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Villagers in Bedwyn put on gold medal winning performance
The bells rang out across Wiltshire this morning to mark the start of the official launch day for the London Olympic Games
And at Bedwyn parish church it was not just the church bells but just about anything that made a noise from jam jars with spoons and even a wind-chime which were used.
Retired pub landlady Valerie Dalgliesh had put out a request for villagers to join in the bell-ringing that took place at churches all over the country at 8.12am to issue a ringing welcome to the first Olympic Games to take place in Great Britain since 1948.
It was reported that the original idea was that bells across the land should ring out at 8.12pm - 20.12 by the 24-hour clock - but this would have interfered with the official opening ceremony so the idea was brought forward by 12 hours.
Whatever the reason, villagers in Great Bedwyn took up the plea from Mrs Dalgliesh and this morning arrived carrying anything that would make a ringing noise and they put on a gold medal-winning performance in the churchyard.
Mrs Dalgliesh said: “I never expected to see so many people.”
There were babes in arms, toddlers and at the other end of the family spectrum pensioners in their late eighties and nineties all with bells or implements that could make a ringing sound.
Great grandmother Irene Brady, 85, who has lived in Bedwyn for 15 years sat with her ninth great grandchild nine-week old Ned Glenister on her lap as she rang a pair of hand bells.
There were cow bells, handbells, children’s toy bells, comic Christmas antlers with bells on and even a miniature hand-held carillon.
And some who did not have bells waved their Union Jack flags when the church bells in St Mary’s began to chime out at exactly 8.12am, in common with church bells the length and breadth of the UK.
Hidden away in the church tower ringing chamber were Sue Mason - current landlady of the Cross Keys - Claire Matthews, Rob Braybrooke, Adrian Runskill, Margaret Burton and David Haynes.
Together the church bells and the hand-bells outside in the churchyard rang out for just over three minutes, making a deafening sound for those nearby.
Mrs Dalgliesh, who had put up posters around the village urging people to join in, said: “This has turned out to be a very special day and one that people who took part in, and those who just listened, will remember for the rest of their lives.”