FOLLOWING the guidance of The Central Council of Church Bellringers, the tower captain of St Andrew’s Church Stratton, Jo Barnes, tolled the tenor bell 100 times to commemorate the funeral of HRH Prince Philip at 2pm last Saturday, April 17.

This was no mean feat as the bell at St Andrew’s weighs 21 cwt.

Jo said: “We were asked to ring the bell half muffled, which means that a leather pad is fitted to the bell’s clapper to reduce the volume. By only muffling the clapper on one side you get an ‘echo’ effect as blows are alternately loud and soft. This is especially poignant and effective for funerals and other sad occasions.”

It would have been difficult to toll the bell for 99 strikes as this would involve setting the bell upside down on the ‘back stroke’ so Jo tolled 100 times to be able to set the bell at ‘hand stroke’. Jo added: “Hopefully, nobody was counting...”.

The bell was also rung earlier at St Olaf’s Church, Poughill.

Church bellringers hope to resume ringing for regular church services and practices from Monday, May 17.

Jo said: “If you love the sound of the bells and would like a new hobby, why not get in touch? We are a jolly band of people and always happy to welcome new recruits.”

For more information contact Jo at [email protected]