A BELLRINGER is riding horseback around Somerset to raise money to repair and replace some ageing church bells.

Annie Suddaby is setting out on Gypsy on a 150-mile marathon to visit 50 churches over 24 days after the morning service at St Mary Magdalene Church, Taunton, on Sunday.

The team on Annie’s Ride, which includes her sister-in-law Jo French, will visit the Blackdown Hills, Exmoor, the Quantocks and the Somerset Levels.

Money raised from the sponsored event will go towards a £300,000 appeal to restore the broken carillon and clock chimes, while the bells need to be recast and re-hung.

But not everything has gone to plan – Annie said: “My own horse, Mieke, suffered a bad fall while getting fit for the ride.

“She injured her front legs. She is now recovering but sadly she won’t be fit in time.

“But a kind benefactor from Cornwall heard of my predicament and has come to the rescue, generously lending her own horse, Gypsy, a lovely skewbald mare.”

Annie’s Ride will receive a blessing at St Mary’s before setting off at around 11am from outside the church.

As Annie and Jo arrive at each church, they will join a band of local and experienced campanologists to ring the bells.

Jo is starting from scratch and it is her challenge to learn the skill as she goes from tower to tower Annie plans to complete her adventure on Tuesday, August 26, by riding back into Taunton for a civic reception at St Mary’s.

Details of the route and an interactive map and blog during the ride can be viewed by clicking the Appeal for a Bell link on this story.