York Minster appoints head of bell ringing – who plans to heal, then peal

Ringing in the new… York Minster. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr
11 Jun 2017 @ 9.12 pm
| News

York Minster has appointed a new head of bell ringing – and she said: ‘There is some healing to do’.

Angela Mitchell, the head of Ralph Butterfield Primary School, is the new Head of Bell Tower.

She was a member of the bell ringers who were sacked by the Minster over safeguarding fears last October.

Now Mrs Mitchell is tasked with putting together a replacement team to get the bells ringing again. That won’t be until the autumn – a year after the furore began.

Time to ‘move things forward’

The former York Minster bell ringing team in action. Photograph: WTHR / YouTube

She said: “The reason I applied for the job is quite simple. I want York Minster’s magnificent bells to ring out again each Sunday and for other key occasions.

“The Minster needed someone who could help to achieve that and someone with a set of specific skills including risk assessments, safeguarding, health and safety and safer recruitment – all of which I do as part of my everyday work as a headteacher.”

When the Dean and Chapter decided to disband the voluntary ringing team last year it caused an almighty row, and made headlines around the world.

And Mrs Mitchell is under no illusions over the task at hand, saying:

The recent history of bell ringing at the Minster has been difficult and there is some healing to do.

However I am really looking forward to working with the new team and I hope that the news of my appointment will help to move things forward.

Veteran ringer

Angela is a member of the Minster’s congregation, she comes from a family of bell ringers, and her husband and daughter are also bell ringers.

She had her first bell handling lesson at the age of 11 and then learnt to ring at St Michael’s Church Flixton, Manchester, where her parents rang.

Eight months later Angela’s family moved to Australia for a year. Within 14 months of first learning to ring, Angela had rung at two towers in England and ten in Australia.