THE bells of York Minster will be ringing regularly again – after a new band of volunteer bellringers were recruited almost ten months after the previous band was controversially axed.

The cathedral axed its entire team of 30 volunteer ringers last autumn over safeguarding concerns.

More than 17,000 people signed a petition calling for them to be reinstated but the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, backed the decision by the Dean of York, the Very Reverend Vivienne Faull, and chapter.

He said the team was disbanded because some members of the Minster Society of Change Ringers had consistently challenged Chapter’s authority over safeguarding issues - a claim which the society denied.

A Minster spokeswoman said yesterday that more than 40 applications to join the team had now been received from bell ringers from York and the wider region.

"The Minster is delighted that several members of the former band will ring with newcomers including some talented and experienced young ringers under the age of 18," she said.

"The new band will be responsible for the peal of 12 bells at York Minster – widely regarded as some of the best sounding bells in the country."

She said the band would come together for the first time in September for induction and would then work with the Head of Bell Tower and the Minster team to arrange their practice schedule and ringing days for the rest of the year.

She added that recruitment and induction of all Minster staff and volunteers, including the new volunteer bell ringing team, was carried out in line with the Church of England’s Safer Recruitment processes, focusing on safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults, security, health and safety.