[Press and Publications] Stamp of Approval for a Resounding Success



The work of a University of Leicester lecturer has been commemorated with a seasonal stamp issued this month by the Royal Mail - marking the second time this year the University has been associated with a stamp.

The Royal Mail issued a stamp depicting the National Space Science Centre - co-founded by the University - at the start of the Millennium Year and the year now concludes with a project Ringing in the Millennium.

This project has been spearheaded by Leicester archaeologist and bell ringer Professor Lin Foxhall who won £3million in National Lottery funding as part of a £6 million project to restore and establish a network of bells to ring in the Millennium.

Lin, head of Ancient History at the University of Leicester’s School of Archaeological Studies, worked with fellow bell ringer Stella Bianco, from Sussex, to set up a network of bells in 150 communities across the country in a spectacular version of the tradition of ringing in the New Year.

‘Ringing in the Millennium’ was born from an idea of Lin Foxhall’s, in 1996. While looking at the then new lottery funding available from the Millennium Commission, she conceived the idea of a nationwide network of bells, new and restored, to ‘ring in’ the Millennium. She contacted the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers who put her in touch with Stella - and the project took off.

Together Lin and Stella assembled the Millennium ‘umbrella’ application and were awarded £3M - 50% funding for a project totaling £6M.

Projects were initiated by local communities in 150 churches and other venues e.g. Berwick on Tweed town hall benefited from the project. Projects were varied:

  • New bells were added to existing rings of bells to commemorate the Millennium e.g. Selby Abbey, where the first bells in the tower dated back almost to the last millennium celebrations,
  • New bells were installed e.g. Dundee Cathedral: the first Roman Catholic ring of bells in Scotland,
  • Old, historic bells, some of which had not rung for many years and in a few cases, for literally centuries were restored to sound again in their communities e.g. Corfe Castle, Dorset; Orford, Suffolk.
  • Lin said: “The project inspired numerous other communities to get their bells ringing, and stimulated much fund raising for bell restoration across the country. At the end of this Millennium year all but one of the projects is complete -and that one is nearing completion. The bells should still be in place, lovingly looked after by the local communities to whom they belong, to ring in the next millennium.”

    The project also led to a Christmas Card being produced two years ago by University archaeological illustrator Deborah Miles-Williams. The card depicted a hanging bell is a suitable Christmas scene, displaying the Ringing in the Millennium logo with which all new bells have been cast.

    Note to newsdesk: For more information, please contact Professor Foxhall on 01664 822 098, or mobile 07747 066 327.


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    Information supplied by: Barbara Whiteman
    Last updated: 21 December 2000 11:46
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