannon fire from HMS Belfast, where 300 sea cadets, brownies and town criers joined in with hand bells.
Even the culture secretary Jeremy Hunt got in on the act, showing admirable enthusiasm before nearly knocking out an onlooker as his bell went flying off its handle.
The event, “Work No. 1197: All the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes”, to give its full title, cast a rare spotlight on the ancient art of bell-ringing and its practitioners.
“It was an absolutely magical to be part of such an important national event,” said Sue Elrick, 66, the tower captain of Holy Trinity Church in the West Sussex village of Hurstpierpoint. “I don’t think people appreciate what an art there is to bell ringing. We had a belfry full of people. We were thrilled.”
Ms Elrick, and her vice-captain John Morris, 74, who has been ringing bells at Hurstpierpoint for more than 50 years, enlisted the help of local children to deliver the youthful vigour required to ring the bells “as quickly and as loudly as possible”.
Five boys aged 11 to 12 were put through seven weeks training in the basics of campanology – the science of bell-ringing. Although they broke three wooden stays in the bell tower in the process, their captain declared herself delighted with their progress.
“We have a great team here, but an ageing team. We hope they will be able to carry on the tradition for many years yet,” said Ms Elrick.
- 1 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 2 Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
- 3 Sussex couple die in suspected Christmas Day 'suicide pact'
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
UK weather: Warning for more snow and ice as freezing temperatures and gales hit Britain
UK weather: Travel chaos continues as King's Cross train delays add to snow on roads
The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
North Korea calls Barack Obama 'a monkey' in latest attack as 'The Interview' row festers
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...