Home win for Exeter Cathedral bell ringers in national competition
Exeter’s bell ringers say their victory in the National 12 Bell Striking Contest earlier this month is the result of 10 years worth of preparation.
The team, made up of bell ringers from across Devon, came first in the finals of the contest at Exeter Cathedral on Saturday 22 June.
Competing teams included ringers from St Paul’s Cathedral, Birmingham (the previous holders of the trophy), Bristol and Cambridge. Judges marked each team for their accuracy in striking each note of the bells in a perfect rhythm.
There were 12 people in each team, each person ringing one bell. The members of the Exeter team are all members of the Exeter Cathedral Society of Ringers and travel from all over Devon to ring at the Cathedral. There are 37 members of the society who ring the bells for Sunday services, special occasions and practices.
Matt Hilling, the team’s captain, said: “We have been building up to this competition for about 10 years. We have entered each year, usually reaching the final and achieved mid-table finishes.
“We have been practising hard for the 2019 competition knowing that it was our best chance to do really well.
“On the day there was huge pressure to perform. We knew that we could get a podium finish if we could ring the bells to the best of our ability. Fortunately it all came together for us at the right time.
“I am so proud of the team for pulling out all the stops. This means so much, we have really put Exeter ‘on the map’ in terms of being serious contenders. When the result was announced I was overjoyed and quite emotional. The roar that erupted in the Cathedral sent shivers down my spine.”
During the day competitors and visitors were served refreshments in the garden of the Bishop’s Palace.
An estimated 900 people visited the Cathedral for the competition, with others watching the action online via a live stream.