Loughborough Bell Festival
Many thanks to all those who joined as the bells rang out in our first-ever festival to commemorate the bell as a unique symbol of Loughborough and its heritage. The willow bell represented Great Paul, the largest bell ever cast in the UK, which was made by John Taylor’s Bell Foundry for St Paul’s Cathedral in 1881.
Our festival ‘recreated’ the story of Great Paul’s journey to London, beginning with a blessing by Rev Wendy Dalrymple in the grounds of All Saints Parish Church, followed by a journey across town on a heritage trailer pulled by vintage steam traction engine. The bell was then welcomed at the foot of the Carillon in Queen’s Park by Councillor Margaret Smidowicz, the Mayor of Charnwood.
Our willow bell set off from the church to the sound of real bells, with 19 bellringers from Loughborough, Northampton and Yorkshire offering their services for event. It arrived at the Carillon to music played by Trevor Workman, award-winning carillonneur at Bournville.
Anstey Royale Chalfont, Bare Bones and Way of the Wyrd Morris sides performed during the pedestrian parade across the town and Hathern Band and handbell ringers from All Saints performed to the crowds in the park. Visitors were also encouraged to get creative, with bell-themed art activities in the Charnwood Arts zone.
Altogether, it was a wonderful, community-spirited afternoon and one we look forward to repeating in 2024 for ‘Loughborough, present!’, when we’ll be inviting the wide and varied communities of Loughborough to come together and help us celebrate the interculturality of bells!
The willow bell is now on display in the grounds of the Old Rectory opposite Charnwood Arts. Why not pop along to see it?
Hear Bell Festival Organiser Llynda Baugh discuss the idea behind the Bell Festival HERE
This was a FREE event staged during the national Heritage Open Day initiative and funded by The Arts Council of England