• Jubilee Celebrations Past and Present

    Over the past 40 years that I've been St. John's Bell Ringing Master we have had a lot of celebrations. Lots of birthdays, quite a few of the '0' years, a few weddings, including my own, lots of church related celebrations and some sad ones. We've also celebrated some national events and it seems ringing bells still plays a role in the celebrations and this year is no exception with Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee.

    On Sunday 3rd June 2012 between 2pm. and 4pm. one of the largest flotillas ever mustered on the River Thames will be celebrating the Queen's Jubilee and the first music barge will be a floating bell tower with eight bells, cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. Eight ringers will be ringing a quarter peal and along the route, local churches will be joining in. The bells called the Royal Jubilee Bells, with the heaviest, the tenor, weighing half a ton and each bell is named after a senior member of the Royal family and have the Royal Arms cast on each one of them. The bells will then be installed at the church of St. James Garlichythe as a ringing peal.

    On June 7th 1977 we celebrated the Queen's Silver Jubilee at St. John's by ringing a quarter peal and then all the band ringing and firing the bells 21 times, it is similar in ringing to a 21 gun salute. Those ringing were: Malcolm Burns, Tom Coles, Rosemary and Margaret Finzel, Kate Harris, Bet and Denis Mitchell and Lynda and Michael Wareing and the Vicar was Rev. Chris Edmondson. Afterwards, with other friends we had a barbeque in Rosemary and Margaret's garden.

    Tom Coles was a third generation ringer at St. Mary's Walthamstow but at the time St. John's was the only ringing church in Waltham Forest. He came to ring with us with Ernie Holman and Charlie Hughes, from St. Mary's Leyton and was still ringing well into his nineties ...... they became our 'old boys'. Malcolm Burns came as a fresh faced youth along with Ian Boyce, they came as Sea Scouts, which is interesting in Leytonstone ~ well we did have a large ships chandlers in the Railway Arches ~ in Leytonstone! Kate Harris returned to St. John's after she was twice bombed out of her home, she was one of the mainstays of the church and took her degree with Open University at the age of 69. Margaret and Rosemay Finzel came ringing with a rather round dog called Pop, who seemed quite content to be with us when we were ringing. So that was our Silver Jubilee, I wonder what the next one will be like as we join in with the history of our time.

    Our ringers will be: Sue, Anna, June, Jennifer, Sherry, Ian, Nathan, Ben, John, Brian and myself ...... but what about you, for the next celebration???

    Royal Diamond Jubilee's are a fairly new royal celebration that has been documented, so far the count has been four, like Queen Victoria but one is still alive and going for the Platinum and he is the King of Thailand.



Bellringing at St. John's Leytonstone


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