Awards for new bellringers at St Mary’s Church in Thame

New members of the bellringing team at St Mary’s Church in Thame have been awarded certificates.

John Tchighianoff, chairman of the South Oxon Branch of Change Ringers, presented them to Harry Turner, Matthew Harper, Graham Turner, Cheryl Oliver and Rowan Oliver.

A spokeswoman for the team said: “St Mary’s bellringing team is proud to continue the heritage tradition of change-ringing that has been alive in Britain for over 400 years with five new members joining the band this year.

“The United Kingdom is unique in having groups of bells that can be rung in its churches. Of the 6,000+ churches with change-ringing bells, 93% are in England.

“Almost everyone lives within hearing distance of church bells and they are often the soundtrack to personal and social events such as weddings, christenings and funerals. During the Second World War, no bells rang across the country unless they were to signal an invasion and remained silent until they were rung to signify peace.”

After learning to control a bell, the band learn methods - melodies or patterns - which are then rung for occasions and seasonal services.

You do not need to be a member of a church to learn to ring, or even be musical, just willing to be part of team that takes pride and joy in continuing a tradition that is an integral part of British life.

To see the bells in action, and find out if this fulfilling hobby is for you, contact tower captain Rosalie Gibson on 01844 213948.