Boris Johnson to join Christmas Eve bell-ringing campaign to fight loneliness

Emily Chudy, PA
·2-min read

The Prime Minister and his fiancee Carrie Symonds have said they will take part in a Christmas Eve bell-ringing event to help combat loneliness.

Boris Johnson spoke with organiser Mary Beggs-Reid, saying that he, Ms Symonds and baby son Wilfred “will be out ringing bells”.

Mary Beggs-Reid, from Harrogate, North Yorkshire, said her event is “more needed now than ever” ahead of her call with Mr Johnson on Tuesday morning.

Friends and neighbours of Mary Beggs-Reid in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, practise ringing their bells (Holly Jane Codling/PA)
Friends and neighbours of Mary Beggs-Reid in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, practise ringing their bells (Holly Jane Codling/PA)

“He said him, Carrie and Wilfred will be out ringing bells to help Santa on his way,” she told the PA news agency after the phone call.

“They love the idea and will look for bells to join us. They said they support anything helping Santa fly his sleigh for the children.”

Thousands of people across the UK have been asked to ring bells for two minutes at 6pm on December 24 as part of the campaign, which started on October 19.

The event has been endorsed by Captain Sir Tom Moore, who called it “a brilliant initiative at a time where it is really needed”.

Mrs Beggs-Reid told PA: “Especially with the recent news, this is more needed now than ever.

“It was just a simple bell-ring to start with but it’s evolved into so much more, so that for two minutes on Christmas Eve nobody feels alone.”

The 41-year-old, who works as an estate manager, was contacted by No 10 after Mr Johnson expressed an interest in ringing bells on Christmas Eve.

She had been due to travel to London to meet Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds on Monday, but due to the tough new restrictions introduced in the capital on Saturday, they instead took part in a phone call on Tuesday morning.

Mrs Beggs-Reid told PA: “I think it’s fantastic that the Prime Minister is getting behind an everyday mum like me and trying to help communities as much as we can.”