Newmarket student to ring the changes at cathedral

Young bellringer Jimmy Yeoman and his mother Vanda with Dragons Caroline Kerr and Alistair Thomson.
Young bellringer Jimmy Yeoman and his mother Vanda with Dragons Caroline Kerr and Alistair Thomson.

A Newmarket student will ring the bells at one of the country’s most magnificent cathedrals thanks to a Dragons’ Den competition.

Fifteen-year-old Jimmy Yeoman made a pitch to Dragons Michelle Kerr, of Newmarket Racecourse, and Alistair Thomson, manager of the town’s Tesco store, when the charity group Newmarket Festival Committee ran a contest at Newmarket Academy in the style of the BBC2 programme.

Not only was keen bellringer Jimmy successful in obtaining £1,800 to provide new ropes for the bells at St Martin’s Church, Exning, and St Mary’s Church, Newmarket, but the Dragons were so impressed that they came up with another surprise.

“The Dragons thought that Jimmy’s pitch was such a lovely thing and part of an ancient tradition, that they asked him where he would most like to ring the bells,” said committee administrator Ali Price.

“Jimmy said it would be York Minster, so Dragon Michelle wrote to the cathedral who said they would love him to visit and ring the bells.”

On Thursday, Jimmy and his mother Vanda met up again with the two Dragons who broke the news that his dream of ringing some of the best bells in the country would be coming true during the summer holidays.

“I was speechless,” said Jimmy. “It was unbelievable that someone would do something like that for me.”

After 18 months ringing the bells locally, Jimmy will find quite a difference at York.

But he is not worried about ringing at the Minster where they have the fourth heaviest set of change-ringing bells in the world.

“Strength is not as important as technique,“ he said.