Ringers there with bells on for event

Hard work from eight dedicated bell ringers resulted in a three-hour performance in Dunedin at the weekend.

A complex bell-ringing performance known as a "peal" was carried out by the group at the First Church of Otago, including two bell-ringing couples from England, two from Hamilton and one from Auckland.

Retiree Peter Whitehead had been bell-ringing for almost 70 years, beginning as a young boy.

"I was a choir boy in my village church and when your voice breaks they send you to earn how to ring — most people don’t last long and give it up.

"I happen to have an aptitude for it, and I enjoy it."

He said he had been ringing ever since and had meet his fellow bell-ringers over the years.

"It’s a real community.

Preparing to ring a ‘‘peal’’, in the making for many months, are (clockwise from left) Mary...
Preparing to ring a ‘‘peal’’, in the making for many months, are (clockwise from left) Mary Sluter, of Hamilton, Mike Stone, of Auckland, Jeff Brannan, of Manchester, John Loveless, of Bedfordshire, Nick Phillips, of Dunedin, Linda Garton, of Bedfordshire, Frank Sluter, of Hamilton, Peter Whitehead, of Christchurch and Nina Brannan, of Manchester. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
"We all know each other socially. We’ve been in and out of touch over the years.

"It’s great to catch up with old friends, enjoy some ringing and go out for dinner."

Each of the eight would ring the bell 5000 times, a total of 40,000 rings.

Mr Whitehead said he never got sick of the task.

"You enjoy every moment of it, if you’re not experienced it can be quite daunting ringing for that amount of time.

"It requires concentration at all times but once you get used to it, it is an absolute pleasure."

In a rare occurrence, a second peal will take place this Wednesday.

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