During the Second World War, the Bells of Britain were silenced, only to be used to give warning of air raids or invasion. During air raids, many churches suffered damage from bombs and incendiaries, including such iconic churches as Coventry Cathedral, St Clement Danes and St Mary le Bow pictured in London, along with many others, saw their bells destroyed through indiscriminate enemy action.
On 8th May 1945, the news the nation had been waiting for arrived. The War in Europe was over. Six years of bloodshed that had killed millions of our armed forces and civilians had finally come to a close.
Bells across the country pealed, tugs on the Thames sounded their horns and planes victory rolled overhead. A sea of red, white and blue erupted as men, women and children rejoiced.
At 7pm on 8th May 2020, bells are invited to ring across the nation again in celebration of 75 years of peace, along with paying tribute to the millions that either died or returned home wounded during or after the war in Europe ended, along with remembering those civilians at home that went through so much while loved ones fought and died overseas, and those still in conflict with the Japanese until VJ Day on 15th August 1945.
The aim is to involve as many bells as possible to mark this important anniversary. To register go to the RINGING OUT FOR PEACE page of the VE Day 75 website – www.veday75.org – and register your involvement as soon as possible. All those taking part will be able to print a copy of the General Certificate of Grateful Recognition as a reminder of their involvement in VE Day 75.
The Central Council encourages all ringers to respond as they see fit, taking into account the wide variety of local circumstances. Ringing open at 7pm (local time wherever you are in the world) is the ideal and recommended option, but any time that afternoon / evening, and indeed throughout the weekend of events planned, is also supported. Bellboard has an Event link – https://bb.ringingworld.co.uk/event.php?id=11043 – for you to record your ringing on the day so that it can be collated for print in The Ringing World.
News from the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers
The 8th May 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the second World War in Europe. It provides us with an opportunity to remember the sacrifice made at home and abroad which heralded the arrival of peace, despite conflict still taking place in other parts of the world.
The UK Government has moved the early May Day Bank Holiday from the Monday to Friday 8th May so that as many people as possible can take part in the celebrations that day.
At 7pm on 8th May 2020 church bells are invited to ring out for peace. The Central Council encourages all ringers to respond as they see fit, taking into account the wide variety of local circumstances. Ringing open at 7pm (local time wherever you are in the world) is the ideal and recommended option, but any time that afternoon / evening, and indeed throughout the weekend of events planned, is also supported.
A full programme of planned events is listed on the VEDay75 website and to register your intention to ring go to https://www.veday75.org/register/ which takes you to a Ringing Out for Peace registration page. In due course there will also be a Bellboard event set up where you will be able to register and from where you will be able to download a Certificate of Grateful Recognition to record your ringing on the day.
Any further advice received about plans for the weekend will be publicised when they become known.
Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers