York & North Yorkshire

York Minster appoints new bell-ringing team after sacking

York Minster
Image caption The Minster dismissed its 30 volunteer bell-ringers in October, citing "safeguarding issues"

York Minster has recruited a new group of bell-ringers after the previous team was controversially disbanded over safeguarding issues.

The 30-strong bell-ringing team was dismissed in October, following a sex assault claim against a member.

The action led to the Minster's 12 bells staying silent on Christmas Day - the first time in more than 600 years.

The new group - which includes some former volunteers - will take over in September.

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The Chapter said it had taken action against the individual following a police investigation into allegations of indecent assault against young girls.

No charges were brought against the individual and an application for a Sexual Risk Order was refused by magistrates in December 2015.

However, following a risk assessment the Chapter said it "felt that the person presented an ongoing risk and that the potential severity of the risk meant that they could not be reinstated".

It said the bell-ringers refused to accept this decision and so had to be disbanded.

One group of campanologists from Leeds reportedly refused to help out over the Christmas period, in solidarity with their sacked York colleagues.

Image caption Christmas Day 2016 is thought to be the first the bells had not been rung since the 14th Century

A new head bell-ringer was appointed in June.

Angela Mitchell was a member of the former bell-ringing team, and said she applied for the job to ensure the Minster's "magnificent bells ring out again each Sunday and for other key occasions".

Speaking at the time, she said: "The recent history of bell ringing at the Minster has been difficult and there is some healing to do."

A Minster spokeswoman said they had received more than 40 applications for the new group.

She added that the recruitment of the new volunteer team had been carried out in line with Church of England safeguarding policies.

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