For whom the bell tolls ...
Spare a thought for the Dewsbury bell ringers who are girding their loins for Christmas Eve.
Every year, at Dewsbury Minster, the bell is tolled once for each year of the Christian era to remind the devil of his defeat.
This is a medieval tradition that dates from the 13th century when Sir Thomas de Soothill murdered a servant boy in a fit of rage. To show remorse for his crime he gave the tenor bell, known as Black Tom, to the church. The bell has been rung ever since on Christmas Eve.
Parishioners in the past believed the bell drove the devil away from Dewsbury for the following 12 months, although modern citizens might wonder whether it is still as effective if they wander the town centre streets on a Saturday night.
However, the Devil's Knell will be tolled 2005 times on Saturday night and is timed to finish at midnight.
Just one question. Who keeps count?