In 2014, church bells took centre stage in the Tour de France Opening Ceremony and all along the race route. We now have the chance to do it all again in 2015.
The 2015 Yorkshire Festival runs from 1 April to 3 May, concluding with the Tour de Yorkshire pro-cycling race from Friday 1 May to Sunday 3 May.
Click above to listen to Rod Ismay talking to Paul Walker, live on the BBC Radio Sheffield Breakfast Show. Rod’s interview starts at 1:39:15, including a recording of Yorkshire Surprise Major. Rod’s interview is preceded by the Yorkshire Festival Director, Mark Fielding, discussing the broader festival from 1:37:50
I love this story of bells and bikes from Holmbridge St Davids, at the foot of Holme Moss. Wonderful. Thank you Holmbridge.
Holmbridge Le Tour
The church of St David’s Holmbridge has no particular historical features, has only one bell (? Does it have two – another one for the chiming of the quarters??) and isn’t on anyone’s list of churches to visit, but last weekend, it was happy to show off its modest glories!
Their position on a tight bend at the very foot of the Holme Moss climb, meant that the church, and the cricket club and pub of Holmbridge were well placed to join together to provide hospitality to visitors and locals alike.
A last minute comment in an email from Welcome to Yorkshire, mentioning something about bells ringing on the Thursday evening at the end the end of the Welcome ceremony in Leeds led one of the St David’s to investigate further and make contact with Rod Ismay. Although we soon found that Rod’s plans were based around churches with full peals (? Terminology), we didn’t want to miss out.
With minutes to go, there were just a handful of people, but a crowd appeared from all corners, including the local scout troup – fully uniformed and on bikes, all with bells! So at the appointed hour, the church bell was joined by bikes and bells, grannies with cowbells, teachers with school bells all making a joyful noise (or deafening racket depending on your viewpoint!). The kids’ favourite was a very old handbell without a clapper, which when hit with a wooden spoon, literally left your ears ringing! Cyclists on their way up Holme Moss, dog walkers and even the bus stopped to see what was going on. Two minutes ringing, then it was all over and we dispersed for bike rides, to the pub or over to the cricket field for a run around. It was a fun and fitting way to begin the festivities for Le Tour.
For the weekend itself, St David’s provided many visitors with a welcome repose from the crowds and sustenance for the soul in a wonderful labyrinth – an exhibition that reflected on the journey of life. We also offered hospitality in the way of indoor camping and breakfasts in the hall, parking for campervans and cars and the usual best of English church tea and cake in the church itself.
Holmbridge Cricket club provided beer and hogroasts as well as large screen to watch as the race continued up over Holme Moss into Derbyshire. The Bridge Pub also had live music all weekend, and a viewing platform.
When to ring the bell? Tourmakers told us to watch for the red official car followed by a gendarmes, so the bell was rung again, welcomed by a loud cheer from the assembled crowd. The noise of helicopters overhead signalled they were here and the bellringer rushed out just in time to see the leader…..
What a weekend – and a great community event. We raised nearly £2000 for some urgent tower repairs and a donation to our partner charity, the Memusi Foundation
“My greatest thanks for tonight is deserved for every man, woman and child who supported, encouraged and believed in our dream. As I speak, 600 bell ringers across 60 churches across the county are ringing hundreds of bells in celebration of this moment, in itself an inspirational example of what we can achieve together.
“I am certain that thousands of young people across the UK will be inspired by the champions of cycling this weekend.
“This is our destiny – you are part of history – vive la Yorkshire vive la Tour de France.”
The Tour de France riders were presented to the world’s media and to a crowd of over 10,000 in the Arena.
Bands played including Embrace, Alistair Griffin & Kimberley Walsh, Opera North and Hope & Social.
Every day folk across the county had their say on film “Bienvenue a Yorkshire”.
And the event reached a climax with an absolutely enormous standing ovation for Gary. Bigger even than the cheers for any of the cyclists. Well, we were in Yorkshire after all. A big warm welcome to everyone, but a rapturous cheer for the man whose idea and energy made this whole thing possible.
Massive thank you to ITV Calendar for filming with us – Simon, our cameraman, even started to learn bellringing. Brian never lets any into Cawthorne without a lesson on the bells.
Now, for the race. And, ahem, some bellringing. Look to…. Trebles going… #bepartofit @YFest2014 @LeTourYorkshire @LeTour
West Tanfield has a most beautiful church and a very enthusiastic band who are at the heart of village preparations for Le Tour.
I met the band last August on a day scouting The Dales. We had a great time ringing and an equally fine pint next door. The village was already well into Tour plans a year ago. Check out their website below to see the huge range of events planned for the coming weekend. Bellringing will be one of many activities. Nice Post Office too 🙂
Following our excitement at being invited to ring the bells of Yorkshire for the Opening Ceremony of the Tour de France on 3 July, we were delighted to welcome ITV Calendar News to come and find out more. And so on 18 June we chatted on camera outside Penistone church, met the enthusiastic local team from Cycle Penistone and then took the camera up the narrow spiral staircase to the bells.
Click here to see an excerpt from the interviews on ITV Player
Then click here to listen to 20 seconds of Penistone bells. This is an extract from 6 minutes of call changes. Call changes is where the order of the bells is changed by the conductor telling pairs of bells to swap with each other. The specific sequence you hear in this instance is called “Queens” 13572468.
And for the story in photos.
As a small crowd assembled there were rumours of an ITV van approaching.
The TV camera was soon set up and our Twitter master was soon lying on the floor looking up at the camera. Can’t resist those tricky angles
The interview was great. Colm was a very calm and clear interviewer. And when you’ve been planning bellringing for Le Tour for 18 months its not hard to think of a few things to say!
Colm filmed the ringers and then we went higher still. This is the second bell. The second lightest of the eight bells at Penistone. We rang it for him. Nice but loud!
Never tried looking down through the rope holes before. Well now I have.
With only 17 days to the Tour that means we must have had 83 days of the Yorkshire Festival already. Our filming with ITV seemed like a great reason for a formal presentation of a YFest badge to David.
Here’s the clock mechanism, bright and shiny. Whirring as the hour approached.
And here is the bellrope spider, which holds the rope ends to lift them safely out of reach when not being rung. Dennis carved it. And here he is.
I was 20 minutes early. Hey, I know, I’ll run down to Cycle Penistone. “They’re having a committee meeting” I was told. “Well I think they won’t mind being interrupted for this!” And in a matter of minutes Le Tour de Penistone was shaping up outside the lychgate.
Family fan club. My Mum is now an experienced YFest fan having attended The Grand Departs on Cragg Vale, The Bike Show at Barnsley Civic, Handmade Parade in Todmorden and Gary’s dry stone wall bike (of which more will be revealed in the coming days).
Not forgetting that there is still some tarmac to be laid for Le Tour
And despite The World Cup squeezing the half hour Calendar news down to 5 minutes today, here we were on TV. And online for fans worldwide.
All this happened because of bells being part of the Opening Ceremony of Le Tour on Thursday 3 July in Leeds. We are invited to get the bells ringing all across the county so please do join us. If you are church bellringer, please ring at the time to be confirmed between 8.30 – 9pm that evening. We welcome you to ring whether your tower has 1 bell or 12 bells or whatever. Please do join us to give a loud welcome to Le Tour.
And if you aren’t a ringer but have a bell or a bike bell or a bell app on your phone, you are welcome too. Let’s get ringing!