Ringing in a record at Meldreth

PUBLISHED: 11:22 10 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:49 11 May 2010

PULLING POWER: John Gipson at Holy Trinity Church, Meldreth. 3054DW022

PULLING POWER: John Gipson at Holy Trinity Church, Meldreth. 3054DW022

BELL-ringer John Gipson could be heading for the record books after clocking up his 1,500th peal at Meldreth s Holy Trinity Church. Mr Gipson, 85, has been ringing bells at the church since 1935. He has also rung about 1,300 peals at other churches, maki

BELL-ringer John Gipson could be heading for the record books after clocking up his 1,500th peal at Meldreth's Holy Trinity Church.

Mr Gipson, 85, has been ringing bells at the church since 1935.

He has also rung about 1,300 peals at other churches, making a total of more than 2,800 over the last 73 years.

He said: "I started when a new vicar came to the church. He was a bell ringer too, and had the bells, which had been unringable for 50 years, repaired. I thought it looked quite fun so thought I'd get involved."

Holy Trinity Church originally had a set of five bells before a sixth - the memorial bell - was installed in 1947, after the Second World War.

Mr Gipson, who has been Diocesan Bell Advisor for Ely for the last ten years, was then instrumental in adding two more bells to the church's set in 1968.

"I found an old bell which had been discarded, and took it to the Whitechapel Foundry, where it was cast into two more. So we now have eight in total," he said.

A peal on eight bells consists of over 5,000 changes, and usually takes just under three hours.

Mr Gipson is still an active member of the church community, and rings the bells every Wednesday and Saturday.

He discovered that he was approaching the 1,500 milestone after consulting his bell ringer's diary.

He said: "Every bell ringer has a diary of the amount of peals they carry out in a year, and we noticed that I was coming up to 1,500."

Confirmation of whether this is a world record will be received later in the year.

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