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Barrow Bells - Tower News

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(2019 not available)  2018  2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011


January 2023


Quarter Peal

A quarter peal was successfully rung of Plain Bob Major on the 8 bells to welcome the new year and celebrate the life of legendary footballer Pélé

Full details of the Quarter Peal are available on BellBoard website

CONGRATULATIONS! to Jason for ringing his first quarter peal on 8 bells, having previously rung 7 quarter peals of doubles (5/6 bells)


November 2022


Presentation of British Empire medal to Geoff Pullin

Photo of Geoff Pullin receiving British Empire Medal
Click on the image for more photos.

Geoff Pullin holding British Empire Medal, accompanied by his wife Carole, and James Saunders Watson the Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire who presented the award.

Geoff Pullin was presented with his British Empire Medal (awarded in the Queen's Birthday Honours List 2022) on Wednesday 23rd November 2022. See also Daventry Express.

Ron East the Carlisle Diocesan Bell Advisor was also honoured with BEM in the 2022 Queen's Birthday Honours for services to church-bell restoration in Cumbria (see BBC).
Both Geoff and Ron were involved in the restoration of the bells at St James the Great in Barrow.

A peal of 5040 Plain Bob Triples was rung in the summer in celebration of their BEM award in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2022

Richard Piner put forward the nomination on behalf of the people living in Badby for services to the community and bellringing in the area, but the submission was also supported by a detailed recommendation from Andy Pollock for his selfless contribution to the restoration of the bells at St James the Great in Barrow-in-Furness

Geoff Pullin BEM was a driving force behind the restoration of the church bells at St James the Great, Barrow ... despite his home tower being Badby, near Daventry.
His son Simon was a naval architect working in the shipyard, and when Geoff visited his son he was saddened as a keen bellringer to discover the only tower in the town with a ring of bells hung for change ringing was out of action declared unsafe to ring.

Determined to make a difference he embarked on a massive project committing so many many hours of his time, supported by his wife Carole and son Simon, and with the help of volunteers Keith & Cliff Newby, Malcolm Eacott, Alan Dewar, and Hugh Pettifer, and Bellhangers Nicholsons Engineering Ltd from Bridport led by Phil Dunnett. Not forgetting building contractors Leck Construction, Whitechapel Bell Foundry for tuning the bells, Steeplejack, Electricians and so on. A fantastic team effort.

There were years of fundraising and grant applications 2009 to 2013 resulting in many generous donations from the community, Heritage Lottery Fund, Dennis Ellisdon, Doug Beaumont, LACR, CDGCBR, Garfield Weston Foundation, Sir John Fisher Foundation, Hadfield Charitable Trust, AllChurches Trust, BAE Systems, Hugh Cavendish Charitable Trust, The Billincoat Charity, George Wood Memorial Benevolent Fund, The Sharpe Trust, and fundraising support & publicity from many others (Barrow Male Voice Choir; a.P.A.t.T Orchestra/Octopus Collective; BBC Radio Cumbria; The Mail; to name but a few).

The project was documented with photos by Andy Pollock (See Gallery 10 - Bell Restoration Project - start to finish!)

We have a debt of gratitude for everyone who was involved in the restoration of the bells here in Barrow, but especially to Geoff Pullin for which he has been recognised with the BEM which is richly deserved.


January 2020


Holocaust Memorial Day - Quarter Peal

A special quarter peal was rung on half-muffled bells, and the conductor Andy Pollock explains the significance and reason for ringing:
During the second world war, my great grandmother Mirjam Rabbie-Polak was transported from Amsterdam to the Westerbork transit camp and on to Auschwitz where she was killed on 12th February 1943, probably on arrival as an elderly lady.
According to family accounts including a handwritten account of my father aged 13, beginning on Saturday 11th May 1940, as the German army advanced, the Dutch news media announced that all British subjects could leave for the UK. The family went to the British consulate to arrange evacuation to England. The following morning they boarded the Alkmaarder packet boat to IJmuiden but had to stop and wait for darkness at Velsen while German parachute troops were exterminated first. They then crossed the river and were taken in convoy by bus to IJmuiden while German planes were being shot at by anti-aircraft batteries, and machine guns, and the planes returned fire but fortunately the bombs that a plane dropped did not explode. At 3am, they boarded a British cargo freighter, and reached Harwich about 11 hours later. On Thursday 16th of May 1940 my father writes “we heard a radio broadcast that the Netherlands were occupied by the Germans, except the province of 'Zeeland' and that 'Amsterdam' had been occupied the same afternoon.”
In all the chaos and nerves, Mirjam - who had also got all her papers together ready to flee to England - decided at the last minute to stay in Amsterdam to be closer to her other sons Samuel and Levie. If she had travelled with my grandfather as intended, she would have escaped Auschwitz and probably survived the war. The only tangible items that survive Mirjam are a couple of photographs, and a pair of earrings that my sister has inherited, but we try and keep her memory alive where we can.
Chillingly, of all Mirjam’s brothers and sisters and their families that were alive at the start of the war, just 8 survived, while 29 were killed in Auschwitz, Sobibor, and Blechhammer, the youngest being just 2 years old.
This year the Holocaust Memorial Day trust was marking 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, to remember the millions of people who were slaughtered for their race or culture, religion, sexual identity, and political views. This includes my great grandmother and extended family that perished in the Holocaust.
So we rang a half muffled quarter peal on the bells at St James in Barrow, to mark the anniversary, and reach out to the community to remember and contemplate or pray for those who have suffered or been killed in genocides.
There are worrying accounts in the news of anti-Semitism, islamophobia, and hate crimes, and a tendency to mark out certain groups of people as being less worthy or to blame for our troubles. We must not forget the uncomfortable truths of these genocides, so that society can learn a lesson from history to be more tolerant, celebrate our diversity, empathise and respect each other so that we can all live in a world where such horrific events cannot recur.
Lancashire Association of Change Ringers
St James the Great, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria
Monday, 27 January 2020 in 50 mins (12-0-24 in F)
1260 Grandsire Triples (Half Muffled)

Composition (3 part): In, 2xHunt, Out, Single Wrong, 2xWrong, Single Home, 2xHome - repeat twice more.

1Rachel Hallows
2Cameron Pollock
3Iwan Cotgreave
4Jayden Milby
5Jacqueline Preston
6Andrew Painter
7J Andrew Pollock (C)
8Owen B Osmotherley

First quarter peal in method - 3, 4.

Rung half-muffled as part of Holocaust Memorial Day to mark 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz.

Rung to remember Mirjam Polak-Rabbie (Amsterdam, 11 March 1870 – Auschwitz, 12 February 1943) great grandmother of the conductor, and 2nd great grandmother of 2.

Also remembering the families of her brothers and sisters who almost all perished in the death camps of Auschwitz, Sobibor, and Blechhammer.

Rung for all those who suffered or died in genocides - Holocaust, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur, Myanmar - so none are forgotten, and today we stand together resolute that this must never happen again.

Ringing World BellBoard

Photo of Mirjam Rabbie-Polak

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