Chairman rings the changes in Offenham - The Evesham Observer

Chairman rings the changes in Offenham

Evesham Editorial 21st Nov, 2023   0

WYCHAVON’s Chairman was ‘learning the ropes’ after trying his hand at bell ringing as part of his 50th anniversary tour of the district.

Coun Robert Raphael joined the team at St Mary and St Milburgh Church in Offenham for an introduction to the art of bell ringing.

During the session Coun Raphael was taught how to control the bell using the rope, experienced ringing as a team and was introduced to ‘call changes’ which changes the sequence bells are rung in to create different sounds.

On average it takes up to ten weeks for someone to become safe and competent at handling a bell and 27 weeks to be able to ring with others and ring simple call changes.

The tradition dates back to 400AD when bells were first authorised for use in Christian churches. There are six bells in Offenham with the oldest dating back to 1701.

The bell ringing team practises every Tuesday and ring at Sunday services and on special occasions. They were recently called into action to ring as a mark of respect for HM Queen Elizabeth II and in honour of the coronation of HM King Charles III.

They ring for different churches around the area because of a national shortage of bell ringers. It is estimated there are 38,000 sets of bells across the UK but only about 30,000 ringers. A campaign is underway to encourage more people to take up the hobby before some churches fall silent for good.

Coun Raphael, chairman of Wychavon District Council, said: “I have always wanted to try bell ringing and after my taster session it is easy to see why this is such an appealing hobby. It takes a lot of skill, teamwork and communication but it is a lot of fun.

“I urge people to give it a try for themselves and see if they can help keep this wonderful tradition alive for many more generations to come.”

Anyone interested in trying out bell ringing can contact their local church or the Association of Ringing Teachers at

Coun Raphael is currently on a tour of the district with the aim to visit every parish by April next year, when Wychavon celebrates its 50th anniversary

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