Pompey chimes ring out for bell ringers in parlour

GUESTS The young church bell ringers with the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor David Fuller
GUESTS The young church bell ringers with the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor David Fuller
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WHEN David Fuller clapped eyes on his latest tea party guests, he knew they rang a bell.

For 20 church tower bell ringers, many from the Portsmouth area, were invited to have high tea with David, the lord mayor of Portsmouth and the lady mayoress.

The ringers were given a warm welcome to the mayor’s parlour in the Guildhall and Councillor Fuller gave his guests a tour of the various official rooms, including the council chamber.

The city’s treasures, including silverware and historic charters going back as far as the 13th century, were of particular interest to the group.

They were also very interested by the story of the city’s youngest mayoress, Doris Foster.

She made civic history as she was only five when she inherited the role. She was invested in November 1907 shortly after her mother had died.

The mayor was delighted to hear the young bell ringers share with him the fun and excitement they get from bell ringing.

He asked one seven-year-old boy why he had learned the skill.

He said: ‘I was walking by St Mary’s Church, Portsea, and the bells sounded so beautiful I just had to go in and learn to ring.’

The same youngster was asked if he’d enjoyed the visit to the mayor’s parlour.

He said: ‘It was really good meeting the him. Next, I would like like to climb up to see Big Ben.’

The newest ringer, another young boy, told the lord mayor: ‘I’ve only had one lesson, but it’s something different and I love it.’

When asked about how he felt about meeting the lord mayor he replied: ‘It was great. Very interesting.’

It seems that the ringers’ visit to the Guildhall has inspired some potential new campanologists.

The lord mayor and the lady mayoress have already booked themselves a bell ringing taster session for early next year.

There are currently several tower bell ringing training vacancies in the Portsmouth area.

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