Hartlepool bells to ring in memory of Prince Philip ahead of his funeral

Church bells will sound across Hartlepool as the town joins the nation in saying farewell to Prince Philip.

Friday, 16th April 2021, 8:54 am

The Duke of Edinburgh, who died at the age of 99 on Friday, April 9, will be laid to rest on Saturday, April 17 at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

Church bells will be heard across the town on Saturday afternoon at Stranton Church, St Aidan’s Church and St Oswald’s Church.

Bellringer Andrew Frost, 73, has said that due to Covid restrictions only one bell will be tolled at each of the three churches.

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St Aidan's Church bellringer Andrew Frost ahead of a special bell tolling on Saturday in memory of Prince Philip.
St Aidan's Church bellringer Andrew Frost ahead of a special bell tolling on Saturday in memory of Prince Philip.

Mr Frost, who first learned how to ring a church bell when he was 14, said: “Bells will be tolled on Saturday for Prince Philip’s funeral right around the country, in fact, probably right around the world.

"There will be two people at each of the three towers and we will slowly ring the heaviest bell, the deepest sounding bell.

"One sound will be loud and the next one will be quiet. We will do that for about 20 to 25 minutes before the funeral starts.”

One side of the clapper – the tool which hits the bell – has a leather muffle strapped on one of its sides, which results in the so-called “half-muffled” sound people in Hartlepool will hear on Saturday.

St Aidan's Church bellringer Andrew Frost prepares for Saturday's bell tolling to mark Prince Philip's funeral.

The bellringing will start at about 2.40 pm and will culminate in a minute of silence before the funeral takes place at 3 pm.

Under normal circumstances, the event would be marked with a “quarter peal”, where all bells in each church tower are rung constantly for about an hour.

Mr Frost has said this is something bellringers hope to do when lockdown restrictions are eased further on May 17 and more than six people are allowed to gather together.

He added: "Hopefully from then we’ll be able to start ringing the bells again on the Sunday services in the churches.

“We haven’t been able to toll the bells on a Sunday since October last year.”

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

The bells are rung by the Hartlepool Guild of Bellringers, which has almost 30 members, aged between 10 and 80.

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