A GROUP of bell-ringers are pulling together to raise money for three more bells.

An appeal has been launched to raise the £40,000 needed to buy and install the bells in Ripon Cathedral.

Maureen Lowe, secretary of Ripon Cathedral Society of Change Ringers, said most cathedrals had 12 bells, but Ripon only had ten.

Two of the new bells will bring the full peal up to 12, while the third, a semitone bell, will be used along with seven of the lighter bells for training.

Mrs Lowe said: "Most of the bells are very heavy and are not good for teaching children or adult learners.

"It's important that we keep the numbers up and these new bells will help."

The ten existing bells, including the 1.25-tonne tenor, were cast in 1932, but there have been bells in the cathedral from at least 1379, when the Mary Bell was brought from nearby Fountains Abbey.

The appeal was officially launched by the Bishop of Knaresborough, James Bell, on Saturday, when £320 was raised from tours of the cathedral.

The new bells will cost between £4,000 and £6,000. The rest of the money will be spent on framework and fitting.

The bellringers hope companies and individuals will either sponsor a bell or a small part of the mechanism.

Anyone who would like to support the appeal should write to the Ring Out Ripon Bells at The Chapter House, Ripon Cathedral, Minster Road, Ripon, HG4 1QS, or call (01765) 602072.