Chorus of bells to open Macclesfield's Barnaby Festival

'Barnaby Washing' hanging over Chestergate in Macclesfield, which is being used instead of bunting Photo: Barnaby Festival

Hundreds of bells will ring out in Macclesfield this evening to usher in the town's third Barnaby Festival.

The whole town is being invited to take part in the mass ring-in, which is scheduled to begin at around 6.45pm.

It was inspired by the national three-minute bell-ringing event, 'All the Bells', which will launch the London Olympics in July.

Nicholas Smith, the director of Macclesfield's Silk Opera and the event's conductor, said: "We wanted to open the third Barnaby Festival with a flourish, with as many bells as possible ringing together - so church bells, hand bells, tubular bells, door bells, mobile phone bells, alarm bells, cycle bells - you name it, we want you to ring it.”

The event, which has been dubbed 'Bell-issimo, will also include bellringers at St Michael’s, St Peter’s and Christ Church. They will ring a total of 30 of Macclesfield's bells for 15 minutes.

James Marchbank, Tower Captain of St Michael’s church, said: "We think it’s a wonderful idea. It’s also a great opportunity to ring all the church bells together and to promote the art of church bell ringing, which has been around for centuries.

"The oldest of the bells at Christ Church were cast in 1777, so play an important part in the history of Macclesfield.”

Anyone who wants to take part should be in Macclesfield's Market Place at 6pm for a rehearsal.

For more information, visit www.barnabyfestival.org.uk.