As we approach Armistice Sunday for this year, here is the article that was published in The Ringing World on Friday 25th October 2019 about the archives of Armistice centenary ringing presented to Winchester and Portsmouth Cathedrals earlier this year .
Guild presents archives of Armistice centenary ringing to its two cathedrals in special services
The Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers (W & P) is an active Guild representing ringers across the Channel Islands, part of Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. As reported in 2018, our Guild had successfully undertaken a mammoth task, creating an archive of many special memorial ringing performances that had honoured those who had died as a result of World War One.
Two bound volumes of the archives were to be presented to Winchester and Portsmouth Cathedrals at special services. It was wonderful to see how many folk came forward to volunteer their time and expertise. A project mascot was adopted; ‘Tommy’ – a 30cm high, clear Perspex silhouette in the form of a World War One Tommy soldier who travelled across our large Guild area. The archive continues to be updated digitally, available to see here.
The two Cathedral services took place in May 2019; what wonderful occasions!
At both venues we displayed project material in advance of the services. Both Cathedrals’ bands ensured there was splendid service ringing. Visiting ringers were able to ring in the areas during the day; at Winchester, the Chamborough Ring created much interest to members of the public, in addition to the Cathedral tower bells. Both services had been well-crafted and supported by the Cathedrals’ clergy, organists, choirs, vergers, staff and volunteers. We were delighted and honoured to welcome large congregations of ringers, their families and friends and local dignitaries. We all shared the emotions of the Archive presentation ceremonies and reflected as we heard the lovely handbell ringing, a very fitting accompaniment to the presentations.
At Portsmouth Cathedral’s Choral Evensong, on 12th May, The Lord Mayor and
Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire were greeted by the Dean of Portsmouth, The Very Reverend Dr Anthony Cane, and our Guild Master,
Mike Winterbourne. The Right Reverend Christopher Foster, Bishop of Portsmouth, welcomed the congregation. During the service, Alverstoke ringer, Soul Stanford and Portsmouth Cathedral ringer, Chris Cockel, presented the archive; it was received by
Bishop Christopher. Guild Officers Mike Winterbourne and Heather Frazer read lessons. Intercessions were led by Canon John Owen, Vicar of Steep and Froxfield with Privett. The congregation stood for the Act of Rededication led by Charlotte Mossop, a ringer at St. Michaels’, Basingstoke. After the service we enjoyed hearing Louis Verne’s Organ Voluntary ‘Les Cloches de Hinckley’. The Reverend Canon
Dr. Jo Spreadbury, Canon Precentor, was instrumental in the service and all of the prior arrangements; we were pleased to thank her personally at the lovely informal refreshments reception provided by the Cathedral ringers.
On 19th May at Winchester Cathedral, The Very Reverend Catherine Ogle,
Dean of Winchester, together with Guild Master Mike Winterbourne, greeted the
Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire, the Mayor of Winchester and the
Lord Mayor of Portsmouth. The Dean conducted the Choral Evensong service; our Guild Master read a lesson. The archive book was presented to The Dean by
ringers Matthew Dancy of All Saints’, Basingstoke and Isla Ingram from
Milford-on-Sea A candle was lit and the congregation was asked to
‘Individually and together, commit to the cause of peace and reconciliation’. As the final part of our act of worship, we were invited to listen to the Organ Voluntary ‘Carillon-Sortie’ by Henri Mulet. The very pleasant refreshments served to our guests by local ringers and enjoyed by us all brought a lovely, quiet conclusion to the day.
The last word here to ‘Tommy’ then:
‘People ask me why I am transparent?
After 100 years none of my comrades are still alive,
But I hope that their children, grandchildren and future generations will not let them disappear completely;
but once, every now and then, catch a glimpse of me and remember.’
Public Relations Officer for W & P