Norwich man encouraging residents to spread holiday spirit with bell ringing on Christmas Eve

New London

NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH) — Come Christmas Eve, Kevin Harkins hopes to hear bells ringing all across the city. From front steps and porches to churches and city hall.

Harkins, who has a collection of 600 bells, rang one of his favorite larger bells for News 8 in front of his Norwich home Tuesday.

“You’ll hear that a long ways away,” said Harkins. “Such a nice sound.”

“They just spread so much joy and I love the different sounds,” said Harkins. “I am totally blind so I think that means a lot to me.”

Harkins says the Worldwide Christmas Jingle 2020 – which will take place when the clock strikes 6:00 p.m. local time on Christmas Eve – was started by a woman in Scotland concerned parents were telling their children there wouldn’t be a Christmas because of COVID-19 which he says is simply not true.

“It’s such a way of proclaiming love and joy and unity and peace in the world which is something we really need right now,” said Harkins.

Grace Episcopal Church in the Yantic section of the city plans to chime in to this musical effort.

Harkins hopes that on Christmas Eve people come outside and ring their bells for a few minutes.  

He also wants to remind people the more bells that ring the higher and faster Santa’s reindeer fly. That’s why there are bells on the sleigh. 

“It’s clear. It’s crisp,” described Harkins. “It’s simple and I like listening to the bell resonate. I call it or ring out. If you ring the bell and you just let it go peacefully.”

A sound, a symbol which he believes embodies the spirit of the holiday season.

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