Fancy an unusual hobby? Bradford Cathedral is searching for new bell ringers
PUBLISHED: 00:16 23 December 2011 | UPDATED: 20:28 20 February 2013
If you're searching for a heavenly new hobby, give Bradford Cathedral a bell
The print version of this article appeared in the January 2012 issue of Yorkshire Life
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The bells at Bradford Cathedral have been ringing out for most of the past 170 years, calling people to everyday services as well as marking civic and national occasions.
During much of the last two centuries, this West Yorkshire tower has been regarded as a bell ringing centre of excellence not just in Yorkshire but throughout the whole of the country.
A computer-based bell simulator, which generates the sound of bells through loudspeakers in the bell chamber, was recently installed in the tower to enable practice sessions to take place at any time without disturbing long suffering neighbours.
And while the current bell ringers remain dedicated to their craft, their numbers have begun to dwindle and new ringers are now needed to continue this incredible English tradition.
The cathedral recently opened its tower for a morning of bell ringing, led by the Yorkshire Association of Change Ringers, so potential new ringers could see for themselves what it was all about and, if the pull to pull became too great, have a go on one of the ropes.
The Ring Out Bradford! event also included a small exhibition, a display of handbell ringing and, perhaps most importantly of all, gave visitors an opportunity to test their stamina on the tower stairs, which have been known to put off less stoic ringers.
If you can hear the bells calling out to you, call the cathedral office on 01274 777720 or Sue Green at the Yorkshire Association of Change Ringers on 01943 864081. Bradford Cathedral is open Monday to Saturday 9am-4.30pm and on Sunday for services only. For more information, visit bradfordcathedral.org.
Ringing any bells?
Yorkshire Association of Change Ringers was established over a pint at the Punch Bowl Inn in Stonegate, York, in July 1875 and had its inaugural meeting three months later in Birstall, West Yorkshire.
It began meeting three times a year under the presidency of Jasper Whitfield Snowdon. To this day, general gatherings continues to be held in February, May and September and J W Snowdon is duly remembered by the ringing of handbells at the annual dinner each November.
Membership had reached 1,000 by 1903, despite the strict entry requirement that members must be able to ring 720 changes or cover to a quarter peal (a yardstick which remains resolutely in place).
As membership continued to grow the association split into four districts, then six and now has nine branches, some of which are as large as the territorial associations which serve entire counties elsewhere.