The chairman of Wychavon "learned the ropes" of bell-ringing as part of his 50th anniversary tour of the district.

Cllr Robert Raphael joined the band at St Mary & St Milburgh Church in Offenham.

His session involved learning to manoeuvre the bell with the rope, participating in the ringing team and learning about, "call changes" which alters the sequence the bells are rung in to create different tones.


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He discovered it could take up to ten weeks to handle a bell safely and a good 27 weeks to ring in synchrony with others and execute call changes.

The age-old craft traces back to 400 AD when church bells were first permitted, with six bells housed at Offenham dating back to 1701.

Cllr Raphael 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."

Bell ringing is performed for Sunday services and special celebrations, recently chiming in honour of Queen Elizabeth II following her passing, and King Charles III's coronation.

Due to a national shortage of bell ringers, Offenham's team rings for surrounding churches.

Approximately 30,000 ringers for an estimated 38,000 bell sets exist across the country, stirring a campaign to entice more hobbyists.

To get involved, contact your local church or the Association of Ringing Teachers online.

Cllr Raphael's tour, aiming to touch base in every parish, continues until Wychavon's 50th-anniversary in April next year.