Saturday 23rd February 2019
On 9th July Debenham Ringers organised a ”Day of Bells“ with three aims, to raise awareness of the Helmingham bell restoration, to interest people in learning to ring and to raise money for the project. Helmingham are neighbours and in the same Benefice and it is inevitable that we will have many experiences there.
Helmingham whose 19cwt ring of eight was installed in 1816 to celebrate victory in the Battle of Waterloo (June 1815) had used the connection as the heritage project in their Lottery Fund application and their pictures of ships, lists of participants and extracts from the parish records of the day were displayed on boards all down the nave. The children of Helmingham primary school held a colouring competition using a standard drawing of a bell and headstock, which was judged on the day. There were diagrams and books about the art of ringing and pictures showing how bells are made and tuned, using illustrations of local bells, bell frames and recent restorations. There was also activity in the children's area of the church where cut outs of bells were being constructed. Lastly, there were the happy faces on pictures of our ringing outings. During the morning the Debenham Handbell Ringers gave a performance.
On display in the ringing chamber and porch were bell components retrieved from Helmingham belfry and a CCTV display to demonstrate the full circle ringing process as it happened. Outside of course was The Vestey Ring.
Inside Dove Cottage ploughman's lunches and soup were being served as if the whole of Debenham had come to lunch.
The event was a step into the unknown but it was fun for all of us with Jenny superbly striking the hoop - and we raised £520 for the fund.John Taylor