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Heritage Open Days – Winchester District towers – September 2021

PLEASE NOTE: THE TEST VALLEY RINGING FESTIVAL ON 18TH SEPTEMBER HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL SPRING 2022.

THE OTHER EVENTS ARE STILL GOING AHEAD.

Historic bells across the Winchester District will ring out for this year’s Heritage Open Days Festival. Because of Covid restrictions access to come and meet the ringers is limited to certain towers, but you are welcome to come and listen at all towers.

Saturday 11th September 2.30 – 4.45pm, St John’s New Alresford: Tower Open Day

Friday 17th September, 2.00pm Twyford St Mary

The  Mayor of Winchester, Councillor Vivian Achwal, will be visiting the church of St Mary the Virgin, Twyford at 2pm on Friday 17th September. The Mayor’s Escort will be Dr. Sudhaker Achwal. They will hear ringing performed on the eight bells by a team of ringers drawn from across the Winchester area. The Mayor is offering her support to the team of ringers of Twyford, who are currently raising funds to restore their bells, and to the bellringers in other nearby churches in the Winchester District who are opening their towers to members of the public as part of the Heritage Open Days festival.

****POSTPONED UNTIL SPRING 2022****:Saturday 18th September – Test Valley Ringing Festival

The following towers will be ringing at various times during the day for the Test Valley Ringing Festival. Exact timings for each tower to be confirmed nearer the date

East Tytherley (8 bells, tenor 14-1-5 in F#)

Ground floor ringing room.

A relatively modern ring dated 1897 and 1999 by John Taylor & Co.

Mottisfont, St Andrew (5 bells, tenor 6-0-23 in Ab)

Ground floor ringing room

The bells are dated 1663, 1675, 1678, 1718 and 1891.

Houghton, All Saints (6 bells, tenor 2-2-21 in E)

Ground floor ringing room

In contrast to the other rings on this open day, this is not only the lightest ring of bells, but also a relatively modern one, with bells by John Taylor & Co (1950 and 1975) and four by Matthew Higby & Co (2015)

Broughton, St Mary (6 bells, tenor 11 cwt in G)

Ground floor ringing room

The oldest bell is by an unknown founder and dated 1617. Another by Clement I Tosier was added in 1681. Three more were added in 1720, 1763 and 1774. The last was added in 1934.

Nether Wallop, St Andrew (6 bells, tenor 14 cwt in F)

Ground floor ringing room

The oldest bell is dated 1585 by John Wallis and two more were added by John Hidgen in 1642.Two more were added in 1702 and 1770, with the final bell added in 1992.

Over Wallop, St Peter (5 bells, tenor 7cwt in A)

Upstairs ringing room

One of the bells is dated 1599, two others dated 1631 and 1636 are by John Dawton. A fourth was added in 1776 and the final bell added in 1875.

Stockbridge, St Peter (6 bells, tenor 7-0-20 in Bb)

Upstairs ringing room

Three of the bells are by Samuel Knight and dated 1691. The other three are by Mears & Stainbank of Whitechapel and are dated 1887.

Longstock, St Mary (5 bells, tenor 8cwt in A)

Ground floor ringing room

The oldest bell is by John Wallis and is dated 1593. He also cast another in 1617. The other three were added between 1879 and 1893.

Leckford, St Nicholas (5 bells, tenor 8-2-4 in A)

Ground floor ringing room

Three of the bells date from 1582, 1595 and 1629. The other two date from 1934 when they were added by Mears and Stainbank of Whitechapel

Goodworth Clatford, St Peter (8 bells, tenor 7½cwt in A)

Well ventilated upstairs ringing room.

The ring of eight bells includes a bell cast in 1622 by John Wallis, one cast by John Dawton in 1627 and one in 1700 by Robert Cor. The others are by John Taylor & Co and the Whitechapel Bellfoundry.

Upper Clatford, All Saints (6 bells, tenor 9-0-16 in F#)

Ground floor ringing room

Five of the bells are by various founders from 1621 to 1721. They were augmented to six and hung in a new frame by John Taylor & Co in 1967.

Please revisit this page nearer the date to check the timings.

All towers will be open for 45 minutes general ringing. After this, slots will be available for pre-booked bands. All ringers are encouraged to let us know which towers they intend to ring at by submitting a booking form. This will also help with track and trace.

Link to booking form

There is no charge for the open day, but it is suggested that visiting ringers leave a donation of at least 50p per ringer at each church for local tower/church funds.

Visiting ringers need to adhere to Covid protocols. Do not come if you are feeling unwell, and wear a face mask if unvaccinated ringers are present. Any unvaccinated ringers or those who have only had one dose should also take a lateral flow test beforehand. Hand gel to be used each time a new ringer touches a rope.

Members of the public are welcome to come and listen, and may watch the ringing from the nave in those towers where the bells are rung from the ground floor. However, it will not be possible to have a go.

Winchester District Training Course – Sunday 8th August 2021

‘Grandsire Doubles – from first steps to calling touches’

Sunday 8th August at 2.30pm

An online presentation introducing beginners to the plain course, explaining bobs and singles for those wanting to ring touches, and giving guidance on calling to those who want to call touches.  A useful refresher on Grandsire Doubles as we return to our towers.

Zoom link open from 14.15

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86989085541?pwd=c1Q2TUsvSktDdFIvU0JrYnkzdCtEZz09

The presentation will be given by Edmund Wratten, Winchester District Ringing Master

Isle of Wight District half-yearly meeting – Saturday 24th July

Isle of Wight Half yearly meeting and Centenary Celebration

at Newchurch from 3 pm on Saturday 24th July

Please contact Mary Tester, District Secretary, to get all the paperwork for the meeting.

Hope to see lots of people.

There will be ringing from 3pm, all necessary precautions will be in place.

And a traditional tea with cake!

President’s Blog #38

When my parents chose the name Simon it was because it was unusual. Lots of other parents around the time thought the same and there was a bulge in Simon production, with three in my class at Junior school. But we are now a long way past Peak Simon, and the name languishes outside the top 100, replaced with the likes of Maverick (a famous Tomcat pilot at 73) and Leonardo (a famous turtle at 93). Bellringing Simons are a select yet strong group, with some perseverance enabling us to ring a quarter of Little Bob 14 in hand on Ringing Room. A last hurrah for the Simons on the platform? No – which shows how Ringing Room is going to continue to have a place in bringing groups of ringers together who might not otherwise meet easily and help develop progress in change ringing. As well as keeping many of us sane for the last year, Ringing Room and Ding’s ability to bring ringers together will be one of their legacies.

One of the joys of ringing is that so many resources are developed and provided by so many different people and without charge. Every so often something that is valued is at risk or possibly even lost. So we have a team led by the T&T workgroup looking to identify all the software programmes and assets that we as ringers care about and seeing what can be done about making sure they are as safe as they can be. What would you miss if it went down? I am not missing the Bellringers Facebook group, but would miss BellBoard, Ringing Room, and the Changeringing Wiki, which is the easiest place I can find my PPE articles. You can email the team at it4ringers@cccbr.org.uk and watch out for their forthcoming survey.

Ringing for the birthday of the NHS was well supported and covered by the media – quite a few towers managed to get TV coverage. We had been a bit sceptical when Bruno Peek had first mentioned this about nine months ago. The practicalities of ringing 73 times were mere detail when we didn’t really know what sort of ringing would be possible. Thanks to all who took part and registered their events. It’s supposed to be annual now, but I bet this is something that will wear out.

Unlike the Fourth of July, which will no doubt last forever! Washington ringers celebrated Independence Day with a full peal at the Cathedral – the first ten bell peal outside Australia since March 2020. Five years to the big 250 – the US Semiquincentennial Commission has already started a countdown https://america250.org/

Sadly, questions on whether it was appropriate to dedicate ringing performances to England’s win over Italy in the Euros became academic late on Sunday night.

Meanwhile quite a few peal bands are lining themselves up to ring peals on 19 July, on the reasonable expectation that restrictions are going to get relaxed. When I received an invitation for a 9am start for a peal of Bristol Maximus I assumed it was a joke! But no – some people really are that keen, and will be reminding local populations that have missed their bells quite how long they sometimes get rung for.

Personally, I am going to stick to handbell peals for a while. Making a late entry into the world of handbell ringing has made me realise how much more difficult it is to learn when you are older. For all those who have learned young and found making progress in ringing easy, discovering that learning can be quite hard when you’re just the wrong side of 50 is a good lesson.

I still haven’t finished the Cornwall edition of the Ringing World, despite it being kept handily in one of our rooms of quiet contemplation. Presumably we are now working on County issues and will be working north? I hope Rutland is going to manage a complete issue. I was fascinated by the article in the Cornwall edition about Rounds ringing. I was aware it was ‘a thing’ but not exactly what people do, or that there was a complete society dedicated to it.

I also liked the alternative vocabulary. I would be interested to know of regional variations in other distant outposts of the Exercise. When I learned to ring at Cannock the signal to start ringing down was “Look to the fall”. Who else says that? I only realised that wasn’t universal when I said it in Essex and no one knew what I was talking about.

Picking up on a thread from Ringing Chat (sent to me by my in-house social media monitoring team) there is a lot of discussion about how churches might be used more. In my business life I am close to this subject as I am working with the Church of England on the development potential of church buildings. Churches are often simply too big, and using the space better, or using less of it, is high on the agenda (see what the CCT did at All Souls Bolton – perhaps the best example of creative reuse). If a building can still maintain some worship space but with the rest put to good use this would be a welcome outcome. Bells are now seen as part of the solution. If we can attract visitors and use for buildings that is welcomed.

Once a year the Council has a meeting with Historic England and the Church Buildings Council to catch on various matters churches and bells. The relationship with them is as strong as ever but it was still useful last week to discuss such matters as church closures, historic bell frames, progress on the Dove database project, the Clerical Guild’s proposed ‘Theology of Ringing’, and how ringing is part of the fabric of the church.

Diana Evans of Historic England followed up with “How positive the CCCBR’s approach is. The amount of energy you are all putting into recovery from the pandemic is amazing. Bell ringing is an important part of the life of many historic places of worship and Historic England is keen to encourage the continuation of this tradition.”

Simon Linford
President CCCBR

Content taken from https://cccbr.org.uk and logo used with permission from Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

Petersfield rings for 73rd Anniversary of NHS

St Peter’s Church Bell Ringers Petersfield rang call changes  on the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the NHS in thanksgiving and to celebrate NHS, Social Care and Frontline Workers Day, thanking them together with Key Workers for everything they have done during the pandemic. 

Also marking, Her Majesty, the Queen, awarding the George Cross to the NHS in recognition of this past year.  As well as remembering all those who have lost their lives to the Covid disease.

Left to Right:  Simon Poyser, Sue Walker, Madeline King, Christine Rushton, Mary Broadbridge (Tower Captain) and John Leary who called the changes. 

Invitation to join the Communications Committee

Hi all,

I wanted to let you all know that there is an exciting opportunity to join your guild’s Communications Committee this year! We’re hoping to find at least one representative from each of our amazing districts. We are looking for people who have an interest in one (or all!) of the following:

·         Having a say in the creation and development of our new website

·         Finding and sharing news stories from around the guild with our members

·         Helping to improve our recently created guild database

You don’t have to be a technological wizard to be a valued member of the team. All we ask for is a little bit of your time and lots of opinions and ideas. Whether you’re young or old, a new or long-established ringer, already active within the guild or faithful to your home tower, we’d greatly appreciate your input.

If you’d like further information, or are keen to join the Communications Committee, please email me or give me a ring. Details in link below.

Contact Lizzie Colliss

Thanks for reading!

Lizzie Colliss – Communications Committee Convenor

Continuation of Step 3 Covid guidance – England

Following discussion with the House of Bishops Recovery Group, there is not going to be any change to the published guidance for England for the four week extension to Step 3 conditions. They were of the opinion that given the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant, any relaxation would be foolish and contrary to all messages being given by the Government and its scientific advisers. We only face a four week extension, and the majority of bands have shown that it is possible to get service and practice ringing going again under the current constraints, and even ring quarter peals.

Risks are not the same for all bands or all ringing environments. Although those who have had two vaccinations may feel that the risk to them is very low, which of course it is, to give guidance that is different for one set of ringers as opposed to another would go against the inclusiveness of ringing.

There are two elements of the mitigation of virus spread that are not guidance but are mandatory – the Rule of Six indoors and the requirement to wear face coverings in a Place of Worship. Those two elements are not open to interpretation. All the rest is guidance, and guidance is there to enable individuals and bands to make informed decisions as to what is right for them.

An update to the one page summary guidance can be found here. The only changes to this from version 1.02 is that the word ‘around’ has been added before ’45 minutes’ to emphasise that this has a bit of flexibility based on your tower’s characteristics and ventilation (see the footnote). Also a bit of clarification on the ‘or two households’ alternative to the Rule of Six. Two households means for instance a household of four and a household of three could meet together, but not five unconnected ringers plus a household of another two. It’s probably quite unlikely in ringing context.

Finally, when we draw comparison between what we can do in church towers with what we might be able to do in our own homes, in the pub, or in crowded sports stadia, remember that we are not ringing in those environments but in churches. We need to respect the right of the Church to want to protect its volunteers. If, on the other hand, you have someone wanting to impose greater restriction than current guidance suggests, we will be happy to support you in your attempts to open up your ringing, within the current guidance and what your band is comfortable to do.

Simon Linford
President, CCCBR

Article copied from https://cccbr.org.uk/2021/06/17/continuation-of-step-3-covid-guidance-england/

200 Club Draw – June 2021


The latest draw for the W&P 200 Club, raising money for the Training and Development Fund, was scheduled to take place after the Guild AGM on Saturday 12th June. However, as the continuing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic forced the AGM to be held on-line the draw was instead held at the Curdridge practice (4 bells only!) on Monday 7th June. The next draw is intended to be held at the November Executive Committee meeting, so to even up the prize money between draws the money used was that allocated for April to July income. The results were as follows:

Draw date: 07/06/2021

Draw for April to July money

PrizePrize Accumulation£50.00Winning
Numbers
Winners
First50%£25.0032Piers Armstrong 1
Second20%£10.005Christine Knights-Whittome
Third10%£5.0031Wendy Ling
Fourth10%£5.0015Viv Nobbs
Fifth5%£2.508Mike Winterbourne
Sixth5%£2.5014Rosalind Brandwood

Money to Training & Development Fund from this draw is £54.

Prizes for this draw, and those not yet sent out from the March draw, will be distributed in due course – hopefully in person soon!

Robin Milford

Sopley Tower re-opens for practice evenings

Sopley tower re-open practice evenings!

Tower Captain, David Lay, with gladness, has informed us that their Tuesday evening ringing practices, are resuming from Tuesday 15th June 2021 from 8:00pm until 9:00pm; followed afterwards, by the usual visit to The Woolpack.

Please support your district’s local tower practices.

Contact: David Lay

W&P Guild Ringing Room Striking Contest – Saturday 22nd May

REMINDER: Entries close Friday 21st May.

If you would like to just watch/listen, please contact Peter on the email address below for the meeting link.

Date:Saturday 22nd May 2021
Starting time:9:45 for 10:00am
Ringing Roomhttps://ringingroom.com/798465123/wp_competition
For more info and to enter contact:Peter Niblett
1 Oakland Road, Whitchurch, RG28 7HH
email: pdn3270@gmail.com
Tel: 01256 893997
Mob: 07825 657662
Closing date
for entries:
Friday 21st May 2021

While we’ve all missed being able to do much serious tower bell ringing over the last year, many of us have made use of the opportunities provided by the Ringing Room platform to stay in touch with each other, practice a different kind of ringing and maybe even learn some new methods.

I’m sure we are all looking forwards to getting back to real bells, but we thought it might be fun for the bands who have been using Ringing Room to get together and have an informal virtual ringing competition.

The idea is to run it like a traditional striking competition, but with the judges and participants joining via Zoom and naturally the ringing will be using Ringing Room.  We will send a Zoom meeting link out closer to the date, but if you have been using Ringing Room during the lockdown (either regularly or only just now and then) please get together with your fellow ringers and put in a team.

It’s intended to be a bit of fun and not get too serious, so no prizes, cups or certificates. However it wouldn’t be a striking competition without some rules, so we have put together a set that try and adapt the traditional format into a virtual event. Please feel free to ask questions or comment.

Rules:

  1. All ringers in each team must be Guild members and should have been ringing together on Ringing Room during the lockdowns.
  2. A participant may ring in more than one team, provided that the number of participants doing this is not excessive.
    • No more than half of the members of a team can ring in another team
  3. Each team shall contain 6 ringers, each ringing the same single bell throughout the test piece.
  4. Each team may have four minutes ringing in which to prepare for the test piece.  The treble bell shall then be rung several times to indicate that the team is about to start the test piece.
  5. The competition ringing will comprise 120 changes in any Doubles or Minor method(s) of the team’s own choice, rung on the Tower Bell setting of Ringing Room.
    • The test piece will be rung with a whole pull of Rounds at the start and with no additional Rounds at the end. The initial Rounds will not be judged, but the final row will be judged.
  6. Each team will be able to communicate with each other via Zoom during the practice ringing and the test piece, however they will be placed in a separate “break-out room” so their conversation will not be overheard by the judge or by other teams.
  7. The judge shall have discretion on how to score the test ringing and how much allowance, if any, to make for Internet-related issues. A team will be allowed to restart the test piece if a significant technical issue occurs (for example a ringer getting disconnected from the Internet during the test piece).
  8. The decision of the Committee shall be final in any matter concerning the conduct of the competition and the interpretation of these rules.

***Guild 2021 AGM – Saturday 12th June at 10.15am via Zoom – Registration now available

The Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan 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 will need to register in advance using the link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAuc-6grT0rGtcxiY4p5yekVggukGLjRJMQ

Instructions on how to register are available to download below.

The agenda, minutes of the last meeting, and officer and committee reports for 2020 are available here: http://www.methods.org.uk/files/210612.bulk.pdf. This version will be kept up-to-date with any additional agenda items or supporting papers.

Web versions of the papers are at: http://www.methods.org.uk/wparch/agm2021a.htm for those who prefer to view this information online, and this version will also be kept up-to-date.

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

Many thanks and best wishes, Tony Smith.
Guild Minute Secretary
on behalf of the Guild Honorary General Secretary.

Formal Statement from the Guild Principal Officers – 16th May 2021

Formal Statement from The Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers


We are aware that communications have been circulated on email and to ringing organisations by one of our members, Mr. S. Castle.


We wish it to be known and understood that the correspondence from Mr. S Castle, supposedly under the Guild’s name, was prepared and issued by him personally, our Guild had no prior knowledge of it and the contents of his communications were not agreed or authorised by us. The Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers accepts no responsibility or liability for his correspondence or the accuracy or validity of the information contained therein.

Local email posts by Mr. S. Castle had made allegations about Guild members. Whilst we value free speech, personal attacks are unacceptable. A statement was issued by us, the Guild’s Principal Officers, to all our Guild members, encouraging and requesting responsible and courteous use of social media and email, as misuse could only be viewed in an extremely poor light, not only by us but in the wider world within which we all operate.

We respect the fact that all members of our Guild are volunteers, we are extremely grateful for the hard work, time and dedication that they invest in ringing and for ringers’ benefit and it is important we continue to work together amicably to support and encourage our fellow members, committees and officers.

As a Guild we continue to commit to dealing with issues raised by any of our 1,500 members as courteously and effectively as possible, using the democratic processes that have stood us in good stead for many years.

Pete Jordan – Master
Allan Yalden – Vice Master
Steve Lamb – Hon General Secretary
Helen Woolford – Hon General Treasurer

Principal Officers of The Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers
16th May 2021

Message from Guild Master Pete Jordan re usage of social media and Guild Email Groups

Dear Guild Members,

I hope this message finds you all safe and well.

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: https://cccbr.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/200902-Social_Media_Guidance.pdf

Thank you for your cooperation.

Pete Jordan

Master  – Winchester & Portsmouth Guild of Church Bell Ringers. 

CCCBR Guidance from 17th May – England

Today we have published draft guidance for the period from 17 May to 21 June to enable ringers in England at least to plan for the next phase of lockdown release. This guidance has been agreed with the House of Bishops Recovery Group, but it remains in draft form until the Government finally confims that its four tests have been met immediately prior to 17 May. The guidance is a major step change from previous guidance.

There are two new documents on the Covid guidance pages of the Council website. The first is one specifically covering this five-week guidance period which can be found here, and then an update of the guidance note about individual risks.

The highlights of the guidance are that:

  • Rule of Six applies indoors – ringing sessions should be arranged for six people
  • Hands – Space – Face rules apply – face coverings, hand sanitising between ringing, 1m plus mitigations when ringing
  • Lateral Flow Tests – twice weekly, preferably timed for days of any sustained ringing
  • Consider your own personal risk
  • Restrict ringing time to 45 minutes whilst maintaining good tower ventilation

Please do read all of the two guidance documents as there is much more detail in them, and this is just a summary.

Guidance 17 May to 21 June

Is it appropriate for an individual to ring?

Simon Linford
President CCCBR

Ringing for the funeral of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh – 17th April 2021

Guidance for ringing for the funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on Saturday 17th April 2021

What the Church is expecting is tolling of a single bell during the hour before the funeral, which starts with a minute’s silence at 3pm on Saturday. You don’t need to toll for the full hour, just during the hour, e.g. up to 3pm. Half muffled preferred, but a single bell tolling slowly whether half muffled, fully muffled, or even unmuffled, will have the desired effect.

Initial announcement made on 9th April 2021

It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.

Guidance for ringing for the Duke of Edinburgh 

Following conversations with the Church of England today, half-muffled tolling or chiming of a single bell on Saturday 10th April 2021 at 12 noon, 99 times or up to 5 minutes is recommended following the announcement of the death the Duke of Edinburgh. The Cabinet Office has declared 8 days of official mourning, during which time any other ringing should be half-muffled and in accordance with current Covid-19 restrictions. Half-muffled tolling or chiming of a single bell is recommended on the day of the funeral. There is no special dispensation of current ringing guidance on Sunday.

200 Club Draw results – March 2021

Once again 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, and 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:

PrizePrize Accumulation£60.00Winning 
Numbers
Winners
First50%£30.001Robin Milford
Second20%£12.0030Ian M Redway
Third10%£6.007Jan Allnutt
Fourth10%£6.0031Wendy Ling
Fifth5%£3.0016Graham Nobbs
Sixth5%£3.0026Wendy Smart

£49 will go to the Training and Development Fund from this draw. The next draw will be held at the Guild AGM – hopefully in person!

Robin Milford

Easter Sunday Ringing

Simon Linford, President of CCCBR issued the statement below on 19th March 2021 regarding ringing on Easter Sunday:

Many incumbents are asking if some bells can be rung as part of their church or cathedral’s Easter celebrations, and bellringers are also keen to play part. The Central Council believes that bells are an important part of the act of worship, particularly on Easter Sunday. Unlike at Christmas, UK and Irish Governments have not introduced any relaxations of the rules on meeting indoors for Easter. Those rules are readily available and well understood.

We have established guidance on reducing the risk of ringing both to ourselves and each other, and most recently published our latest thinking on virus transmission and ventilation in ringing chambers, with chancel crossings at one end of the risk scale and small airless rooms at the other. We recommend considering all these factors when decided how many bells can be rung and for how long, in consultation with your incumbent, churchwardens or Cathedral Chapters.

One or more bells ringing on Easter Sunday will surely be appreciated by our churches and communities.

Simon Linford

President

Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

Link to article on CCCBR website Easter Sunday ringing – CCCBR

Please note, ringing should only take place after consultation with the incumbent and provided health and safety restrictions, ventilation etc. are adhered to. This should also include inspection of bells as many will not have been rung for over 12 months.

Vaccination, and Virus Transmission in Towers – CCCBR

Wheatley and Ringing Room **Updated 12th March 2021**

***Updated 12th March 2021***

Wheatley is now integrated with Ringing Room, so the installation below using Python is no longer required. This should make it far easier to setup.

With the increased use of online ringing, you might be interested in Wheatley especially if you find yourself short of ringers or need some steady ‘ringers’ in your virtual band.


Hursley band report that have used it for a couple of weeks now, and think it is an amazing teaching aid to bolt on to Ringing Room while we cannot get everyone back into towers.
Wheatley can be found at https://pypi.org/project/wheatley/
It has to be installed via Python (available from the Microsoft Store, then PIP, and some measure of courage and persistence is needed to find the right directory path before you can put in the correct Wheatley commands.


However having done that, Wheatley is pretty good at ringing all the bells you want it to in Ringing Room. Hursley have used it in their beginners handbells sessions, and it has significantly improved their tower bells sessions over the last couple of weeks.
If you find Wheatley rings too fast, you can change the peal speed if you wish. Suggested speeds are:
6 bells – 2hr 55min
8 bells – 3hr 5min
10 bells – 3hr 30min
12 bells – 3hr 45min
You can also set the Inertia setting to 1.0 – this means that Wheatley will wait for a human to ring, but then go back to the original speed setting, if you leave the Inertia setting off, Wheatley tends to get slower and slower.


The nice thing about using it for learners is that all the bells stay right, and you can have a session with one learner and a teacher who can “stand behind” the learner as the ringing goes on (and call bobs etc).
Of course it is really very good for individual practice for tower and handbells for those of us who don’t have things like Abel.

Article supplied by Peter Hill.

Wheatley image supplied and used by kind permission of Ben White-Horne , creator of Wheatley.

Survival and Recovery Newsletter – Issue 4

Here is the fourth newsletter from the Survival and Recovery team – an ART, CCCBR partnership. It’s a one-stop shop for news – what’s happening and what we are planning to happen which complements the BellBoard Virtual Hub.

Survival and Recovery Newsheet – Issue 4 

This issue leads on new initiatives and new pages added to the Survival and Recovery Toolbox.  The toolbox contains a plethora of resources, case studies and opinion pieces for ringers, Tower Captains and Guilds and Associations.

Survival and Recovery Toolbox

Survival and Recovery – Newsheet 3

The third newsheet from the Survival and Recovery team – an ART, CCCBR partnership – has just been published. It’s a one-stop shop for news – what’s happening and what we are planning to happen – which complements the BellBoard Virtual Hub.

http://ringingteachers.org/download_file/view/1955/1556

This issue features the Survival and Recover Toolbox which contains a plethora of resources, case studies and opinion pieces for ringers, Tower Captains and Guilds and Associations. It is a work in progress and if you think we’re missing something or have something that you think would be useful to others then please let us know.

http://ringingteachers.org/survival-and-recovery-toolbox

If you find the newsheet useful and interesting then why not forward it to your ringing friends – the more the merrier!

Winchester District ADM – Sat 13th Feb at 3PM

Dear All,


Our first formal meeting of the year and since Lockdown was imposed will take place via Zoom, on Saturday 13th February. As you will see from the attached agenda we shall open the Zoom ‘room’ fifteen minutes early to allow people to sign in and be admitted. The link for the meeting is:-

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88388969942?pwd=VGhHOGFaTmYxZlBQbHlLU0ZxaE8vZz09


or, if you with to sign in with the meeting id and passcode these are:-
Meeting ID: 883 8896 9942 Passcode: 135246


I fear that because I can only compose in plain text the link will not work simply by clicking on it, but it should work if you copy it and paste it into your browser. The link will work, however, from the agenda.
The accounts (long since signed off) and District Report will follow in due course, with my apologies for creating two instalments of the process of notification.


Advantages: We do get to meet; no travelling; your choice of sandwiches and cakes for the virtual ringers’ high tea.

Disadvantages: I have zero experience of hosting, we’ll just have to see how this goes; thank goodness Andrew knows what he’s about. No ringing … though I could set up a Ringing Room if anyone fancies catching hold afterwards.


Best wishes,


Bruce

District Secretary

Link to download a PDF of all documents

CCCBR/ART Newsheet Survival and Recovery – January 2021

Here is the latest Newsheet from ART on Survival and Recovery.

ART also issued some ideas from Matt Lawrence entitled ‘Top Tips for Survival and Recovery‘. This is available in two formats to download below. The full article is available in the lastest edition of Tower Talk

Virtual Ringing Room Practices

Aims

  • To give those who have not used Ringing Room before the opportunity to try Ringing Room.
  • Give those who attend the Education Committee webinars the opportunity to practise some of the things that have been covered in the webinars, whether this is improving their striking, learning a new method, or calling a bob for the first time.
  • Give those who are familiar with Ringing Room the opportunity of ringing with other experienced Ringing Room users, and perhaps try something more advanced.

Dates:

  • Saturday 23rd January 2021 – 10.15am
  • Saturday 6th February 2021 – 10.15am
  • Saturday 20th February 2021 – 10.15am

We may add more dates later. There will also be opportunities to find out more about other virtual practices being held in your local District.

Joining the Virtual practice

If you have not used Ringing Room before, take a look at this helpful introductory video: Link to introduction to Ringing Room video

If you are not a Ringing Room user, you will need to register beforehand as a user at http://www.ringingroom.co.uk, the video explains how to do this.

On the day, click on the following Zoom link: Link to W&P Webinars

If needed, the Zoom Meeting ID is: 897 2083 3001 and Passcode is: 519422

The Zoom link will be open from 10.00am for you to log in, and the practice will start promptly at 10.15am. We intend to finish by 11.45am

Breakout rooms

We will split people into breakout rooms for the practice sessions and will give you the tower numbers for the Ringing Rooms on the day.

To save time with allocating people to the breakout rooms, it will be helpful if you could complete this short questionnaire, so that we know what you would like to ring: Link to Breakout Rooms Questionnaire.

The morning will be split into two 40 minute sessions in the breakout rooms, with a ten or 15 minute ‘coffee break’ in between. This will be an opportunity for people to swap breakout rooms, if they wish to do so.

Listening Skills webinar

Saturday 16th January 2021 at 10.15am

With Andy Ingram and Roger Booth

Joining the webinar

There is no need to pre-register. To join this webinar all you need to do is click on the following Zoom link:

Link to W&P Webinars

If needed, the Zoom Meeting ID is: 897 2083 3001 and Passcode is: 519422

The Zoom link will be open from 10.00am for you to log in, and the presentation will start promptly at 10.15am. We intend to finish by 11.45am

We will be recording the webinar for publication on the Guild website afterwards. Therefore if you do not wish your name or face to appear in the Q&A sessions, please turn off your camera or change your Zoom name to something else e.g. John Smith

What will be covered?

The aim of the webinar is to help you to pick out your bell from the others and to count your place. We will talk about ‘odd struckness’ and there will be series eight practical listening exercises to try. We will also show you how you can practice honing your listening skills during the pandemic, whether this be on simulator software, CD’s and DVD’s, or virtual ringing with others using Ringing Room or other applications.

Follow up

Between now and Easter we will be holding a series of virtual ‘Ringing Room’ practices to help you practise your listening skills and striking. If you would like to find out more, click this link.

Ringing Room Practices

Guild Newsletter – January 2021

This newsletter can also be downloaded as a .pdf

Contents

Happy New Year!

Now that the vaccination programme has commenced, there is every prospect that ringing in our towers will start to return to normal later this year. However, any return is likely to be very gradual and a lot of things will have changed. It may take us several years of hard work to get back to where we were before.

Recruitment and training is going to be one of the key issues facing us. Many towers will have lost some of their band, and will need help to resume. In addition some of us will not have touched a rope for well over a year. The newer ringers will need to re-learn some of the basics.

Since last April some towers have been holding regular virtual pub sessions and quizzes using Zoom. Some have also been holding virtual practices using ‘Ringing Room’. Less experienced ringers who were perhaps just learning to ring rounds can now ring methods inside. But will they be able to do this in the tower?

However, for the next few months there is going to be little opportunity for tower bell ringing. Therefore, in this issue we include details of a programme of training webinars which we will be launching in January. These will take us up to Easter and help us prepare for the gradual return to our towers.

Guild and District Officers will be discussing what support to offer ringers and towers after Easter, and details will be published in our next issue. Please do send us articles for inclusion in the next issue, which will be published at the end of March. Articles should be sent to: comms@wbells.org

Master’s Message

Dear Friends.

I hope you all had an enjoyable, if somewhat restricted and for some a little lonely Christmas. I know that some of us took the advantage of ringing tower bells on Christmas day or perhaps ringing handbells in the churchyard, a great way to remind the local congregation that ringing is still alive and not quite in hibernation.

There are many bands who are keeping closely in touch and active through social media, group video meetings and Ringing Room. If you are not, perhaps the New Year is the time to take the plunge and for ringers to reach out to other members of your band on a more regular basis. If you need help with this then please reach out to the communications committee comms&wpbells.org who will be able to give you some guidance. 2021 offers a brighter future to resume ringing at some stage and we need to be prepared to relight the touch paper when that happens.

I wish you and your families a happy and prosperous New Year.

Pete Jordan, Master

Introducing Steve Lamb – The New General Secretary

Steve Lamb took over as Hon Guild General Secretary in November. In this interview, he tells us a little about himself

Where did you learn to ring? I learned to ring at Elloughton in East Yorkshire – a 6cwt ring of 6 bells. I was appointed Tower Captain aged 15 as the former captain had to move away and we were short of ringers. It was surreal to lead the band as I was one of the youngest and one of my band was in her 80s. I really enjoyed teaching bell handling from scratch as well as helping the band be as musical as possible.

What age were you? I was 12 years old when I started learning to ring. I’m 48 now and aside from the pandemic I’ve rung without time away from ringing. I love ringing now as much as ever.

Where do you ring now? My home tower is Winchester Cathedral. They are my favourite ring of bells as I really enjoy their tone – especially the back 8. They are wonderful bells though can be tricky to ring really well. I’m happiest ringing Stedman on the backend though I still have a lot to learn. Ringing on higher numbers is a great deal of fun though Surprise Royal and Max often makes my brain hurt 🙂 I love the fellowship of our wonderful band and feel it’s a treat to ring there. The Cathedral is so full of history and I’m conscious that the ringing chamber has many stories to tell. I’m tower secretary and assistant steeple keeper. I really enjoy ringing regularly at several towers across the Guild and particularly appreciate the band at Hursley taking me under their wing.

Which tower would you most like to grab? Exeter Cathedral due to having heard such good things about them from friends who have rung there. I enjoy ringing heavy tenors.

What do you miss most in the current pandemic? Ringing Tower bells!!! Weekly video sessions with the bands I rang regularly with plus some International get togethers has really helped in the meantime. I’ve learned to enjoy RingingRoom – the regular “12 bell mayhem” session has been a highlight. 

Favourite football team, and why? San Francisco 49ers – I’ve followed them since I was a teenager. I don’t follow football in England – probably as my nearest team when I was a child was Hull and at the time they languished towards the bottom of the league table. My spectator sport is Formula One – following Lewis Hamilton.

Favourite book/film? Apollo 13 – I’ve always loved Space and this story is one of conquering near impossible odds through ingenuity and teamwork.  

Favourite TV series? The Crown

Favourite food? Roast Lamb with all the trimmings

Other hobbies/leisure interests? I’m a keen marathon runner and also enjoy trail running. I love taking photographs too – especially of landscapes and of people.

Training Webinars and Ringing Room Practices

On Saturday 14th November, Edmund Wratten delivered a webinar on ‘coursing order’ and how it can be used to help your ringing. There was an excellent turnout with 35 members Zooming in.

Following this success, a series of interesting webinars is planned for the period up to Easter:

Sat 16th Jan: Listening Skills. Andy and Sallie Ingram. Have you struggled to pick out your bell from the others? How do you know if it you or someone else that is wrong? How do you count your place, what is meant by ‘odd struckness’. All these and other mysteries will be revealed.

Sat 30th Jan: Learning methods I, Martin Daniels. This seminar will look at the different ways of learning methods. It will cover the circle of work, the blue line, place bells and how you can break this down into chunks of work that you can practice using Kaleidoscope sequences. Also covered will be place notation method construction, and how different methods are related to each other.

Sat 13th Feb: Calling simple touches of Plain Bob and Grandsire Doubles. Speakers to be Confirmed. Starting from the perspective of someone who has never called a bob or single before, we will cover the basics up to the stage where you can call a 120 of Plain Bob or Grandsire Doubles, and some tips how you can at least keep track of some of the other bells some of the time!

Sat 27th Feb: Learning Methods II. Martin Daniels. Following on from the first session, this webinar will look at the methods to try after you can ring Plain Bob Minor. It will explore St Clements and Double Oxford Minor and how these methods can help you develop skills which will lead on to learning and keeping right in more advanced methods.

Sat 13th Mar: History of bells and Ringing in the Winchester and Portsmouth Dioceses. Phil Watts. This webinar will look at some of the more interesting aspects of the subject and the work of the Diocesan Bells Advisers. It will also include details of plans to update the survey of bells in the Diocese and compile a photographic record of all the historic peal boards in our towers.

Sat 27th Mar. Recruitment and Retention –  How to get more new ringers and how to retain them: Matt Lawrence. This workshop developed by the Central Council’s Volunteer and Leadership Workgroup will look at the problems facing us and ways in which we might overcome them.

How to join: Follow this Zoom link: Link to Webinars

If needed, the Meeting ID is: 897 2083 3001 and Passcode is: 519422

The link will be open from 10.00am for people to logon and perhaps have a chat. The presentation by the speaker will start promptly at 10.15am. Each presentation will be followed by an opportunity for questions and answers. Depending on the content, the webinar will last between 60 and 90 minutes

Between webinars

Each Saturday between the webinars we will hold Ringing Room practices using Zoom. The link will be the same and we will split the group into a series of breakout sessions, each with an experienced group leader and helpers.

Whether it is practicing your listening skills, learning Plain Bob or Grandsire or a more advanced method,  or calling your first bobs, you will be able to do this in one of the breakout rooms, in a supportive environment.

After Easter

We may continue with these webinars and Ringing Room sessions for a while, possibly dovetailing this with establishing a network of towers across the Guild where you can go and attend training sessions targeted at helping you get back into ringing on real bells.

Well done for maintaining interest, I enjoyed Edmund’s presentation and feel sure it will have helped a little”

Debbie Matthias, Blackmoor

“I learnt a lot from the coursing bells training, Zoom’s a good way to convey the theory and it’s great to make a little progress when we can’t ring real bells together—thank you for organising it!

Cath Hart, Sherfield English and Romsey Abbey

Pre-recorded webinars, YouTube videos and on-line courses

There are a lot of on-line training resources and we have selected some of the best ones and sorted them, depending on your level of experience. Click on the hyperlinks below to find out more.

For newer ringers

Understanding call changes: This innovative on-line course delivered by Clare McArdle of the Birmingham School of Bell Ringing aims to give you a good all-round knowledge of everything to do with call changes, from understanding what they are, to ringing and calling them. The course uses a ‘Moodle’ site to deliver a variety of content including interactive videos, presentations, worksheets and quizzes. There is also a domino game to play!

Devon call-change ringers

Exploring Devon call changes: Devon has a tradition of rounds and call-change ringing, performed by local teams to a high standard of striking. This presentation, delivered by Jon Bint of the Devon Association of Ringers, and a music graduate, explains how Devon call change ringing has evolved as a folk art from the mid 1600’s and compares the difference between it and scientific ‘method’ ringing as the same as that between Jazz and Classical music.

He explains the rivalry between the two systems which arose with the mid 19th century belfry reform movement, and then goes on to explain the key differences – the faster pace, the closed handstroke lead, and the importance of the raise and lower.

Abel Ringing Simulator: A series of YouTube videos with guidance for using the Abel ringing simulator software to practice your ringing on your PC or laptop. The videos are accompanied by notes from an online session delivered by Clare McArdle with additional guidance for using Abel effectively.

Towards better striking: In this 35 minute webinar recording, Tom Hinks focuses on how to achieve accurate striking, looking at various practice tools such as Abel and using sound clips to help you understand how to pick out different errors. He then goes on to discuss the confusing terminology that different ringers use and practical tips on how to make adjustments to your striking whilst ringing.

Virtual ringing – Zoom and Ringing Room workshop: An opportunity for those who would like to set up Ringing Room practices to try it out – with expert technical help. In the words of one user ‘it’s easier than you think!’ We’ve had some complete technophobes on the pilots who’ve left as Ringing Room converts. And it contains plenty of ideas about maintaining the interest of all the band. The workshop is a mix of theory and practical, supported by how-to videos and teaching tips gathered from experienced teachers.

The workshop is free and lasts approximately 90 minutes. This workshop will help you get the most out of lockdown ringing. And, of course, online ringing will still be useful even when we can start practising again. There’s a real sense that blended learning including tower bells, handbells and online ringing will be with us even when the pandemic is over. Follow the link to book a place.

For intermediate ringers

Doubles methods and variations: Steve Horton focuses on Plain Bob, Grandsire and Reverse Canterbury and how you can use different calls to produce a large number of variations on these base methods, quickly and easily extending your band’s repertoire, and adding interest.

How to learn methods: Tom Hinks talks about different ways of learning methods, such as the circle of work, blue lines, passing the treble, and place bells. Don’t worry if you are just embarking on learning your first few methods, everything is explained in simple terms. As Tom is a professional history teacher, he also explains some of the psychology, such as how frequency of repetition and being able to visualise a method in more than way can also help you master a method.

How to learn methods: Phil Ramsbottom highlights different ways to learn methods, and encourages looking for similarities and differences with other methods. He starts with Plain Bob Minimus and explains how this is related to Single Oxford Minor. Then how an understating of the secrets of method construction can be used to help you learn and ring Little Bob and Treble Bob, and how half-lead, double and reverse methods are related to each other.

Calling simple touches: Tom Hinks focuses on calling simple touches, looking at the basics of saying ‘go’, ‘that’s all’ and ‘stand’ through to calling Bobs and Singles in Plain Bob Doubles and Minor and Grandsire Doubles. He explains how different touches work and there are also some helpful resources discussed at the end.

A training session on the eight dumb-bells and simulators at the Mancroft Ringing Discovery Centre

First steps in calling bobs: This on-line course delivered by Nikki Thomas of the Mancroft Ringing Discovery Centre in Norwich teaches you how to call bobs effectively and in the right place, and shows you how to construct touches using all the calling options for Plain Bob Doubles. By the end you should be confidently be able to call touches and call your first quarter peal of Plain Bob Doubles. The ‘Moodle’ site has a variety of content including five tutorials, downloadable presentations, and interactive quizzes.

Simon Linford and his daughter Charlie

An introduction to handbell ringing: Simon Linford of the Birmingham School of Bell Ringing uncovers the mysteries associated with learning to ring handbells. He explains that there are three basic patterns which can be used to ring a pair of bells to Plain hunt on six and plain courses and touches of Bob Minor. When you know the secrets, it’s not as difficult as it might seem at first sight.

Guild Training and Development Fund

Once the current pandemic subsides our thoughts will turn to recruiting and retaining new ringers. It could be 18 months before we can recruit new ringers again. In a normal year the Guild looses about 8% of our members through natural wastage, and a higher percentage of learners. Therefore in these exceptional circumstances we could loose 20 –25% 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.

  • 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

Some years ago Mark Esbester ran a 200 Club to raise money for the Guild Bell Restoration Fund, with around 170 subscribers. When he gave this up in 2016, I thought it would be useful to restart it but to raise money to improve the ringers rather than the bells. 

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 £521 has been given out in prizes and £511 to the Fund. At present the Club has only 31 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 in March next year at the Guild Executive Committee meeting. 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

Winners of the November Draw were:

  • 1st Tangley Ringers £20.00
  • 2nd Graham Nobbs £8.00
  • 3rd Anne LeMarechal £4.00
  • 4th Piers Armstrong £4.00
  • 5th Christine Hill £2.00
  • 6th Wendy Ling £2.00

Safeguarding

With the need to attract many more younger ringers, on-line safeguarding resources include:

Safeguarding in ringing: In this webinar, Dave Bassford and Ann White, safeguarding leads of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, and who both have substantial experience of safeguarding in their careers outside ringing, discuss DBS checks, L0, L1 and L2 safeguarding training, and the responsibilities of parish, tower, District and Guild officers. They also explain how to properly deal with incidents or concerns, and general ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’!

Levels C0 and C1 on-line safeguarding training: It is recommended that all ringers should complete these two simple on-line training courses which are available free of charge through the Church of England safeguarding training portal. The resources and training you can access here will equip you and your church to engage positively with the protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults who ring at your tower, in both a practical and theologically informed way.

50 Virtual Ringing Things

Has been launched as part of the Central Council and ART’s Survival and Recovery Toolbox. The scheme is targeted at those who are new to ringing in the virtual world and is a series of challenges that you can try before we are able to go back to ringing in our towers. The challenges cover simulator software, online ringing, handbells and the enigmatically named tail ends (things that don’t fit into the other categories). When you’ve ticked off a challenge yourself, you can share your experience on the 50 Ringing Things Facebook group. Click on the image left to find out more and join.

The Charmborough Ring

The Charmborough Ring attracts a lot of attention at local carnivals and shows. It comes complete with a gazebo and roller banners to promote ringing. It has been used with a number of schools for activities days in the summer term, and although the bells are light, they are perfectly manageable.

We have found that young people can lean to handle a bell in about 15 minutes on them. Previously our main base was at Willingale, near Chelmsford in Essex, although since 2018 we have had a secondary base at New Alresford. Unfortunately Ian Kerwin from Willingale is no longer able to devote his time to the Charmborough Ring due to a change in his personal circumstances. Therefore our main base will now be at New Alresford.

We would particularly like to encourage towers in Hampshire and the surrounding counties to think about using us to help with recruitment, post pandemic. If you would like to hire the Charmborough Ring for an event later in the year, please visit our website.

Also, if you have a vehicle with a tow-bar capable of towing 2.1 tons and would like to help us take the ring out to events, please do get in touch. In 2019 the ring was used at eighteen different events. The more people that can help share the workload, the better. www.charmborough.org

The W&P needs YOUR help

Are YOU interested in helping the guild by supporting some of its committees? We have vacancies which need filling and would love to hear from you if you are interested. Please don’t be shy. You don’t need to be on the steep slopes of the red and black zones of ringing. You could be on the nursery slopes of the green zone, or gentle slopes of the blue zone, but you could have very useful skills from outside ringing that you could offer. If you want to know more please feel free to contact us to discuss the work of these committees further.

Guild Communications Committee. The primary role of the Communications Committee is to keep Guild Members up to date with what is going on in their Guild and Districts. The Committee works with the Principal Officers and District Officers promoting Guild and District events, practices, social events and relaying District, Guild and National Bellringing News. It is also available to help any tower with communications of their events as requested.

The Communications Committee is responsible for:

  • Maintenance of the WordPress website, Creating and archiving new pages and posts.
  • Maintaining the Guild membership and Communications database held on G Suite and Mailchimp.
  • Maintaining District email lists, approving new members
  • Running the Guild’s Twitter account (wpbells).
  • Posting to the Guild’s social Media sites

If you are interested please contact Andrew Glover.

Guild Education Committee. The Education Committee exists to improve members’ ringing abilities and confidence in all practical and theoretical aspects of bell handling and method ringing. We arrange training days and evenings, designed to help students to enjoy their ringing, and to learn in a friendly, relaxed, but concentrated environment.

They are a mixture of theory and practice, geared to each student’s needs. Students are divided into small groups, led by Group Leaders who will assess what students can do; students won’t be pushed into attempting the impossible, but they will be encouraged to try things. Each group has a dedicated band of helpers so that, when students ring, they will be surrounded by helpful, friendly experts.

The committee will have an important role to play in helping ringing recover after the pandemic. If you would like to act as a committee member, or as a helper on our training sessions, contact Andy Ingram.

Belfry Stewardship Commttee. The 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.

In the late 1990s the Guild launched an ambitious pioneering project to compile a survey of every belfry in Hampshire with three or more bells. To date over ninety surveys have been completed, providing a wealth of valuable data on the condition of our towers and bells; However the project has only surveyed about half of the towers.

We would particularly like to hear from people with a background in Architecture, Surveying, Engineering or Construction who may be able to help with this and our other work. After the pandemic there will be many rings of bells which have not been rung and may need inspection, and we will also need to train new steeple-keepers. If you are interested, contact Martin Barnes.

Win-Port Email Group moves to Google Groups

With the closure of Yahoo!© Groups on the 15th December 2020, the Win-Port email group has been successfully migrated to a new Google email group. If you were a member of Win-Port whilst it was a Yahoo!© group, you are automatically a member of the new Google group. The Win-Port email group enables members to email other members within the Guild and is an easy method of communication to quickly reach a large number of ringers. It is especially useful for when a “cry for help” is needed when towers were short of ringers for weddings!

The group is intended to be for more social communications and is not to be confused with the Guild Communications Database; that will be used for official Guild and District communications to let you know about Guild and District events. Access to the database is restricted on who can send out communications so Win-Port is an email group for all members to use to reach out to members.

Currently there are just over 200 of us in Win-Port which only represents a small proportion of the 1,400 members of the Guild. There are several members with more than one email address, and others that reside outside of the Guild area. It would be great to get more people added to this group and improve our communications between Guild members.

If you wish to be added, please visit here to give your consent and I will add you to the group. You can only use it if you are a member of it, so please sign-up today! Don’t miss out!

Andrew Glover, Webmaster W&P

Bishop of Portsmouth retires

The Rt Rev Christopher Foster has announced that he is to retire as Bishop of Portsmouth. He will step down in April 2021. His wife, the Canon Sally Davenport, told worshippers at Holy Trinity and St Columba Churches in Fareham that she was also to resign as their Team Rector. The couple will retire together and live in Somerset.

Thank you to all those who have prayed for us and worked alongside us over the past 10 years, in the churches and communities of south-east Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Sally and I will be sorry to leave so many valued friends and colleagues.”

The Rt Rev Christopher Foster has been Bishop of Portsmouth since 2010. He had grown up in the industrial West Midlands and in Surrey before studying economics at Durham and Manchester Universities and briefly working as an economics lecturer. He was ordained in 1980, served as a curate in Wolverhampton, and as chaplain of Wadham College, Oxford. He became vicar of Christ Church, Southgate, in London, in 1986 and then worked on the staff of St Albans Cathedral from 1994.

Bishop Christopher became the ninth Bishop of Portsmouth in September 2010, succeeding the Rt Revd Dr Kenneth Stevenson. Shortly afterwards, the Rev Sally Davenport was appointed as team rector of Holy Trinity and St Columba churches, both of which are near their home in Fareham.

District Annual General Meetings

The Basingstoke District virtual Annual District Meeting will be held on Saturday Jan 16, 2021 at 3pm To join on Zoom, click this link: Link to Basingstoke District AGM

If needed, the Meeting ID is: 835 5007 7104. The Passcode is: 135246

The Winchester District virtual Annual District Meeting will be held on Saturday Feb 13, 2021 at 3pm To join on Zoom, click this link: Link to Winchester District AGM

If needed, the Meeting ID is: 883 8896 9942. The Passcode is: 135246

Bell Restoration Fund News

Ecchinswell, St Lawrence. Everything that everyone has worked so hard for is beginning to feel very  real. For the last 8 years the trust has been fundraising and overcoming many obstacles to raise the very much needed money.

Then on 30th October, the three old bells were removed from the tower. The measuring up for the new framework is done, and very soon the six new bells will make their way to their new home and in the not to distance future we will hear their beautiful sweet sound. None of this would have happened without everyone who has supported us in some way and we thank you. The Guild is supporting this project with a grant of £2,500 from the Guild Bell Restoration Fund

Odiham, All Saints in the Basingstoke District. Whites of Appleton have overhauled the fittings of the six bells and strengthened the bell frame. Due to rot in some of the frame timbers, galvanised support steels have been installed under the frame and tie-rods fitted to reduce frame movement. The clappers and pulley units have been overhauled and the defective resin pads replaced. Rope guides have also been installed. This project has benefitted from a grant of £2,300 from the Guild Bell Restoration Fund

Silchester, St Mary. The five bells of Silchester also in the Basingstoke District have been turned and rehung on new fittings in the existing bell frame. The 2nd bell has been tuned. Rope guides have also been installed.

The work was carried out by Whites of Appleton and the project benefitted from a grant of £2,000 from the Guild Bell Restoration fund.

Hambledon, SS Peter & Paul. This ring of six in the Portsmouth District have been out of action following an accident when one of the gudgeons of the 2nd bell sheared and the bell was cracked in the crown as a result. The bells were last rehung by The Whitechapel Bell Foundry in 1978, so the fittings were generally in good order. The bells and their fittings were taken to John Taylor & Co in Loughborough where the second bell was repaired by specialist bronze welding to its crown. The headstocks of all six bells have had new gudgeons fitted by forge welding. New bearings have been fitted and the bells have now been rehung, and await lifting of the Covid restrictions. A £3,000 grant to this project was approved at the Guild AGM in October 2020.

Donate to the Bell Restoration Fund

If you wish to donate to the Bell Restoration Fund, please contact the Guild Treasurer hon.treasurer@wpbells.org  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 your donation, and if so provide a gift aid form for you to complete.  If you are a taxpayer, 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.