You may have seen in the national news the efforts by bell ringers across the country to mark the centenary of the Armistice by ringing as many bells as possible 11th November.
The bells of St Milburga’s were rung half muffled before the Remembrance Service. This technique involves strapping a thick leather cup over one side of the clapper in order to deaden the sound of alternate strokes to produce an echo effect. Additionally, we rang the middle 6 bells of the 8 to create a minor key and a more mournful sound. For many in the local band, this was the first time they had rung in such a way and all agreed that the result was a haunting and evocative tribute to the men from the village who sacrificed their lives.
The Act of Remembrance was taken by Rev. Ian Gibbs who had researched the lives and deaths of the 8 men from Stoke who died in the Great War. His address allowed the congregation present to really get to know more about the stories behind the names we see on the memorial each time we enter the church.
At 11am, the tenor bell was struck eleven times to mark the start of the 2 minute silence.
Together with many churches across the country the bells were then rung again without the muffles at 12.30pm and the performance will be recorded in the forthcoming special edition of The Ringing World.
If you have been inspired to learn more about bell ringing or are interested in having a go yourself, do not hesitate to make contact via our website www.stmilburga.co.uk