Church bells will herald Sunday services in Hartlepool after seven months of silence

Church bells will ring out across Hartlepool this weekend to herald Sunday morning services for the first time in more than six months.

St Aidan's Church bellringer Andrew Frost.
St Aidan's Church bellringer Andrew Frost.

Silenced last October by the second nationwide coronavirus lockdown, they will sound for 30 minutes before the start of three services in town.

They will be heard ringing on Sunday, May 23, at St Oswald’s Church, in Brougham Terrace, St Aidan’s Church, in Stockton Road, and Stranton Church, in Church Row, prior to their respective services at 9.30am, 10.45am and 11am.

Andrew Frost of the Hartlepool Guild of Bellringers, said: "The town’s bell ringers are excited to return after such an enforced lay off.

Andrew Frost outside St Aidan's Church.

"Having not rung bells for so long, it may take a while to get comfortable but, as they say, practice makes perfect and everything should be sounding good again very quickly.”

Guild members are able to ring the bells together following the latest easing of lockdown restrictions on Monday of this week.

Mr Frost said: "Covid restrictions mean that there will only be a maximum of six in each tower, masks must be worn at all the times and there must be as much ventilation as possible.

"All the bell ringers hope that restrictions will be eased more on June 21 so that they can get back to normal.”

There are eight bells at both St Aidan’s and Stranton churches and 10 at St Oswald’s Church.

The only time they have sounded since last October was last month when one bell was tolled at each of the three churches on Saturday, April 17, ahead of the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh following his death at the age of 99.

The Hartlepool Guild of Bellringers’ members are aged between 10 and 80.

Mr Frost, who first learn to ring church bells nearly 60 years ago, said they always welcome new recruits and he added: “If you think you might like to learn to ring bells, or did ring and want to come back, the team are always looking to recruit and train people.”

Contact him on (01429) 281767 to find out more information.

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