Ding, dong: world wishes Cambridge happy 800th birthday

January 17th, 2009 - 6:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghLondon, Jan 17 (IANS) From India to the US, universities across the world Saturday celebrated the 800th birth anniversary of Cambridge University, ringing church bells in a synchronised salute to one of the world’s greatest institutions of learning.In Cambridge itself the university rolled out grand celebration, including a spectacular light and bell-ringing show.

Four churches in central Cambridge rang a new work for bells specially composed by Clare College alumnus Phil Earis.

The sound of bells celebrating the university’s octocentenary reverberated across the world as churches from the US to Australia joined in to mark the occasion.

In India, bells rang out at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Kolkata, Sacred Heart Cathedral and St. James’ Church in New Delhi, and St. Mark’s Cathedral in Bangalore, keeping a promise made to Cambridge vice chancellor Alison Richard during her recent visit to India.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is an alumnus of St. John’s College, Cambridge.

All Church of England bishops were asked to have churches in their diocese ring their bells along with the university and many agreed - even Lincoln College in rival Oxford University.

St. Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne and Trinity Church on Wall Street in New York City both rang their bells.

Meanwhile, a Judge Business School applicant in Costa Rica offered to clatter kitchen utensils in his neighbourhood if he could find a suitable substitute.

A bell ringing group in Hong Kong joined in, as churches, college chapels and alumni groups worldwide were invited to participate.

A specially-commissioned piece of light art will be projected on to the Senate House and Old Schools of the university from Jan 17-19 featuring iconic images from Cambridge’s history and stunning illustrations by Quentin Blake.

The light show has been produced by world-renowned light artist Ross Ashton, who said “the ideas, concepts and inventions that have flowed from Cambridge have changed the world”.

A special feature of the show is the work of renowned illustrator and Downing College alumnus Quentin Blake, who has produced new drawings of two of the university’s most famous alumni - Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.

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