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Great George tolls to celebrate life of Mandela

Great George, Bristol University's famous bell being rung by hand

Great George, Bristol University's famous bell being rung by hand

Press release issued: 13 December 2013

Great George, the University of Bristol’s famous bell, will ring out across the city this Sunday to mark the life and death of Nelson Mandela, the first black President of South Africa.

The University’s Society of Change Ringers will mark the occasion from the top of the iconic Wills Memorial Building on Sunday 15 December at 12 noon for five minutes.

The ringing of the 9.5 tonne bell is a physically challenging job which requires a team of six people. They will be led by event co-ordinators Matthew Tosh (BSc 1999) and Derek Carr from the School of Physiology and Pharmacology.

Matthew is the newly elected chairman of the Bristol branch of the Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers, and is encouraging the ringing of other bells in the city at the same time.

Great George is usually quiet except for university and national celebrations, however, Mandela had a huge impact on people and politics around the world and Great George will commemorate his life and death. Mandela also received an honorary Doctor of Laws of the University of Bristol in 1996.

Matthew Tosh said: “He was an extraordinary person whose influence and forgiveness has had a huge impact worldwide, which is why we are affording him this honour.”

You can follow Great George on Twitter @GreatGeorgeWMB.

Further information

Great George is being rung at 12.00pm for 5 minutes by the University of Bristol Society of Change Ringers, led by Matthew Tosh, one of the Society’s alumni members.

The University of Bristol Society of Change Ringers (UBSCR):
The University of Bristol Society of Change Ringers was founded in 1943. The 300 plus membership is made up of current and past students and staff of the University of Bristol. Members of UBSCR can be found all over the world.

Great George:
Great George was cast in 1924 and is reputed to be the finest E-flat bell in Europe and one of the deepest-toned bells in the world. It is the sixth-largest bell in England and is believed to be the third-largest that can be rung by hand. It is 6ft 9” high and 8ft 4” in diameter and can be heard 12 miles away. It is named after George V, George Oatley and George Wills.