Home Somerset county Adrian Whatmore’s 70th birthday on the Queen’s 70th birthday

Adrian Whatmore’s 70th birthday on the Queen’s 70th birthday

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A BELLRINGER got the better of a double celebration yesterday (Sunday February 6).

Tower Captain Adrian Whatmore and his fellow campanologists rang a quarter skin at Pitminster Church to mark the 70th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne – and her 70th birthday on the same day.

At the end of the 45 minutes of continuous ringing, the bells were lowered and the glasses were raised in double celebration.

Adrian said: “We enjoyed a cake and a glass of champagne.

“It really made my day.

“I have always been aware on every birthday that I was born on the day the King died and the Queen ascended the throne.”

Adrian and his wife Gill joined the Queen at a garden party at Buckingham Palace two decades ago to celebrate her Golden Jubilee and half-century.

Bellringing has been part of his family for several decades, first through his grandparents and then through his parents. His grandmother and father both sounded good in their 90s.

“My grandfather and my grandmother had a combined 150 years of ringing between them,” Adrian said.

“My dad taught me to ring when I was six or seven.

“I came back to it 10 years ago when I retired from the NHS and Gill took it over two or three years ago and really enjoys it.”

Adrian spends up to five days at his hobby – attending practice sessions at Hillfarrance every Monday; training in Pitminster on Tuesdays; ringing at Bishop’s Hull on Wednesdays; ringing in Pitminster every other Friday and for services on Sundays.

He is proud to point out that Pitminster has eight bells, allowing for a lot of potential change, whereas most local churches have six bells.

Adrian paid tribute to Mike and Jill Hansford, whom he described as “the life blood of the ringer in the Taunton area”.

He added: “We get all kinds of people ringing in Pitminster.

“We have a couple of retired doctors, a nurse and even someone from Weston-super-Mare.

“Anyone interested in ringing the bells should go to their local church or contact me.

“We are always on the lookout for new ringers.”