Guild Newsletter – June 2021

Inside this issue:

Following the routemap out of lockdown, since 17th May some towers have already started to ring for Sunday services, weddings and practices, subject to the ‘rule of six’. Guidance for the period from 17 May to 21 June, agreed with the House of Bishops Recovery Group includes:

· Face coverings, hand sanitising between ringing,  and 1m space between ringers when ringing

· Lateral Flow Tests – for those who have not been vaccinated

· Restrict ringing time to 45 minutes whilst maintaining good tower ventilation.

Please do read the two guidance documents as there is much more detail in them.

Guidance 17 May to 21 June

Is it appropriate for an individual to ring?

We will circulate the Guidance for the period after 21 June (or whatever the date is), once it has been published.

Guild AGM – Saturday 12th June at 10.15am

The Guild AGM 2021 will be held on Saturday 12th June at 10.15 a.m. Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic the AGM will be held online using the Zoom Pro platform. You need to register in advance using the following link:

AGM Registration Link

When you click on the link you will be presented with a form to fill in (fields marked with a red asterisk are mandatory).

If there will be more than one person attending via a single connection, please provide the names of the additional attendees in the field provided. Please do not fill in separate registrations for each person.

Once submitted, your registration will be automatically approved, and you will receive an email containing a personalised link to join the meeting. Please keep this email somewhere you can find it on the day and do not delete it as you will not be able to join the meeting without it.

Also do not forward it to another member as the link will only work for one person.

The full agenda, minutes of the last meeting, and officer and committee reports for 2020 . are available to Download as a pdf here

For a Web version Download as HTML here for those who prefer to view this information online. Both versions will be kept up-to-date. with any additional agenda items or supporting papers.

If anyone has apologies for absence, items of Any other business, or comments or questions on any Agenda item, please send them to me in advance so that the meeting can run as smoothly as possible.

Many thanks and best wishes,

Tony Smith, Guild Minute Secretary

Master’s message

This has been a strange time for the ringers of the Guild. Some are relatively new to ringing and the pandemic has put on hold, temporarily we hope, the new and exciting hobby that was giving them enjoyment, gentle exercise and the ability to meet up with, and enjoy the company of, other ringers, not only in our area but potentially across the world.

To the more established ringers it came as a bit of a shock to the system, having lived and breathed ringing for many years, an enforced rest left a big hole in many people’s lives. Through fast developed ringing platforms on the internet, social media and video conferencing, many bands have continued to meet regularly in some form or another for a virtual pub night or regular quiz.

As we now start to come out of lockdown and are venturing back into our towers I have heard many comments and read numerous posts on Facebook about ringers excitement and enjoyment of being on the end of a bell rope for the first time in many months.

The next steps are still a little doubtful with the Indian strain of the virus taking hold but whatever happens please take care, follow the rules and most importantly ENJOY YOUR RINGING.

Pete Jordan, Guild Master

Ringing schools proposal at AGM

The Ringing Schools Committee was originally established with the aim of considering how the Guild might adopt teaching centres in the Guild area modelled on the Birmingham School of Ringing.

As part of the plans for post-pandemic ringing recovery, a number of teaching hubs are being established, largely superseding the original intention.

It therefore now seems more appropriate to provide support to these new teaching hubs through sharing of best practice, and for the Guild to maintain a list of such hubs and the facilities that each of them offers. The committee would also have the information available to act as an initial point of contact for any new ringers who approach the Guild instead of their local tower.

Andy Ingram proposes and Sallie-Louise Ingram seconds on behalf of the Ringing Schools Committee that the Committee’s name and terms of reference be revised.

 Specifically that the following rules be amended:



Ringing Schools 


Teaching Hubs.


Delete: Existing wording:

Ringing Schools Committee. To teach members bell-handling to a good and safe standard. 

Add: Proposed wording:

Teaching Hubs Committee. To provide advice on setting up teaching hubs, to maintain a record of those teaching hubs established in the Guild area, together with a record of the facilities offered and teachers active within those hubs, to provide an initial point of contact for potential new ringers who wish to learn to ring, and to provide a forum for sharing of experiences and best practice between teaching hubs.

Ringing recovery

Over the last year, a lot of work has been going on behind the scenes to prepare for the recovery of ringing after the pandemic.

Details of what is planned in each District are given later in this newsletter. At national level there are a number of initiatives

Recovery champions

The Central Council is establishing a network of Recovery Champions to meet together on Zoom and share ideas and experiences, and disseminate them in their local area.

Initially Guilds and Associations were invited to nominate Champions in their areas, although anyone can become a Recovery Champion. There is always room for more and if you would like to become one, send an e-mail to Annie Hall (Secretary of the Coventry DG)

Survival and recovery toolbox

The Central Council have also signed a formal partnership agreement with the Association of Ringing Teachers and the two organisations have worked closely together to develop a toolbox, initially for the survival stage, but we are now heading towards the recovery stage.

The toolbox contains a large range of material, from many contributors to help address the issue which Champions have identified:

· Up to 15% of ringers are expected not to return

· Impact is patchy with some towers expecting no problems and others expecting to lose 3 or more ringers which will have a serious impact on the viability of the band

· Ringers are concerned about their mental and physical fitness to ring.

· There is widespread concern about the impact of changes by the Church to the long term future of ringing

Recovery convention

Between 8th and 15th May a series of online presentations took place to illustrate examples of good practice. These presentations were aimed at anyone wanting to make the ringing recovery a success. 

These presentations are now available for download at:

Recovery Convention Presentations

They include:

· Building better relationships with your church.

· Q&A Evening hosted by Dr Andrew Kelso.

· How to re-establish ringing in your village.

· Getting bells and towers in order.

· Managing learners expectations.

· Attracting and keeping ringers.

· Holding a successful practice.

· Developing a ringing cluster.

· Ringing schools – town and country.

Generation Next

The Big Ideas company who organised the successful Ringing Remembers campaign are planning a project to recruit 2,022 new young ringers in 2022. In a Guild the size of W&P this means about 80 new young ringers.

Allowing for the fact that we will not retain them all, we probably need to recruit 150 or more. That’s over 20 in each District. Therefore the Company are thinking about channelling possible recruits into local hubs where kids can learn to ring together. Lots of towers say they need more youngsters but have you thought what you would do if half a dozen turned up and wanted to learn at the same time?

The Central Council have also been working in partnership with the Association of Ringing Teachers (ART), the Handbell Ringers of Great Britain (HRGB) and the Loughborough Foundry Trust. They are well advanced in submitting an application to follow up Generation Next over the subsequent four years, using work experience students to take mini-rings and handbells into schools to teach music and deliver bell themed activities days and summer holiday camps for young people.


In 2016 the House of Bishops adopted a nationwide safeguarding policy. This requires that tower captains and those who teach young people have DBS checks, and complete level C0, C1 and C2 safeguarding training.

There is also a requirement under the Guild Safeguarding Policy for the Guild to identify those Guild and District activities where DBS and safeguarding raining is required and to keep a register of registered persons. In compiling this register a request may be made to the individual for sight of their DBS certificate and certificates of Awareness Training.

Level C0 safeguarding training is recommended for all ringers. This training is renewable every three years.

If you don’t have any young ringers in your band, this may not matter, but with a nationwide recruitment campaign targeting young people planned for 2022, you ought to be prepared.

Your PCC safeguarding officer can arrange a free DBS check for you. Level C0 and C1 training is freely available through the Church of England safeguarding training portal. The resources and training will equip you and your church to engage positively with the protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults who ring at your tower.

Level C0 and C1 on-line safeguarding training:

Level C2 training requires physical attendance at a half day course, arranged by the Diocese.

Because of Covid these are not currently taking place, although the Guild is considering arranging one or more L2 courses, specifically for Tower Captains and others who teach young people (the Diocesan courses are targeted at all church workers).

These courses may also include some specific material to help with the Generation Next project.

William and Ellen learn to ring at Hawkley and Selbourne

Our son William had learned to ring on his holidays visits back from Switzerland however his sister Ellen had only had a go on backstroke a couple of times.

In Holy Week of 2019 we ran three 2 hour tied bell sessions for the district to improve on point of balance bell control and it was at this time that we taught Ellen to ring a bell.

With follow up sessions she soon became more confident along with William. They were getting to the stage where they could ring some easy call changes and getting their ringing up and down more polished and then lockdown held everything up.

The children really wanted to get on with ringing and when the first restrictions were lifted we were able as a family unit to take them back to Hawkley for more tied bell sessions and socially distanced ringing for Sunday’s until once again restrictions put a stop to it.

As a family bubble we were able to ring at Christmas at Hawkley and Selborne and have since rung for service at Selborne and the odd time at Hawkley.

Now that things are easing again we have a couple of weddings which the children will be taking part in, their ringing has now improved to a good level of striking!

They are looking forward to getting back to Ringing properly and they enjoyed a family bubble ring at Hawkley, 4 bells half muffled for Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

We hope that in time we will be in a position to get our younger Alton & Petersfield District members together for a local outing around the district so that they can bond together as a budding young Ringing team and hopefully introduce some friends to the exercise. So we are looking forward to being able to get back! 4

This video is of us ringing 5 bells for the Sunday service at Hawkley.

Rachael and Roger Barber

Elizabeth College wins Sarah Beacham Youth Award

Elizabeth College, Guernsey

Elizabeth College in the Channel Islands District  is a secondary school and sixth form college, which runs three youth bell ringing practices a week (tower bells, mini-ring and handbells). These sessions are also open to youths from other schools as well as providing a 10-week introduction to ringing course.

A weekly, after-school tower bell practice has been taking place for the past eight years but only in the last fifteen months has the school installed a mini-ring and started an enrichment program within Years 7/8 (ages11-13) curriculum, of which bell ringing is a popular activity.

One member of staff and two volunteers from the nearby tower lead the practice sessions and 10 week course. Three students have received training from local ART Members so that they can help teach handling as well.

Tower bells, mini-ring and handbells are all rung weekly during term time (Tuesday after-school, Wednesday lunchtime and Thursday lunchtime respectively). The 10-week courses run on Friday afternoons during term time and cater for three groups of 7-10 youths throughout the academic year.

Although the Tuesday after-school practice is an Elizabeth College after-school club, it is also open to any island youths and we currently have three students from other schools who regularly attend.

The nearby tower, Town Church (whose bells we use on Tuesday afternoons), have recently launched bell ringing scholarships and, out of five current scholars, four have learnt to ring through Elizabeth College activities.

The Town Church band have frequently commented on how fortunate they are to have expanded in both numbers and ability, from a band that could struggle to ring Plain Bob Triples if some ringers were off-island to it now being a rare week that Cambridge Surprise Major is not rung.

This surge in progress is mainly due to the number of youths that now attend and their ability to learn methods quickly and to ring them well. There have not been many quarter peals rung at the tower for over a year, that have not relied on at least one youth to make up numbers and they are quickly overtaking the adults in the band in ability, leaping through methods onto surprise major.

A third of the Town Church band are either youths from Elizabeth College or learnt to ring through the College and have now left the school but are still ringing at Town Church.

Ways of recruiting young people

There has always been difficulty in recruiting new ringers as the bells are away from the school and so students need to be convinced to attend an after-school session in an unfamiliar building with no idea if they will enjoy ringing or not. Elizabeth College have addressed this in three ways over the past year and a half.

The Maths and Music Departments designed a cross-curricular day for Year 9, which looked at various aspects of maths and music, using bell ringing as an illustration. The students all started the day together and did clapping rhythms at offset beats to show how music can be made with patterns and rules rather than melodies and tunes. Then they split into groups and rotated between three more ringing themed activities.

Not only does the day give every child in the year group a go on the ropes, in the hope that some may enjoy it and be inspired to join the bell ringing club, but it also showcases the complex mathematical side of ringing, to which some will be attracted.

The second recruitment mechanism has been the design and construction of a mini-ring in one of the larger maths classrooms. This works extremely well and is rung weekly, with some students learning rounds and covering whilst others learn Plain Bob and even Stedman.

Finally, the school has started a Friday afternoon activities session for Years 7 and 8 where they have the last two periods on a Friday to do something different to broaden their horizons. They select three activities and have a 10 week course in one before moving on to the next two. Bell ringing has become a popular choice with 27 signing up last academic year and 23 this year.

This course has been fantastic for recruitment and has given us four new ringers so far who are all very keen. One in particular has zoomed through Learning the Ropes Level 2 to be close to passing their LtR Level 5 in just one term by attending both tower bell and mini-ring practices each week and spending almost every morning before school and break time on the simulator.

The mini-ring in its original and new form has been used in three open evenings for prospective students and their parents. Its light weight bells and wheels are ideal for 9/10 year olds to have a safe go, with many getting the hang in mere seconds!

In the future, we would like to train up the existing youth ringers to a high standard so that new ringers will have a strong band around them to make rapid progress; this helps to keep them interested and keep the momentum of the group going. To develop the bob-calling and conducting skills of the group further.

We anticipate that Elizabeth College’s pipeline of young ringers will continue to feed into local and UK bands for many years to come.

Duncan Loweth

PS: We are sorry that the Channel Islands District is leaving the Guild, but what has been done here are a whole range of ideas which can equally be carried out with schools here on the mainland.

Donny Brock wins Achievement Award

Donald Brock a young probationary member of the Channel Islands District of the Guild won the 2020 Learning the Ropes Achievement Award.

This year, because of Covid the ringing achievement award was open to nominations for both those who attained Learning the Ropes Level 5 on tower bells and all those achieving LtR Level 3 on handbells by 31 December 2020.

The judges considered each individual’s ringing development in terms of quality, quantity and complexity, the timescale over which the progress has been made and the support available.

Donny a pupil at Elizabeth College started to ring in November 2018, taught by Duncan Loweth. By December 2020 Donny had passed Level 5, being able to ring Grandsire and Plain Bob Doubles and Plain Bob Minor to quarter peal standard.

Donny rang his first quarter peal in June 2019, eight months after beginning to learn and up to 3rd May 2021 has rung 27 quarter peals, all but two being at the Town Church, plus one on Ringing Room and another which was the first on the Mini Ring at Elizabeth College

To date Donny has conducted three of these quarter peals, the first being 1260 Plain Bob Doubles at St Peter (Town Church) Guernsey on  12th November 2020, two years after starting to learn to ring.

The first quarter band

The ART Awards

The ART Awards are open to all ringers to apply, and free to enter. Everyone is welcome to attend the awards ceremony. A substantial prize fund has been built up thorough sponsorship and donations. The prize money is distributed between the winners and runners up as the judges see fit.

Prizes may be spent in a flexible manner, to be agreed with the winners, so that value is added to the group and activities undertaken by the winners. Besides the prize money, the awards showcase innovative ideas and success, which other ringers can copy and use in their own local towers with pride. Details of current and past winners are published on the Awards website.

Applications for the next Awards close on 31st December and although the 2021 Awards may be slightly different, the 2020 Awards give an indication of the likely categories and prizes.

Do have a look though the previous winners and categories. There may be an idea which you can put into action and apply for an award, if not this year, in a future one.

The Sarah Beacham Youth Award Prize of £800 sponsored by the Sarah Beacham Memorial Trust

The ART Award in the Development of Technology in Teaching: Prize of £1000 – sponsored by John Taylor & Co. and the CCCBR

The ART Award for Excellence in Recruitment or Retention: Prize of £400 – sponsored by Abel Simulator

The ART Award for Inspiring Leadership in Ringing: Prize of £500 – sponsored by Talent Innovations

Learning the Ropes Achievement Award: Prize of £250 – sponsored by The Ancient Society of College Youths.

Learning the Ropes Contribution Award: Prize of £250 sponsored by The Ancient Society of College Youths

For further details of previous award winners visit the Awards website:

Association of Ringing Teachers :: ART Awards

Insurance matters

The Guild has recently renewed its insurance policies, however insurance is often misunderstood, so this article is intended to help members.

Risk and ‘duty of care

Everything in life, even crossing a road, involves a degree of risk. Various people and organisations also have a ‘duty of care’ to others who may be affected by their actions. For example, if you are travelling in your car to a practice and hit by another car, you will exchange insurance details with the other driver and claim against them,  as they have a duty of care not to hit you.

If you are walking along the pubic footpath on your way to the tower and trip on a pothole, you can claim against the Local Authority who have a duty of care to maintain public footpaths in a safe and serviceable condition. However if you trip over your own shoelaces, you will be responsible for your own actions.

Similarly, if you fall down the tower steps because they are worn, and there is nothing to grab on to, then the PCC will be liable. However if they are in good condition and there is a handrail or rope, then it is an accident and you will have no claim against the PCC.

In the tower, a visitor who has never rung before and is invited to take hold by an inexperienced ringer who does not properly explain what to do, and consequently results in a broken stay and injury will have a claim against that ringer.

Risk assessment

It is therefore very important that your tower captain undertakes a risk assessment in your tower to understand all the risks. Risks can be categorised in terms of the frequency that they might happen, say on a scale of 1 to 5, and the severity of harm, also on a scale of say 1 to 5. Multiplying the two together produces a ‘risk score’ on a scale of say 1 to 25

Those responsible for undertaking the risk assessment should then consider how to do things differently in order to eliminate all the high risk items, and actions to reduce the likelihood and harm from the medium risk items. These actions should then be communicated to the other members of the band.

Different types of Insurance

Employers Liability Insurance: Although acting as volunteers, bellringers are considered as ‘Employees’ under most church insurance policies, for any claims that accrue from the PCC’s duty of care. There is also a legal duty for all employers to display a certificate of Employers Liability Insurance in all workplaces. So, you should see a copy on your church noticeboard. This insurance may also apply if your band are on an officialtower outing.

Public Liability Insurance: Covers members of the public who visit your tower, and for which there is a duty of care. For example if there is a tower open day. Provided that you have followed the guidance and can demonstrate that you have taken reasonable care, if an accident does happen you and your PCC will be protected.

If you are teaching new ringers you will also need to demonstrate that you have taken reasonable precautions. This includes carefully explaining to any new ringer what they need to do – e.g. to keep their feet on the floor and not to walk through the rope circle whilst others are ringing.

Personal Accident Insurance: There will be instances where others do not owe you a duty of care, and you should therefore consider having personal accident insurance. However this may depend on your attitude to risk. For example if you are attending practices and Sunday ringing once a week in your own tower, you may not consider this essential. However if you are acting as steeplekeeper the risks are greater. Whilst there will be cover under your PCC’s Employers Liability Insurance, there may be circumstances where they are not liable.

How much insurance cover is needed?

This really depends on what happens if you are involved in an accident. If you are severely injured and unable to work again, and have a young family and a mortgage to pay off, the costs of providing for your family will be expensive. You may also need your house adapted, perhaps even pay for a live in career. For these reasons Employers Liability and Public Liability polices are set at £5m or even £10m cover.

However for instances not covered by Employers or Public Liability, the level of cover is really something that you need to consider in conjunction with your own financial circumstances

Personal accident cover can be expensive. In order to keep the cost down,  if you are under 16, or if you are over 70, the benefits are often substantially less

Often insurance policies cover various additional risks and benefits. Sometimes you can obtain a limited amount of accident insurance and death benefit through other policies.

However, please remember that you can only claim through one incident through one policy. It therefore pays to shop around and consider the small print carefully.

Please also check that your church is adequately insured. At Ropley after a major fire in 2014 the parish found that the actual costs of rebuilding were substantially more than their insurance cover.

Also, if you have a set of handbells in your tower, make sure that the replacement cost is adequate. A typical set of 12 new  handbells size 15 in C currently costs about £4,900 to replace. Given their value, you should also make sure that your handbells are kept secure, so that your insurance is not invalidated.

Checking your insurance can also have unexpected benefits. The PCC at Owslebury recently found that the £15,000 cost of welding their cracked tenor bell and rehanging it, which was caused by a clock hammer,  was refunded by their insurers, less a £500 excess!

Guild insurance cover

The Guild has recently renewed its insurance polices and  saved over £1,100 by moving from AXA to Ecclesiastical Insurance, who insure over 90% of Church of England churches and the majority of Guilds and Associations. This is money which can new be used for bell restoration, or other worthwhile projects in the Guild.

Another bnefit is that our  new policy provides improved cover. The limit of indemnity provided for Employers Liability is £10m and Public Liability is £5m. Previously we only had cover under Public Liability.

Employers Liability

Will indemnify the Guild against legal liability to pay damages and legal costs in respect of bodily injury to an employed person caused during the period of insurance. To clarify, the term employed person does not just refer to employees but also to any authorised volunteers, such as members of the Belfry Stewardship Committee undertaking official inspections. 

As such, if any members were to be injured as a result of a negligence on the part of the Guild, the policy would look to respond to any claims made.

Public liability

There are a number of ways in which this cover operates.
Firstly, Public Liability provides cover to third party property. For example, if loss or damage was caused in some way to a the bells or church building as a result of negligence on behalf of the Guild.

This cover also provides indemnity to anyone attending official demonstrations or training sessions organised by the Guild or its Districts.

Again provided that any injury or damage caused was due to negligence of the Guild, such as an incorrect instruction, then the policy would look to respond in the event of a claim.

If however someone, either an Guild member or member of the public is injured during an event but this is caused due to the building being unsafe, such as someone slipping on paving stones outside of the church due to the churches failure to clear the path adequately, then it is likely the insurance cover provided by the owners of the building would respond in such circumstances.

Similary this cover does not apply to Guild members undertaking activities in their own towers, for which their local PCC is responsible.

Ecclesiastical also confirm that all ages are covered (not only over 16 years).

As with most things if there was a claim then any insurer would want to see evidence of risk assessments, safeguarding polices, etc. The same for any other type of claim.

Personal accident

Covers all members 16-80 years of age whilst participating in Guild activities.

· Death £2,500

· Loss of one or more limbs or eyes, or hearing £2,500

· Permanent total disablement £2,500

· Temporary total disablement £100 per week

· Temporary partial disablement £40 per week

To make a claim, or for further details, please refer to the Guild Treasurer.

Communications review

Over the last two years a series of meetings have taken place with Guild officers to develop a system where the Guild can communicate direct with members.

The Guild now has a GDPR compliant database and for the last year members have been encouraged to sign up. Using this database we are now able to issue regular newsletters to Guild members. District Secretaries can also use the database to communicate with the members in their own District.

More recently we have been looking at the Guild website as this has become cluttered and difficult to manage.

Following to meetings with Guild Officers, we have produced a discussion paper to look how we could improve communications at both Guild and District level.

This discussion paper has already been circulated to District Officers for comment, and is now available to download from the Guild website.

Some of the items that we would appreciate feedback on are:

· GDPR Compliance: The Guild adopted a Privacy Policy in November 2019. However, we have continued to publish some members personal data in the annual report and sent them newsletters without their consent. Should we now cease to do this? It currently affects 59 tower correspondents.

· Website: Does the site need to be redesigned? If so what should it contain?

If we are to redesign the website, is there a Guild member or another ringer with the necessary expertise who is willing to do.

Use of social media

Many of us enjoy using social media and email to share news, stories and useful information, particularly during the pandemic whilst contact with others has been restricted. In the same way the Guild social media and email accounts have been used to share our news, photographs and the odd joke to keep us all in touch, smiling and to break the monotony.

However, occasionally, posts on the Guilds social media feeds or email groups have taken on subjects that some followers have found rather uncomfortable, with criticism aimed at fellow members. In today’s society, this type of interaction is viewed as unacceptable, and depending on content, can be defined as trolling, bullying or harassment. The Guild does not wish to prevent freedom of speech: social media is ideal for sharing news and legitimate comment, but direct attacks are not acceptable. 

Please be considerate when using any of the Guilds Facebook, Twitter, email forums or any other Guild social media accounts.

Attached is the CCCBR guidance which can also be found at: Social Media Guidance

Thank you for your cooperation.

Pete Jordan, Guild Master

Interest groups – The next stage in the comms. database

Almost 40% of the Guild membership have now signed up to the membership and communications database.

So far we have sent out a number of messages to everyone in the Guild and are also encouraging Districts to use the database to send out messages direct

to their members.

However, we are also aware that not everyone wants to receive a steady stream of messages, some of which are not relevant to them.

Therefore we are implementing the next stage of rolling out the communications database.

The intention is that all members will only receive either three of four newsletters from the Guild each year.

However, in addition members have the option to sign up to receive additional communications from the Guild and its committees or your District Secretary, specific to your interests. For example you might be interested in either receiving reminders of surprise practices, or courses aimed at teaching you to ring bob Doubles, but not both.

The interest groups that we have set up are:

· Learning to handle – for new ringers and anyone who would like to improve their handling  skills

· Foundation skills: practices and courses aimed at rounds, call-changes and kaleidoscope ringing

· Learning to plain hunt

· Learning a method inside (Plain Bob or Grandsire)

· Beyond Plain Bob & Grandsire

· Surprise Minor practices and courses

· Surprise Major practices and courses

· Simple conducting (calling bobs in Plain Bob or Grandsire)

· Steeple keeping & tower maintenance

· Learning to teach bell handling and simple method ringing

· Change ringing on handbells

· Tune ringing on handbells

· Outings and ‘tower grabs’

· Young ringers groups (under 18’s only)

· Weekday ringing group – for those who would like to ring and socialise midweek

· Wedding ringing – to help find addition ringers willing to help

· Virtual Ringing (e.g. Ringing Room)

· Social events

· History of bells and ringing

· None of the above

You can also opt to receive communications addressed to these interest groups in neighbouring Districts, other than your own.

Please do pass on a copy of this newsletter to your fiends, and encourage them to subscribe if they have not done so.

District Secretaries have access to the database, so know who has subscribed, and you can check with them if you are not sure.

If you are one of those who have not yet subscribed and this newsletter has been forwarded on to you, please subscribe to the database by visiting the following link: 

Subscribe to Guild Membership and Comms Database

Heritage Open Days – Hampshire HistBites

Phil Watts, one of our two Diocesan Bells Advisers has been interviewed by Cathy Booth on the history of bells in Hampshire for a podcast to be published on Hampshire HistBites on 30th June.

The podcast channel was established in 2020, supported by the Hampshire History Trust

In 2019, when all the events were in person the Winchester Heritage Open Days Festival had over 22,000 visits with 62% of attendees specifically visiting Winchester because of the festival.

The Winchester District of the Guild is therefore planning to open up towers across the District as part of the 2021 festival, which runs from Friday 10th to Sunday 19th September. 2021

Subject to Covid restrictions, on Saturday 18th September this includes a series of towers along the Test Valley. We do hope that ringers from across the Guild will come and perhaps grab a new tower as well as helping to raise awareness of ringing in these local communities.

There will also be a second podcast, timed to coincide with the beginning of the festival, talking about the history of bell ringing and explaining to non-ringers what to look for if they come along to one of the tower open-days.

Guild Training & Development Fund

As the current pandemic subsides our thoughts areturning to recruiting and retaining new ringers.

In a normal year the Guild loses about 8% of our members through natural wastage, and a higher percentage of learners.

Therefore in these exceptional circumstances we could lose 15 – 20% of our ringers.

The Training and Development fund is there to help. The object of the fund is to provide financial assistance to individuals and groups incurring expenditure on: the provision of training, attending courses and events, training materials, payment of tutor expenses, educational assets and any other worthy project to enhance and enable the development of a ringer or group of ringers.

Perhaps you would like to buy some attractive leaflets or roller banners for a tower open day, or hire a mini-ring or mobile belfry for your local carnival or festival. You may also want to equip your tower with a simulator or dumb-bell

Applications. To be forwarded to Helen Woolford the Honorary Treasurer in writing or e-mail

Decisions. An application for a grant from this fund will be considered by the Officials, and their decision relayed to the applicant in a timely manner.

To qualify for a grant, applicants must be paid-up members or probationary members of the Guild.

Grants towards the cost of residential training courses will normally be awarded up to a maximum rate of 50% of the course costs and not exceeding £100.

The cost of Association of Ringing Techers (ART) teacher training modules and workshops may be awarded in full.

Depending upon the funds available and the number of applications , awards may have to be scaled down accordingly.

Only one award will be made per individual in any one calendar year.

Applicants will be asked to provide evidence of expenses/course fees.

Click here to download the application form

In addition to the Training and development fund, Rule 16 provides that the“… First charge on District Funds (after administration) shall be for instruction (whenever possible) in change ringing…” so you can also apply to your District as well.

200 Club

The Guild set up the Training and Development Fund (TDF), with the object of giving grants to individuals or groups for training, attending courses, buying educational assets or other worthy projects to help in the development of ringers.

 The Fund officials are the Guild Master, Vice-Master, Honorary General Secretary and Honorary Treasurer. The 200 Club is run separately, solely to raise money for the Fund. 

Club members pay a subscription of £12 per year, preferably by Standing Order to ease administration but alternatively by bank transfer, cheque or cash. This is spread over the year at £1/month.

Draws are held three times a year, nominally at the March and November Executive Committee meetings and the Guild AGM.

At each draw the total of members’ monthly contributions since the previous draw is split with approximately half going to the Fund, paid at the end of the year, and the remainder given out as six prizes.

The first gets 50% of the prize accumulation, the second 20%, the third and fourth 10% each and the fifth and sixth 5% each.

To date £714 has been given out in prizes and £599.50 to the Fund. 

At present the Club has only 27 subscribers, so prizes are often small.

If you would like to join, and raise money for this worthy cause, copies of the form, plus a standing order details are on the W&P website: ‘200 Club’

The next draw will take place at the AGM in June Money received between now and the meeting will go into that draw.

More members mean bigger prizes and more money raised for the TDF!

Robin Milford

The Covid situation meant that the March 2021 numbers for the W&P 200 Club had to be drawn at home,  by Robin Milford of Curdridge and Wendy Smart of Botley.

They were announced at the on-line Executive Committee meeting on Saturday 20th March 2021.

We didn’t peek during the draw, honest! The results were as follows: Winners of the March Draw were:

1st      Robin Milford         £30.00

2nd     Ian M Redway         £12.00

3rd     Jan Allnutt               £6.00

4th     Wendy Ling             £6.00

5th     Graham Nobbs       £3.00

6th Wendy Smart £3.00

£49 will go to the Training and Development Fund from this draw.

Alton & Petersfield District

There have been a number of ‘zoom around the district calls with individual & groups of towers’ thank you for those who have attended, more calls to follow. We can speak directly with towers and understand their needs, challenges etc.

We’ve tried this approach instead of a questionnaire and hope that the comments and ideas gathered are going to benefit us all.

The A&P district exec team met on Saturday 12th May to get together for the first time physically since February 2020. Lots to go through including the second half of 2021, remembering David Hughes, returning to ringing, recruiting and a number of areas on people’s minds .

We have adjusted our schedules so most of our events are after 21st June.

For example: we are holding an ‘Art’ day, date to be confirmed shortly. This will be a morning of painting. There will be some tuition from a professional watercolour artist before we have a go ourselves. The paintings will be judged and the winner will be submitted to be printed on the front cover of the Ringing World.

Our district call-change competition and BBQ is planned for the 7th August at Blackmoor. Thanks to Val, Malcolm and the ringers for this, please put this date in your diary. Details to follow. 

A ‘Younger ringers session’ is also to be planned soon. We have 8/9 district ringers under 18 and we want to see numbers grow with ‘bring a friend and try’ pizzas (no beer’s yet) and some lively ringing. (Thanks go to Mary at Petersfield for this great suggestion) and Emma/Sam will hopefully be on this soon. 

We are keen to get back, it’s been a long time, thank you to all those who rang and tolled for the Duke of Edinburgh, it was really pleasing to see so many A&P district towers listed on the RW bellboard.

I would also draw Roger’s Barber’s communication (below) regarding the potential condition of our belfry’s and ringing chambers especially with heaters etc. (If your church offers ‘PAT’ testing it might be worth including these appliances for the next scheduled check) 

Simon Poyser, District Chair

Just a message of advice for you. I visited a church in the A&P District to check the bell installation to see that it was fit for a family bubble ring for a wedding that is coming up soon.

The tower has been invaded by Jackdaws and although the birds haven’t got through the recently fitted 3mm galvanised bird mesh they have managed to get through the old wire and have been building nests between the two lots of wire, consequently there is a lot of nesting materials mess and undesirables about the place which would have hindered the safe ringing of the bells.

The latter has now been rectified and the bird problem will be dealt with at our earliest convenience.

One other important issue to keep in mind is that electric fan heaters that have been left in the ringing rooms unused for all this time can gather lots of dust which can catch fire when the heater is switched on.

The said heater has now been taken out of use. Please don’t take the return to ringing lightly as it could have serious consequences.

Roger Barber, District Ringing Master

Basingstoke District

This past year has seen unimagined changes in our ringing lives, and with the slow relaxation of the COVID rules, we hope to help our towers move towards opening up and ringing again.

It is clear that there will be a loss of some ringers and, with a year of no recruitment, even if new ringers do come forward, there will be towers who will not have the resources to encourage these recruits or to teach them.  Additionally, there will be a range of ringers who, after such a long time, will need encouragement to resume ringing and a refresher course to give them confidence in the ringing room.

Communication is paramount and the District is making contact with all Tower Captains to establish the individual needs of each tower and offer help, if required.  The plan is to provide assistance with bell handling, method learning, encouraging towers to mix and share abilities so that no tower feels isolated or lets the bells fall silent due to lack of support. 

There are plans for a central ringing center with a simulator which will be open to all members who want to come along for some extra concentrated practice if there proves to be enough interest.  There will also be an emphasis on the importance of socializing – the best part of a practice session is the debrief in the pub afterwards!!

Nici Collins, District Secretary

Winchester District

The best laid plans, as the saying goes, ‘gang aft a-gley’. Plans for the District are no exception, as we see events, such as the Stockbridge Trout ‘n About crafts and food festival cancelled again.

Another door has opened, however, with the Heritage Open Days festival from 10th -19th September.  We hope to combine this with a bell ringing festival, opening up churches across the District on Saturday 18th September.

Of course the Covid situation may change, so everything has to be provisional, but we hope towers will seize the chance to open up to visitors and enjoy a little ringing themselves.  It’s a great chance to recruit some new ringers as well as promote bell ringing to the local communities.

Cathy Booth is interviewing experts on the history of bells and change ringing in Hampshire for the Open Day’s podcast, Hampshire HistBites, – and using this to encourage members of the public to come along.

Some towers have been able to return to ringing since 17th May. We have been getting positive responses from our local communities, who have welcomed the sound of bells returning to our villages. 

Finally, congratulations to Bruce Purvis and Steve Lamb, who were elected  District Chair and Joint District Ringing Master respectively at the AGM in February.

Steve will join Edmund Wratten in coordinating practices across the District for ringers of all levels, as normal service returns.

Micki Nadal, District Secretary

The great benefits of volunteering: A personal reflection

I love volunteering! Why? So many reasons and one is rather selfish, I get so much pleasure from working with others!

Splendid social gatherings and long-lasting friendships can spring up from working together towards a common goal and there is a joy to be had from seeing progress, even ‘though projects in the voluntary sector might sometimes take a little longer than we’d really like, perhaps because the relevant volunteer resource isn’t available at the right time. Patience can be needed.

Magnificent, occasionally surprising, results can be achieved by working in groups, large or small. Organisations and volunteers can benefit greatly.

An unexpected bonus for one volunteer, who had been made redundant a short while before, was being offered a full-time job with the professional contractor he had been volunteering alongside – wonderful!

For a good number of my 69 years, I’ve been involved with charities and voluntary groups of one kind or another. Some ‘hands on’ and others in basic fund-raising or helping to pull volunteer resources together, sometimes all at the same time!

One of my favourite projects was a family initiative, launched when my daughter, Irene, reached the age of 21. She’d received pioneering, life-saving heart surgery at Southampton in 1973 and we wanted to say ‘Thank You’ and to help fund research for other heart patients. It was a tremendous, exciting, interesting and fulfilling experience over many years, making new friends and meeting some wonderful folk. With terrific support we raised over £28,000 for the British Heart Foundation from a huge variety of events.

In ringing, my volunteering roles have been numerous and varied, as for so many other ringers. Perhaps we don’t realise we’re volunteering when we’re doing what we always have done for many years.

Commitment to Sunday service ringing and practice nights, especially if running a tower, being a Steeple Keeper or Tower Officer, is all part and parcel of giving of oneself for the benefit of others. Maybe we forget this when we’re having a good time and somewhen we might query it

light-heartedly? In Newport in the’80s, I recall pushing a wheel-barrow full of rubble (out of the nearby tower) up a plank and into a skip, yelling out to the other young ‘workmen’, enthusiastically busy with the augmentation work, “I don’t remember signing up for this when I joined the Guild in 1970!”

Fund-raising for the major restoration at Arreton took many forms – meetings with Rural Community Council, Biffaward folk, long sessions of form-filling over several years and, what a superb day out being part of a fund-raising team pushing a bell on a trolley from the church to Newport along the main road; it was a few miles and much drink and support were needed, all received in plenty, along with some donations, from locals and passing vehicle passengers! It was all worth it, the project was a great success and we continued to have a constant, superb ringing team effort at St. George’s for many years.

Another great event for me was the abseiling down the Spinnaker Tower at Portsmouth. It had started as a fun thing to do with a friend; she had to pull out so I made it a modest fund-raiser. Through the generosity of ringers, £200 was raised for the projects at Ropley and Ecchinswell.

Less-physical duties for me have been in Tower, District and Guild officer roles such as Tower Captain, various admin. roles – all were very enjoyable – and serving as Guild Master for three years.

The latter was an amazing experience and a great honour giving me the opportunity, alongside the splendid team of supporting Officers, to meet many members, listen to their views and requests and to use their feedback to help plan for the long-term and sustainable benefits for members, including supporting Districts to be more independent of central control.

I wholeheartedly recognise the hard work of all volunteers, especially those who make the delicious Ringers’ Teas, of course! ‘Thank You’ everyone!

Huge amounts of experience, expertise, energy and excitement are out there, for sure, and they are truly needed.

Please consider and don’t be shy or lacking in confidence in coming forward, as we can all offer our own personal, special skills.

I can thoroughly recommend volunteering to all!

Viv Nobbs

Note: These are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by the Guild

Bell restoration news

Belfry Stewardship Maintenance Inspections

With many towers likely to resume ringing after fifteen months of silence, there is a need to check that all is safe.

The Guild’s Belfry Stewardship Committee exists to give advice about bells and their fittings in any Guild tower; to inspect and report on all completed bell restoration works subject to grants from the Guild Bell Restoration Fund, and to continue the work of the Guild’s Bell Stock Survey.

To undertake an inspection, we require an official written invitation from the parish e.g. tower captain, incumbent, Churchwardens or PCC. For health and safety reasons we require another person to be present for the whole of the visit, whether from the parish or another BSC member. The visit is also undertaken on the understanding that it is being undertaken by invitation, the BSC member(s) undertaking the inspection are covered by the PCC’s Public Liability Insurance.

Our visits will be limited to a visual inspection to check the bells and fame from the perspective of an experienced steeple-keeper. not by a bell-hanging professional.

We are also happy to assist with the undertaking of risk assessments and to comment on proposals by bell-hangers for remedial works, prior to the submission of an application for a grant from the BRF.

To apply, contact me Martin Barnes

Professional Inspections

If a professional maintenance inspection is required, the Executive Committee have Guild Bell Restoration Fund will consider applications for up to 50% of the costs of such a visit. You may find that to be economical there may be neighbouring towers who   would also welcome a vist. Bell-hangers can usually inspect three or even four towers in the same are in the same day.

To apply, visit the Guild Website, download a BRF application form and submit this to the Guild Hon. General Secretary.

Restoration at Twyford

The £91,000 scheme to carry out a major overhaul of the frame and fittings, including recasting of three of the bells is being supported by a grant of £7,500 from the Guild’s Bell Restoration Fund. The work will be carried out by White’s of Appleton.

However, Jennie Richardson reports that, because of Covid-19, fund-raising has ground more or less to a halt, so the start date for the works is not yet certain.

Currently, because of the pandemic, most Sundays just one bell is chimed, although the band did manage to ring three bells in memory of William Davies, who was on horseback and lost in fog on the local downs until he heard the bells ringing.

His will of 1754 left money to the ringers to ring for 30 minutes on 7 October each year. 

Further details of how to donate are on the appeal website:

Twyford tower
Twyford bells

St Mary’s Brading – Bells Appeal

St Mary’s Church Brading on the Isle of Wight are currently raising funds to refurbish the current ring of eight bells and add two more bells, make and install a new bell frame with all the fittings and move the clock to a more suitable position.

With all the building works that this involves will cost around £120,000. We have already raised quite a lot but need some help on the last push to get the job done before the bells become unringable.

This project is being supported with a grant of £13,000 from the Guild Bell Restoration Fund.

The latest fund raising event, socially distanced cream tea has sold out—Well done!

Ss Peter & Paul, Hawkley

Subject to faculty, the ring of eight bells at Ss Peter and Paul Hawkley are to be re-hung on new fittings with the existing poor sounding 7th bell (1624 Brian Eidridge Chertsey) to be replaced with a bell kindly donated by the Keltek Trust (1870 James Barwell Birmingham).

The old 7th bell will be hung above the ringing peal and fitted with a trigger action hammer for chiming and also the clock hammer will be positioned to strike on this bell instead of the tenor.

The existing 4th bell (1865 John Warner and sons Cripplegate) is also to be replaced with a stock bell from M Higby and Company, (1870 Mears & Stainbank Whitechapel).

The two bells will be tuned to fit in nicely with the remaining 6 bells and be a vast improvement to the overall sound while retaining the two older bells 5th and 6th (1448 Roger Landon Wokingham).

There  will also be an improvement to the rope falls on some of the bells and also a new ceiling is to be installed in the ringing room. while this work is carried out the bellframe will be thoroughly cleaned and repainted.

It is hoped at the time of this work in late winter next year that we will be in a position to install a ringing simulator so that Hawkley can be used as a teaching centre for the district.

The church authorities are very much in favour of this and have recently had wifi installed in the church! 

Roger Barber


St Mary, Newton Valence

The ring of 5 bells at Newton Valence are to be rehung in a brand new fabricated steel frame on all new fittings. These bells have been in a bad state of repair for some time and were condemned by the bell engineers on their inspection.

Subject to faculty it is planned to retune the back 4 bells and replace the old treble (1560? William Knight Reading) and to augment the peal to a ring of 6.

Two bells have been donated by the Keltek trust to become the new treble of 6 and to replace the old treble. The old bell will be hung above the ringing peal and fitted with a trigger action hammer for chiming. It is hoped that the work might start in the late summer!

Roger Barber

Newton Valence

St Peter’s Ropley rises (literally) from the ashes

The burnt out shell of St Peter’s – Autumn 2014

It was eleven minutes past ten on the morning of Thursday, 19 June 2014 when history at St Peter’s stopped. This was the time shown on the dial of the tower clock when this grade II listed church was destroyed by a disastrous fire.

The cause of the fire is not known, nor will it ever be, due to the intensity of the flames.

The bells

There were originally four bells, details of which are unknown. These were recast into a ring of five by Samuel Knight of Reading in 1701. By the mid-1920s these bells were in a sorry state and had not been rung for some time. The third was found to be cracked.

Gillett and Johnson recast them into a ring of six. They were dedicated on Tuesday 31st May 1927 by the Bishop of Winchester and the Master of the Winchester Diocesan Guild collected a band together to ring them for the dedication service.

Gillett and Johnson’s invoice dated 3rd May 1927 was for a total of £580.0s.0d.

As a complete Gillett ring, when this foundry was perhaps producing its best work, the bells are regarded by many as one of the finest rings of six in Hampshire.  

Preparing to rebuild

The catastrophic fire left only the main walls standing. Therefore, it was necessary to make safe the remaining fabric and provide short-term weather-protection.

Before the bells could be removed and put in storage for safe keeping, it was necessary to erect special scaffolding to safely access the bells. This work in itself was quite expensive.

There then followed a long period when various experts undertook surveys and heritage bodies were consulted about repair methods.

The PCC’s vision was that the rebuilt St Peter’s should be fit for the 21st century. To become, once again, the centre of the community, a space for everyone to enjoy and use – not just those who will worship there., and not just an hour on Sundays.

A dilemma

The original intention was to retain the existing wooden tower. However once re-building commenced it was found that the timbers in the upper parts of the tower were badly damaged, particularly around the beam to post and brace to post junctions, where the strength of the fire penetrated the joint faces.

The structural engineer’s opinion was fire damage into the joints would make re-use impractical.

This left the parish with a dilemma. The bells could have been hung dead, no longer available for full circle ringing. They could have been replaced with a much lighter ring. However even the masonry walls at low level could not be relied upon to take any loads from swinging bells. There was even talk of selling the bells off.

However the PCC were determined to keep their bells and took the brave decision to find a way of retaining them.

The solution, designed with the input of Adrian Dempster, Structural Engineer and expert on bellframes was to retain the old timber framework at the lower levels for historical reasons, and to insert a new free standing steel framework to support the bells, whilst minimising sway, so that the handling of the bells would not be adversely affected. The bells will be hung lower in the tower and now rung from ground floor level.

They will be one of the heaviest ring of bells in a free-standing steel tower in the world!

This work came at significant additional cost, using up much of the project contingency as well as causing a significant delay.

The installation of the bells needed to be put back till a second phase. However, even though it added to the shortfall, the special steel structure was an integral part of the work and could not be installed later. Therefore, it needed to go ahead in the first phase. Other work put off till the second phase included the replacement of some of the stained glass, the fitting out of the new kitchen and even the provision of chairs and soft furnishings!

Phase one is currently due to complete in late autumn, although we will not know the final cost of phase one until the final account is agreed with the contractor. There was a combined shortfall on both phases of around £1.25m on the insurance and whilst we have raised over £800,000 to date, we seem to be chasing a moving target.

Provision has been made for the remainder of the new bellframe and the bells to be installed as an independent package once the current phase one contract is complete and the church is opened again for public worship.

Our plan is therefore to raise the money to install the remaining bell frame and then the bells one by one. Even if we only start with a ring of three, it will enable regular ringing to resume.

The total cost of removing the existing bells, placing them in storage, replacing the timber framework with the freestanding steel one, recasting the cracked fifth, welding the third, heat treating the other four, and hanging them in a new frame is in excess of £295,000.

If you wish to donate you can do so by visiting our Golden Giving page, and searching for sprpcc. In the comments box, please make it clear that you wish your donation to go towards the bells.

Andy Bonner (Church re-building Coordinator)

Rodney Skinner (Tower Captain)

and Roger Booth (New Alresford)

Also with acknowledgement to Alan Buswell for his historic research

Scaffold to remove the bells
The cracked 5th
The new steel structure
Progress as at 3rd May 2021

Ringing and Money – A Personal Viewpoint

The fund has been growing faster than it is spent

Our correspondent AH writes:

There was request at the 2020 Guild AGM for the Bell Restoration Fund Trustees to review their reserves and investment policy. There has been  correspondence in social media since, but I don’t understand what this is all about. Please can you explain.

RB Responds:

At times when interest rates are low, and inflation is much higher, the buying power of money held in any fund for longer than is necessary depreciates significantly.

Prior to 1996  the Bell Restoration Funds Committee of the Central Council of Church Bellringers used to undertake a triennial survey of Guild and Association Bell Restoration Funds (BRF’s). At that time there was 5.3 years worth of grant expenditure held in these funds.

In August 2019 the successor,  the Stewardship and Management Workgroup published an article in the Ringing World. It pointed out that around £5 million was currently held in Guild and Association BRF’s. This was earning little interest. The funds being eroded could be sufficient to fund a couple of major bell projects each year.

With annual grant expenditure now of around £400k, the amount held in reserve by Guilds and Associations has increased from 5.3 to about 12.5 years worth of expenditure. That is without taking into account fresh income coming into the BRF’s

Consequently the Workgroup recommended that Guilds and Associations review the operation of their BRF’s.

The pattern of expenditure in the W&P.

During the 2000’s the BRF was very active, with income of £117,061 and actual grant expenditure of £76,950

In the last decade activity reduced, with grant expenditure totalling £49,835. This is around two thirds of the level in the previous decade.

The reasons for this are not entirely clear, although there has been a reduction in the number of projects applying for grants and the size of the projects. Further research is needed to establish future likely calls on the fund.

Fund raising, however, continued at the same rate as before, although the automatic transfer of £4 from each subscription into the BRF was reduced to £2 in 2016.

This enabled Districts to retain more of the subscription income, to help with their work, including instruction.

A certain amount is retained in the fund to cover grants promised, although sometimes grants lapse, or the money is no longer required.

This has meant that the amount held in the BRF, but unallocated to any project has increased from £55,012 in 2010 to £66,457 in 2020.

With a lag of typically several years before a grant is drawn, £70,086 of the BRF is currently invested in a short term deposit fund with the Central Board of Finance of the Church of England. On 31 March 2020 the interest rate was 0.09% AER, but this has since reduced to 0.01% AER.

What options could the Guild consider?

Charities such as the BRF are encouraged not to hold on to large reserves, but to spend them or meeting their charitable objectives. Generally to date grant levels have been around 10% of project costs, but some Guilds and Associations are now offering grants of up to 20%.

Now is a very good time to spend this money, not only is it loosing its value, but it will help the bell-trades through a difficult period, by encouraging stalled projects to proceed.

Seeing money spent in this way will also be a signal to other parishes and encourage them to apply and proceed with their schemes. It will also encourage members to donate more, and perhaps agree to increase the amount transferred from subscriptions

Another option that the Workgroup recommends is for the BRF to provide grants to make ringing chambers more welcoming for new ringers. 

A visit by a professional bell-hanger may also spot items which the local steeplekeeper may not have spotted. Often this can prevent a major failure which could cost more to put right.

Investing for the long term: Some societies such as the Oxford Diocesan Guild set aside any money not needed   for the next three years into a separate investment fund to achieve capital growth. The value of these funds can fluctuate, and it depends on attitude to risk., but Charities have the power to invest and The ODG take professional investment advice from the Diocesan Financial Adviser, who invests the surplus in a portfolio of funds. Over the last ten years, the investments have grown significantly.

The challenge after Covid

The Church of England is facing a significant financial shortfall. The Diocese of Winchester is in the process of a cost cutting exercise with 22 clergy posts going. In future, as ringers we will be expected to fund a greater proportion of the costs of our bells, whether on new ropes or more major items.

We also have the possibility of one or more of our churches being declared redundant and the bells needing to be found a new home.

It is also important to remember that a ring of bells is of no use without a local band of ringers to ring them. These ringers also maintain and look after the bells. By investing in recruiting and training new ringers, you are helping to safeguard the investment in the hardware.

Roger Booth

Note: These are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by the Guild

If you wish to donate to the Bell Restoration Fund, please contact the Guild Treasurer at, who will provide you with the details required in order to make an electronic transfer. You will also be asked if you would like to gift aid the donation and provided with a gift aid form to complete.  Gift aid enables us to reclaim an additional 25% of your donation from HMRC

If you wish to apply for a grant, when you have decided on a specific scheme send a completed Application Form to the Guild Secretary a minimum of one month prior to the AGM in June or the March and November Executive.  Meetings.  The Belfry Stewardship Committee can help you with advice from an early stage when you are considering options and putting a scheme together.

Hursley come second in national striking contest

On Saturday 3rd April, four bands of young ringers joined 12 others in the first (and probably last) Ringing Room call change competition, discovering that call change ringing on Ringing Room is really difficult, and doing so with closed handstroke leads is more difficult still. “May the team with the best internet connections win!”

The competition was graced with expert judges in Paul Pascoe and Ian Avery, who helped design the format, and who awarded victory to the Beverley & District Online band, with the band from Al Saints Hursley coming a close second.

All teams rang the same test piece, being the first half of 60 on 3rds (slightly less if you started late because one of your band couldn’t find their laptop charger!). The prizes were a choice of books from the Central Council shop for members of the four winning bands.

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