Church bells given all clear

VIDEO The decision to allow church bells to continue ringing in a popular Suffolk resort was last night hailed a “victory for common sense”.

Anthony Bond

THE decision to allow church bells to continue ringing in a popular Suffolk resort was last night hailed a “victory for common sense”.

Environmental health officers will not be taking any further action after receiving a call from a disgruntled resident living close to St Peter and St Paul's Church in Aldeburgh who complained about the once-a-month three hour Sunday peal.

Reverend Nigel Hartley, the church's vicar, has received about 300 emails from people around the world offering their support.


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“We are obviously delighted that Suffolk Coastal District Council made the decision that it made,” he said yesterday. “We always hoped they would come to that conclusion. It is a victory for common sense and also for public opinion.

“If the public support that we have had to keep the bells ringing is anything to go by then I am sure that people will be equally as delighted.

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“People come from far and wide to hear the bells ringing, especially during the summer when we have many visitors to the town and that is when people like to hear them.

“They are quintessentially English and part of the English landscape and heritage and just having them ring brings a gentle touch of summer.”

The controversy surrounding the church bells led to a number of petitions in support including one in the church - which was signed by about 350 people - and one in The Mill Inn.

Following the decision by Suffolk Coastal not to take any further action against the bells, the EADT spoke to people in Aldeburgh to see what they thought.

Carpenter Gary Palmer, 19, said he was pleased.

“I am not really religious but taking the bells away would be like taking away the fishing huts and beach,” he said. “I would not sit outside a church to listen to them but it is something that is part of Aldeburgh and it is nice to hear that they will still be ringing.”

His friend Scott Gissing, 21, said he was pleased about the bells being allowed to ring but was unsure how important they are.

“The bells have been going for hundreds of years but I am not sure that they are much of a big thing anymore because religion is outdated,” he said.

Rosemary Gale, 76, often attends St Peter and St Paul's Church and has sung in the choir.

She said: “I enjoy church bells anywhere and they have been a tradition here for many years. They are very melodious and rather well played and there is a wonderful peal here. I think if you come to live near a church then expect to hear the bells ringing.”

These thoughts were supported by 41-year-old shop worker Rebekah Tozer.

“Bell-ringing is a beautiful tradition in the community and people do not make a fuss about other noises so why should our church not be able to have lovely sounds? They make the town sound homely and friendly and it shows that people have their own faith and want to celebrate it.”

Fisherman Kirk Stribling, 48, said the bells are part of the town's heritage and could not understand the complaints made against them.

“It's like moving down to the M25 and then asking if you can move the motorway because it is making a lot of noise,” he said.

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