Some members of the bell tower team of Carlisle Cathedral are volunteers who work together throughout the diocese on the installation, renovation and hanging of church bells. The work is carried out under the direction of the Diocesan Bell Advisor who is also the tower captain at Carlisle Cathedral. The work of some of the volunteers dates back 20 years but the team has grown over the years and now has five members.
Our most recent member, Barry Garrett, took up bell ringing at the Cathedral three years ago and became passionately interested not only in ringing but also the history and technology of church bells. He has since worked on the installation of two new rings of bells – a ring of six bells at St Patrick’s church, Bampton and a ring of eight bells at St Bridget’s church, Moresby – and on the renovation of the two service bells at St Michael’s church, Lamplugh, the service bell at St Cuthbert’s church, Upper Denton and three service bells at St Oswald’s church, Grasmere.
As a new recruit to bell ringing, Barry’s contributions to bell installation and maintenance, have been recognised by the presentation of an award at the Goldsmiths in London on 8 September, 2019 by Tom Westley, the chairman of Westley Group, one of Europe’s largest ferrous and non-ferrous foundry and engineering groups. Westley Group has recently begun to cast church bells following the closure of the Whitechapel bell foundry in 2017. Tom Westley has also become interested in the history and technology of church bells and has instituted this annual ward. Barry Garrett was the first winner (against a field of 17 applicants) of the award – another first for the bell ringers of Carlisle Cathedral!