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Great George to ring out for peace to mark Armistice Centenary

Press release issued: 8 November 2018

As the nation marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War, Bristol's largest bell, housed in the tower of the University of Bristol's Wills Memorial Building, will ring out in celebration for peace across the city this Sunday [11 November].

Over 1,400 members of the bell ringing community lost their lives in the First World War. This bell ringing forms part of a national campaign called Ringing Remembers and Great George will ring for 15 minutes at 7 pm. 

The sound of the bell is a familiar one across Bristol, telling the time for people during the day as the bell is struck automatically by its clock hammer. But the sound this Sunday will be much richer and louder because the 9.5 tonnes Great George will be rung by a team of bell ringers who swing the bell using its rope and mounted wheel to produce a louder and richer sound than when the clock hammer usually chimes.

Such ringing is saved for special occasions such as the Queen's Jubilee, the 70th anniversary of VE Day and the University's Royal Charter.

Great George, the country's seventh largest bell, will be rung by the University of Bristol Society of Change Ringers (UBSCR), led by Matthew Tosh, one of the Society's alumni members.

Matthew Tosh said: "Ringing Remembers is the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers' campaign to get 1,400 people ringing church bells on the centenary of the Armistice, the number of bell ringers lost in the Great War.

"Bells were silent during the First World War but were used to ring out in celebration of peace at the end of the conflict.  As a member of the UBSCR it is a fitting tribute to ring Great George to celebrate peace and honour the bell ringers known to have been killed."

Further information

The University of Bristol Society of Change Ringers (UBSCR)
The University of Bristol Society of Change Ringers was founded in 1943 and is one of the University’s oldest societies. The 300 plus membership is made up of current and past students and staff of the University of Bristol. Members of UBSCR can be found all over the world.

Great George
Great George was cast in 1924 and is reputed to be the finest E-flat bell in Europe and one of the deepest-toned bells in the world. It is the sixth-largest bell in England and is believed to be the third-largest that can be rung by hand. It is 6ft 9” high and 8ft 4” in diameter and can be heard 12 miles away. It is named after George V, George Oatley and George Wills.  

You can follow Great George on Twitter @GreatGeorgeWMB.

About Ringing Remembers
To commemorate the 1,400 bell ringers who died in the First World War, the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, together with the Big Ideas Company, and the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, have launched a new campaign to recruit 1,400 new bell ringers.

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