A bell ringer who has been playing at St Botolph’s for 72 years – including for Royalty – has been honoured for his years of dedication.
Tom Freeston, who has been bell ringing since being introduced to the art by his older brother at the age of 14, was presented with a certificate for 52 years of service in the Guild of Bellringers on Sunday.
The 86-year-old climbs 200 steps every Sunday to ring the bells – and in the early days climbed them twice a day for morning service and Evensong.
He told The Standard: “I appreciate the recognition and am very grateful for what I have achieved.”
Mr Freeston began ringing the Stump’s 10 bells in 1946 when Canon Malcolm Cook was minister, and has seen many faces come and go.
He said: “Some people are able to learn to ring bells quicker than others , but we have seen many, many ringers including youngsters who have gone on to University and later ring bells in the big cities.”
Mr Freeston has also rung bells for a number of historic special occasions, including royal visits by Princess Anne and Prince Charles, as well as when the Olympic Torch passed through the town.
Mr Freeston has also taken part in and studied bell ringing across the UK, often taking time out on holidays with wife Janet to visit churches and cathedrals across the country – and of course, he speaks highly of his home county’s Lincoln Cathedral.
The Rev Alyson Buxton, the team Rector at Boston Stump, said: “‘I am continually amazed by the sense of dedication, duty and love in which people offer of themselves to make their communities better places to live. Tom’s achievement is a perfect example of this.
“I was delighted to present his certificate to him as well as thank him, on behalf of all at The Stump, for his years of service to the Church.”
Mr Freeston, who has lived in the town all his life, has two children.