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March Bellringers’ Blog

Clare Griffiths, Exeter Cathedral Society of Ringers 

This month, we will be welcoming an inspirational woman – Julie McDonnell. Since being diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in 2015, she has dedicated herself in a campaign to increase the awareness of blood cancer, recruit stem cell donors, raise money for research and to fund stem cell transplants. To date, thanks to generous sponsors, she has raised over £7 million – and rising.

Her fundraising campaign has been inspired by church bellringing. Julie briefly learnt to ring as a child but was persuaded to return to the art in her home tower of Brede, Sussex; setting herself an increasingly demanding series of bellringing challenges and targets, she has rung, and inspired others to ring in her name. “Bellringers Strike Back Against Blood Cancer” is a worldwide campaign that has touched us all.

On Sunday 18 March, Julie McDonnell will be joining members of the Cathedral band to ring a quarter peal of ‘Julie McDonnell Caters’ here at Exeter Cathedral – just one more step in her remarkable and courageous journey. We look forward to welcoming her, and to the Cathedral bells playing their part in promoting her vital campaign.

Then on Saturday 24 March, twelve of our ringers will be travelling to far flung Ossett for the eliminators of the National 12 Bell Striking Competition – watch this space to hear if they qualify once again for the finals in June!

To conclude the month, we will be ringing out the bells in a specially arranged quarter peal to welcome the Rev’d James Mustard, at his installation service as Canon Precentor on Palm Sunday.