SOUTH Holland District Council is under fire for shunning Friday’s nationwide celebration when bells were rung at precisely 8.12am to mark the start of the Olympics.
The carillon in the council-owned South Holland Centre, Spalding, was silent while bellringers turned out at churches including Spalding’s St Mary and St Nicolas, St Mary’s at Pinchbeck and Sutton St James, and residents rang bike bells and door bells at home.
Spalding resident Jim Watson, from Bath Lane, contacted us on Friday and said: “This morning throughout Great Britain bells were ringing to celebrate the start of London 2012 Olympic Games.
“They were not ringing from the South Holland Centre in Spalding.”
Mr Watson said the “beautiful carillon” is seldom used to celebrate national events and was not rung during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
He asked: “Does this mean South Holland is not interested in the rest of the UK?”
Council deputy leader Nick Worth said ringing the carillon for special occasions is something that had “slipped off the radar”, but the authority would try to do so if that’s what residents want.
He said: “It was something that nobody came up with.
“We are certainly up for doing that sort of thing.
“Even I wasn’t aware of the church bells ringing until the day before.”
The All the Bells celebration was held so anyone could join in by ringing anything from a bike bell to a church bell.
The vicar of Spalding, the Rev John Bennett, said half-a-dozen or so people rang bells at home before popping in to see the bellringers at St Mary and St Nicolas led by tower captain Sue Slater.
He said: “It was lovely, really, quite a thrill to be part of something that was happening all over the country.”
Also ringing at Spalding were Beverley Elsdon, the Rev Frankie Lee and Philip Hall.
Joint tower captains and churchwardens Pauline Stebbings and Sally Clifton rang the Sutton St James bells with Elaine Harrison, Geoff De Roux, Peter Simpson and Anthony Rose.
The ringers and friends then enjoyed breakfast of tea, coffee and scones prepared by Cherril Collins.
One Pinchbeck mum of two told us her girls joined in by ringing a bike bell and the front door bell.
She said: “It was really lovely to take part and we could hear the bells ringing at St Mary’s at the same time.”