Members of the Alton & Petersfield District Bellringers met at the Church of the Holy Rood, Holybourne, for a special training session.

They are preparing new bellringers to ring out across towns and villages in East Hampshire on Coronation Day.

Across the UK, hundreds of volunteers are answering the call to learn this intriguing and quintessentially English activity, so all the bells in England will ring out to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III on the weekend of Saturday, May 6.

The special session was organised by the A&P district ringing master Jess Hornsby and the tower captain at St Lawrence Alton, Matthew Watts.

Jess said: “We run these training sessions regularly to help train new ringers in the district. 

“They are super friendly and we provide lots of help and support to those who have just started learning bellringing.”

Matthew, who leads the band of ringers in Alton, said: “We rang the bells for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, and also on muffled bells when she passed last September. 

“There are towers nearby that didn’t have enough bellringers to ring, so we’d like to help by training more across the local area.”

Mel started ringing last October after hearing about the ringing at her local church in Petersfield. She said: “I heard the bells ringing and wanted to see what it was all about. 

“I went along to my local tower in Petersfield and Mary, the tower captain, made me so welcome. 

“She showed me how to pull on the rope. It’s so much fun, the people are great and I look forward to every session. Now my husband is learning too!”

Even the youngsters are getting involved. Fourteen-year- old Toby is learning to ring at Alton. 

He said: “Bellringing is great fun – I’ve made loads of friends and rung bells in lots of different places. I really like this learners’ and improvers’ practice because they also have cake!”

People interested in learning to ring, or returning to ringing if they have rung before, should contact Rachael Barber, the district secretary t, who can put them in touch with their local bell tower. 

Call her on 07714 325059 or email her at [email protected]