WHEN the announcement was made last Thursday regarding concerns over the health of Her Majesty the Queen, the tower captains of St John’s, Wellington, (David Grabham); All Saints, Rockwell Green, (Jonathan Kimber) and St. Peter’s, Langford Budville, (Rosie Walker) began precautionary preparations for bell ringing in the event of the sovereign’s death under the guidelines contained in ‘Operation London Bridge’.

The bells were lowered at Wellington and the tenor bell (the heaviest bell) was fully muffled (muffles are leather pads strapped either side of the bell’s clapper to ‘deaden’ the sound when it is rung). With the sad announcement that evening of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II those precautionary preparations became real as Operation London Bridge swung into action.

At midday last Friday the tenor was tolled, fully muffled, for one hour at St John’s Wellington (by David Grabham and Christine Sherman on shifts); and half muffled (muffles attached to one side of the clapper only) at All Saints, Rockwell Green (by Jonathan Kimber) and St. Peter’s, Langford Budville (by Chris James) as a mark of respect for the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Later that afternoon the bells at All Saints and St. John’s were rung half muffled as a further mark of respect.

Following the official proclamation of King Charles III at St James Palace, London, there was ‘open’ ringing (without muffles) at all three churches in celebration of the new monarch - Rockwell Green at 3pm, Langford Budville at 4pm and Wellington at 5pm.

Ringers involved on the Friday and Saturday were Adam Sherman, Colin Emery, David Grabham, John Hill, Chris James, Jonathan Kimber, Christine Sherman, David Sherman, Ian Sherman, John Stevens, Darren Woodyer and Jenny Wodyer.