Church bells are a traditional way of calling people’s attention to important events taking place and what better way to grab the attention of the Brecon Beacons National Park and South Wales than to offer a peal of church bells stretching from Pontymoile Basin to Brecon to Newport to Hay on Wye!
A single bell will be rung by Cllr Bob Wellington, Leader of Torfaen County Borough Council and Robin Herbert, the Great, Great Grandson of Sir Benjamin Hall who gave the name of ‘Big Ben’ to the bell of the clock installed in the tower of the Houses of Parliament in 1857.
The opening ceremony will form part of a celebratory event at Pontymoile Basin between 11am and 2pm, which is open to the public. The event will include performances by pupils from West Monmouthshire School, Pontymoile Primary School, Accord Singer, St Cadocs Millennium Chimes and the Pontymoile Brass Band Male Voice Choir.
The initial bell strike at 12 noon will start the Peal of Church Bells from Pontymoile Basin to Brecon in one direction and Newport and Cwmcarn in the other. Church bells will also peal from Hay-on-Wye to Brecon. Project co-ordinator David Morgan said more than 30 churches will be creating the rippling effect between 12 noon and 7pm.
“It is fantastic to see such great community engagement and involvement to help mark this historic occasion,” David said.
Members of the public are also invited to join a cycle ride along the canal from Pontymoile to Llanfoist, listening to the bells. The group will meet at 9.30am on Friday 10 February at Llanfoist car park at the start of the railway cycle path. The ride will reach Pontymoile Canal Basin by 11.30am, and return about 3pm. Soup and hot drinks available for a donation. Please bring a helmet and appropriate clothing.
A series of events will be held throughout the year (including Canal Dog of the Year!) and for more information please visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/monandbrec200 or www.breconbeacons.org/canaldog
For more information about the bicentenary celebration activities and events happening along the length and breadth of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal during 2012 please visit www.waterscape.com/monandbrec200