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Ringing for England - St Georges Day - 23rd April 2012

Early in 2009 a campaign was initiated to encourage the celebration of St George's Day - 23rd April - by ringing out bells from as many English church towers as possible. It received positive coverage in both the Sunday and weekday National Press and throughout many local papers.

It would be great to continue to build on that initiative but this can only be achieved with the participation of many more bell ringers. There is no sinister political motive behind this campaign: it is a straightforward attempt to raise awareness of our traditional English culture and heritage - nothing more and nothing less.

Bell ringing is universally identified as the quintessential 'Sound of England'. The unique cascading sound of our bells announces not only Christian feast days, but for generations has played an integral part in the Nation's pageantry at times of sadness and joy; notably Coronations and momentous events such as the end of the two World Wars.

Bells celebrate the culture and architecture of our Nation in a very special way. They are brought alive by the skills of ringers and the art and science of change-ringing; created in England and practised now in many parts of the world that have strong connections with our country.

What a splendid and rich inheritance. Some towers already have a long-standing tradition of marking St George's Day with dedicated ringing. Again this year it would be wonderful to encourage as many towers as possible to participate in this event with special peals, quarter peals or general ringing. The ideal would be to start ringing at an agreed time on Monday, 23rd April - say 6pm in the evening - in a collective act of celebration of England, St George and change-ringing. Whether you can ring for half an hour, an hour or three hours - it will be greatly appreciated.

If this can be done, and if all those who intend to take part could email me (Libby Alexander) at the address below then it will be possible to alert national and local media to maximize awareness.

In addition, the Editor of The Ringing World has kindly agreed to collate and publish together all reports of 2012 St George's Day ringing in these pages. In time we hope that St George's Day will become THE national ringing Day. That, in turn, may bring many more recruits to 'The Exercise'.

Libby Alexander

Submitted by Sandra Underwood (Hon Secretary)