Widecombe campanolgist rescued from cathedral after getting trapped in bell ropes

By Paul James in Local People

BELLRINGER Ian Bowman from Widecombe is resting up in bed today after breaking a bone in his back during a freak accident 100ft above the pews in historic Worcester Cathedral.

He came a cropper with a campanology caper when his ankle got caught in a bell rope, flipping him upside and smashing his bouncing head twice against the unforgiving floor.

His bizarre mishap took on a surreal air as rescuing firefighters - opening trap doors - used line gear to gently lower him from his heavenly perch to terra firma just as the choir below hit high notes during a service.

‘I came down majestically in the middle of evensong,’ revealed the bemused casualty after his ordeal which attracted nationwide interest from news media.

Bed-bound Ian, who suffered a stable impression fracture to a vertebrae, was recovering at his home in Rowden just outside Widecombe this morning.

He and 20 fellow ringers - on a weekend tour which also took in Tewkesbury Abbey - were preparing for their Worcester treat with a ring of 12 bells when his world literally went topsy turvy.

The self-employed mechanic had been enjoying his melodious hobby for 15 years without any hitch until Saturday afternoon’s whoops-a-daisy on high.

‘A rope caught my right heel and then I was suddenly turned upside down about 6ft off the floor. The rope came down with me on it and I crashed on the floor before going up again. I bounced twice. All this was happening 100ft up in the cathedral,’ explained a pained Ian.

He had nothing but praise for the firefighters and paramedics who cared for him after his dizzy ordeal.

‘They were just brilliant,’ said a grateful Ian who hopes to be back on his feet again within a fortnight.

He was initially rushed by ambulance to Worcester Hospital where he underwent nine X-rays and was treated with a round of painkillers.

Initial results suggested he had escaped without any fractures, so he was driven home by his wife Jane.

But a call over the weekend from medics revealed he had suffered a break, for which he received treatment at Torbay Hospital yesterday.

He is due to see a consultant and undergo further tests next week.

His experience has not put him off bellringing at his usual venue of Widecombe’s St Pancras Church.

‘I am in pain at the moment - but I will be back soon,’ he predicted.

caption: GENTLY does it...bellringer Ian Bowman is lowered to safety by firefighters in Worcester Cathedral.

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