For the first time in history, the old bell on Canterbury Cathedral’s central tower – known as bell ‘Harry’ – will toll each evening in remembrance of the day’s global victims of coronavirus, and in celebration of the heroism of frontline healthcare staff and other essential workers around the world.
In recognition of the unprecedented shared global tragedy of this pandemic, Canterbury Cathedral – the Mother Church of the Worldwide Anglican Communion – will sound bell ‘Harry’ for two minutes at 8pm each evening until the threat of coronavirus recedes. Starting this Maundy Thursday (9th April), the tolling of the bell will be both in remembrance of each day’s victims of coronavirus around the world, and in celebration and recognition of the daily bravery and self-sacrifice of frontline healthcare staff and other essential workers within the UK and internationally.
It is hoped that the familiar sound of this bell of the 1,400-year-old Cathedral will be a comfort and source of strength for all who hear it; a symbol of continuity, solidarity and reassurance that we will, as a global community, get through this dark time together.
To this end, the Cathedral is encouraging everyone within earshot to record the tolling of the bell from inside their homes each evening and post it online to share with their friends and families wherever they are.
The Dean of Canterbury, The Very Revd Dr Robert Willis, said: “Communities around the world have embraced the idea of clapping hands to thank publicly healthcare staff and other frontline workers at this time. We all know that their vital work is undertaken at great personal risk to themselves. The bell of Canterbury Cathedral will lend its voice to this display of gratitude and also mark a moment to pause and remember those who have died.”
The Cathedral’s bell ‘Harry’ will be tolled remotely via a timer, so no staff will be present within the building.