As was the case at many churches across the Herald area, members of the bell-ringing team at St Matthew’s Church Blackmoor and Whitehill came together last Friday (September 9) to ring in memory and thanksgiving for the life of Queen Elizabeth II.

St Matthew’s six bells were fully muffled for the first time in 70 years, with only the heavy tenor left unmuffled on the backstroke.

It was the first time Blackmoor and Whitehill had heard the eerie echo and loud single note, leaving local residents wondering why they couldn’t hear the usual ring of bells.

The team of nine rang on Friday for an hour from midday until 1pm, in line with the directions of Operation London Bridge.

On Saturday, September 10, the muffles were removed from the bells and a Quarter Peal of 40 minutes (half Bob Doubles and half Grandsire Doubles) was rung to celebrate the Privy Council’s confirmation of the accession to the throne by King Charles III.

The muffles were then refitted to the bells, again with the exception of the tenor backstroke, ready for the service ringing last Sunday.

Anyone interested in hearing the bells ring when half muffled, this is done every year for Remembrance Sunday.