A GROUP of bell-ringers spent the holiday season adding to the festive cheer at one of Darlington’s historic churches.

The St Cuthbert’s Church Bell Ringers, a group of 12 people aged from their mid-twenties to their 70s, enjoy their busiest period over the Christmas season as they perform during carol services.

The ringers also provide the soundtrack for many key dates in the community calendar, such as weddings, funerals and Sunday services.

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The bells at St Cuthbert’s are thought to date back more than 800 years and each weigh more than a ton.

One of the group’s proudest moments came this year when they helped celebrate the arrival of the London 2012 Olympics by ringing bicycle bells and other forms of the musical instruments at 8.12am on the first morning of the games.

Karen Maughan, the tower captain, who has been a bell ringer for more than 30 years, said: “It’s an activity that is good fun as well as an exercise, from climbing the 85 stairs to the bells and from ringing the bells themselves, which helps build upper body tone.”