Bell that has been silent rings out again to mark Olympics

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IT ONCE rang out to summon pupils to school but the historic bell has been silent for many years.

Now the Dales village of Burnsall will hear the school bell ring out once again to mark the start of the Olympics - an event which has a special significance as former pupil Andy Hodge is an Olympic gold medal rower who will be hoping to win again at London 2012.

The bell was installed on Burnsall School, which was founded by Sir William Craven in 1602, and throughout the seventeenth century it was used to summon boys to their lessons which began at 6am in the morning in the summer and at 7am in the winter.

John Townend, parish archivist said: “Nobody can remember the bell being used.

“I have interviewed local people who are in their 70s and lived near the school and nobody can remember it having been rung in their lifetime.

“Although some of the older ones do remember the rope hanging down.”

“It has not been rung possibly since the 1890s,” Mr Townend added.

The school trustees, who have sponsored the restoration project, decided to have the bell restored as a way of marking the Queen’s jubilee and the Olympics.

Sir William, who was born in Appletreewick, was an English merchant who underwent a rags to riches rise to wealth in the seventeenth century.

Organisers of the Olympics have asked people across the country to ring bells at 8:12am on Friday, with thousands of people across the UK expected to take part and join together to ring in the first day of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

In Bridlington, the town crier and Bridlington Priory bell ringers and hand bell ringers will mark the occasion at 8.12am on Friday at Church Green, Old Town, Bridlington. All are welcome.