Imagine there's no heaven – it's easy if you're a bell ringer

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HUNDREDS gathered outside the Anglican cathedral in John Lennon's home city of Liverpool yesterday as its bells rang out to his anti-religious anthem, Imagine.

The arts project saw the tune of the 1971 song, which begins "Imagine there's no heaven", chime out across the city where Lennon was born.

The former Beatle, who was murdered in New York in 1980, described the song as "anti-religious, anti-conventional and anti-capitalistic".

Cathedral ringer Sam Austin, 23, a student at Manchester's Royal Northern College of Music, led the performance,

developed from a concept by artist Cleo Evans.

A team of six ringers used 11 bells for three performances, which were staged at midday, 12.30pm and 1pm.

They rehearsed by playing the melody on hand-bells before moving on to the Cathedral's legendary bells, which are the highest and heaviest ringing peal bells in the world.

A spokesman for the Anglican Cathedral said: "The Cathedral feels this performance has inspired many to think about their relationship with God."

After the performance an arts competition aimed at young people aged between 13 and 25 was launched.