Focus: They do what...? Byways of the charity world - The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

Nathalie Thomas

Bell ringing doesn't exist only in fables where fat friars dangle on the end of a rope. It's a serious pursuit that the CCCBR has been supporting for the past 115 years.

Bell ringing has found admirers in numerous countries, including Australia, America and Zimbabwe. And with 67 international societies within its ranks, the council brings the global bell-ringing community together.

The organisation offers guidance on how to install and preserve your bells, how to play rolls of honour and compose tunes.

Its website also goes to great lengths to explain 'change ringing' - the preferred method of most of its members. Created in the 16th century by the introduction of wheels, change ringing allowed the art to move beyond one man and his bell. It gave ringers "better control of their bells, allowing sets of bells to be rung in systematically changing patterns".

It may sound complicated, but the council assures that, with tuition, "most beginners will be ready to ring with a band in weeks".

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