Bells were ringing out across the world on Friday morning to signal the official start of the 2012 Olympic Games.
As the Olympic torch made its way on the last leg of the relay in London, Big Ben chimed for the longest period in 60 years and bicycle bells, hand bells and church bells rang across the nation.
Among those joining in the celebration were the bellringers of St Mary’s Church, Horsham. Tower captain Val Burgess said: “On Friday July 27 at 8am 11 ringers and a photographer gathered in the Belfry of St Mary’s Church ready to ring at 8.12am.
“The London Organising Committee had requested that bells of any kind be rung for five minutes and our ringers along with thousands of others were there to do there part along with other churches all over the country.
“At 8.12 am precisely we started ringing on all ten bells after five mins we stopped and most of us retired to a local hostelry for breakfast where we joined by ringers from Warnham and Rusper.”
The idea of national bell-ringing was masterminded by Turner Prize winning artist Martin Creed as part of a 12-week programme of cultural events celebrating the arts alongside sport.
After special permission was granted by Parliament, Big Ben chimed for the first time outside normal times since King George VI died in 1952.