A festive bell ringing event that aims to bring communities together during the coronavirus pandemic has gone viral, with nearly 200,000 people planning to take part.
In a similar format to that of Clap for Carers, the plan is for neighbours to stand on their doorsteps ringing bells at 6pm on Christmas Eve, in a bid to keep the festive spirit alive during COVID-19 restrictions.
The event was originally organised to take place in Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and Stirling, but has now attracted interest from as far as Australia and Kuala Lumpur, with around 191,200 people from across the world wanting to take part.
Organisers hope the two-minute event will help “end 2020 with a bit of magic, hope and togetherness”.
“It's like going out and clapping on your doorstep for the NHS, we’re now jingling our bells for the sake of Christmas spirit,” organiser Lauren Sinclair, 36, explains.
“COVID took from a lot of people this year, and we’re trying to basically show the virus that it’s not winning.
“We are going to win this fight.”
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Sinclair originally set up the Facebook page Global Christmas on 24 October, but within just 24 hours the page had hit 20,000 followers.
“I thought maybe 1,000 maximum would join,” she says.
“Originally it was just planned for Forth Valley because that’s where I’m from, but in less than one day we had people join from all over the world.
"We have people from Kuala Lumpur, from Australia, from America.
Though Sinclair was unsure if people would want to join a Facebook group or take part in the event, she says people seem to be on board with the idea of doing something a little bit different.
“A lot of people have lost their jobs this year, some people are still on furlough, so we understand that it is an expense that people can't necessarily afford, especially for people who have three or four children,” she explains.
“We've had a lot of people asking us where we meet and I just want to make sure everyone knows it is on your own doorstep, at a reasonable time for young children to still go out and jingle their bells for two minutes.
“It’s just about keeping the Christmas spirit alive, that’s all we’re really wanting to do.”
Sinclair has spoken with a local minister who is putting the word out across the community about also ringing church bells and is currently waiting to hear back from the Church of Scotland.
She will also be posting a request on the Facebook page for people to donate a toy for a child in the children’s ward at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Labert, Falkirk.
Sinclair plans to donate bells to care homes that want to join in with the festive cheer on 24 December.
Additional reporting SWNS.