One of the greatest regrets is that there is no bell at St Thomas the Apostle. There is a bellcote but it has been inactive since the 1960’s. I suspect the same iconoclasm which covered up the balcony removed the bell. The original is missing and there is a bell from the St Matthew’s Mission Hut (now an aggregates yard on the A32). My desire ere I leave is to get that bell up and working and an audible statement of the mission of the church.

What I dearly miss is the ringing of the Angelus, which has a long tradition here at St Thomas’ – when Jane and I started to pray the Hail Mary openly in intercessions, one of the ladies asked “Why don’t we use that long version of the Hail Mary that Mrs Grace used to use?”

We looked puzzled for a moment. “Long version?”

“Yes, the long version… The Angel of the Lord brought tidings to Mary…

Blessed Josie, backbone of this parish for so many years kept the Angelus at the beginning of the Daily Office each day, faithfully, even when others had turned their back on this essential prayer.

So, today at the Deanery Midday Office, for the Presentation of the BVM, we will use an Angelus, even if it is a recorded one. So, for anyone else who hasn’t got a bell, please feel free to use this one…