A WOMAN from North Yorkshire has launched a campaign that will see thousands of people ring out bells and reach out to isolated friends and family on Christmas Eve as part of an online bid to combat loneliness over the festive period.

The campaign encourages people to “give someone a bell” if they are likely to be alone and ring bells on their doorsteps for two minutes at 6pm on December 24.

It was started by Mary Beggs-Reid, from Harrogate, North Yorkshire, to “end 2020 with a bit of magic, hope and togetherness” in her hometown.

More than 445,000 people have signed up to take part in the event through Facebook since Ms Beggs-Reid’s original post and she has now teamed up with the Christmas/Together campaign.

Ms Beggs-Reid was due to travel from Harrogate to London and meet with Boris Johnson and drum up support for the campaign on Monday.

However due to the tough new restrictions introduced in the capital on Saturday at midnight, they can no longer meet in person.

She will now take part in a call with the Prime Minister and his fiancee Carrie Symonds instead.

Coronavirus restrictions across the country have caused heartbreak for many – and organisers of the campaign say it is now needed more than ever.

“For some it will not change anything but for others it will be heartbreaking,” said Ms Beggs-Reid.

“This will be our happy moment. Covid can not take this from us so ring louder.

“This year the Christmas spirit is so needed and for two minutes we can make sure nobody feels alone.”

She added: “After this weekend it is needed more than ever.”

It comes as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, urged people to spend time on the telephone talking and planning future meetings with those feeling lonely over the festive period.

“I have spent Christmases on my own… and I have no illusions about how dark it feels,” he said, speaking on the Andrew Marr show.

“It may be many months yet but as the vaccine comes in, things will change.”