Bamburgh plays a big part in poignant bell-ringing campaign

A north Northumberland community which mourned the loss of half-a-dozen bell ringers during the First World War is taking part in a poignant remembrance campaign.

Bamburgh and its St Aidan’s Church lost six bell ringers during the Great War – the most out of all towers in the UK, except Edington, in Wiltshire, where six were also killed.

Lord Bourne at St Aidan's Church, Bamburgh, for the Ringing Remembers campaign, with some of the bell ringers. Picture by Jane Coltman

Lord Bourne at St Aidan's Church, Bamburgh, for the Ringing Remembers campaign, with some of the bell ringers. Picture by Jane Coltman

Now, the coastal village is involved in the commemorative nationwide Ringing Remembers initiative.

A total of 1,400 bell ringers from across the UK died during the First World War and Ringing Remembers wants to recruit this number of new ringers to take part in a collective ring on this year’s Remembrance Day, as part of national commemorations to mark the centenary of the Armistice.

The campaign has so far pulled in 1,000 new bell ringers and now there is a final effort to attract the last 400.

Lord Bourne, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Faith and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales, visited St Aidan’s Church to talk to the ringers, help launch a special Ringing Remembers badge for campaign learners and urge others to join the initiative.

During the evening, the bells were rung by both new Ringing Remembers learners and experienced ringers to mark the occasion.

Lord Bourne said: “This project has been a very successful project so far. We have recruited a thousand people and now we are having an extra push to get that additional 400 before Armistice Day.

“I am putting out a plea to people to participate – bell ringing is a great past-time, a great skill and there is great camaraderie among the bell ringers.

“Bamburgh is important in this campaign because it was one of only two villages in the UK to lose six bell ringers in the war. I was keen to come to Bamburgh because it is a very significant place, with a beautiful church and a great bell-ringing tradition.”

It takes about three months to learn to handle a bell so now is the time to learn if you want to take part on November 11.

To be matched with a bell-ringing teacher in your area, email bells@big-ideas.org or visit www.big-ideas.org/ringing-remembers
The six Bamburgh ringers who died during the First World War were: Private Thomas Henry Wake, died 26/04/1915, age 25, Northumberland Fusiliers 1st/7th Bn; his brother Private Wilfred Hereward Wake, died on the same day, 26/04/1915, age 20, Northumberland Fusiliers 1st/7th Bn; Private Phillip Hall, died 16/05/1915, age 23, Australian Infantry, A.I.F. 16th Bn; Captain Alexander Torrance Laing, died 24/07/1916, age 27, Northumberland Fusiliers 13th Bn; Private William Joseph Clark, died 14/04/1918, age unknown, Coldstream Guards 3rd Bn; and Sapper Albert Hall, died 27/05/1918, age 31, Royal Engineers 15th Field Coy.