Nat has a go at bell ringing. Pictures: Tony Jones

They say almost everyone lives within hearing range of bells.

I am lucky enough to be one of them – I love to hear my nearby church bells celebrate a wedding.

And, of course, they also sound in times of grief and many other occasions.

During the Second World War, bells fell silent, only to ring to warn of an invasion of enemy troops.

They have been an important soundtrack to many different occasions over hundreds of years.

Coming back to recent times, residents in King’s Lynn regularly hear eight bells ring out at St Nicholas’ Chapel and 10 at the Minster.

I went along to the chapel, which stands at the heart of North End, to find out about the art of bell ringing from John Martin and Ioin Russell.

Both are Friends of St Nicholas’ Chapel and regularly give talks about ringing to members of the public and schools.

As part of a group, we made our way to the bell chamber, which is quite a small area and the ropes went up a lot higher than I imagined.

We were told about how ringers stand in a circle, each with one rope which has a coloured woollen grip known as a ‘sally.’

This is pulled downwards causing the bell attached to a wheel in the bell chamber to swing roughly 360 degrees.

Mr Martin said: “I learnt when the chapel was being restored in 2014. We had Lottery funding to restore the bells, so as I was involved in that, I thought I should be able to ring them.

“It’s quite a mental skill learning the patterns and it can be quite physical.”

Bell ringing practice takes place at the chapel on the third Wednesday of the month.

So if anyone is interested in ringing in a new hobby this year, maybe this could be the answer.

The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers has recently launched its Ringing Remembers campaign to recruit 1,400 new bell ringers in memory of the 1,400 bell ringers who died in the First World War.

Visit www.bellringing.org for more information.

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