Calls for church bells to ring for Brexit met with opposition

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Brexit supporters have been met with resistance as they called on churches across the country to ring their bells on January 31 to mark Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.

The Leave.EU campaign said “whichever way you look at it, February 1 will be the most momentous morning in British history since the glorious day in 1945 when our country celebrated victory over the Nazi regime in Germany”.

But the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers refused to give its backing, saying it does not endorse the act to be carried out in churches “for political reasons” such as Brexit.

Bishop of Buckingham Reverend Alan Wilson told talkRADIO the group was speaking “common sense”.

He told Mike Graham: “I’m not sure it’s a sensible way to use the church… we’re there for everybody; for birth, for marriages, for death, for people’s life events.

“It’s much bigger than politics and factions, we’ve got a bigger bandwidth and I think we could compromise that by becoming a sort of mouthpiece and megaphone for politicians."

But he added: "Ultimately it's up to the vicar who rings the bells and if people want to do it all over the country, nobody's going to die are they?"

Meanwhile, the campaign is continuing to raise money needed to fund the tolling of Big Ben to mark the occasion.

The iconic bell has been silenced since 2017 while the Elizabeth Tower, which houses it, undergoes restoration. It only chimes on Remembrance Sunday and New Year’s Eve.

Officials rejected requests for a one-off Brexit bong after it emerged that it would cost up to £500,000.

Earlier this week the Prime Minister suggested a crowdfunding initiative for the public to donate money in order to meet the cost.

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