BELL-RINGERS successfully set a new world record on Saturday at the parish church in South Petherton.

The band of experienced bell-ringers from all over the country met at the church and rang 21,216 changes of a method known as Cambridge Surprise Maximus to beat the previous record – 16,368 changes – that was set 50 years ago in 1965 at Birmingham Cathedral.

The 12 ringers involved were subject to rules laid down by the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers and each ringer had to ring his bell for the whole time without a break.

This record breaking peal attempt took almost 15 hours starting just after 7am to 9.30pm.

The church was open throughout the day for visitors to come along and listen and watch the ringers up in the tower via a video link, and refreshments were available.

For most of the day there was a good lively atmosphere in the church from the large number of people coming to watch and listen.

From about 8.30pm more people gradually filled the church, until about 200 were present to watch the culmination of this fantastic effort.

When the attempt was finally successful loud cheering and applause arose from the crowd who had been silent during the final few minutes. The band heard the cheering from the ringing chamber.

David Purnell, a bell-ringer at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, had been instrumental in bringing together the record attempt and had been a member of the band that had held the previous record.

A previous record attempt by the group last October was unsuccessful – but the bell-ringers were determined to get it right this time.