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Bells ring out in Dorchester to welcome new citizens

Citizenship ceremony


3:23pm 12th January 2018

Bellringers from Dorchester and neighbouring towns and villages rang the bells of St Peter's Church yesterday to mark the latest citizenship ceremony held at County Hall.

Dorset County Council chairman, Hilary Cox, officially welcomed nine new British citizens to Dorset this afternoon:

"Each year we welcome around 140 new citizens from all over the world, people who have chosen to live in Dorset and become part of our community. Acquiring British citizenship is a long and expensive process - taking a minimum of five years - and the citizenship ceremony is the final step. It really is a privilege to welcome them to Dorset and share this time of celebration with them and their families."

At a citizenship ceremony the new citizens are individually introduced and welcomed by representatives of Dorset County Council. The new citizens then swear or affirm an oath to the Queen, sing the national anthem, and are presented with their citizen certificate and a small framed picture of the local area, before signing the citizenship register.

Leading the bellringing team of eight, of Will Haydock, tower captain at St Peter's Church, said:

"There can't be many things more British than the sound of bellringing, so this seemed the perfect way to publicly welcome people into our local community. It is particularly resonant that we're starting to mark these ceremonies in 2018, because it coincides with the anniversary of one of the most significant occasions bells have been rung for a civic occasion in the UK: in the First World War 1,400 bellringers lost their lives, and ringing church bells was restricted across the UK throughout the war. On 11th November 1918 church bells were rung across the country to celebrate the armistice being declared.

"We're hugely grateful to the people giving their time on this occasion and we're always keen to teach new recruits, whatever their age and ability. Bellringing is a great way to meet new people and wherever you go in the country, you'll find a tower where you can ring, make new friends, and discover new and interesting places. It's a common tradition that bellringers withdraw to the pub after evening practice, where much of the teaching and discussion takes place!"

If you're interested in taking up bellringing in Dorchester, contact Will Haydock on 01305 458205 or william.haydock@outlook.com.

 



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