If you listen carefully on Saturday evening, you will hear church bells ringing out across the country to sound a warning in the face of the climate catastrophe ahead. 

As part of 'Ring out for climate', a plea for churches to signal a 'code-red warning' for humanity, St Thomas church in Salisbury will join others in ringing their bells on the eve of the Nations Climate Change conference, COP26, to be held on October 31 in Glasgow. 

Tower Captain Nigel Orchard, 74, will be leading a band of ten bellringers to sound out a signal at 6pm on Saturday October 30th with their eight bells, the heaviest of which weighs a ton and a quarter and is over 300-years-old.

Mr Orchard said: "Bells have traditionally been rung to mark significant moments, both in times of celebration, such as victory in war, and as a warning of impending danger."

This 'impeding danger' is seen as the climate crisis, which he feels is an 'absolutely crucial' issue. 

Salisbury Journal: St Thomas church, Salisbury, Tower Captain Nigel Orchard with his wife who is also bellringer.St Thomas church, Salisbury, Tower Captain Nigel Orchard with his wife who is also bellringer.

Mr Orchard, who is a granddad, used to work in the power industry himself so climate change is an issue he has witnessed evolve in public debate across the years.

He said: “I used to work a lot in coal fired power stations and oil fired power stations, in fact at one point I was the manager of Fawley power station and they’ve just about finished demolishing it now.

“It was good when it was build in the 60’s, but of course it’s not good for the environment. 

“We’ve got a lot, lot further to go.”

In terms of green energy, Mr Orchard highlighted that he has also worked in nuclear power stations and is a strong advocate of nuclear power "playing its part" in low carbon electricity.

Mr Orchard lives with his wife, who is also a bellringer, near Milford Hill, and has been the Tower Captain for five years, although he has taken part in this art form (which is also classifed as a sport) for 55 years. 

This passion started during his days as a student in Oxford, and he encourages new learners to come to the church of St Thomas and give it a go too as, he highlights: "It’s a very social business, and it does bring people together".

The bellringing band has struggled over Covid, with some of their members nervous about Covid and one waiting for a delayed non-urgent operation to be able to join them again.

Although, he said on 'ring out for climate': “I have no difficulty getting ringers for this particular session because they feel so strongly about climate change.”

"St Thomases has always been a church that looks outwards to the community and tries to play an active part of it,” Mr Orchard added, as churches of all faiths have been invited to join the movement.

They are very careful about Covid, opening doors and windows in the church to make sure the space is well ventilated at all times. 

Countries – in particular major emitters – are facing calls from across society, from UN chiefs to religious leaders and campaigners, to increase action to keep global warming under control and avoid catastrophic climate impacts.

Today, Pope Francis called on political leaders heading to Cop26 to urgently tackle the climate crisis to give “concrete hope to future generations”.

He said “radical decisions” are needed as the world faces a “succession of crises” in healthcare, the environment, food supplies and the economy.

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