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Cambridgeshire church bells replaced with bicycle bells

image copyrightRob Godman
image captionRecordings of bike bells will chime the hours instead of St Mary's church bells during the day on Saturday and Sunday

A church has replaced its bells with a recording of children's bicycle bells to mark the imminent arrival of the Tour de France in the UK.

Composer Rob Godman persuaded the rector of St Mary's Church, Guilden Morden, Cambridgeshire, to swap the sounds for one weekend only.

He lives in the village and made the recordings with children from Guilden Morden Primary School.

The Tour de France will go through Cambridgeshire on 7 July.

image copyrightRob Godman
image captionMost of the children brought in their bikes, some brought in scooters and two girls brought in their roller blades - so their "jingles" could be added to the recordings

Mr Godman, a keen cyclist, wanted to celebrate the arrival of the bike race in the county.

He said: "I approached the school to do an audio project and the church, because it plays a central part in our small community."

Every one of the school's 70 children brought in their bicycles, scooters or roller blades so Mr Godman could record the sounds of their bells.

The recordings were played out from the church tower between 09:00 BST and 19:00 BST on 21 and 22 June using high-powered speakers.

He composed a new eight-bell peal for the bell sounds but "they still won't be as loud as the original church bells", according to Mr Godman.

image copyrightRob Godman
image captionRob Godman's seven-year-old son Aaron was one of the children whose bell and voice was recorded

Mr Godman also recorded each of the children's voices, which were heard in the church over the weekend.

Visitors pedalled a static bike, or pressed buttons located around the building, to play out the children's voices and create a "playful audio installation" heard through 10 speakers.

The project was funded by a cycle legacy grant from Cambridgeshire County Council.

Mr Godman, a reader in music at Hertfordshire University, creates large-scale public art works with the sculptor Simeon Nelson, including a sound and light show which illuminated King's College Chapel in Cambridge in November 2012.

image copyrightRob Godman
image captionRob Godman said the project highlights the function and importance of bells at culturally important events

Related Topics

  • Guilden Morden
  • Cambridgeshire County Council

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