Ring for the King: Quest to find enough volunteer bell-ringers for Charles's coronation unlikely to hit target
The quest to find enough bell-ringers to "ring for the King" on Coronation day is unlikely to hit its target despite hundreds of new recruits coming forward.
The appeal to find enough people to peal each of the nation's 38,000 bells on 6 May began in October.
But of the extra 8,000 needed, only 1,500 have volunteered so far.
Ten-year-old Lexie Roberts is one of them. She started bell-ringing three weeks ago at St Nicholas's Church in Sevenoaks, Kent, and can't wait to play her part on the historic occasion.
"My mum told me that I might be able to ring at the King's Coronation if I practised a lot," she said.
"There'll be tonnes of other people across the country doing it.
"It'll be amazing because I can brag to my siblings about it!"
Elisa Wickham, who is 11, is used to ringing the school bell to call everyone in for the start of the day, but this is something different.
"It's very exciting but I'm nervous I'll do it wrong," she said.
"You'd think you'd have to pull down really hard on the rope, but you need to be a bit relaxed as you do it."
As tower captain, Caroline Stockmann is in charge of bell-ringing at the church and is delighted that the challenge to find new recruits for the Coronation is bringing the skill to a new audience.
"It's an incentive for them to do something really, really special that may be their only opportunity in their lifetime, who knows," she said.
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"We hope it will bring in different generations, different people from different diverse backgrounds."
The church was also among those ringing muffled bells for the Queen's funeral.
"For King Charles's Coronation we can ring in a celebratory manner across the country and it's going to be glorious to hear that sound," Ms Stockmann added.
Vicki Chapman from the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers is concerned that there will not be enough time to train a complete novice in the next seven weeks.
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"It would be a lot for them unless they've got a lot of spare time," she said.
She suggested that experienced ringers will end up travelling from church to church to make sure every community gets to hear the peal of the bells.