Roped in: Chris Haller and Bruce Butler, two members of the North American Guild of Bellringers invited to St Andrew’s Anglican Church to ring the bells during Monday’s practice session.
Roped in: Chris Haller and Bruce Butler, two members of the North American Guild of Bellringers invited to St Andrew’s Anglican Church to ring the bells during Monday’s practice session. Jay Cronan

Bellringers on world tour

AMERICAN bellringers Bruce and Eileen Butler have been ringing their way around the world for the past 20 years and found themselves on the ropes at St Andrew's Anglican Church in Lismore yesterday.

The retired couple, from the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields in Philadelphia, USA, are on a quest to ring the bells in every tower in the world and arrived in Lismore with five of their fellow bell-ringing parishioners as part their unofficial 24-belltower Australian tour.

They were invited to Lismore by several of St Andrew's bellringers they had met at previous events around the world.

“Australia has just over 50 belltowers, which is about the same number as in the US,” he said.

“We were out here during the Pope's visit in 2008, when we did about seven towers in Perth and some in Sydney, including St Mary's, and we thought we'd come back to try and ring the rest.

“We've rung about 3000 of the world's 6000 towers, so we're about halfway.”

The global bellringing community is a tight-knit group and, according to Mr Butler, about 5600 of the belltowers are in the United Kingdom.

British-born Mr Butler started ringing church bells in 1963 as a teenager in England's Kent county, and passed on his passion for bellringing to his wife after they married following his emigration to the US in the early 1980s.

“It's a small community and everyone here has been so friendly,” Mrs Butler said.

“It's a great way to travel the world. Members put us up in Brisbane last night and cooked us dinner and breakfast, and we're off to Armidale tomorrow.”

Bellringers from St Martin-in-the-Fields have previously toured South Africa and New Zealand, which have eight belltowers each.


Lockyer art gallery returns with new exhibition

Premium Content Lockyer art gallery returns with new exhibition

The touring exhibition showcases the work of 33 professional artists, some of whom...

Warrant issued for man’s arrest after failed court showing

Premium Content Warrant issued for man’s arrest after failed court showing

The 24-year-old was to appear in Gatton court on Monday for a string of offences...

Police call for witnesses after alleged assault in park

Premium Content Police call for witnesses after alleged assault in park

Local police allege the assault occurred in Dawson Phipps Park. FULL DETAILS: