The call to the ringing world to open up 500 sites will provide a unique opportunity for ringing bands across England to share the heritage hidden inside their bell towers, as well as their passion with millions of visitors who every year venture out to discover the treasures on their doorstep.
Bell ringers across the country are already signing up to take part in Challenge 500, including enthusiasts at some of the region’s most interesting locations, such as St Ethelreda’s Church, Scunthorpe.
The tradition of change ringing is a unique form of music which has its roots in England.
Instead of tunes, the bells ring in orderly sequences that the ringers learn as patterns and then ring from memory. Ringers control the bell with a rope, while the bell turns full circle, mounted on a wheel.
Famous people who are reported to have rung bells include comedians Victoria Wood, Jo Brand and Timmy Mallett, gardener Alan Titchmarsh and entertainer and writer Frank Muir.
In addition to the Challenge 500, ringers are invited to come together to create a collective bell ringing moment as part of the festival on Thursday September 8 between 6pm and 7pm.
Chris Mew, President of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, said: “We are excited that bell ringers will join this annual celebration of our cultural treasures.
“There are 5,000 bell towers for change ringing and our challenge is to unlock the doors to 500 of them.
“What’s more, some visitors may be able to see the bells, often locked away over our heads, discover our ringing forebears’ achievements recorded on peal boards, learn about bell ringing and maybe have a go themselves.”
To take part in the challenge and to be counted, bell towers need to register with Heritage Open Days by August 1, 2016.
By registering, all participants will be able to access a free marketing support pack and their event will be listed at www.heritageopendays.org.uk
For more information, visit the website or email [email protected]