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Canterbury Cathedral/PA Wire
UK News

Canterbury Cathedral bell to toll every day to mark coronavirus deaths

by Press Association

The oldest bell at Canterbury Cathedral will toll every evening from now on in remembrance of those who have died from Covid-19, and to celebrate the heroism of frontline workers.

Seventeenth-century "Harry" will ring out at 8pm in recognition of the "shared global tragedy" of the coronavirus pandemic, the Dean of Canterbury announced on Thursday.

It is hoped that the familiar sound of the bell at the 1,400-year-old cathedral will be a comfort and source of strength.

Very Rev Dr Robert Willis said: "Communities around the world have embraced the idea of clapping hands to thank publicly healthcare staff and other frontline workers at this time.

"We all know that their vital work is undertaken at great personal risk to themselves.

"The bell of Canterbury Cathedral will lend its voice to this display of gratitude and also mark a moment to pause and remember those who have died."

Cathedral staff hope the daily bell ringing will serve as a symbol of continuity, solidarity and reassurance that society will, as a global community, get through this dark time together.

To this end, the cathedral is encouraging everyone within earshot to record the tolling of the bell from inside their homes each evening and post it online to share with their friends and families wherever they are.

The 8pm two-minute toll begins this evening, both in remembrance of each day's victims of coronavirus around the world, and in celebration and recognition of the daily bravery and self-sacrifice of frontline healthcare staff and other essential workers within the UK and internationally.

Canterbury Catherdral is the Mother Church of the Worldwide Anglican Communion.

Named after donor Prior Henry of Eastry, the first "Harry" bell was given to the cathedral in medieval times.

Though the current "Harry" is a successor to that gift, it is still the oldest bell in the cathedral, being cast in 1635.

For its new assignment, the bell will be tolled remotely via a timer, meaning no staff have to be present within the building.

The intention is for it to ring every day until the threat of the virus recedes.

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