All posts by AndrewG

Hand Bell Ringing Teaching Session at St Peter’s Churchyard Petersfield Hampshire 2020

(Social Distancing Rules were in place)

A few weeks ago, Mary Broadbridge, tower captain at St Peter’s church Petersfield Hampshire organised a special hand bell ringing teaching session taken very kindly by Iain Hayden who has been ringing with the St Peter’s tower band over the last year. There were six learners who under Iain’s tutelage managed to ring rounds and one or two call changes.   Every one very much enjoyed the morning and we are all hoping it will be one of many teaching sessions when with practice we can progress to ringing methods.  Of course, depending on what Covid restrictions are in

A few weeks ago, Mary Broadbridge, tower captain at St Peter’s church Petersfield Hampshire organised a special hand bell ringing teaching session taken very kindly by Iain Hayden who has been ringing with the St Peter’s tower band over the last year. There were six learners who under Iain’s tutelage managed to ring rounds and one or two call changes.   Every one very much enjoyed the morning and we are all hoping it will be one of many teaching sessions when with practice we can progress to ringing methods.  Of course, depending on what Covid restrictions are in place in the future.

The St Peter’s Church band ring for Sunday Service at 09:00 for fifteen minutes and on Wednesday practice for fifteen minutes, ringers taking it in turns to ring on different weeks.  

Caroline M Welsh

Archivist St Peter’s Bell Ringers

Guild Newsletter – September 2020

This is the second of an occasional series of newsletters being sent out to inform members about what is happening with ringing during the easing of Lockdown and to help prepare for the eventual resumption of regular ringing.

It was sent to all tower correspondents and Guild and District Officers whose e-mail address is published in the Guild Annual Report, and those members who have signed up to our database. It is important that we reach as many members of our Guild as possible, so please do forward this newsletter on to the other members of your band who may not yet have signed up.

Guild Annual General Meeting – 3pm, Saturday 26th September
The Guild AGM will now be held online using Zoom. You will be required to register in advance if you wish to attend:

Instructions on how to register are available here.


Once your registration is approved you will receive further instructions on how to join the webinar and guidelines on how to participate in the meeting.
At the time of registration you will also be given the opportunity to send in any questions you would like answered during the meeting. You will be able to ask questions during the meeting, but it would helpful to the Guild Officers’ to know of any in advance.

Due to the added pressures of running the AGM online, we need to streamline the process as much as possible to minimise delay on the day. To help with this, please register apologies of absence with your District Secretary in advance, so that they can be passed to me before 26th September.

Tony Smith has provided links to the AGM papers in pdf and web format here:
Link to pdf version
Link to web version

Adrian Nash
Secretary – Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers

Channel Islands District future move to the Salisbury Diocesan Guild


As you may be aware, the episcopal oversight of the Channel Islands is planned to be transferred to the Salisbury Diocese. This decision which was approved by both Houses of Parliament in July 2020. There is still ongoing work to complete this process which is expected to be completed in 2021.

In discussion with the Master of the Salisbury Diocesan Guild of Ringers we both felt it was important to understand the wishes of the Channel Island District members, as to whether they wanted to remain in the W&P or to move with their churches to the SDG.

Over the summer there has been much discussion in the Channel Islands District and a vote of all district members returned a 65% wish to move to the Salisbury Guild. The W&P and SDG will be working over the coming months to agree the final date and what needs to be put in place for a clean transfer.

This will be a sad day for the W&P, having enjoyed many years of association with the Channel Islands. We have made many friends in the ringing community through close association, and I am sure that we will continue to enjoy ringing together in the future after the move.

We will keep you up to date as things progress and perhaps – COVID allowing – we can mark the transfer in due course with a decent bit of real ringing!

Hoping you all stay safe and well.

Pete Jordan
Master – Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers.

Changes to Guidelines on Social Distancing?


We understand that a change to social distancing guidelines from 1.5m to 1.0m between ringers ‘in a line’ and with mitigations (e.g. face-coverings) may be approved by the CofE Recovery Team soon. As soon as this change has been approved, the updated guidelines will be published on the CCCBR website, which is updated every Friday:

Of course, this will have limited impact as most ropes in most towers are between 0.8m and 0.9m apart, and we will still be limited to 15 minutes ringing. However, we also understand that changes are in the pipeline which may permit the use of simulators in small groups for longer periods.

We also understand that the Rule of Six does not apply to Church services, where the limit remains at 30 participants.

Ironically, the rule of six does now allow up to six people form different households to meet indoors, subject to social distancing. Therefore those ringers who have up to now been meeting outside to ring handbells (socially distanced) will be able to meet and ring indoors.

Virtual Ringing


Quite a few bands throughout the Guild are holding virtual meet ups using Zoom in order to keep in touch, and some are also holding virtual ringing sessions using Ringing Room. We hear stories of relative newcomers making excellent progress on virtual platforms, improving their listening and place counting skills. Even quarter peals are now appearing on BellBoard, with firsts for both new and experienced ringers who’ve never touched a pair of handbells before.

Current estimates are that the results of vaccine trials are likely to start to come through by Christmas, but even if we are lucky and one is approved it will be next summer before sufficient vaccine is manufactured for it to become widely available. We may therefore have to wait till at least next summer, and probably longer before practices and meetings can resume. Even then, older ringers may be reluctant to venture outside their home tower. Therefore, especially with the long winter evenings, virtual ringing has an important role to play.

Michaela Nadal of Stockbridge runs an open session on Ringing Room most weekday afternoons at 5pm – Mayflies tower – and visitors are always welcome. If so, contact her for further information at: emnad@btinternet.com.

You can also join the ‘Ringing Room Take Hold Lounge’ Facebook group. You can meet up with other users by clicking on the ‘Events’ tab to see a listing of practices taking place each day.

Would you like to run your own Zoom/Ringing Room sessions?


The Education committee is also running a further webinar targeted at Tower Captains and others who would like to run their own virtual practices. The workshop session has been developed by Gill Hughes and Lesley Boyle who have been running virtual practice sessions in Derbyshire and Cambridgeshire for some months. Lesley also rang in the first ever virtual peal! The workshop will include lots of tips and tricks to help yo get the best out of the applications, overcome typical issues and run successful practices. Therefore there may even be something for more experienced users!

The session will take place on Saturday 10th October, starting at 10.15am and will last about an hour.

If you would like to join, please register by e-mailing us at comms@wpbells.org and we will send you the Zoom link.

Lockdown resources


The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers and Association of Ringing Teachers have added further material to their selection of links to ringing related videos, blogs, quizzes, podcasts and training webinars which will be of interest to members of your band. There’s a lot of material, it grows every week and it’s well worth a look:
http://ringingteachers.org/resources/COVID19-ringing-support

Guild Membership Database


We now have 351 members who have consented to join the Guild membership database, which is about 25% of the total Guild membership. In this period of Covid-19 it is more important than ever that we keep in touch with our members. Therefore please do encourage others in your tower to sign up. There is a link on the Guild website or they can sign up here: Link to database sign up form

President’s Blog #18

I wouldn’t be surprised if no ringer below the age of 20 is reading this. I would be pleased if they were, but I am realistic enough to know that our print and social media does not hit a youth audience. This point came up this week because Julia Cater asked whether the distribution of the Women in Ringing stories request could go out on Instagram and pick up younger views. The answer unfortunately was ‘no’.

Like them or loathe them, the Kardashians were masters of providing a channel to younger audiences – they almost wrote the book on it (not that it was a book). If you want to reach an audience of under 20s you just pay an appropriate influencer to mention it on their Instragram and hey presto you’ve done it. So is there an opportunity for a young ringer to establish that channel?

I was all set to ask for volunteers to help with quarter peal analysis in this blog but after mentioning it at the Central Council meeting last Saturday I already have volunteers. After many years of sterling service in analysing quarter peals, Alan Buswell has retired from his annual analysis, and the painstaking recording work behind the scenes. Quarter peals are a rich source of information on the state and development of ringing, from the grass roots to the sturdy branches (and the odd dandelion). We don’t actually learn that much from which person or tower recorded the most performances, but what do you think would make for interesting analysis? Who has called most people’s first quarter peal? Who has achieved the most different firsts in a year? It is probably from the footnotes that we can learn the most.

Getting this people-level data accurate is actually very difficult. In a perfect world, no two people would have the same name, no names would be abbreviated, no one would change middle initials or shuffle theirs round for fun (so, I was young and stupid), and definitely no one would be called Phillip. I have rung performances with four different David Smiths and there are 10 others! Unique ringer IDs would be ideal.

We welcomed the Clerical Guild to the Central Council at the AGM and they came with a useful offer of help in current discussions with churches. One thing to consider is increasing ringer representation on PCCs. It is a very good way of raising the profile of ringers in the church. When I learned to ring at Cannock, there was a ‘Ringers Pew’. This was necessary because without it the late-arriving bell ringers would not get a seat. Think about that for a moment. The ringers would not get a seat. Most of the band went to the service (or sang in the choir) and a large parish church was full every Sunday.

This has been a difficult week for Coronavirus guidance. The ‘Rule of Six’ has changed the playing field once again – there can be more handbell ringing indoors but question marks over meeting more than six in church. We might be allowed to reduce our ringing distancing to 1m+ but in view of the surge in infection levels will anyone really want to do it? As you will read in my article to be published in Friday’s Ringing World about our latest discussions with the CofE Recovery Group, their approach is to consider “How do we best look after other people?”

By this stage in the year I would normally expect to have most weekends in the following year booked up, with peal dates fixed up sometimes well over a year in advance. We try and have a family rule that the last free weekend in any month is ‘protected’ just to leave some space for spontaneity! My last 2020 peal was cancelled ages ago and now I am down to having only one definite 2021 peal attempt. To be fair though I was always expecting far more of the weekends to be set aside for Council-related and other activities. I have a couple of call change competition finals pencilled in, half a dozen dinners, trips to Ireland, Dordrecht, New York, and Vernet, hopefully a couple of new ringing courses, and early outings with the Mobile Belfry. It will certainly be interesting to see how 2021 unfolds.

One of those new courses will be in the North West of England. Andy Ingham and his team are certainly hoping that the inaugural event can be next year but at the moment they face the difficulty of not even being able to visit venues to check them out. They are developing good ideas for format and content though, and hopefully the Mobile Belfry may make an appearance.

It’s too early to say that ringing on two floors is catching on, but Elstow in Bedfordshire (see picture) started ringing six from two different floors in August, maintain social distancing in three dimensions. St Paul’s Birmingham has now followed suit. St Paul’s has a school room immediately below the ringing chamber, with two dumbbells. It is a key part of the Birmingham School of Bell Ringing’s success. It is now enabling eight bells to be rung, with four downstairs and four upstairs. Expect to see touches of Triples being reported soon.

Back in the online world, I was delighted to be able to judge a Carlisle DG striking competition on Ringingroom. No sitting in a draughty vestry or in the car with the window open – this contest was judged from the comfort of my own home. There is probably an inverse relationship between the quality of the scenery and the quality of your broadband so Cumbrian ringers are likely to find forces outside their control affecting their striking. All the bands did really well though. Organiser Chris de Cordova had clearly done her research when an unnecessary but very welcome mini keg of Fyne Ales arrived by courier as a gesture of thanks. Now I just need to organise a house party to enjoy it with friends. Ah….

Simon Linford
President CCCBR

Content from https://cccbr.org.uk/2020/09/16/presidents-blog-18/ and logo used with permission from Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

Ringing for VJ Day at Petersfield

On Saturday 15th August after the two minutes silence to commemorate VJ day John Leary of the St Peter’s Church Bell Ringers Petersfield rang the number six bell seventy-five times to pay tribute to the remaining VJ Day Veterans and to remember the fallen one of whom was a Rev Victor Wardle former assistant Priest at Petersfield and a bell ringer. He died in an internment camp in Japan on 4th January 1945.

In January the Rev Wardle was also remembered by St Peter’s Bell Ringers ringing a quarter peal.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Caroline Welsh

Petersfield

President’s Blog #16

On balance now I wish I had continued with the piano not the cello. After Grade 5 on each, I made the choice and continued with the cello as I was better at it, it was more sociable, and I liked my cello teacher. I would now put up with being a less good pianist than cellist. The same is true of handbell ringing. I pretty much gave that up at the equivalent of about Grade 4 and then got so relatively better at tower bell ringing that I could never accept what had become a gulf in my level of competence between the two formats.

Lockdown has changed that, and not just for me. Handbell ringing is presenting opportunities. I think I might have scraped Grade 5 now! The time I might have spent learning methods for peals of spliced has been replaced mostly with Central Council work, but also with learning methods again on handbells, and learning how to view and ring those methods in a different way.

We don’t have ‘Grades’ in ringing like we do with learning musical instruments. It gets talked about every so often. ART’s Learn the Ropes scheme provides a good pathway although it does not have a measure of quality of performance – you cannot pass ART Level 5 with Distinction – you just Pass. It would be a challenge to be more judgemental, and ringers shy away from being judgemental (out loud anyway).

I have issued 11 Learn the Ropes handbell certificates this week, mostly Level 1 but some Level 2. In the St Martin’s Guild such certificates have been accepted with pride by very experienced tower bell ringers, and particularly by those whose tower bell ringing progress has taken backstage in favour or sending the elevator back down.

My spies tell me that ‘Virtual Bradfield’ last weekend was a great success, with at least 70 attendees. The organisers managed the usual mix of training, with handbell sessions, ask the tutor sessions, and finishing with both virtual pub and virtual cocoa sessions. Jonathan Cresshull was particularly given a shout out for technical wizardry.

I joined the Devizes Branch (sorry – now spotted duff spelling in RW copy) last Saturday evening for their practice on Ding (dinging.co.uk). A very different experience to Ringing Room, especially trying to ring with delayed action on the ropes, so you press the key to start the bell moving rather than the immediacy of pressing the key when you want the bell to strike. We did manage to ring a course of Stedman Doubles though (slowly), and they have rung two quarters on the platform now.

Distributed simulator ringing is a field of experimentation. The Dumbbell Society rang the first quarter peal on distributed dumbbells this week so they are making progress. It is a small group of experienced dumbbell ringers who have spent a long time getting to this point, but this could be interesting for the future.

The CC Covid guidance is not changing much from week to week at the moment, although every Friday evening I do update it. Last week I changed references to facemasks to face coverings and this week saw a clarification of separation between ropes in a straight line after a few queries. Changes don’t get announced – they will just appear here https://cccbr.org.uk/coronavirus/

The most difficult questions I have to answer are to do with when ringing will return to normal, and my usual answer is to ask the questioner when they think life in general is going to return to normal. With infection rates rising now, schools re-opening and then winter coming, we will need to be patient. We do have our next meeting with the CofE Recovery Group this Friday and we have been garnering opinion via Facebook (by far the quickest way of getting opinions) on what would be most helpful.

Whenever we get back to ‘normal’ there will be new rings of bells to experience. The foundries and bell hangers seem to be busy. A new ring of bells was seen on the motorway heading to Stoke St Milborough, and Bridgwater has joined the ranks of the rings of 12 (remember when there were only 100!). And just as I am writing this I have discovered this list on the new Dove website – all known current projects! https://dove.cccbr.org.uk/projects.php

The papers for the Council Annual Meeting have been distributed and registration is open. The Zoom meeting is going to be a challenge, not least for the NAG members who have to get up at 4.30 their time. The Ringing World AGM is going to follow the CC meeting, as it always does. Then maybe we could try and have the largest online virtual pub session the ringing community has yet managed.

The 150th anniversary of the birth of William Pye was marked by an article in The Ringing World by John Loveless. Complete with a photo of Ernest, William and George looking like they had escaped from the set of Peaky Blinders. Bill Pye’s achievements were inspirational – I accompanied Alan Regin on many trips to find the graves of Bill Pye’s peal band, including the first trip to find Bertram Prewett’s war grave in France. Apparently Bill Pye set up a peal of Cambridge Maximus in the last lead because of a bad error – I like to think I have some standards but I’d try and get to the end once I’d got to the last lead!

The Ringing World has adapted well to not having pages and pages of peals and quarter peals. Ringers with time on their hands are writing those articles they never got round to writing. Spare a thought for Editor Will Bosworth, and his assistant Chris Teasdale (in charge of the pencil this week) – it must be very hard work at the moment dealing with so much more editorial content, and having to put up with regular contributors who file their copy in the small hours of the morning before the print deadline….

Simon Linford
President CCCBR

Content and logo used with permission from Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

President’s Blog #14

Posted from the Trent & Mersey Canal, Middlewich. We listened out for the sound of bells on Sunday whilst chugging through the Cheshire countryside but there still aren’t too many towers that have restarted. Those that have reported happy clergy, happy congregations, and ringers who are making the most of current restrictions.

Southwark Cathedral once again hit the national media after CC PRO Vicki Chapman did an interview with the Guardian on returning to ringing. The story managed to come across very positively, and the Sunday ringing at Southwark met all the guidelines. Southwark made use of household pairs to ring some adjacent bells, and maybe the odd straight line, which 12 bell towers have more chance of than smaller rings.

What is the most bells any tower has managed to ring by having a single family or household? Smethwick (pictured) has a family of five – does any tower beat that? Asking a similar question about family handbell peals brought up the ten Bailey brothers of Leiston in Suffolk. Among their many ringing exploits was a peal of Stedman Cinques in hand which was first peal of Stedman Cinques for all of them. Not just first in hand – first Stedman Cinques at all!

Gareth Davies, a member of the Historical & Archive Workgroup, delivered a lecture on the Churches Conservation Trust’s YouTube Channel. He managed to cram the entire history of bell ringing into 45 minutes, with fascinating facts interspersed with dry humour (“the lack of bells in Salisbury Cathedral deprives visiting Russian tourists of another thing to see”).

The June YouTube competition, aka ‘Robot Wars’, saw Tim the Robot emerge victorious. Rising stars Rosie and Ritchie Robot had their hopes dashed by this usurper who turned out not even to be a real robot. To add insult to injury, Rosie now has rust issues from the tears streaming down her face. Look what you’ve done Tim!

This month’s subject is best striking on eight bells or more, an area where there is far less material already on YouTube. No doubt the Pipes will be producing another piece but where on earth are David, Henry and Alfie going to find another ringer? Time to unleash the Pipe secret weapon…

Do you remember your first Dove? Mine was the orange one. I underlined my towers, and put codes next to each tower. I cannot remember now whether FR (Fairly Reasonable) was better or worse than RF (Reasonably Fair). Now I am 70 times more likely to use online Dove than the book, and as I write this I see it is a Red Letter Day – the code for the new Dove database has been released. That might not sound like a big deal, but it’s an important part of Dove’s development pathway to create a much more powerful tower data platform. Sorry Dickon – epic failure to make that sound as exciting as it should be.

A few weeks ago we ran a request for new blood in the Stewardship & Management Workgroup and I am pleased to say it bore fruit. Five additional team members – Chris Birkby (maintenance, fundraising), Nick Wilkins (a surveyor, currently running an augmentation project at Farnborough), John Beresford (structural engineer with particular historic buildings speciality), Keith Brown (lawyer), and Simon Plows (bell projects, ART hub). The breadth of subjects upon which SMWG can advise is growing.

One recent request for advice had the team searching for Intellectual Property expertise. An association had used an image from another website that turned out to be copyrighted, leading to a substantial claim from the image rights holder. Detailed guidance will be issued but suffice it to say, be very careful when using pictures whose provenance you do not know – a letter from an image rights protection company will be a very nasty surprise for any association treasurer.

Introducing bellringing into schools is a key challenge of the new Schools and Youth Groups Workgroup. An early output of this, albeit one which Jason Hughes has been working on for many years, is a suite of eleven lessons about bellringing for Year 5 pupils (9–10-year-olds) (see RW 10 Jul p.684–7). This has been designed in such a way as to be able to be delivered by a non-ringing teacher (a crucial feature) and has been delivered in a school trial with great success. What makes it particularly attractive to schools is that it links directly to the National Curriculum for England, putting aspects of bellringing into each subject. Jason freely admits the lesson plans need a final polish to make them production quality but this has great potential. If you are in a position to introduce this into a school, let me know and I can introduce you to Jason or Colin Newman.

The stakes have been well and truly raised in the “Best Guild Newsletter” competition. Robert Wellen sent me a link to the latest edition of Face to Face, the newsletter of the Salisbury DG, and it is an incredible piece of work.

The Mobile Belfry 2.0 project is moving on apace. With the design pretty much finalised, a funding bid has gone in for one of the £50k grants from Ecclesiastical, under the project name ‘Resound’ – big shout out to Roger Booth who has led on the bid document. The Loughborough Belfoundry Trust is emerging as a potentially very useful partner in the endeavour. With another sizeable donation coming in, details of which I will be able to reveal soon, there is a very good chance of the first of these new Mobile Belfries to be ready in the spring.

Julia Cater gave a presentation via the St Martin’s Guild that broke the Guild’s Zoom attendance limit. Her subject was techniques for ringing big bells – clearly of very wide interest. If you missed it, a recording can be found here. I shouldn’t think many people have heard of the importance of core strength in ringing context before, or been advised to ‘engage their lats’. Charlie Linford announced afterwards that she was now more interested in ringing heavy bells than conducting.

Simon Linford
President CCCBR

PRESIDENT’S BLOG #13

Last Friday was definitely a low point. There was much swearing in Moseley, Worcester and Wrotham when an ever-so-polite email dropped in from the Church of England Recovery Group asking us not to ring that Sunday after all. Then my computer crashed just to add to the misery. The next morning, we had a call with Mark and Brendan but it was clear that they wanted us to change our guidance and wait a bit longer.

I am not sure what percentage of churches did actually hold services in England on Super Sunday. There weren’t many in my home Diocese of Birmingham and I have heard of some particularly rural areas where there is no sign of churches opening for some time. Across the world the picture varies – ANZAB reporting 20 out of 64 towers open again, while in North America I understand a little ringing has happened at Orleans, Honolulu and Kent School. The Channel Islands and Isle of Man are relishing their Coronavirus-free isolation!

The prospect of ringing three for services caused Ann Davies to recall the words of the Serbian Orthodox priest in charge of the ring of three at Bournville in Birmingham (pictured) when three ringers (suspects include Messrs Pickford and Jones) asked if they could have ‘a little tinkle’. The custodian of the ultra-ungettable tower said “we ring for ze purpose and not for ze tinkle!!”

As work starts on the next stage of guidance it is difficult to see how things are going to change materially without infection levels dropping. However there are lots of factors to consider, including that not all ringing environments are the same. We’re also getting a group together representing prolific peal organisers to pool our thoughts on when and how we can move towards ringing’s longer form.

Now to some good news. The Churches Conservation Trust has launched its ‘Champing’ offer – 20% discount for ringers booking before 31st July (use the discount code BELLS20). Champing is like glamping but kipping down inside one of their churches for a slightly surreal night’s sleep. Note that most of these churches do not come with showers so those booking for more than a few days will be thanked for not going within 2m of anyone else. Team Linford has booked to stay in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Warminghurst so we can visit Charlie’s adopted sloth, Flash, at Drusillas Wildlife Park.

If you are looking for more YouTube viewing after watching all 40 entries in the June YouTube competition, Steve Farmer has put together a superb series of videos on how to use a simulator. Search YouTube for “Practical Simulator Sessions” and you will find these, excellently produced in his garage (which to be honest needs a good lockdown clearout…)

Chris Ridley has been confirmed as the new leader of the Historical & Archive Workgroup. Chris has had a long association with the Council Library and other initiatives and is looking forward to developing this Workgroup so that our history and archives are able to inform and support other areas of the Council’s work. For instance, it has already been shown that the study of genealogy can get descendants of ringers wanting to learn and follow in ancestors’ footsteps.

The first peal on Ringing Room has been rung. Is it surprising that it has taken so long, or that it has been done at all? I cannot say too much as I was in it, and this is not a forum for me to blow my own trumpet. Oh go on, maybe just a bit –  Parp parp!

We have launched a consultation on ‘Registered Smaller Societies’ which is a proposed change to the Council Rules to enable bell ringing societies that don’t have the 75 members needed for full affiliation, but which want to be part of the Council. Not all ringers and ringing are covered by territorial societies, and to be truly representative the Council should embrace smaller emerging groups. More details can be found in the Governance section of the website.

Booking some more holidays. Sign of the times that when we would have been heading off to the Far East for a tour of Vietnam and Thailand, we have booked a boat on the Llangollen Canal and made sure that it has three decent handbell chairs. Twin holiday focus of Latin vocab and Kent Minor.

Matt Lawrence from Lilleshall has joined V&L and taken on a “Recruitment and Retention” brief. Matt masterminded the R&R workshop at the ART Conference on behalf of V&L. There is also a new Facebook group called Bell Ringing Recruitment and Retention – some people have actually managed to recruit people into ringing via Ringing Room and will be looking forward to converting them into tower bell ringers. Just shows what’s possible if you try.

The second of my three favourite ringing days of the year didn’t happen, following on from the 12 bell final. The RWNYC would have seen hundreds of young ringers gather in York for this annual festival of youthful skill and coloured team shirts but alas we will need to wait another year.

Patrick Deakin has started the latest of his Facebook competitions where people vote for their favourite ring of bells in a particular category, starting off with 32 and deciding each round on a knockout basis. Following victories for York Minster in the Heavyweight 12 bout, and Inveraray in the Cruiserweight 10 bout, he is now pitching ton-plus eights against each other in the Super Middleweight category. Will it be one of the Somerset classics (i.e Chewton Mendip) or a young pretender? Watch the drama unfold over coming weeks.

Finally some sad news. The Black Bull at Frosterley, home to a ring of 12 with a tenor of 0-2-21 by Matthew Higby, has closed permanently. Hopefully a new home will be found for the bells, on which seven peals have been rung (but not one by me so I am still keen).

Simon Linford
President CCCBR

***UPDATED 4th JULY*** – Latest CCCBR Guidance on Coronavirus and Returning to Ringing

We had a further update from the Church of England Recovery Group last night that Public Health England (PHE) now wants to issue specific guidance about bell ringing but they will not be able to publish it until next week. They expect it to be based on what we have produced. Although the Church has published guidance, which we shared, they are understandably nervous about ringing this weekend in advance of PHE publication, especially if it gets into the press. 

We had a conference call with Brendan McCarthy and Mark Betson of the Recovery Group this morning and whilst they stressed that anything published is guidance not instruction, they would really appreciate us waiting to restart ringing until after the PHE guidance is published. Given this is a new relationship that could be very important to us, we do not want to rock this boat for the sake of a week and some disappointment.

In the meantime, we have accumulated all of the questions we have received from ringers on the current guidance into a set of FAQs which we have publish on the website. This will include such things as why the guidance is still 2m rather than 1m, and whether family members can ring on adjacent bells. That can be found here:

https://cccbr.org.uk/frequently-asked-questions-on-covid-19-guidance/

We are studying the Scottish, Welsh and Irish guidance but in all cases church opening appears to be on a slower timetable than the Church of England. 

Simon Linford
President, CCCBR

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The Church of England, working with UK Government, has permitted bells to be rung in its churches from 4th July, accompanying the opening of cathedral and church buildings to the public. It is on the condition that ringing is in accordance with the guidance on these pages. The full announcement can be found here, and the reference to bells is on page 9. The Central Council will continue to pursue a similar situation for other jurisdictions in which there are bells. These pages give all current and previous guidance (to the extent it has not been superceded). We appreciate not all jurisdictions are the same, even within the United Kingdom.  The guidance on these pages was agreed following a meeting held between representatives of the Council and Mark Betson, convenor of the Church of England’s Recovery Group, and Brendan McCarthy, the Church’s Adviser for Medical Ethics, Health, and Social Care Policy. The set of Guidance Notes published has been endorsed by them and forms the basis for the resumption of ringing. The pace of returning to ringing will disappoint many bell ringers who are missing the activity that is so much part of our lives. The Church is also missing the contribution that bell ringers make and wants ringing to resume. The Church is however very sensitive to the safety of its volunteers and the relaxation of restrictions will not necessarily be as rapid as it is in certain other settings where other factors are under consideration. This is not a return to ringing all our bells as we were used to, or to do anything other than service ringing. It is the start of the road back to normality. Not all churches will be opening for services on 4th July. It is important to work with incumbents and church authorities for your own tower. Ringing remains at the express permission of the incumbent. Note that there is a specific requirement in the Church of England guidance document that ringers have read this guidance and undertaken the ringing risk assessment. We have also included in these guidance notes for checking bell installations prior to ringing. Please see our checklist below for some key areas that may need addressing. The Cathedrals and Church Buildings Division of the Archbishops’ Council confirmed that for jobs that cannot safely be done by one person, two or three should enter the bell tower to undertake them, following social distancing guidance if they are not from the same household. This guidance will be reviewed at least monthly, or inline with any changes in the Church’s own guidance and policies. which can be found at the bottom of the page. For instance the effectiveness of wearing face masks is currently under review and may be recommended.

Guidance Notes

  1. What are we worried about? (PDF)
    Recommended background reading for all
  2. Making your tower as safe as possible (PDF)
    Suggested for Tower captains and steeplekeepers
  3. Checklist for recommencing ringing (PDF)
    Summary for steeplekeepers but see also detailed document from SMWG below
  1. Running safe ringing sessions (PDF)
    Guidance for Tower Captains and Ringing Masters
  2. Can I go ringing safely? (PDF)
    Considerations for individual ringers
  3. How bell ringers are assessing risk (PDF)
    To be given to incumbents to explain how we are making our ringing safe

Click here to download the complete set of guidance documents as a single PDF.

These documents are intended to be succinct and easily readable. They do not contain all the detail that could be put in them but instead focus on the key issues. A more detailed group of documents has been produced by the Stewardship & Management Workgroup and can be downloaded here.

  1. Ringing risk assessment post Covid 15 June 2020
  2. Tower and bells risk assessment after non use 15 June 2020
  3. Tower Safety and Risk Assessment 15 June 2020
  4. Risk assessment template (based on HSE)

Additional Information

A detailed analysis from Dr Philip Barnes and Dr Andrew Kelso is available to download.

This document seeks to provide information and advice for ringers and those responsible for bell towers regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and what issues ringers and church authorities should consider in responding to changes in Government guidance as we start to ease the current lockdown. It is focused on the situation in the Church of England, which is responsible for the vast majority of churches with bells hung for ringing. While the specific advice from leaders of other churches and in other countries may vary, the basic issues for ringers and ringing are the same wherever we ring.

Message from the Guild Master on the Latest CCCBR Guidance

Dear Friends,

I am sure you have been keenly following the latest CCCBR guidance about returning to ringing and how they have been working with the CofE on establishing safe working practices to do so.

The CofE have now released their latest update here.

This generally approves limited return to ringing from the 4th July SUBJECT TO APPROVAL FROM YOUR LOCAL INCUMBENT, following a risk assessment, and in line with the detailed guidance available on the Central Council’s website. In essence, any approved ringing has to be in sessions of a maximum of 15 minutes, only once in 72 hours, and by bands of ringers who stay on the same bells, two metres apart”.

Links to the C of E and CCCBR statements can also be found on the Guild website

You should read carefully the guidelines and advice from both the CofE and the CCGBR and stay within the guidelines for the safety of yourself and those in your band.

After 100 plus days of lockdown I feel that this gives us a hopeful glimpse of a way forward, however the 2 metre distancing is still a significant limitation even in the largest of towers. It is probably worth however, starting discussions with your incumbent to at least set the wheels in motion for a return to ringing hopefully in the not too distant future.

We hope that most towers should not have any problems undertaking the belfry risk assessment, however if you are unable to carry this out, please contact Martin Barnes (Belfry Stewardship Committee), who will coordinate with someone local to support you.

With best wishes to you all.

Pete Jordan

Master  – Winchester & Portsmouth Guild of Church Bell Ringers

COVID-19 and ringing Central Council position statement May 5th 2020

It is expected that the UK Government will announce plans for a gentle easing of the current lockdown on Sunday May 10th and ringers have already been asking if that means they may return to ringing as normal. The key consideration at all times must be the safety of individual ringers, others with whom they ring and those with whom they live or may come into contact.

We do not know what the Government will propose but it is clear that, as lockdown is gradually eased, the re-opening of sections of the economy will be a priority and major restrictions on the activities of all of us will remain in place for a significant period. Government and public health teams working with others will be maintaining a very close watch on new cases and hospitalization of people with COVID-19. Ways of tracking of where such patients have been and tracing of all of their contacts will be key. All of this will take time to put in place.

The Central Council’s guidance to ringers is that currently it is too early for any return to ringing and that the current suspension of all ringing of any kind should remain in place. This includes chiming of single bells and the use of Ellacombe chimes. We will be sharing this guidance with the Church of England and ringing societies and where possible with other bell owning organisations.

Over recent weeks Dr Phillip Barnes, a recently retired NHS Consultant and Medical Director as well as a member of the CC Executive, has been reviewing the emerging scientific and medical evidence about COVID-19 and what it means for the safety of ringing. The key issues which affect the safety of ringing are the physical environment of towers including access to ringing rooms, the space between ropes, how to maintain hand hygiene in towers and the numbers of people in a restricted space for a relatively long period of time. Even if churches reopen, the environment in towers is very different.

This evidence review is being published online this week via the Central Council website and an article will appear in next week’s edition of The Ringing World. Guidance on how it might be possible to restart ringing and what restrictions and precautions would be needed to do so are an integral part of this work.

The evidence and guidance will be reviewed formally at least monthly as well as in the light of any significant developments. We are all as keen as anyone to get back to ringing as soon as possible, but that must only occur when it is completely safe to do so.

SIMON LINFORD
Dr PHILLIP BARNES
For and on behalf of the CC Executive.

200 Club – Results of March 2020 draw

The March draw of the 200 Club, raising money for the Guild Training and Development Fund, was meant to take place at the Executive Committee meeting on 16th March. This was cancelled, and for reasons we all know I have been unable to do the draw at any ringing event since. I thought that the draw should take place anyway, so on Saturday afternoon my son Paul drew the numbers at home. He did suggest we live-stream it to avoid any accusations of bias, but I thought that was going a bit far – fortunately he didn’t draw my number!

The results were as follows:
Draw Date: 28/03/2020
Prize Accumulation: £60.00

Winners
First 50% £30.00 25 Nikki Brown
Second 20% £12.00 31 Wendy Ling
Third 10% £6.00 16 Graham Nobbs
Fourth 10% £6.00 27 Christine Hill
Fifth 5% £3.00 24 Marie Boniface
Sixth 5% £3.00 6 Pete Jordan

Nikki is currently living in Norway and has very kindly asked that her prize be donated to the Netley Abbey Bell Fund. Payment of the others may be delayed but I won’t forget.

Coronavirus – COVID-19 – Update from CCCBR

Coronavirus – Covid-19 – Update – 16th March

New updates on the Coronavirus have been issued by the UK government today, which include avoiding any “non-essential” travel and contact with others and avoiding pubs, clubs theatres and social gatherings.  If you haven’t already decided to cancel ringing activities, it seems that now is the time to do so.

We must all ensure that we are following the most up to date advice from the Chief Medical Officer (or overseas equivalent) with regard to the Covid 19 outbreak.  Of course the Central Council is not in a position to provide professional advice, however there are some simple guidelines to consider to ensure that we adopt sensible precautions and support each other through a period of rapid change and uncertainty.   The advice is changing almost daily and the latest messages concern potential restriction of movement of people over the age of 70 in the coming weeks, if not sooner.

The demographics of the ringing community has a large proportion who fit in to the over 70 year old and/or medically vulnerable category, and ringers can be quite stubborn when it comes to continuing ringing, insisting that we “keep calm and carry on”.  However, under the current circumstances, we have a duty to be responsible for ourselves and towards others we ring with.  If you fit into a category that has been advised to socially distance yourself, please heed that advice.  If not for you, then to help prevent putting other people at risk.

Having said that, socially distancing yourself can create a sense of isolation, and we must ensure that we maintain contact with our ringing friends, and offer any help and support where we can.  Please check in with those who are advised to stay home, phone them for a chat to ask how they are, drop them a quick text, Whatsapp or social media message to let them know they haven’t been forgotten.

If you find yourself self isolating, consider how you might get your ringing fix if not on the end of a rope.  There are many apps for phones and computers that you can utilise to learn methods, practise listening skills and so on. There’s a multitude of YouTube videos on various aspects of ringing, ringing up and down, rope splicing and many other tower tasks that need doing.  Get out some good old paper and pencil to write out methods, learn the place notation, write out touches etc  – that’ll keep you busy for hours!  Keep in touch with friends on the various bellringing social media communities, maybe even start one of your own.  Get that tower website up to date.  Get around to writing up last year’s tower AGM minutes.  Plan what you are going to do once the restrictions have been lifted, maybe organise a reunion.

Keep up to date with the latest advice from the government, ensure that you support each other, keep calm and keep safe.

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Many people are concerned about the effects of the current Coronavirus outbreak and what impact that has on us and our ringing activities.  Whilst the CCCBR cannot offer any professional medical advice, we would recommend that you adopt sensible precautions and follow the advice from the Chief Medical Officer.

Information about the virus, signs and symptoms can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ but there are some very simple guidelines to follow during every day activities:

Do

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands before and after ringing
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards or use sanitiser gel
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

Don’t

  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
  • lick or spit on your hands before catching hold of a rope, use other methods of increasing grip e.g. liquid chalk

We all have a duty to adopt sensible precautions to protect ourselves, our friends and families and to follow the current advice.  Sources of information for the UK can be found here:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/

https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-guidance

Other territories may also have regular advice updates for which territorial associations may be able to provide further guidance.

Vicki Chapman
CCCBR Public Relations Officer

Ropley ringers need your help please!

As you will know Ropley has no church and no bells at the moment, but we do have a band of ringers. We practice on the second Thursday of the month at Old Alresford in the winter and Bishops Sutton in the summer. We do have a problem, half the band are ill. Two are needing an operation in the near future which will put them out of ringing for some time, another is getting over an illness which put them in hospital before Christmas and they are still weak and a fourth has a sick husband. I do not want to stop practices but with only three ringers it may happen. I am asking if you could give an evening a month to help? If there is no response then practices will stop, meaning it will be very difficult to start again. Please contact me if you can help.

Rodney Skinner

**UPDATED**Winchester ADM – Sat 8th February 2020 at Hursley

Link to Minutes from Autumn District Meeting

Link to Agenda

Dear All,

Our Annual District Meeting – this year, at Hursley – is fast approaching, so, please find attached poster. Please affix to your noticeboards, put the word round, forward to your band members, however you communicate such matters.

The papers for the meeting – the Agenda, the minutes of the last meeting, the District Accounts and the Report of the last year in the District’s annals – will all follow in due course, with time enough for everyone to read and if necessary comment.

I’ll be in touch anon, best wishes meanwhile,

Bruce
District Secretary

20200208 WIN ADM Hursley

200 Club – November 2019 Draw Results

The November draw of the W&P 200 Club took place earlier this week at the practice at Upham. The results were as follows:
Draw Date 20/11/2019
Prize Prize Accumulation £74.00 Winning
Numbers
Winners
First 50% £37.00 27 Christine Hill
Second 20% £14.80 31 Wendy Ling
Third 10% £7.40 26 Wendy Smart
Fourth 10% £7.40 28 Peter Hill
Fifth 5% £3.70 18 Tony Smith
Sixth 5% £3.70 1 Robin Milford
If anyone was wondering why the draw was at Upham practice night rather than at the Executive Committee meeting last Saturday, I forgot to take the bag of numbers with me! However, I did remember the cheque book and was able to give the Guild Treasurer a cheque for £166 for the Training and Development Fund from this year’s draw proceeds.
The next draw should (hopefully) be at the next Executive Committee meeting in March 2020. More members always welcome.
Robin Milford

 

Teaching from Rounds to Plain Hunt with David Smith and Roger Booth. St. Peter’s Parish Church, Bournemouth – 28th September

We were delighted to host this event in our bijou conference centre/kitchenette located in the cellars underneath the main body of the church. We were warmly welcomed by our brave module leaders, David Smith and Roger Booth, with our informative and exhaustive personalised pink module packs, containing course books and other vital information.

The initial theory session spoken along with visual cues for us, and easy to absorb bullet powerpoint notes on the projector screen, was informative, and guided us well in understanding the various learning processes we encounter teaching ringing.

These sessions were followed up with some instruction behind the forthcoming practical sessions. There was a very useful discussion in building a ringing band. We had plenty of practical hands on sessions in small groups, led by our module

tutors, who gave us the confidence to try out new techniques, such as calmly handing/taking the rope over to somebody safely, circle-clapping exercises in order to help hearing one’s own bell and counting one’s place, to the very effective Kaleidoscope technique of ringing, where up to three different groups can each practice a different exercise or handling skill simultaneously, from starting in rounds, one pair dodging, one pair place-making, and another pair making long places – and how this can be varied infinitely with ease to suit the band you have that day. It was very helpful also to focus on how to organise practices with lesson plans, games with fluffy dice to instruct handling skills, and domino style cards to get the brain thinking in the Kaleidoscope manner of ringing.

Lunch was a little on the short side, delicious supplied by our own in-house ringing team, but we did have so much to cram in, especially practical, throughout the day. The round-up session at the end of the day was a useful time for discussion and questions, and instructions on how to move forward using SmART ringer, and accreditation details. There was a useful little shop with ART merchandise and useful ideas/tools for learners across all ages.

The ART people clearly listen to their members and feedback, as they appear to constantly hone, personalise and fine-tune the courses to suit each specific course and group. What they have put together really is marvellous, dedicated, and in depth series of modules, pulling in and centralising many teaching ideas, ‘hacks’ and solutions to teaching issues, from right across the board. Take a good pencil and notepad!

Peter Murdock-Saint, Tower Captain St. Peter’s Bournemouth.

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Guild AGM Papers – Sat 15th June – IoW

Update – 4th June

Subject: AGM 15th June- venue for Striking competition results, BRF meeting and lunch

Hi all

For those who are intending to be at the Freshwater Village Hall on the 15th June for the striking competition results, lunch or BRF meeting prior to the AGM, please note that the venue is in Victoria Road, PO40 9PP. It is not at the Memorial Hall in Avenue Road.

Don’t forget to let Mary Tester know if you want lunch.

Thanks

Heather


Anyone intending to travel along the M27 on their way to the Guild AGM on the Isle of Wight should note that the M27 will be closed between J9 and J11 from 9pm Friday 14th to 9pm Saturday 15th June.

Here is a link to download all the papers you need in one single PDF file for the Guild AGM being held on Saturday 15th June at Freshwater on Isle of Wight.

Link to the Guild AGM 2019 Papers

Please remember to consider nominations for your Guild Officers – see this link for more details.

Guild AGM Poster - Freshwater IOW 15.6.19

 

Press Release: WW1 Centenary Commemoration Service Days at Portsmouth and Winchester 12th and 19th May

This Press Release below has been issued to  Winchester Diocese and Cathedral promoting church/ringers/community working together and a young ringer very much involved.

Here is Leigh, Ringing Remembers Ringer, proudly showing her Ringing Remembers certificate. Leigh gave a presentation to her school and the text is displayed here.

Leigh - Ringing Remembers.JPG

Ringing Remembers: Leigh’s learning to ring story.

In February 2017 at Brighstone we had two bells cast at Whitechapel foundry in London. They were cast on the penultimate day of casting before the foundry closed after being in continuous business since 1570. The new treble was funded by the Society for the Preservation of Isle of Wight Church Bells and the new number 2 by local ringers and friends. Leigh was there on the 4th April when the bells arrived. Leigh’s dad helped with the augmentation of the bells. We were able to ring all eight bells on 24th April. Leigh has been learning to ring the church bells at St Mary’s church since August 2017. Sadly, 1,400 bell ringers died during World War 1. To honour there memory, the campaign Ringing Remembers set out to recruit 1,400 new bell ringers to be able to ring on Remembrance Sunday. Leigh signed up and rang four times during Remembrance Sunday. She rang twice for the service and twice in the evening to coincide with the beacons that were being lit nationally. Leigh mostly rings the number 2 bell, but she has rung the 1 and 4. She rings rounds and call changes during Friday evening practice and for the Sunday morning service. Leigh is currently the youngest ringer on the island. At the moment she can confidently ring either the handstroke or the backstroke with help from Beccy her instructor. Leigh’s next step will be to ring both stokes gaining complete control of the bell. If anyone fancy giving ringing a go, speak to Beccy Noyes who is tower captain at Brighstone. Practice night 19:00 to 20:00 on Tuesdays. “I really, really love ringing.”
Leigh.


Winchester and Portsmouth Anglican Cathedrals will be hosting special services to give thanks for all people lost in World War One and to acknowledge the role of bell ringers during that conflict and in all our communities.

On 12th May at 6 p.m. in Portsmouth and on 19th May at 3.30 p.m. in Winchester, local dignitaries will be joining bell ringers and cathedral congregations as part of the commemorations of the Centenary of the end of The Great War. As a mark of respect for all those who made the supreme sacrifice for us, members of  The Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers will present each cathedral with an archive; the volumes detail the Guild’s ringing performances, rung since 1914, in honour and memory of the men and women who died in World War One.

Bishop Christopher of Portsmouth says ‘The ringing of church bells across the U.K. remained restricted throughout World War One. How wonderful that we are free to play our part in honouring all those that died as a result of the dreadful conflict.’ He recognises the special performances in the printed volume as ‘recording over a century of bell ringing from the tolling of a single bell to the most complicated of peals, from tiny village churches to Cathedrals.’

Bishop Tim of Winchester reflects ‘The statistics are abhorrent: more than nine million fighting men, out of 65 million from 30 countries, died in  World War One. It was devastating and hard to escape its impact. On 11th November 1918 peals of bells once more rang freely, breaking the near silence that had been brought about by the four years of war. Today, almost everyone of us, whatever our ethnic, national or religious roots, is aware that we have inherited a world deeply shaped by The Great War.’

On Armistice Day 1918 records from Portsmouth describe the outpouring of relief that four years war had ended…’The bells of St Thomas and St Mary were much in evidence.’  The ringers who were working in the Royal Dockyard had been allowed to leave work early to ring the bells ‘ simultaneously with a service in the front of the town hall and with hooters blowing’.

100 years on to the day, Portsmouth heard the cathedral’s half-muffled bells ring out 7000 ‘changes’ over four-and-a-half hours, remembering and honouring the 7000 residents of Portsmouth who had lost their lives in World War One.

In Winchester Cathedral the, then, Winchester Diocesan Guild of Bell Ringers’ own war memorial is to be found; an oak tablet recording the names of the fallen. A significant tribute to the Guild’s members lost in The Great War are two bells, cast especially, and installed in the tower in 1921.

Over 1,400 bell ringers died as a result of World War One – more than 60 were ringers from The Winchester and Portsmouth Guild area. ‘Ringing Remembers’ was a worldwide recruitment campaign to symbolically replace those 1,400 bell ringers. There were many new  ringers of all ages recruited from the two Dioceses in 2018. Leigh Ruszczyk, aged 5, from Brighstone, Isle of Wight was one of the 2,804 new ringers who rang bells on  Remembrance Day 2018.

In Winchester Cathedral grounds during the afternoon of 19th May there will be the Chamborough Mobile Belfry. Passers-by will be invited to have a go on the delightful, tiny bells….there will be plenty of help on hand for visitors wanting their first attempt at tower bell ringing.

WP service flyer - Portsmouth

Viv Nobbs

Winchester ADM Minutes – Feb 2019

Minutes of the Annual District Meeting held on Saturday 9th February 2019 in the Memorial Hall, Butts Green, Lockerley.
1. Chairman’s Welcome. The Chairman, John Croft, opened the meeting at 5.32 p.m., with a welcome to those present, including visitors, and with thanks to the Vicar and Wardens for the use of the bells of Lockerley and the Tytherleys, to John Niblett for ably leading the service, to Gary Davies for playing the organ and to the Lockerley and East Tytherley ringers Bands for hosting the day and for laying on a splendid ringers’ tea [applause].
2. Attendance. The following 35 members of the District (representing nine bands and unattached), and three guests signed the attendance register: Christine and Peter Hill, Jinny Kufluk and Tony Smith (all of Hursley), Gary Davies, Sam Fussell, Sheila Piper, John Palk, Alan Sparrow and Mark Warner (all of Lockerley and East Tytherley), Roger Booth, Andrew Johnson and Elizabeth Johnson (all of New Alresford), Caroline and Martin Daniels, Andrew Glover (all of Romsey), Rodney Skinner (Ropley), Jenny Watson (Sparsholt), Maggie Lippiett (Twyford), John Colliss, John Gawne-Cain and Bruce Purvis (all of Winchester Cathedral), Christine Knights-Whittome (Wonston), John and Joyce Croft (both unattached); Charlotte Colliss (Swanmore) Rob Hatch (Botley) and Mike Winterbourne (Guild Master – Tangley) comprising the guests. Also present were Graham Wright (Bishopstoke), Alison Fydler and Carol Ward (Candover Valley Ringers), Jen Churchill (Lockerley) and Edmund Wratten (unattached)
3. Apologies for absence. Apologies for absence were received from Amanda Bayford, Judy Bishop, Gerry Cornick, Carol Higgins, Ann and Roy LeMarechal Micki Nadal, Sue Spurling and Tony Stirling.
4. Minutes of the Previous Meeting. Adoption as a true record of the minutes of the Quarterly District Meeting held on 10 November at Houghton Village Hall was proposed by Bruce Purvis, seconded by Andrew Johnson and carried on a show of hands.
5. Matters Arising. Minute 10.ii Transfer of towers. Rodney Skinner remarked on the Andover District apparently shedding towers: Tony Smith advised that King’s Somborne and Stockbridge were rung by the same band, and Andrew Johnson added that the transfer of Stockbridge and Leckford to our district were subject to ratification by the Guild AGM.
6. Loss of members through death. The Chairman, John Croft, having recently attended the funeral, remarked on the passing in January of Graham Grant, successively secretary and, for twenty years, Captain of the Cathedral Bell-ringers. Graham was for many years Bell Advisor to the Diocesan Advisory Committees and was appointed a Life Member of the Guild in 1996 for services to the Guild; he assisted John’s father – Guild Master in the centenary year – with a unique contribution to the artwork for the centenary. We mourned also the passing of Ivor Trueman, formerly Captain at Romsey Abbey. After a short period of silence, the Chairman recited the words of the Requiem.
7. Confirmation of belfry elections. Probationary members: Carrie Blythe of Crawley on 12 June 2018, proposed by Edmund Wratten, seconded by Amanda Bayford. Lisa Rodrigues of Crawley on 2 October 2018, proposed by Edmund Wratten, seconded by Amanda Bayford. Nikki Archard of Lockerley on 12 November 2018, proposed by Gary Davies, seconded by Jen Churchill. Andrew Hughes and Jacqui Smith of Candover Valley on 2 January 2019, proposed by Alison Fydler, seconded by Carol Ward. Eva Nunn of Wonston on 12 January 2019, proposed by Christine Knights-Whittome, seconded by Gerry Cornick. Elloise Clark of Easton on 17 January 2019, proposed by Judy Bishop, seconded by Pam Chrismas. Jon Butler of Romsey on 23 January 2019, proposed by Andrew Glover, seconded by Nigel Herriott. Alice Kernick and Claire Stirman of Winchester Cathedral on 6 February 2019, proposed by Nick Bucknall, seconded by Bruce Purvis.

8a. Election of new ringing members. Robert A Eames and Stephen Wise of Bishopstoke, proposed by Roy LeMarechal, seconded by Graham Wright. Kristine Wright of Bishopstoke, proposed by Graham Wright, seconded by Roy LeMarechal. Cara Bennett and Victoria Bennett of Crawley, proposed by Edmund Wratten, seconded by Amanda Bayford. Tom Burnell of Easton, proposed by Judy Bishop, seconded by Pam Chrismas. Sheila Piper of Lockerley and East Tytherley, proposed by Gary Davies, seconded by Jen Churchill. Sharon Reynolds of Micheldever proposed, by Juliet Pattinson, seconded by Mary Tiles. Reuben Burbidge, Cath Hart, William Lay and Peter Maddams of Romsey, proposed by Andrew Glover, seconded by Nigel Herriott. Christine Nicol of Sherfield English, proposed by Wendy Nash, seconded by Caroline Simpson.  Elaine Pickering and Paul Tanner of Sparsholt, proposed by Jenny Watson, seconded by John Cleverley. Helen Ellerby and Kate Kernick of Winchester Cathedral, proposed by Nick Bucknall, seconded by Mike Hopkins Till. Tomas Nunn, Janet Ryan and Ian Waites of Wonston, proposed by Christine Knights-Whittome, seconded by Gerry Cornick.
8b. Presentation of Certificates. Membership certificates and badges were presented to Roger Booth and Jinny Kufluk, and were taken for members at Broughton and Houghton, Candover Valley, Micheldever, New Alresford, Romsey, Sherfield English and Winchester Cathedral. A first quarter-peal certificate was presented to Alan Sparrow, and a first peal certificate was taken for Carol Higgins (both of Lockerley and East Tytherley).
9. Officers’ Reports. Secretary’s Report: With the addition of a note that Romsey had won the Guild inter-tower six-bell competition, adoption was proposed by John Colliss and seconded by Christine Knights-Whittome. Treasurer’s Report and accounts: adoption of the accounts, as usual carefully examined by John Colliss, was proposed by Peter Hill and seconded by John Palk. Both reports were adopted on a show of hands. Caroline Daniels remarked on the growing credit balance, and enquired what use might be made of it. Tony advised that, as an example, £500 had been voted to local bell-restoration funds; Rodney added that Ropley would be calling upon the District for financial assistance. Tony advised that according to the rules of the Guild, monies could only be spent by vote of a District meeting. Andrew suggested that the fund could be used to support teaching in the District, and Tony replied that this was practice in times past.
10. Election of Officers. The Chairman, in standing down prior to the election, took the opportunity to thank his fellow officers for their support – without whose support he couldn’t do the job that he did – and to ringers throughout the district, remarking with gratitude upon the co-operation and shared sense of purpose tin the District. With that, he was prepared to stand for 2019. The Treasurer was happy to continue in post, though he ‘would not be offended if anyone else wished to take over as treasurer’, or if anyone felt like understudying the office with a view to taking it on. Tony added that the requisite skills were good personal organisation and enjoyment of looking after finances. The secretary was prepared to continue for this year, but he would be happy to stand down if anyone else wished to take on his post (no-one was) but in the absence of a successor, entered a plea for some assistance with the office. The other sitting officers were likewise willing to stand for 2019, and John Colliss was willing to continue as Independent Examiner of the accounts. The offices were filled as follows:-
Chairman: John Croft, proposed by Jenny Watson, seconded by Rodney Skinner;
Secretary: Bruce Purvis, proposed by Peter Hill, seconded by Carol Ward;
Treasurer: Tony Smith, proposed by Jen Churchill, seconded by John Palk;
Ringing Master: Edmund Wratten, proposed by Bruce Purvis, seconded by Christine Knights-Whittome;
Joint Ringing Master: Jenny Watson, proposed by Bruce Purvis, seconded by Christine Knights-Whittome;
Executive Committee Representative: John Croft, proposed by Bruce Purvis, seconded by Carol Ward;
Independent Examiner of Accounts: John Colliss, proposed by Jenny Watson, seconded by John Palk;
Webmaster: Andrew Glover, proposed by Christine Knights-Whittome, seconded by Caroline Daniels;
Newsletter Editor: John Palk, proposed by Carol Ward, seconded by Caroline Daniels; all elected on a show of hands.
11. Future Events. The Secretary advised the meeting that the year’s programme was, thanks to Jenny Watson’s sterling efforts, been confirmed up as far as the October District Practice, with the exception of May’s quarterly meeting. The remainder of the programme had been devised and was subject to confirmation. Andrew Johnson advised the meeting that Twyford was holding an open day on 11 May, to raise funds for the target of £20,000 for overhauling the bells, and suggested that the District Meeting might usefully be combined with the Open Day. Action – the Secretary to explore. The District Practice at Wonston was brought forward by one week to prevent a clash with the Guild AGM.
Christine Knights-Whittome outlined the Education Committee’s programme for the rest of the year, as follows:-
17 April: Discussion panel on future directions for the Guild and Districts, the Undercroft, Winchester Cathedral Close
17 May: Evening tutorial on Basic Raising and Lowering, Bishopstoke
14 September: Day-school on Raising and Lowering in Peal, Bishopstoke
12 October: Day-school on Listening Skills, Lockerley
23 November: Day-school on Plain Hunting
23 November: Bell Maintenance, Hawkley
12. Romsey Show. The secretary advised the meeting that the organisers of the Romsey Show had once more invited the District to participate. John Palk added that the show was attended by between 20,000 and 25,000, so was potentially a huge showcase. Martin Daniels spoke eloquently in favour of participation; Bruce Purvis cautioned that success depended on positioning and marketing: in 2017 the organisers had listed ringing under “Just for kids” – when we might more usefully have been grouped with local crafts/activities and (physically) near classic vehicles or agricultural machinery. As regards costs, John advised that these were practically met by our investment in the 2016 and 2017 shows: the sole cost now would be one of time. Further points included the need for publicity beforehand, following up enquiries at the show, the need for a steering committee. The consensus of the meeting was that we go ahead. Tony Smith proposed, and Christine Knights-Whittome seconded, that a budget agreed in previous years be allocated to meet expenses arising: carried on a show of hands. Action – John Palk
A final observation was that it might be necessary to reschedule the training morning, Cheriton, 7 September
13. Guild Striking Competitions. The Chairman reminded the meeting that the Guild Inter-Tower competitions (6- and 8-bell) would take place at Wickham and Shedfield on Saturday 18 May. The Guild Inter-District 8-bell competition would take place on the morning of the AGM on Saturday 15 June at Brighstone. Tony Smith volunteered to organise a team for the Inter-District Competition, and his offer was accepted with gratitude.
14. Guild Master. The Guild Master, Mike Winterbourne, expressed hearty thanks to everyone who takes on a role, or a task, at tower, district or guild level to keep bells ringing whether for divine service or practices. Turning to the World War One
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commemorations, he urged everyone to look at their tower’s page on the Record of Commemorative Ringing to check that names and other details were correct. The book would be presented to the Bishops at evensong services, on May 12 at Portsmouth at 6.00 p.m. and on May 19 at Winchester at 3.30. The Charmborough Ring would be present at the Winchester service. All Guild members were invited, and the Master hoped that any and everyone who had rung for the Centenary of the Armistice would be present.
15. Any Other Business.
1. Funding for Youth Training. Martin Daniels, harking back to the points raised at item 9 above, wished to propose funding for youth training and development, for example, to participate in the Ringing World National Youth Competition. Tony Smith advised that it was open to District members to request assistance, such individual cases being subject to consideration by the District officers. However, what was not possible was for a substantive proposal to be sprung upon a meeting under “AOB”, such a matter being too complex to consider with neither notice nor an adequate briefing. What was needed was a reasoned proposal, brought before a meeting as a substantive agenda item. Other suggestions from the floor included creation of a bursary scheme, with disbursements made at the officers’ discretion (Peter Hill), a proposal to provide £100 to assist any young ringers going to Liverpool for the National Youth Competition in July (the sum to be shared amongst all those so travelling – maybe six or seven (Christine Hill), and advice from Mike Winterbourne that there was a Guild training fund available; also, by the way, that the Guild Youth Bells and Bowls event was taking place next Saturday, 16 February.
2. Education. Christine Knights-Whittome advised that she had application forms for the upcoming Grandsire Doubles and Triples day-school (6 April) and for Guild sweatshirts and polo shirts (closing date for orders, 1 April, delivery around Easter)
3. Candover Valley News. Carol Ward reported on the success of a presentation she had made to her local Women’s Institute – with thanks for the loan of the Cathedral’s model bell – and that the band had gained a new recruit as a result. The Northington augmentation was almost finished, with the installation of a false ceiling for sound control. The ring would comprise a light six with one of the original three bells, dating from 1602, retained for tolling. A date had yet top be established for the bells to be blessed and an inaugural quarter-peal.
4. Guild Executive Committee. The Master reminded the meeting that the next Guild Executive Committee meeting would be held on 16 March, should anyone have a topic which they wished their representative to raise.
5. National Twelve-Bell Competition. Peter Hill reminded the meeting that the eliminating heats for the National Twelve-Bell Competition would take place at St Mary Redcliffe on 23 March, with the final taking place at Exeter.
6. Bell Restoration Fund. The collection for the Bell Restoration Fund raised £26.54.
The meeting closed at 6.49 p.m.