Mum’s epic bell ringing session pulls in £10,000

Sponsored bell ring at St Peter's Church, Bexhill.  Julie McDonnell and Roy Cox. SUS-151222-160716001
Sponsored bell ring at St Peter's Church, Bexhill. Julie McDonnell and Roy Cox. SUS-151222-160716001

A mum has achieved an ‘impossible’ bell-ringing marathon, raising almost £10,000 for a life-saving charity.

The bells were ringing out across Bexhill on Sunday (December 27) when Julie McDonnell and her six fellow campanologists took part in the ‘barking mad’ challenge in aid of the Anthony Nolan Trust.

The complex challenge, branded ‘impossible’ by some of her fellow bell-ringers, involved up to 5,040 changes which Julie described as ‘an awful lot’.

Julie’s ding-dong marathon was only supposed to last for three hours, but owing to a couple of false starts, the ringing went on for almost four hours.

However Julie, from Hastings, and the team managed to complete the peal itself in under three hours.

What made Julie’s fundraising efforts even more remarkable is the fact she has been bell-ringing for just 14 months.

Julie regularly rings at her church in Brede.

However, the church only has six bells, and with eight required for the bell ringing marathon, St Peter’s Church in Bexhill was chosen as a more suitable venue.

The 48-year-old decided to raise funds for the Anthony Nolan Trust – a charity which saves the lives of people with blood cancer – as it is a cause very close to her heart.

When Julie first decided on her bell-ringing challenge, she set herself the target of raising £500.

But thanks to some very generous sponsors her final fundraising total is just shy of £10,000.

Julie told the Observer: “We are just £249 under £10,000.

“We were not expecting that sort of money at all.

“I’m so happy. People are so generous.

“And 36 people have actually signed up with the Anthony Nolan Trust as potential donors.

“To get all these potential donors is absolutely fabulous.

“Hopefully they will be a match.”

Craig Wills, community fundraiser, at Anthony Nolan, said: “It costs £60 to recruit each person to the Anthony Nolan register, so fundraising is a vital part of our lifesaving work.

“The more fundraising we do, the more potential donors we can recruit onto the stem cell register, and the more lives we can save.”

To find out more about the work of the Anthony Nolan Trust, or to find out how to join the register, visit

St Peter’s Church is on the lookout for anyone interested in joining its team of bell ringers.

To find out more, visit