The Central Council Annual Conference visited Portsmouth in May and, in October, the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth asked a 7 year old local ringer why he’d taken up bell ringing…. “I was walking by St. Mary’s Church, Portsea and the bells sounded so beautiful, I just had to go in and then learn to ring” he replied.
The connection? The Central Council had invited The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth and The Lady Mayoress to the conference’s formal dinner. Viv seized the opportunity to raise the profile of ringing, particularly in the local area. Subsequently, “W and P” received an invitation for twenty members to attend High Tea in The Lord Mayor’s Parlour.
The ringers were given a very warm welcome to The Guildhall and The Lord Mayor gave his guests a splendid tour of the various official rooms, including the Council Chamber. The City’s treasures including beautiful silverware and important charters, going back as far as C13th, were of particular interest to the group.
The Lord Mayor was very generous with his time in chatting to ringers and it was a great atmosphere in which to chat about ringing. The Lord Mayor was delighted to hear young bell ringers share with him their excitement and fun with ringing. One volunteered
“I’ve had one lesson, it’s something different and I love it!” and another lad, when asked about “Tunes”, sang a very confident burst of Rounds!
When we asked the young ringers if they’d enjoyed the visit to the Mayor’s Parlour they said –
“It was really good meeting The Mayor – you don’t really get to see him, do you, and to sit in his chair?”
– “Next, I’d like to climb up to see Big Ben”!
“The visit to meet The Mayor was great, I really liked it and it was very interesting”.
We believe that the ringers’ visit to The Guildhall has inspired a potential new ringer or two…The Lord Mayor and The Lady Mayoress have booked into a Bell Ringing Taster Session early in 2017 already!
We’re hopeful of more P.R. activities flowing from this newly formed and friendly working relationship…likely an invitation to speak informally at a Coffee Morning at The Guildhall and maybe a Mini-Ring one day event in The Guildhall Square so. “Watch this space”, please.
“Thank you ” to everyone involved!