THE bells of Chester-le-Street’s parish church will ring out on Monday, May 5.

A visiting team of ringers from across the country will mark the Early May Bank Holiday by attempting to ring a peal at St Mary’s and St Cuthbert’s Church in the town centre.

Ringing will start at about 9.30am and the band will try to ring more than 5,000 changes without mistake or repetition, which usually takes around three hours.

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Tower Captain Mike Prentice said: “The band is visiting the region and comprises ringers from a number of famous towers including York Minister and St Paul’s Cathedral.

“The ringing method – or way of ringing the changes – being attempted is known as Glasgow Surprise Major.

Peals consist of 5,000 changes in the order of the bells and are made continuously with the order and pattern being called by a conductor who must have memorized the paatterns.

Due to the closeness of homes and two schools, peals are usually only attempted at Chester-le-Street twice a year.

They are rung for shorter periods each week for regular services, weddings and on practice nights.

The oldest bell in the tower, which is still rung for services, dates back to 1409.

The current ring of bells were cast in 1883 (six bells) and 1908 (two bells).