Ringers from across the North East converged on Morpeth to carry out the traditional Mayor’s Peal.
It was rung ahead of the Mayor’s election, so expected incoming Mayor Coun Andrew Tebbutt, Deputy Mayor at the time, and outgoing Mayor Coun Alison Byard were both invited to Morpeth Clock Tower.
The first recorded Mayor’s Peal was on Mayor’s Day (Thursday, May 21, 1959) in honour of Coun Bertram Jobson’s election as Mayor of the then Borough for the third time.
In 1961, it was rung for Alderman William Stafford Sanderson, a well-known character of Morpeth, who by this time had served on the council for half a century and was embarking on his fifth term in the prestigious role.
The celebratory peal stopped a few years later and the tradition was lost for two decades until it was eventually revived in 1985 following the restoration of the Clock Tower. Therefore, 2016 marked the 32nd consecutive Mayor’s Peal.
This year’s performance included five debutants – including the new tower captain, Rev Simon White, who became the first serving Morpeth tower captain to ring in the Mayor’s Peal since Colin Wheeler in 2003.
Other participants included local band member Linda Perkins, Clive Moon, deputy tower captain at Hexham Abbey, Alan Barber, tower captain at Whitley Bay, Karen Dickinson, former president of the regional association, Joanne Ayre, tower captain at Fenham, and Andrew Cairns, tower captain at Wylam.
In addition, the youngest ringer, 21-year-old Jack Hanlon, is tower captain at Hartlepool.
Looking ahead, the Clock Tower Bellringers will be ringing to welcome Morpeth Town FC to Morpeth on Fair Day, which takes place next Sunday, during their open-top bus parade.
On Friday, July 1, at 5pm, the bells will be rung half-muffled in remembrance of the men who lost their lives 100 years ago on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.