Olympics: Big Ben & bells across UK to chime for 3 minutes

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Big Ben London
London, Jul 25: Come Friday and Big Ben and thousands of bells across the United Kingdom will chime for three minutes to mark the inauguration of the London Olympics.

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Turner Prize-winning and musician Martin Creed was asked to create a celebratory moment to mark the Olympics' inauguration and he has come up with 'All the Bells', an official 'work' of the London Olympic. Creed has encouraged people across the country to ring everything at their disposal: ranging from church bells to door bells for exactly three minutes, starting at 8.12 am.

The lead during the celebration will of course be taken by Big Ben, which will chime more than 40 times to ring. It will be the first time since the death of King George VI in 1952 that the famous bells will ring outside the regular timings.

Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow said the special rings by the Big Ben shows how special this year's Olympics will be. Bercow applauded Creed's idea and said every community in the UK should back it and that the famous Big Ben was included in the scheme of things was also a grand move.

The Games organisers hoped that Big Ben's chimes would be backed by ringing of bells across the country, from Skaw in the Shetland Islands to Tresco church in the Scilly Islands, to create a unifying spirit.

Cultural Olympiad director Ruth Mackenzie said they felt exited by the fact that all people in the UK would get a chance to associate themselves with a grand occasion and that he was looking forward to a record number of bells ringing simultaneously.

Not all are happy, however. The Central Council of Church Bellringers said such an idea made no sense. Alan Chantler of the Bellringers said ringing church bells at 8 am on a day not generally associated with ringing could be seen as something not in tune with social norms. He also said ringing the bells quickly could also prove damaging to the idea of ringing. "It would not sound good," he said.

He added that they were informed about the idea of ringing balls and not asked for an opinion.

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