Let’s all wake up to a ding-dong to ring in the 2012 Olympic Games

MAKE SOME NOISE!  Lesley Ward, and Karan Hazzard will ring bells in Gosport. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (122479-4)
MAKE SOME NOISE! Lesley Ward, and Karan Hazzard will ring bells in Gosport. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (122479-4)
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BELLS will ring out on Friday morning as people across the area make a ding-dong to celebrate the Olympics.

Ships’ bells, bicycle bells, church bells and handbells are all going to be rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes to mark the start of the 2012 Games.

And those organising the event, which starts at 8.12am exactly and continues for three minutes, are encouraging as many people as possible to get involved.

But a shortage of bell ringers means that one of the region’s largest churches – St Mary’s in Fratton Road – may have to remain silent.

And because of difficulties changing the clock mechanisms which makes it ring every hour, Portsmouth’s Guildhall will have to wait until 8.15am before ringing out.

Portsmouth City Council is encouraging people to make up for the snags by forming their own bell-ringing group in Guildhall Square on Friday.

Craig Willcock, cultural development officer at the city council, said: ‘This short session will be a unique national experience, so make sure that you don’t miss out.

‘Everyone is welcome, so come along and bring your friends and family to the Big Screen in Guildhall Square and ring any kind of bell, as fast as you can, for three minutes.’

Another large group will gather at Gosport’s Falkland Gardens at the same time on Friday morning.

Meanwhile, over the water in Portsmouth’s naval base, any warships which are alongside will sound their ships’ bells.

HMS Illustrious, HMS Edinburgh and HMS Victory are all going to take part, along with sailors at HMS Nelson.

Lesley Ward, from the Gosport Going 4 Gold group, which is organising the Gosport bell-ringing event, said: ‘I didn’t think it would be much fun just ringing my doorbell at 8.12am so I thought about how to involve other people.

‘This is an opportunity for all of us to again feel involved and be part of the 2012 games as we did when the torch came through our communities recently.

‘It is also an opportunity to show our support for our navy and armed forces while having some fun ringing bells.

‘HMS Alliance will be ringing its bell for the first time in more than 30 years.

‘The greatest sporting event in the world is happening in our country and we want Gosport to play a part in marking the start of such a momentous occasion.’

Anyone who wants to take part in the bell-ringing at the Falkland Gardens should turn up just before 8.12am with a bell.

If you are interested in taking part in Portsmouth, contact the council by calling (023) 9283 4109.

People can also email bigscreen@portsmouthcc.gov.uk or just turn up.