RING a ding, ding - the Olympics are in full swing! Bells chimed simultaneously across South Yorkshire as thousands of people rang in the start of the nation’s historic Olympic Games yesterday.
Families, children and churchgoers united to ring all kinds of bells at 8.12am - celebrating the beginning of the London event as part of a countrywide initiative.
Schools, churches and organisations across the region all took part, and in Sheffield around 100 people packed into the Millennium Gallery to hear its rarely-sounded Town Trust steel bells ring out across Arundel Gate.
John Bradley, communities manager at Museums Sheffield, said the event had been a ‘crowd pleaser’.
“We had a really good turnout,” he said. “It was wonderful to see all these people proud to be participating and representing Sheffield in marking the start of such a historic event.
“The public had the chance to get hands-on with objects from the city’s collection.
“And it was really fitting they could ring these historic handbells, which had come to the city from all over the world, and also lovely to see people bringing their own bells along to the event.”
Sheffield Cathedral took part in All The Bells too, with bellringers attending specially to send out the sound of ringing, and crowds at Sheffield’s Peace Gardens adding a tinny twist by turning on the ringtones of their mobile phones.
Excited Barnsley Sea Cadets Ronan Thawley, aged 12, and Eleanor Robinson, 11, were chosen to ring a bell outside Barnsley Town Hall which had been gifted to the borough almost 20 years ago by the RFA Fort Victoria.
And in Doncaster one church went the extra mile by making a din not once but three times.
Volunteers at St Mary’s of Tickhill rang its bells for the first time along with the rest of the nation at 8.12am, with handbell ringers in the town centre repeating the treat at 11.15am, and the church bells pealing out at 6pm.
Retired teacher John Marsden, head handbell ringer, said: “When we rang the handbells outside the library people were stopping and saying how nice it was to hear, and they recognised why we were doing it.
“We wanted to do it three times to show all the different formats of bells. It announced the beginning of the Olympics, it was fantastic to see on the television, and it has been great to take part.”
All The Bells was an ambitious work by Turner-prize winning artist and musician Martin Creed, who orchestrated the synchronized performance across the UK.
People could take part by using any kind of bell - from bicycle bells to doorbells, church bells to the recorded sounds of bell ringing online.
Sheffield’s museums’ Olympic celebrations continue at Weston Park today and tomorrow, when visitors can enjoy free activities and performances.