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Thousands of bells to chime out celebrating start of Olympic and Paralympic Games

  • Date: 26 July 2012
  • Area: National
One man, church tower background

Martin Creed's All the Bells will signify the first day of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Credit: Chris Watt

To herald the first day of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, thousands of bells across the UK will ring for three minutes at 8.12am, Friday 27 July.

The chiming bells form Work No. 1197: All the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes, by Turner Prize-winning artist, Martin Creed, commissioned for London 2012 Festival.

The piece is the biggest community celebration for the Games and anyone can take part by ringing a bell of any kind - from hand bells, bicycle bells, doorbells to traditional church bells.

All individuals, communities and organisations are encouraged to join in and register online at All the Bells' website, where you can also download Martin Creed's free exclusive ringtone, Work No. 1372, which features 28 different bells sounds.

You can also download the London 2012 Join In mobile App and tap or shake your phone like a hand bell to release the Martin Creed bell sequence.

Thousands of people and organisations have already registered to take part including all four UK Parliaments, the Royal Navy, HMS Belfast, British Embassies worldwide, the Mayor of London, the Archbishop of Westminster, The Girl Guides Association and the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. 

As part of the occasion, Westminster's historic Big Ben will chime more than 40 times - the first time it has been rung outside its regular schedule since 15 February 1952.

Ruth Mackenzie, Director, London 2012 Festival and the Cultural Olympiad, said: 'We are incredibly excited that the commission allows everyone in the UK the chance to be part of history in the making as we aim to set a world record for the largest number of bells to be rung simultaneously.'

Arts Council England is a principal supporter London 2012 Festival and the wider Cultural Olympiad. Visit our London 2012 pages to find out more about how we are supporting it.