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24 September 2014

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Tim Collins
Tim Collins

Ride like the clappers

Dorset bell-ringer, Tim Collins aims to cycle the length of the country to help fund new bells for his local church in Bradford Peverell and raise awareness the art of bellringing in the county.

Tim Collins is combining his two passions of cycling and bell ringing for a unique journey from Land's End to John O'Groats to raise money for new bells for his local church tower in Bradford Peverell.

"It's something I’ve always fancied doing but I wanted to do it with a difference and combine it with bell ringing on route."

Tim Collins bell ringing
Tim Collins ringing the bells

The plan is to ring bells in designated churches for three hours each morning before cycling 40-50 miles to the next venue.  The whole trip should take 18 days and will include churches in Landewednack, Lifton, Preston, Kendal and Inverness.

Tim has been training (in all weathers) for the last six months: "I’m feeling very confident, doing lots of training and I'm very used to ringing anyway … I’ve been out doing 30-40 miles each day and I’m feeling fit as a fiddle!"

He has been a church bell ringer since he was 14 and had rung some of the most challenging bells in the UK, as well as in the US and Canada: "It's something most people don’t fully understand. Its got a lot to it – you’re not just pulling on a rope – there's maths involved in  how to change and conduct. It's always been a fascination, it stretches the mind and keeps you mentally alert."

Despite people appreciating church bells on a Sunday morning or at a wedding, Tim thinks he has seen a decline in church bell ringing over the years: "It's slowly on the decrease which is a shame - its been affected by church choirs declining in numbers for whatever reason."

Tim training in Bradford Peverell
Tim training in Bradford Peverell

He's had a lot of local support and is "100% confident" of success, but knows there will be some tough days on the route: "On the second weekend I've got a very long day to get to Inverness Cathedral but I'll have the satisfaction of ringing at the northernmost church with a peal of bells."

Tim's target is to help the local church raise more than £15,000 needed to buy three new bells and improve sound control in the belfry.  He is also raising funds for the Dorset County Association of Church Bell Ringers.

For more details about Tim's fund-raising ride and bell ringing in Dorset, you can call the Dorset County Association of Church Bell Ringers on 01935 473491.

last updated: 18/04/05
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