BELLS have rung out in London and closer to home in Hereford for a man whose dedication to the art of bell-ringing is certain to echo long into the future.

Fred Harris, who has died at the age of 89, was part of the bell-ringing team at Eardisland church for more than 60 years, and he also played the organ at St Mary’s for over half a century.

A peal was rung at Hereford Cathedral dedicated to Fred’s memory, a longstanding member of the Hereford Diocesan Guild of Bellringers. Meanwhile, the Ancient Society of College Youths, who provide ringers for royal and state occasions, paid its own tribute in London to a man who had been a member of this elite organisation since 1964.

As a boy, Fred was taught to ring on silent bells during the early years of the Second World War, when the clappers had to be tied. It was not until 1944 that he found himself able to ring his first peal on open bells, and he went on to become an accomplished ringer and conductor. Mr Harris took part in 850 peals in total, rung at churches throughout Herefordshire and surrounding counties.

In 1981, he rang a record length peal at Llanfeugan, near Brecon, lasting almost seven hours.

During his lifetime, Fred devoted much time to helping both young and old to learn the art. He joined in with local towers on practice nights and assisted on the annual Hereford Ringing Course

His early years were spent at Upper Hardwick and he attended Eardisland School and played for the village cricket team. He won a scholarship to Leominster Grammar School and after leaving did his national service in the RAF. All his working life was spent in the employment of the Midland (HSBC) Bank; latterly based at the Leominster branch, and after retirement he settled at Sollars Dilwyn, before having to move into a care-home.

*On Saturday, September 23, the bells at Eardisland will be ringing out in remembrance of Fred and in thanksgiving for his life.

All are welcome to the afternoon ringing, and to tea in the village hall.