HE may be Ilkley's most famous son but there was no standing on ceremony when Alan Titchmarsh returned to his home town.

The celebrity gardener came back last week to re-open the Manor House. But as the crowds gathered outside awaiting his arrival few realised he was up the church tower ringing the bells.

Mr Titchmarsh - had been a bellringer at All Saints 50 years ago - and he was delighted to try his hand at it again to celebrate the occasion.

Tower Captain Sue Green said: "As soon as our bellringing team heard Alan was due to visit the Manor House, we decided to send him an invitation to climb the tower stairs once more in the church where he and his father were both ringers some 50 years ago – and we were delighted to get a call saying he’d love to accept.

"With such a busy life, he doesn’t get much chance for bellringing these days, but he does still help out at his local church in Hampshire whenever he can.

"Alan spent some time with us sharing memories of ringing at Ilkley and filling in the missing names of people in the old photos we have up in the tower.

"Despite saying he was out of practice, and that he’d forgotten that Ilkley bells are on the heavy side, he then rang with us for about 15 minutes like a true pro.