You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

York Minster bells fall silent at Christmas

Sky News logo Sky News 26/12/2016
Dean of York Minster Vivienne Faull (centre) and Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu following the Christmas Day service © PA Dean of York Minster Vivienne Faull (centre) and Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu following the Christmas Day service

York Minster's bells fell silent on Christmas Day for the first time in more than 600 years after the bell-ringing team was disbanded following a row over the reinstatement of one of their group.

Visitors at the cathedral have been warned to expect a silent Christmas period after the Minster's 30-strong ringing group was sackedĀ in October.

Ringers had refused to accept the decision not to reinstate a member who had been suspended following a police investigation into allegations of sex offences against children, which did not lead to a prosecution.

York Minster disbanded its bell-ringing group in October © Getty York Minster disbanded its bell-ringing group in October

Another group of campanologists from Leeds were asked to fill the gap but reportedly refused to help out in solidarity with their sacked colleagues.

The member has not been named by the Minster's Chapter, but is understood to be David Potter - who was awarded an MBE for his services to bell-ringing and has never been convicted of any offence.

Mr Potter was the subject of a police investigation in 1999, which was reviewed again in 2014, but he was never charged.

The Chapter of York Minster ordered a detailed risk assessment of Mr Potter's activities and ruled he "presented an ongoing risk and that the potential severity of the risk meant they could not be reinstated".

It added that the bell ringers refused to accept the decision and so had to be disbanded.

Colin Byrne, a solicitor acting for Mr Potter, said in October: "Mr Potter has no cautions or convictions or any civil findings ever made against him.

"Issues surrounding the bell ringers and the Minster is a private and confidential matter between those two parties but the process that he has been subject to has shown a disregard for due process and equally the treatment of his fellow bell-ringers."

The Dean of York Minster, Vivienne Faull, and the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, who supported the decision, were both in attendance at the service on Christmas Day.

More from Sky News

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon