St Peter & St Paul

South Petherton, with the Seavingtons

and the Lambrooks

Information about the bellringers

Finding 12 highly experienced bellringers who are prepared to ring non-stop for 14 hours is not an easy task and this record-breaking attempt has taken more than two years to arrange. Success or failure on the day will depend on stamina, concentration and perhaps a bit of luck, but the incentive to ring a memorable peal and raise money for charity at the same time is huge.

You will be able to watch the ringers and listen to the peal by coming to South Petherton on October 11th because images from the ringing chamber will be shown live on a large screen in the church. Sit back and enjoy a cup of tea and piece of cake (something the ringers will not be able to do!) whilst wondering why on earth anybody would be prepared to stand up all day, pulling on a rope with the precision of an Olympic oarsman. Perhaps you’ll be moved to toss a couple of coins into a bucket for charity …

The ringers have each been allocated a specific bell which they will ring for the duration of the peal, with no opportunity for a break. The smallest bell in the tower is called the treble and it weighs 4 cwt; the other bells are numbered sequentially 2, 3, 4, and so on and are progressively heavier, each being tuned to a specific note in the key of D. Bell number 12 is called the tenor and it weighs nearly 23cwt. A few words about each ringer are provided below.

Treble - Matt Hilling
Matt is virtually a local because he lives down the road near Exeter and his home tower is Exeter Cathedral. At the age of 38 he is one of the youngsters in the band, but Matt has rung nearly 1,000 peals and conducted a high proportion of them. The onerous task of conducting this record attempt falls on Matt and as the peal progresses the pressure on him will intensify. However, as one of the coolest customers on the campanological circuit, few are better suited to take on this role. Matt has a young family and balances his busy life as a Computing Development Officer at Exeter University with ringing and scuba diving.

2 - John Hughes-D’Aeth
John is a solicitor and partner at Berwin Leighton Paisner who divides his bellringing duties between his home tower at Little Milton in Oxfordshire and the rather more prestigious churches of Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral in London. A 53-year-old polymath, he combines interests in classical music, sport and wine with a demanding work schedule, but has still found time to ring over 1,500 peals and a dozen long lengths. In an unguarded moment he confessed to writing the contracts for repair and maintenance of most of England's motorways which surely singles him out as rather unique!

3 - Andrew Mills
One of several ringers who work in the trade, Andrew is a Director of John Taylor Bellfoundry in Loughborough and lives at Shelford in Nottinghamshire. He held the record for being the youngest person to ring 1,000 peals and is one of the most accomplished ringers of his generation. Now 48, Andrew has rung about 2,500 peals on a wide range of bells from the smallest to the largest, including 21 long lengths. Andrew is a keen sportsman and aficionado of frightening roller coaster rides.

4 - Paul Mounsey
Now retired at the age of 61, Paul’s home tower is St Paul’s Cathedral in London; this is the campanological equivalent of owning property on Park Lane and Mayfair when you play Monopoly. As one of the most experienced and talented ringers in the country, particularly on twelve bells, he’s amassed about 4,100 peals of which 35 have been longer than 10,000 changes. As the man who has done it all, he would still cherish the longest peal on twelve bells to complete his portfolio. Some might be surprised to learn that Paul once played his violin at a concert in the Royal Albert Hall, but talent expresses itself in all sorts of different ways!

5 - John Loveless
Having learnt at the age of 10 at Bures in Suffolk, John has been ringing bells for nearly 50 years. He has rung all over the UK and in Ireland, USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, making him one of the world’s most gregarious ringers In the process he has clocked up more than 3,500 peals, of which about 950 have been on rings of twelve bells and 27 have been in excess of 10,000 changes. A man with a keen sense of bellringing tradition, John has served as the Master of the Society of Cambridge Youths and, more recently, the Society of Royal Cumberland Youths, both of which were founded in the 1700s.

6 - Martin Whiteley
Martin hails from Somerset and rang as a teenager in many towers in the Bath and Wells Diocese. Now living in Derby where he works as a geologist, Martin rings at Derby Cathedral and maintains a steady and interesting output of peals, such that he’s now rung about 1,500. As a 60-year old who should know better, he has an infectious enthusiasm for long peals and has organised most of the 62 that he’s rung to date. In his spare time, and to nobody’s surprise, Martin climbs mountains and does triathlons!

7 - Roy LeMarechal
As a part-time bell hanger and bell service engineer Roy combines his work and bellringing hobby to the extent that he spends more time in church towers than most. He lives at Bishopstoke in Hampshire but has travelled all over the world to ring bells, completing nearly 3,000 peals and conducting about 60% of them. Roy is 61 years old and he has a long history of ringing long peals, having rung 23 during the last four decades. On the few occasions that he’s at home Roy tends to the vineyard in his back garden and makes about 25 gallons of ‘house red’ every year.

8 - Paul Tiebout
Paul learned to ring in Liverpool but he’s now based in London and works for the City of London Corporation. A member of the celebrated bellringing company at St Paul's Cathedral, London, Paul is the youngster in the South Petherton line-up at the age of 30. He has already rung more than 500 peals, many of them on some very large bells, as well as a couple of record-breaking long peals. He is known for his physical durability and a strong Liverpudlian accent that becomes increasingly incomprehensible during spells of alcoholic refreshment.

9 - Robin Hall
Robin lives in Oxford and rings locally at Christ Church Cathedral. He is an IT consultant and, now 46, has rung about 1,150 peals and conducted 250 of them. Robin enjoys ringing peals that are mentally challenging and of his 13 long lengths a couple have involved learning more than 50 different and rather complicated methods, every one of which has to be recalled instantly. Robin and his young family recently spent two years living in Shanghai but he’s now repatriated to leafy Oxfordshire and picked up where he left off in the ringing firmament.

10 - Frank Rivett
Now retired after a career spent working on various aspects of software development for business systems, Frank lives in Bedfordshire and rings at Clifton. A man not averse to statistics, he has rung nearly 2,300 peals and spent the equivalent of 291 days doing so! This impressive total includes 28 long peals and whilst he is the old man of the band at the age of 70 you’d put money on him being the last to quit. A measure of his tenacity is provided by his walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats in 2004 that took 70 days and raised £4,000 for charity.

11- Tom Griffiths
Tom lives in Warwickshire and his home tower is Brinklow. A 38-year-old land and building surveyor by profession, he has recently passed the milestone of 1,000 peals, most of which have been rung in the West Midlands. In 1988 he took part in a marathon effort that involved ringing three long peals in a 24-hour period, so his credentials for this attempt are impeccable. Few people know that his great uncle played the organ for the Royal Wedding when the Duke of Kent married Katharine Worsley in 1961 at York Minster!

Tenor - Michael Wilby
Michael lives and rings in Birmingham and he is a leading light in the local 12-bell band that has proved to be the most talented and successful in the country over the last decade. Now in his forties, he is a very experienced tenor ringer, particularly on higher numbers, and he is tasked with being in charge of the rhythm section in this peal. Michael’s peal tally is around 1,100, of which 70% are on 12 or more bells.

Ian Avery

Ian is a 62-year old retired social worker from Bishopsteignton in Devon. A real ringing enthusiast, his home tower is nearby Kingsteington but he also owns a peal of miniature bells that are installed in his house. As a result, Ian welcomes a steady stream of visitors to try their hand on the aptly named Bishops-Ting-Tong ring and it’s little surprise that he has rung about 1,400 peals over the years. Ian’s role at South Petherton is to be a travelling reserve in case of last minute illness; nobody underestimates the importance of a super-sub, but he would probably prefer to spend the day singing or playing the organ. (In the event Ian’s experience was not needed.)

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