BELLRINGERS from Leeds Minster have been asked to come and ring York Minster's bells at Christmas, following the axing of York's own ringers.

Andrew Aspland, who is understood to be tower captain at Leeds as well as president of the Yorkshire Association of Change Ringers, has written to members, saying he has received a formal request from the Dean and Chapter of York Minster for the Leeds ringers to ring at various Christmas services.

"Sam Corley, our Rector, has given us the go-ahead to help out at York," he said in the letter, which has been posted on Facebook.

"There are various times requested and I wonder if we could ring for their nine lessons and Carols on Thursday December 22, ringing from 6 to 7pm."

He said there would be the opportunity to go over to York to get the bells up and practice, and says he hoped they could go over on December 20 to join with other bands who would be ringing for the other Christmas services.

Mr Aspland was unavailable for comment.

York Press:

It is understood that bellringers at St Wilfrid's Roman Catholic Church, just down Duncombe Place from the Minster, have also been invited to ring the Minster bells.

John Ridgeway-Wood, a former Carillon bellringer at the Minster who was fired from ringing Carillon Bells at the Minster after he strongly criticised the decision to axe the ringers, said he felt it was iniquitous for the Minster to be ‘poaching’ ringers from other churches to ring the Minster bells, when it had its own perfectly good ringers standing idle.

A York Minster Society of Change Ringers spokesman declined to comment.

A Minster spokeswoman said: “Obviously – the Chapter of York is progressing plans for future bell ringing arrangements at York Minster.

"One of the things that we have learned in recent weeks is that Yorkshire has many wonderfully talented bell ringers.

"One of our main ambitions is to make our Tower more accessible and welcoming to those who have already expressed an interest in volunteering for our bell tower and we are also keen to respond to those who have expressed an interest in learning bell ringing in the future.

"As soon as we have finalised our plans the people of York will be the first to know.”

All 30 volunteer ringers at the Minster were axed in October, prompting a storm of protest, with more than 17,000 people signing a petition calling for them to be reinstated.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, later claimed the team was disbanded because some members of the society had consistently challenged the Chapter's authority after it had been necessary for the Chapter to take action regarding a 'member of the bellringing community' on alleged safeguarding grounds.