Coronation Day in Tavistock began this morning (Saturday, May 6) with the joyous sound of bells ringing out across the town to begin a day of celebrations welcoming King Charles III to the throne.

After months of training, 19 ringers, both experienced and novices who volunteered to learn to 'Ring for the King', gathered in in the bell tower of St Eustachius Church in quiet, but excited anticipation for the big moment they have been waiting for.

They took hold of their ropes and pulled for one hour ringing the ten bells according to a quarter peel programme learned over the past few months.

In between stints bell ringing, Tower Captain George Mudge said: 'It's a terrific occasion and we have some excited people here, all playing their part well. I'm especially proud of the novices who answered our call for newcomers to learn to ring for the Coronation. There's a lot of experienced ringers here, but we can't go on for ever and need new blood. They've done so well and have rehearsed weekly on one day and then started ringing with us experienced ringers. They've learned fast and taken to it well.

'It's the culmination of a lot of practise and finally we're here on the big day. There'll be many of us who will ring at other churches round about in the villages this Coronation weekend.'

George began bell ringing when he was 16. He was only six when the Queen was crowned and has since taken part in the Princess Diana memorial and the Queen's funeral ringing. He said: 'People come far and wide to ring at St Eustachius because we have a high standard here and ten bells. My departed wife Doreen led the fund raising for £40,000 for the extra bells to make it ten. So we have a reputation to uphold here and the newcomers have more than done their part today.'

Mark Gunnell, a swimming teacher at Mount Kelly College, Tavistock, was already learning to ring bells when the call went out for volunteers to Ring for the King. He said: 'I wanted to take part in this historic occasion. I take a lot of photos of churches and love the bells. We've been training hard and it's gone well so far. But it's much more difficult than it looks. It means a lot to me to take part in such a historic day.'

Sam Everett, who works for a local authority, began ringing as a Ring for the King newcomer. She said: 'I have always liked the sound of church bells since I was a child. I was at a church service here at Christmas when they were looking for new ringers to learn to play on Coronation Day - I wasn't going to miss that opportunity and I'm so glad I did. It's a very special occasion and I'm proud to be part of it.

'It's been a lovely, but intense experience training. Ringing is more complex than just pulling ropes. We built up gradually and I was a bit nervous, but it's been enjoyable to be part of a team and take part in a national event.'