Albert is still bell ringing at 94

AT 94-years-old Albert Driver is probably Suffolk's oldest bellringer.

Naomi Cassidy

AT 94-years-old Albert Driver is probably Suffolk's oldest bellringer.

The grandfather from Fen Road, Redgrave, has been ringing the bells at St Mary's Church in the village for 80 years.

Mr Driver, who is the church's bell captain, first started learning how to ring the bells when he was 11 and admitted he is still learning today and has no plans to stop.

He said: “I have rung the bells for 80 harvest festivals and that is a record which won't be broken.

“My father was a ringer and so that is what got me interested. I took lessons from about the age of 11. The ringers are good company and it is good exercise. It is something you never finish learning.

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“Before the war we used to ring it every Sunday morning for a service but now it is just done for special occasions like weddings or funerals. I rang the bells when King George V died and for the coronation of the queen. I will carry on until I can.”

More than 70 churches across England, including seven from Suffolk, joined in a bell ringing event on Saturdayto mark the 40th birthday of the Churches Conservation Trust.

The other Suffolk churches involved in the event were St Mary's, Bungay, St Mary's, Rickinghall Superior, St Peter's, Sudbury, St Mary at the Quay, Ipswich, St Andrew's, Covehithe, and St Mary's, Akenham.

The ringing of the bells, which happened at different times throughout the day, was done to celebrate the place of the church at the heart of the communities.

The trust currently cares for 340 English historic churches that are no longer required for regular worship. The 40th birthday will be celebrated all year and music will be the theme throughout this time with church services, jazz concerts, arts events and organ recitals taking place.

The six bells at the medieval church in Redgrave are between 200 and 300 years old.