Bell-loved Peter hits high notes

GOING BELL-ISTIC: Peter Fawcett celebrates the publication of his book ' a publishing first for the world of bell-ringing. (d513a236)
GOING BELL-ISTIC: Peter Fawcett celebrates the publication of his book ' a publishing first for the world of bell-ringing. (d513a236)

A GARDENER from Cleckheaton has published a book that has attracted international attention.

Peter Fawcett, of St Peg Lane, is one of the area’s foremost handbell-ringers and, after 40 years of research, his book, Ringing for Gold, has finally made its way onto the shelves.

The book charts the history of hand-bell-ringing, from its inception in the 1500s, through its prominance in working-class communities during the industrial revolution, up to its global popularity in the present-day.

He said: “I was amazed to discover that nobody had written anything on the subject, so this is the first definitive book on handbell-ringing in the whole world.

“I want to stage a revival myself – the purpose of the book is to help popularise handbell ringing again.”

The book has also attracted attention from overseas, with a request by the Japanese Handbell Ringers Association for the book to be translated, and orders being shipped to Australia and the USA.

Former president of the Handbell Society of Australia Philip Beresford, who also edited the book, said: “It is irrelevant whether or not this book is a financial success. It had to be published.

“Peter is not a professional writer, researcher or musician, but had he written this book under the supervision of a university supervisor, it would have earned him a PhD.

“I believe it will stand the test of time and become the basic source material for future handbell researchers and historians.”

Peter is a long-time resident of Cleckheaton, and his fascination with traditional music began after he left South Parade Secondary School to become a trainee gardener at BBA Gardens in Moorend in 1964.

He subsequently became a member of the Clifton Handbell Ringers in 1976, and, after publishing his first book, feels he has proved wrong the doubters from his past.

He said: “I’m very glad this book has been published – when I left school to become a gardener, I remember my old form tutor telling me, ‘I’m glad you’re becoming a gardener, because you’ll never make anything new’ – this goes to show how wrong people can be!”

Anyone who is interested in ordering the book can order a copy from www.ringingforgold.co.uk.