Topsham bell ringer aims to keep a family tradition going

PUBLISHED: 10:00 02 April 2016

Archant

A Topsham bell ringer is keeping a family tradition alive and kicking.

Matt Pym, 30, took over as the St Margaret Church bell ringing captain last year from his 90-year-old great uncle, Berry.

Berry had been captain for 60 years and Matt is also following in the footsteps of his dad and grandfather.

However, Matt insists he does not want to emulate his great uncle’s longevity in the role.

He said: “I took over as bell ringing captain from my great uncle. He was doing it until the middle of last year and he is 90.

“Great Uncle Berry took over at the same age I am now, just after World War Two, but I am hoping not to carry on that long.

“Both my dad and grandfather were bell ringers as well. Bell ringing is a lot of fun, but it takes a lot of time and patience to learn the skill.

“People should not expect to become good at bell ringing straight away; it requires skill and at least six months of training.”

The Journal reported previously how St Margaret’s Church was on the lookout for bell ringers.

Currently, St Margaret’s Church has 12 bell ringers.

Matt spoke of the health and social benefits of the activity.

He said: “Anyone can do bell ringing. It is good exercise and bell ringing is a good way to meet people.

“It is always great to have more people involved, because if you lose a couple of members, you lose the shape of the group.

“We practise on a Thursday evening, from 7.30pm until 9pm, and at Sunday services, but we ring the bell at weddings or flower shows - in fact, any event people want us to ring the bells.”

The initial learning process, according to The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, takes several weeks.

The council lists reasons why people should take up the activity:

● Friends around the world.

● Life-long learning experience.

● Maintain a traditional skill.

● A service to the church.

● Team activity.

For more information, email Matt at mattpym@live.co.uk or call St Margaret’s Church on 01392 877468.

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