Let the bells ring out for Julie McDonnell and her ambitious fundraising endeavour

Sponsored bell ring at St Peter's Church, Bexhill.

Julie McDonnell and Roy Cox. SUS-151222-160743001
Sponsored bell ring at St Peter's Church, Bexhill. Julie McDonnell and Roy Cox. SUS-151222-160743001

A campanologist is coordinating a major bell ringing event to help raise awareness and funds to help in the fight against blood cancer.

Julie McDonnell, who rings at Brede church, is aiming to raise £100,000 and add 1,000 potential stem cell donors to the Anthony Nolan and associated registers through the event on June 25.

Julie, who is 48 and from Hastings, has leukaemia and had a stem cell transplant in December.

She wants to give other people the chance of life through this event.

Sponsored bell ringers and general walkers from Kent and Sussex will walk and ring along the historic Pilgrims Way from Wye Church in Kent to Canterbury Cathedral, ringing at all the churches at Chilham, Chartham, St Dunstan’s and St Stephen’s.

At Canterbury Cathedral a specially composed method Quarter Peal, 45 minutes long, by Alan Pink, ‘Strike Back Bob Cinques’, will be rung by Julie and the Canterbury Cathedral ringers.

As Julie is only a novice ringer of 20 months, it is a huge challenge physically and mentally for her to learn to ring on 12 bells and reach the high standard of the ringing at the world famous Canterbury Cathedral bells.

Julie said: “On the same day, 200 churches and 30 cathedrals will unite across the World and ring a Quarter Peal in support of the sponsored walk and awareness campaign of the 137 blood cancers that exist.

“New Zealand will be the first to ring and Hawaii will be the last.

“This is the first time in the history of the church that bell ringers have united together in such a cause.

“This is not a religious event but one of unity.”

Julie has the full backing of Canterbury Cathedral, Canon Nick Papadopoulos and its council. Reverend Richard Jackson, Bishop of Lewes, is supporting the cause as are all the bishops and deans of the towers taking part.

Julie is appealing for more walkers to come forward.

She said: “I desperately need more local walkers from Sussex and sponsors.

“It is a unique event as Canterbury Cathedral have never allowed such a sponsored event to take place and it was quite a feat to get them on board.”

She added: “The success of this event could result in saving others’ lives.”

To find out more, visit http://juliedmcdonnell.wix.com/strikeback

In December, Julie raised £10,000 for the Anthony Nolan Trust by organising a four-hour ringing 
marathon at St Peter’s Church in Bexhill.

The complex challenge involved up to 5,040 changes which Julie described as ‘an awful lot.’

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