Christmas Eve bell-ringing campaign reaches almost half a million supporters

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Almost half a million people have pledged to take part in a Christmas Eve bell-ringing to combat loneliness.

The Prime Minister and his fiancee Carrie Symonds will be among those taking part, after they phoned organiser Mary Beggs-Reid about the campaign on Tuesday morning.

Mrs Beggs-Reid, from Harrogate, North Yorkshire, said her event is “more needed now than ever” after strict measures have been put in place across the UK to help combat the spread of coronavirus.

With the event taking place on Thursday, more than 477,000 people have now joined Mrs Beggs-Reid’s Facebook group Worldwide Christmas Eve Jingle.

Thousands of people across the UK have been asked to ring bells for two minutes at 6pm on December 24 as part of the campaign, which started on October 19.

The campaign has been backed by celebrities including Michael Sheen and Sophie Ellis-Bextor, members of the Royal Family and politicians of all parties.

The event has been endorsed by Captain Sir Tom Moore, who called it “a brilliant initiative at a time where it is really needed”.

Actor Michael Sheen said: “This Christmas will be tough for many, but let’s make sure no-one has to feel alone. Give someone a bell this Christmas. Give them a ring, ring their doorbell or join the Christmas Eve Jingle.”

Mrs Beggs-Reid told PA: “Especially with the recent news, this is more needed now than ever.

“It was just a simple bell-ring to start with but it’s evolved into so much more, so that for two minutes on Christmas Eve nobody feels alone.”

The 41-year-old, who works as an estate manager, was contacted by No 10 after Mr Johnson expressed an interest in ringing bells on Christmas Eve.

She had been due to travel to London to meet Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds on Monday, but due to the tough new restrictions introduced in the capital on Saturday, they instead took part in a phone call on Tuesday morning.

Mrs Beggs-Reid told PA: “I think it’s fantastic that the Prime Minister is getting behind an everyday mum like me and trying to help communities as much as we can.”

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