Volunteers ensure bells ring out this Christmas at York Minster

THE sound of bells rang out across York tonight after volunteers stepped in to support one of the most popular services held at the city's cathedral.

The bell towers at York Minster.
The bell towers at York Minster.

York Minster’s governing body became involved in a dispute with its former bellringers earlier this year, which culminated in the team being disbanded in October.

But worshippers arriving at the Minster this evening were greeted by the bells once more after an experienced team of ringers from Yorkshire stepped in for the traditional service of Nine Lessons and Carols.

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The Dean of York, the Very Reverend Vivienne Faull, said: “We are grateful to the ringers of Yorkshire for kindly providing such a wonderful festive welcome for worshippers to the cathedral tonight.”

The bell towers at York Minster.

The Chapter of York Minster had defended its decision to disband its bellringers earlier this week, saying the controversial move was made due to safeguarding concerns surrounding one of the team.

A detailed statement issued by the Chapter explained how it disbanded the team after the ringers refused to accept its decision not to reinstate one of its members.

The ringer had been suspended following a police investigation into allegations of sex offending against children which did not lead to a prosecution.

The bell towers at York Minster.

And the Chapter also suggested efforts to find temporary stand-ins to ensure the bells ring out over Christmas were being thwarted by “intimidation”.

It said many of the people who had offered to help were subjected to intimidation on social media and in the local press, including a member of the clergy who was threatened with legal action.