STALWART bell-ringer Jim Lilley has ticked off another item on his to-do list, this time ringing the bells at his namesake town.
Mr Lilley, of Shoreham, recently travelled to the Hertfordshire village of Lilley, to ring at the tower at St Peter’s Church.
Mr Lilley said: “I started off early on Saturday morning and travelled to Lilley, north of Luton.
“It’s my namesake, so I thought I really must go and ring the tower.”
The Hertford Association of Change-Ringers made the tower available between 10am and 11am, after which Mr Lilley went on to the next village, Great Offley, and rang the tower there, too.
“It was the first time I had been to Lilley,” said Mr Lilley. “The people there were very good to me, and they were very pleased that a Lilley had rung in Lilley.”
Mr Lilley is a long-time bell-ringer, becoming tower captain at St Mary’s Church, Shoreham, in 1969.He stood down in 2009, after 40 years in the role.
He started ringing at the age of 13, and was taught by his father. Mr Lilley first rang at Cuckfield, in 1944, when the government lifted the ban on bell-ringing, a year before the end of the Second World War.
Among his achievements are ringing at every cathedral in England, Scotland and Wales, and ringing at every tower in the City of London.
Mr Lilley’s recent trip took his total number of towers rung to 3, 212 – and he has no plans to stop. “Next up is Allesley, near Coventry, which will take the total to 3,213 towers,” added Mr Lilley, who is always looking towards his next bell-ringing target. I am 83 now, and I hope to get to my next milestone, which is 3,333 towers,” he said. “That’s my goal.”