Today is New Year's Eve and this evening the local bell ringers will gather at about 11:30pm to ring out the old year and ring in the new, a tradition which has been in place for centuries.
We will start ringing with the bells half-muffled, that is a leather pad will be fitted on one side of the clapper so that ringing the bells will produce the normal 'bright' sound on one stroke followed by the muffled sound on the other, almost like an echo. This is normally done when ringing for funerals or on such occasions as Armistice day and, as on this occasion, to mourn the passing of the old year. At a few minutes to the hour the ringing will stop so that someone can go up the tower and remove the muffles. Then at midnight the tenor bell ringer will ring the twelve strokes followed immediately by the rest of the bells, now free from their muffles, to welcome the new year.
The ringers usually manage to welcome in the new year with a small tot of something suitable along with perhaps a mince pie before retiring to our homes.
I wish everyone a happy, safe and prosperous new year.
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