A NEW 'centre of excellence' for the ancient art of bell ringing is being launched in Bromyard.

The town is to reverberate to the sound of ten bells, having previously heard only eight for the past half century.

St Peter's Parish Church has been silent over the summer while the previous eight bells were renovated and retuned, with two new bells cast at one of only two UK bell foundries – Whitechapel's in London.

Two ‘dumb bells’ are being installed for training purposes as well as CCTV for trainees can see the bells when they are ringing.

They are to be ceremonially re-instated tomorrow (Friday, September 16) at 11.30am following a parade through the town, accompanied by the Mayor and town crier, and a blessing of the bells will take place on Saturday at 11am.

There will be a service of re-dedication at 7pm on Tuesday, October 4.

Tower captain prof David Parker said: "Bells are rung for services including wedding and funerals, for local and national events, and the unique sound of English-style ringing has been part of local life for centuries.

"Improving the quality of the sound and providing the latest technology will raise the standard of our teaching and ringing and enhance the experience of hearing the bells”.

The project was kick-started with a surprise donation by the Rev Dr Peter Newing, which was followed by a large grant from a local charity. Some of the work involved has been carried out by the ringers themselves.

The bells will be rung for the first time on Sunday September 25 and training will resume from Wednesday September 28.