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Friday, 18 April 2014

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Having the chime of our lives at Carlisle Cathedral open weekend

The bells were ringing out inside Carlisle Cathedral as volunteers showed off their skills.

Cathedral bells photo
Bell ringers Maureen Fleet, David Horne, John Proudfoot and Margaret Boumphrie

They demonstrated how how to use handbells and gave visitors an insight into the work they do in the building’s historic tower.

It was all part of an open weekend which showcased the variety of activities that go on in the landmark place of worship.

Margaret Boumphrie, of Kirkandrews, is the tower captain-in-charge of the cathedral bells.

“All of this is trying to explain what goes on in the work of the cathedral,” she said.

Her stand featured handbells, which members of the public were invited to have a go on, plus a video demonstrating their normal work.

The cathedral has 18 bells, 12 of which are rung on a regular basis. Others are listed objects which cannot be scrapped but are rarely used. Health and safety concerns meant that visitors were not able to head up the tower and see these for themselves.

Mrs Boumphrie said bell ringing was an enjoyable pastime but one that also required a good degree of dedication.

She said: “If you are going to learn how to ring it is a commitment to the church and to church life.”

One member of the group, Maureen Flett, from Carlisle, took up bell ringing in January of this year

“I have always been interested in this sort of thing,” she said.

“I got asked to come for a visit and that was it, I was hooked.”

Both women said the hobby does not require a great deal of strength but that it was important to make sure you were taught correctly.

The team at the cathedral practice on Friday nights and ring the bells for services on a Sunday.

Another member of the group John Proudfoot, of Carlisle, joked: “It’s great for beating stress.”

Their efforts impressed visitors. Jean Patinson, who was returning from Ontario, Canada, to her home city after 43 years across the Atlantic, said:

“I love it. It’s great to show it to friends.”

Her friend Catherine Taylor added: “We got to ring the bells and see just how difficult it is.”

The Rev Michael Manley, Canon Mission of the cathedral, said: “We are very fortunate that we have got a team that are able to ring every Sunday.”

He said the purpose of the day was to see all of the activities that go on at the cathedral.

These ranged from choirs, tours, bible study, education and sessions entitled ‘Godly play’.

“We believe that God is involved in all of our life, not just the religious parts,” Mr Manley added.

Two youngsters enjoying the day were brother and sister Sam and Honoré Bailey, both from Great Corby, who were fascinated by the candles burning in the building and lit one themselves.

“I like it,” said Sam, eight, while his sister added that the flames were “scary”.

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