Kenyans will ring changes

Kenyan bellringers John Malala, Betty Ngetsa, Deborah Shichei and Lennox Charo are coming to Eckington.

Kenyan bellringers John Malala, Betty Ngetsa, Deborah Shichei and Lennox Charo are coming to Eckington.

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A group of African bell-ringers are set to ring the changes with a right old ding-dong in Derbyshire later this month.

For the group will visit a church bell ringing training centre in Eckington to brush up on their skills from a team of local campanologists.

For more than twelve years there has been a church bell ringing training centre in the village at the St Peter and St Paul Anglican church on Mill Road - one of a small number of active bell ringing training centres in the UK.

Ringers from Derbyshire and South Yorkshire regularly benefit from the facilities offered along with others from further afield - but so far all those who have undergone training have predominantly been British.

However, all that will change at the end of June and in early July when a group of ringers from the smalltown of Kilifi in eastern Kenya arrive for training.

There are just 13 sets of bells in the whole of Africa rung in the English style - ten in South Africa, two in Zimbabwe and those at Kilifi.

Spokesman Don Jones said: “This initiative to train the African ringers is unique and represents a significant event in these ringers’ lives. The whole event is being funded by English bell ringers.”

The visit was initiated by ringer Rod Lebon from Kent and the four strong group - John Malala, Betty Ngetsa, Deborah Shichei and Lennox Charo - will start their visit to England there, followed by two days in Cambridgeshire before arriving in Eckington. Added Mr Jones: “Whilst in Derbyshire it is hoped there will be opportunities for our visitors to explore the Peak District and ring at some of the churches there.”