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Guild Safeguarding Officer Position

The Guild are looking for someone to help coordinate Safeguarding issues. Would you be willing to help with this important role? Perhaps you already have knowledge of Safeguarding from your employment (e.g. as a Teacher or Healthcare worker) and could help the W&P Guild by taking the role of Safeguarding Officer?

What would you need to do?

Complete the Church of England’s online Safeguarding Training Courses:

·         Basic Awareness (~1hr 15min online)

·         Foundations (~1hr 30min online)

·         Local Safeguarding Leadership Course (~3hr session by Zoom)

Be the point of contact for any Safeguarding issues within the Guild:

·         Advise W&P Guild members on Safeguarding issues.

·         Report safeguarding concerns raised by W&P Guild members to the Diocesan Safeguarding Team.

·         Inform W&P Guild members of safeguarding concerns received from the Diocesan Safeguarding Team.

·         Maintain phone and email contact with all three Safeguarding Leaders (Winchester Diocese, Portsmouth Diocese and Portsmouth Roman Catholic) to enable the transfer of information.

·         Attend the W&P Guild business meetings (Guild AGM and twice-yearly Executive Meetings).

·         Be able to listen to, and respond to, any new cases from members and other outside bodies in a timely manner.

In the past 13 years there have only been four cases, which either involved escalation to Diocese level or cascading information received from other Safeguarding Officers to W&P Guild members.

Further information can be found on the current Guild Safeguarding Policy: https://wpbells.org/guild-safeguarding-policy/

If you have questions or would like to discuss the role, please contact the Guild Master, Rachael Barber: 07714 325 059 or Contact Rachael Barber

New Guild Garments

LAST CALL FOR GUILD SWEATSHIRTS AND POLO SHIRTS

One final reminder for those of you who may still want to order a new sweatshirt or polo shirt with the Guild logo.

We have been able to keep the prices down to the 2016 level but, once this bulk order has been placed, we won’t be doing this again for another three or four years so don’t miss the opportunity now as prices will inevitably rise in the future.   From personal experience they wear (and wash) very well – ideal for letting the public know who we are in the summer months, and perfect for draughty towers in the winter.

There have been one or two queries on size and fitting which I’m happy to answer, and, if it helps, in the limited time which is left I can try and meet up with hesitant ringers to show them my own sweatshirts and polo shirts so that they can compare sizes and try these on if they wish.

Don’t forget, if you have a favourite garment of your own which you would prefer to use, be it sweatshirt, polo shirt, body warmer, jacket, whatever, you can have the Guild logo added to this for a nominal fee.   This might be a more economical option for youngsters and teenagers who grow out of things at a phenomenal rate!

The order form with all the details is attached (both Word and pdf versions) but you can always email me on Contact Christine Knights-Whittome or telephone 01962 886939.   The deadline for the receipt of orders is 14th October 2022.

If you have newer ringers in your tower, or new bands in your area, or you know of ringers who do not use a computer or social media, it would help if you could spread the word so that this opportunity reaches every corner of our Guild.

Thank you very much

Christine Knights-Whittome

Now that towers have re-opened again after the covid restrictions and lockdowns of the past couple of years, together with the huge amount of teaching and the welcome influx of new ringers, the time seems right to order some new sweatshirts and polo shirts, bearing the Guild logo.   In effect, we have been able to keep the prices down to the 2016 levels, which is good news.   Inevitably postage has increased, which is beyond our control, but I am hoping that we have left sufficient time to get garments to the towers without anybody needing to use the post.

Below is the up-to-date order form (both Word and PDF versions) which contains all the details.   We have given as much choice as possible, but sadly not every colour is available in every size so you need to check carefully.    Ladies:  the ladies’ polo shirts are slightly tapered, but if (like me!) you prefer a slightly looser fit to allow ease of movement when stretching up, I suggest you consider the men’s polo shirts as these are straight-sided and a more generous fit.

If you have any queries at all before you order, please let me know – contact details on the form.

Christine Knights-Whittome

Guild Education Day: Grandsire Doubles

The Education Committee is now accepting applications for:

Grandsire Doubles on Saturday 12th November 2022

Based at Milford-on-Sea, 9.30-5.00pm

Download a poster and application form using the buttons below – please pass the information onto your ringing friends in the Guild.

Applications must be submitted by Friday 14th October.

HELPERS WANTED! Please do let Sallie Ingram know if you’d be happy to lend your expertise as a helper on this course or any future courses: Contact Sallie Ingram

We very much look forward to hearing from you!

From the Education Committee

St Peter’s, Petersfield Bells ring out on day of royal funeral

As part of the national ringing and at the Royal Households request that church bells should be tolled or rung generally before The Queen’s funeral, St Peter’s Church Bell Ringers were honoured to perform this sombre duty of ringing rounds for three quarters of an hour from 10:00 to 10:45.  Then tolling of the tenor bell by three of the towers young teenage ringers who took it in turns to ring for the last fifteen minutes.  After watching the funeral together, the bell ringers returned to the tower for three quarters of hour more ringing.  

All bells were fully muffled, apart from the tenor which was half muffled but open at backstroke for tolling.

St Peter’s Church bell ringers who rang before the Petersfield Civic Service Sunday 18th September.

Left to Right: Tower Captain, Mary Broadbridge, James Wedley, Sally Wedley, Paula Tribe, Alice Kidd, Lauren Kidd, Erin Halder, Nick Halder,  Katherine Wilkins, Madeline King and Caroline Welsh.  Photograph taken by David Malone who also rang.

On Sunday 18th September before the Petersfield’s Civic Service of commemoration and thanksgiving for the life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11 held in St Peter’s Church ringing also took place for an hour with general ringing and tolling on muffled bells.  One of the St Peter’s Church bell ringers, Sue Walker went to the lying-in state, queuing for twelve hours to pay her respects to The Queen and said what a very moving occasion it was.

Special thanks were given to Duncan Wilkins, Oliver Stubbs and Mary Broadbridge who placed the muffles on the bells which is not an easy task. 

The Peter’s Church bell ringers who rang after The Queen’s funeral on 19th September. 
Photograph taken by Caroline Welsh who also rang.  

Those who took part in the special ringing were left to right back row:

Lauren Kidd, Alice Kidd, James Wedley, Erin Halder, Nick Halder, Katherine Wilkins, Paula Tribe, David Malone and Tower Captain Mary Broadbridge.

Left to right front row: Madeline King, Sally Wedley,  Sue Walker and Christine Rushton.

St Peter’s Church young ringers who tolled the 15 cwt. tenor bell for fifteen minutes before The Queen’s funeral.  

Left to Right: Erin Halder, Katherine Wilkins and James Wedley.

Photograph taken by Caroline Welsh. 

Article submitted by Caroline Welsh, St. Peter’s, Petersfield,

Photography Competition Voting Now Live

Many thanks to all those who submitted entries to the Guild Photography Competition.

We received well over a hundred photos of different towers from across all of the Districts! These entries have now been shortlisted and agreed on by the Communications Committee and the Principal Officers. Now it’s over to you to decide who the winner is!

To view the larger files of the shortlisted final twenty entries, please click here.
Once you have decided on your favourite, you may vote here.

Voting closes on Monday 31st October. The winner will be contacted by email and results will be announced on all our Digital Media outlets.

Please share the voting details with members of your local tower.

Happy voting!
The Communications Committee

Guild Inter-Tower Striking Competitions – REMINDER

REMINDER

The Guild Intertower 6 and 8 bell Striking competition closing date for entries is the 8th May. If your tower has not thought about entering a team yet why not come along, have some fun and give it a go.  Even if you only ring Rounds and Call changes you can enter a band.

Let’s make the return to ringing after Covid a success!

If you have any questions please contact Pete Jordan  for more details.

Pete Jordan

Master  – Winchester & Portsmouth Guild of Church Bell Ringers. 

6-bell Inter-Tower Striking Competition rules

8-bell Inter-Tower Striking Competition Rules

A&P Bell Ringers District Practice held at Binsted 12th Century Church – Saturday 19th March 2022

On a marvellous bright and sunny Saturday, a well-attended District Practice was organized by Roger Barber, Ringing Master, at the lovely Binsted Church of the Holy Cross.   Under Roger’s guidance the ringing consisted of Rounds, Call Changes, Plain Hunt, Plain Bob Doubles and Minor.  Thanks were given to Roger for all his helpful teaching and to Binsted Tower Captain, Andrew Croom-Johnson who made everyone so welcome.  After a photograph taken outside the Church everyone called at the Binsted Arms for a drink. 

Ringers outside Binsted Church of the Holy Cross.
Photograph taken by Caroline M Welsh member St Peter’s Church Bell Ringers.

Caroline Welsh

Education Committee Courses

The Education Committee is pleased to announce the details of its first two courses this year:

Saturday 5th March – Plain Hunt on 5 bells and Trebling to Doubles Methods

Saturday 9th April – Plain Bob Doubles

Below are the posters and application forms for both courses – please pass the information onto your District or anyone you think may be interested.

HELPERS WANTED! It’s been two years since our last course and the Education Committee would love to get a fresh list of names of people who would be willing to support. Please do let Sallie Ingram know if you’d be happy to lend your expertise as a helper on either of these or future courses, or pass this plea onto anyone you think might be able to help: Contact Sallie Ingram

We very much look forward to hearing from you!

From the Education Committee

C&S District Monthly Surprise Major Practices at Ringwood – Next Practice Thurs 6th Jan 2022

A reminder for next Thursday’s Surprise Major practice at Ringwood, 7.15 – 9.00 pm, 6 Jan.  We’ll be keeping Cornwall as the special method.  We endeavour to cater for as wide a repertoire as is possible on the night.


NOTE: From 4 Jan until November 2022 the slip road from Ringwood on to the west bound carriageway of the A31 will be closed.   There appears to be no information on line about planned diversions but looking at Google Maps one option would be to travel east towards Poulner along “Southampton Road” from the roundabout/junction of the B3344/“The Furlongs”.  This will enable you to join the westbound A31 further up  Poulner Hill, adding about 5 minutes to your journey time.


Due to night time road closures in and around Ringwood we will be starting these practices, a little earlier than usual – 7.15 pm., allowing some to leave before detours come into force.  Commencing 2nd December and for the foreseeable future.  Finishing time will be 9.00 pm.

We had good support for the 4th November practice with single methods and 8-spliced.  It’s been suggested we re-introduce an occasional special method and Cornwall has been suggested.  

It will be good to have more support so that we can guarantee a wider ranging practice for all those coming along.  Feel free to forward this information to all who you think will be interested in joining in.


Ventilation-wise, I recollect the 4th November practice achieved 800 ppm CO2 within the ringing chamber, so pretty-well ventilated.  We also have a new heater that proved to be beneficial.

Alan Bentley

Ringwood

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

Notice for visiting ringers

As restrictions are lifted and ringing is able to resume, please note that not all towers are able to begin ringing again. Some may have restrictions in place whilst COVID infection numbers are still high. Many are still observing social distancing and require face masks to be worn. Others are restricting numbers that attend, or limiting the number in the ringing chamber at a time. There are also towers with insufficient number of ringers.

I recommend that if you intend to visit any tower as a visitor, you contact that Tower Secretary in the first instance to check if ringing is taking place and if there are any restrictions in place. Do not assume all towers have restarted. I would hate anyone to have a wasted journey.

If any towers wish to let me know their situation, I can update the website. Please email me at wpbells@gmail.com.

Great to be back ringing again but stay safe!

Andrew Glover

W&P Guild Webmaster

W&P Tower Directory

Guidance in England from 19th July

Ringing guidance for England for the period from 19th July onwards has been agreed with the House of Bishops Recovery Group today and can be found here. The lifting of any restrictions on how long we ring for and with how many other ringers is welcomed, although we need to be mindful that at a time of greatly increasing infection rates, and big regional variations, many ringers will still be cautious in terms of how much ringing they do. Some towers are actually discussing reducing the amount of ringing they do because of the rise in infection levels, not increasing it.

The Church of England’s own guidance has not been published yet, but should be later today. It includes a paragraph referring to the Central Council’s guidance.

Although the wearing of facemasks is no longer mandated in places of worship, and will not appear in the Church of England guidance, we have included a number of situations where due to the particular nature of ringing we would expect masks to be worn, including close face to face teaching, and ringing with unvaccinated children. Some clergy may retain a policy of facemasks in their church or cathedral, and if they do then their wishes take precedence.

The Government now wants us to take responsibility for our own actions. If you don’t think you should ring for as long as you are allowed to – don’t. If you want to wear a facemask when ringing – wear one. If a member of your band wants you all to wear facemasks to protect them – discuss it as a band and come to an agreement. Bellringing is a group activity and we are responsible for each other not just ourselves. The virus has not gone away by any means – we are learning to live with it.

This seems like an ideal time to thank the rest of the Covid guidance team – Phil Barnes, Mark Regan and David Pouncey – who have helped navigate this difficult process over the last 16 months, and the large number of ringers who have given their quiet support behind the scenes. As a team we would like to thank Mark Betson and Brendan McCarthy, the members of the House of Bishops Recovery Group, who have had an extraordinary burden put on them.

Simon Linford
President CCCBR

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. 

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/

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

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.

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

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

Christmas Ringing – Advice from CCCBR released 8th December

Below is the latest guidance taken from the CCCBR website on ringing over the Christmas period for all tiers. Ultimatley the decision is with your incumbent, so please make sure you have their permission if you are proposing to ring.

We have agreed with the House of Bishops Covid recovery team that an exception should be made to the current ringing guidance across all Tiers in England for those bands that wish to ring for services over Christmas, in the period where the household restrictions are also being lifted. This will allow bells to be rung for key services including those on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and also for the 6pm Christmas Eve ringing which has been widely suggested.

This is on the assumption that the announcement on 16th December does not introduce some catastrophic restriction on the opening of churches (which seems unlikely). We are still consulting on whether this can be adopted in other countries in the British Isles which may be subject to other restrictions.

The current guidance for ringing in Tier 1 will be adopted for towers in all three Tiers just for Christmas, that being to ring up to six bells, with 1m+ separation and using facemasks. The recommendation is to ring for 15 minutes but to assess your tower’s characteristics. Ventilation is key to reducing the risk of aerosol transmission.

There is guidance here for you to assess the risk of your own ringing chamber and for members of your band to assess their own personal risk (see towards the bottom of the page for Guidance Notes). No doubt many ringers (especially those at special risk personally or in their family) will decide not to ring, just as many towers will lack sufficient ventilation to sufficiently mitigate risk even for this one-off occasion.

You may ask why it is suddenly ‘safe’ to ring at Christmas when it wasn’t before and it won’t be again afterwards. Risk of transmission is closely correlated with the amount of contact with others. With ringing having been restricted for so long, this limited ringing on one or two occasions at one of the most important times of the year for the Church does not represent a major absolute risk, particularly as some ringers will be in church anyway. It is also pragmatic given some ringers will want to ring anyway and will be under pressure from their incumbents. However, repeated ringing would increase the risk substantially, and we are not suggesting that this should now restart.

We may not be far away from ringing being less restricted. As one member of the Covid recovery team said “with the light at the end of the tunnel let’s not fall down a sink hole”.

Simon Linford
President CCCBR

Latest update from CCCBR on Coronavirus (COVID-19) Restrictions – Updated 20th July 2021

See the CCCBR website for more details.

Standing Guidance

The guidance for ringing in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland is considered separately here in line with different national rules and guidance from the respective Churches. Each country is working along its own roadmap for reducing restrictions and our roadmap is based on that. Thankfully it is nearing an end although the delay to the removal of restrictions in England was as a great disappointment and inconvenience. It is important to note that the governments’ roadmaps are as yet silent on what amount of social distancing and face masks are going to be needed even beyond the full lockdown release.

England

Ringing guidance for the period from Monday 19 July has now been agreed with the House of Bishops Recovery Group and can be found here. Restrictions have largely been released at this time when Government is stressing personal responsibility, although there is still guidance on such matters as face masks in certain circumstances, and the importance of ventilation in towers. There are no longer restrictions on how long you ring for, or with how many other people.

Scotland

The Scottish Association is now providing guidance to towers in Scotland and that advice can be found here.

Wales

Guidance for Wales has been updated for the situation since 7 June and can be found here.

Ireland

Ringing is returning to towers in Ireland based on local interpretation of government guidance.

Updated 20th July

Minor update to the guidance, now including a link to the Places of Worship guidance, clarifying that ‘vaccinated’ means having had two jabs (plus the two weeks) and that vaccination status isn’t relevant to the guidance that facemasks should still be worn in certain circumstances. Revised guidance (version 2.1) is linked in Guidance Notes.

Updated 16th July

Guidance for ringing in England post 19th July has been agreed today with the House of Bishops Recovery Group and can be found here. The Church of England’s own guidance for places of worship has yet to be published but we have seen the section on bellringing and it refers to the Central Council guidance.

Updated 13th July

We await news on what the removal of legal restrictions in England on 19 July will mean for Places of Worship. It is not going to be known for certain until at least Thursday 15th July when the Places of Worship Taskforce meets the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

While we expect restrictions to be lifted, there is still no certainty around wearing of facemasks, and the degree to which they are expected to be worn.

Updated 5th July

We await news on what the removal of legal restictions in England on 19 July will mean for Places of Worship.

This one page summary considers each of the guidance topics and mitigation measures (facemasks, hand sanitiser, rope sharing, rule on numbers, length of time, etc), explains the rationale for it, and what it means for ringing in practice. Note that the elements that are mandatory are the Rule of Six indoors, and wearing facemasks in Places of Worship, although there are some exceptions to the latter requirement.

It is specific to England although it may contain useful information for those ringing in other jurisdictions.

Updated 25th June

Removal of legal restictions in England has been delayed until 19 July. Places of Worship guidance remains unchanged as does the Council’s.

This one page summary considers each of the guidance topics and mitigation measures (facemasks, hand sanitiser, rope sharing, rule on numbers, length of time, etc), explains the rationale for it, and what it means for ringing in practice. Note that the elements that are mandatory are the Rule of Six indoors, and wearing facemasks in Places of Worship, although there are some exceptions to the latter requirement.

It is specific to England although it may contain useful information for those ringing in other jurisdictions.

Updated 17th June

The decision was to delay the removal of legal restictions in England by a further four weeks until 19 July. Places of Worship guidance is not changing and neither is the Council’s guidance.

This one page summary considers each of the guidance topics and mitigation measures (facemasks, hand sanitiser, rope sharing, rule on numbers, length of time, etc), explains the rationale for it, and what it means for ringing in practice. Note that the elements that are mandatory are the Rule of Six indoors, and wearing facemasks in Places of Worship.

It is specific to England but Welsh and Scottish versions will be prepared.

Updated 28th May

There has been no change to guidance this week. Engand is in Stage 3 with the Rule of Six applying indoors.

Mindful of there being a lot of guidance and how things have changed in recent months, we have prepared a one page summary that considers each of the guidance topics and mitigation measures (facemasks, hand sanitiser, rope sharing, rule on numbers, length of time, etc), explains the rationale for it, and what it means for ringing in practice.

It is specific to England but Welsh and Scottish versions will be prepared.

Updated 22nd May

There has been no change to guidance this week. Engand is in Stage 3 with the Rule of Six applying indoors.

Our guidance for this period suggests a limit of 45 minutes subject to 1m+ social distancing rules, hand sanitising, face coverings, lateral flow tests in certain circumstances, and good ventilation. Detailed guidance is here and no longer needs to be considered as draft.

Many have questioned whether the wearing of facemasks is necessary when whole bands have received their second jab. Wearing of facemasks in places of worship in England at least is the law. Government guidance on the wearing of facemasks can be found here (and it refers to other countries). It explicitly includes places of worship.

The exemption to the law most likely to be claimed by ringers is “if you are undertaking exercise or an activity and it would negatively impact your ability to do so.”

Bear in mind that wearing a facemask is for the protection of others, particularly the unvaccinated. Young ringers in particular will not have had the benefit of vaccination.

Updated 14th May

There has been no change to guidance this week. Engand is still on course to enter Stage 3 on 17 May when the Rule of Six applies indoors.

Our guidance for this period suggests a limit of 45 minutes subject to 1m+ social distancing rules, hand sanitising, face coverings, lateral flow tests in certain circumstances, and good ventilation. Detailed guidance is here and no longer needs to be considered as draft.

Guidance for ringers to assess their own risks has been updated for the current situation with the virus in the community and levels of vaccination. The guidance note “Is it appropriate for an individual to ring” should be read in conjunction with the 17 May guidance.

Stage 4 – no earlier than 21 June and date now seemingly at risk

All legal limits removed
(it remains to be seen whether face masks will still be suggested or mandated – that is not absolutely clear yet)

Updated 7th May

We have published our paper explaining the rationale for using CO2 monitoring as a way of determining whether towers are adequately ventilated and hence remain a safe space should virus levels rise again in the autumn. We have plenty of time to plan for this, so this will start the discussion and enable some towers to conduct some investigations. The paper, written by Dr David Pouncey, is included with the Guidance Notes here.

Meanwhile the England roadmap is approaching the next key milestone of 17 May when the Rule of Six applies indoors. Before then ringing is limited to handbell ringing outdoors, and young ringers’ groups who can ring following the ‘out of school settings’ guidance (see detail left).

Stage 3 – no earlier than 17 May

Rule of six indoors enables more ringing and our guidance suggest a limit of 45 minutes subject to 1m+ social distancing rules, hand sanitising, face coverings, lateral flow tests in certain circumstances, and good ventilation. Detailed draft guidance is here.

Guidance for ringers to assess their own risks has been updated for the current situation with the virus in the community and levels of vaccination. The guidance note “Is it appropriate for an individual to ring” should be read in conjunction with the draft 17 May guidance.

Stage 4 – no earlier than 21 June

All legal limits removed
(it remains to be seen whether facemasks will still be suggested or mandated – that is not absolutely clear yet)

Updated 29th April

The next release of lockdown restrictions in Wales has been accellerated to 3 May, when 15 are allowed to meet indoors. The guidance for England published in draft form last week as been adapted and agreed with the Church in Wales. It is published here.

The England roadmap is approaching the next key milestone of 17 May when the Rule of Six applies indoors. Before then ringing is limited to handbell ringing outdoors, and young ringers’ groups who can ring following the ‘out of school settings’ guidance (see detail left).

Updated 21st April

The England roadmap is approaching the next key milestone of 17 May when the Rule of Six applies indoors. Before then ringing is limited to handbell ringing outdoors, and young ringers’ groups who can ring following the ‘out of school settings’ guidance (see detail left).

Stage 3 – no earlier than 17 May

Rule of six indoors enables more ringing and our guidance suggest a limit of 45 minutes subject to 1m+ social distancing rules, hand sanitising, face coverings, lateral flow tests, and good ventilation. Detailed draft guidance is here.

Guidance for ringers to assess their own risks has been updated for the current situation with the virus in the community and levels of vaccination. The guidance note “Is it appropriate for an individual to ring” should be read in conjunction with the draft 17 May guidance.

Stage 4 – no earlier than 21 June

All legal limits removed
(it remains to be seen whether facemasks will still be suggested or mandated – that is not absolutely clear yet)

Updated 5th April

The England roadmap is approaching the next key milestone of 12 April when young ringers groups can start ringing. Detailed guidance is now available in Guidance Notes section. The rest of the roadmap remains as follows:

Stage 1 – current situation

Rule of six outdoors will benefit handbell ringing (up to 15 for young people)

Stage 2 – 12 April

Young ringers groups possible following the ‘out of school settings’ guidance (see detail left)

Stage 3 – no earlier than 17 May

Rule of six indoors enables ringing subject to social distancing rules to be confirmed (could still be 2m)

Stage 4 – no earlier than 21 June

All legal limits removed
(it remains to be seen whether facemasks will still be suggested or mandated – that is not absolutely clear yet)

Updated 26th March

There is no change in guidance this week. Easter Sunday ringing guidance is as published on 19 March below, and the general roadmap is as per the 12 March update.

We are being asked about specifics of the young ringers guidance after for 12 April onwards. As there is still time for this to change and there has been no specific government guidance on social distancing, we are currently agreeing guidance with the Church of England based on what we believe will be the state of play. We will update that next Friday. The ‘Ringing for children’s groups’ guidance note has been removed pending this amendment.

Updated 19th March

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 the incumbent, churchwardens or Cathedral Chapters.

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

For general guidance on the roadmap for unlocking ringing see the 12th March update.

Updated 12th March

An article providing our latest thinking on virus transmission in towers, and considerations regarding vaccination and ventilation has been added to the Guidance Notes.

Otherwise there is no change to the guidance that was issued on 26th February, and we do not as yet have any specific guidance regarding Easter Sunday.

In England, the stages of unlocking have the following implications:

Stage 1 – starts 29 March

Rule of six outdoors will benefit handbell ringing (up to 15 for young people)

Stage 2 – no earlier than 12 April

Young ringers groups possible following the ‘out of school settings’ guidance (expect social distancing restrictions)

Stage 3 – no earlier than 17 May

Rule of six indoors enables ringing subject to social distancing rules to be confirmed (could still be 2m)

Stage 4 – no earlier than 21 June

All legal limits removed
(it remains to be seen whether facemasks will still be suggested or mandated – that is not absolutely clear yet)

During any of these stages, ringers may still be cautious as not all ringers will be vaccinated, particularly young people. There is still risk of transmission and infection for us to be aware of; vaccination is not a passport.

Scotland is looking to remove all legal limits on social contact on 21 June provided strict conditions are met. On the plus side from 15 March some handbell ringers could take advantage of being able to meet outdoors in pairs of households.

Neither Wales nor Ireland have yet published lockdown roadmaps with dates in.

We are being asked about ringing for Easter and will clarify guidance when we have more from the Church of England Recovery Group.

Updated 26th February

On Monday 22 February, the UK Government published a roadmap for exiting lockdown over the coming months, detailing how and when restrictions will be eased if everything goes to plan. It is a welcome and cautious framework for a return to normality. The roadmap provides us with an opportunity for ringing to return over the coming months.

While there is still detail to be studied, and every chance of change, all indications are that ringing in England at least will come out of lockdown as follows:

Stage 1 – 29 March

Rule of six outdoors will benefit handbell ringing (up to 15 for young people)

Stage 2 – no earlier than 12 April

Young ringers groups possible following the ‘out of school settings’ guidance (expect social distancing restrictions)

Stage 3 – no earlier than 17 May

Rule of six indoors enables ringing subject to social distancing rules to be confirmed (could still be 2m)

Stage 4 – no earlier than 21 June

All legal limits removed
(it remains to be seen whether facemasks will still be suggested or mandated – that is not absolutely clear yet)

During any of these stages, ringers may still be cautious as not all ringers will be vaccinated, particularly young people. There is still risk of transmission and infection for us to be aware of; vaccination is not a passport. An article will be published in next week’s Ringing World with updated analysis of transmission in ringing chambers and the benefits of ventilation. This will just be for guidance though to be interpreted in accordance with local circumstances – the law will be the primary driver for what ringing is possible.

Yesterday’s announcement applies to England only, and so we continue to work closely with our contacts in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales to understand the situation here over the coming weeks. Scotland for instance has rule of six outdoors from 5 April and churches reopening for limited numbers from that date also. Then from 26 April at the earliest Scotland intends to go back to a “tiers” system of local restrictions.

This is the clearest we can be at the moment based on the information available, and after discussion with the Church of England Recovery Group this afternoon. It is a roadmap, with more detail to be considered as we move forward. We appreciate ringers are all now starting to plan ringing events from late June onwards, and being asked whether bells will be available for weddings, etc. The main word of caution is that the Government is at pains to stress that these dates are the earliest possible, so commitments made for shortly after those deadlines should be made with that in mind.

It does now feel like the end of an incredibly difficult year for ringing is in sight. Thank you for your ongoing trust and support.

Updated 19th February

There is no change to any guidance this week, however next week’s round of government updates on a road map may give more indication of when some ringing can resume.

Updated 8th January

Guidance has been updated to remove all guidance that was based on Tiers and replace that with simple interpretation of lockdown conditions.

Updated 4th January

England and Scotland have entered lockdown again. In England, Places of Worship remain open but in Scotland they will be closed from Friday 8th.

The exact guidance for ringing will be published before the end of the week.

The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, who chairs the Church of England’s Covid Recovery Group, said the following this evening:

“The Government has chosen not to suspend public worship in England at this time and we will continue to follow the guidance and ensure that churches remain as safe as possible. The Government guidance on the safe use of places of worship makes clear that those attending a place of worship must not mingle with anyone outside their household or support bubble.

“However, some may feel that it is currently better not to attend in person, and there will be parishes which decide to offer only digital services for the time-being. Clergy who have concerns, and others who are shielding, should take particular care and stay at home.

I would urge everyone in our churches to pray for those on the front line in our public services – the NHS and those working in social care, for schools and many others on whom we depend; and for parents and carers of children at this anxious and stressful time.

“There is hope. The vaccination programme is underway and, as Christians, we have a deeper hope in God that comforts us beyond fear itself. As we have been remembering this Christmas Season, even in the midst of our darkest fears, that hope brings light.”

Updated 27th December

The guidance for ringing for children’s groups has been updated in the light of the introduction of the new Tier 4.

Unfortunately the Government guidance that allows the running of activities for children in out-of-school settings specifically excludes Tier 4, so young ringers groups can only operate in Tiers 1-3.

Updated 21st December

Christmas guidance for England has changed following the Government’s scaling back of relaxations.

Tier 4 guidance added as in the table above.

The adoption of Tier 1 guidance in Tiers 2 and 3 should be for the most important services over Christmas only, at your discretion and based on local circumstances.

Updated 16th December

Christmas guidance for England is unchanged from the announcement made on 8th December.

The current guidance for ringing in Tier 1 will be adopted for towers in all three Tiers just for the five-day Christmas period – 23rd to 27th. That is to ring up to six bells, with 1m+ separation and using facemasks. The recommendation is to ring for 15 minutes but to assess your tower’s characteristics. Ventilation is key to reducing the risk of aerosol transmission. Note that bellringing guidance no longer has 72 or even a 48 hour recommended gap between sessions, but to maintain good ventilation and hand hygiene.

Review the Guidance Notes on this page to assess the risk of your own ringing chamber and for members of your band to assess their own personal risk. No doubt many ringers (especially those at special risk personally or in their family) will decide not to ring, just as many towers will lack sufficient ventilation to sufficiently mitigate risk even for this one-off occasion.

The Prime Minister and Chief Medical Officer are urging us to exercise caution and to “keep Christmas celebrations small, short and local to reduce these risks.” We can do that in our ringing of bells to celebrate Christmas – small, short and local.

Updated 14th December

The specific guidance on ringing for children’s groups has been added to the Guidance Notes. This covers groups of up to six children under 18 ringing together and can be done in all Tiers in England.

The guidance for Northern Ireland has been replaced with guidance for all of Ireland.

Guidance for Christmas services will be confirmed after the 16th December update on tiers in England.

Updated 7th December

There is no change to the guidance this week. Specific guidance on Northern Ireland has been added to the standing guidance by country.

Updated 30th November

New guidance has been published for ringing in various Tiers in England in advance of the end of the lockdown on 2nd December. Guidance has also been updated for the protection levels in Scotland, and for the situation in Wales where ringing is permitted subject to the Council’s guidance.

See the CCCBR website for more details.

Updated 20th November

There has been no change in guidance since the 8th November update.

Updated 8th November

Bellringers in England have been asked to support the Church of England’s call to prayer during this month of lockdown by ringing a single bell at 6pm each day. The request came directly from Lambeth Palace, and has been repeated by many individual Bishops.

The Recovery Group is of the opinion that a single bell ringing is an act of individual prayer, and as such complies with their own guidance and that of the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government. 

Updated 6th November

This update is specifically for England, and is responding to the lockdown that started on Thursday 5th November and lasts until 2nd December. 

The government in England is asking people to stay at home if at all possible. Churches are closed except for private prayer and broadcast worship. ‘Group bell ringing’ is specifically not permitted in a Place of Worship during this period. 

Detail can be found in this statement from MHCLG

However, the ringing of a single bell on Remembrance Sunday has been specifically agreed by the House of Bishops Recovery Group (with permission of the incumbent and churchwardens). The tolling of a single bell is a powerful symbol of remembrance understood by communities and will mean a great deal to many. Please be particularly aware of the risks associated with entering a tower and ringing on your own – make sure someone knows you are doing it and can watch for you. A muffle is not needed when tolling a single bell.

Updated 23rd October

Following further discussions with the Church of England Recovery Group, there is no longer a blanket restriction on ringing in Tiers 2 and 3 in England.

See this news release.

Updated 16th October

news item has been published on the CCCBR website today announcing the disappointing news that we believe ringing should be suspended in areas of England designated as being in Tiers 2 and Tier 3. Towers in Tier 1 are unaffected. This is our interpretation of the legislation which is shared by the Church of England Recovery Group.

Although Places of Worship can remain open at all Tiers, at the ‘High’ and ‘Very High’ Tiers there should be no mixing between households (see Church of England guidance website).

The accompanying legislation for Tier 2 (the middle tier) says this:

Participation in gatherings indoors

No person may participate in a gathering in the Tier 2 area which consists of two or more people, and takes place indoors.”

The accompanying legislation for Tier 3 (the top ‘Very High’ tier) says this:

Participation in gatherings indoors and in private dwellings

No person may participate in a gathering in the Tier 3 area which consists of two or more people, and takes place in a private dwelling or any indoor space.”

Tier 1, the lowest or ‘Medium’ level continues to apply the ‘Rule of Six’ indoors.

Updated 13th October

Following the announcement on Monday October 12 of a new three-tier risk alert system for COVID-19 in England, we are considering the implications for ringing and will publish our opinion by the end of Friday 16th.

Although Places of Worship can remain open at all Tiers, at the ‘High’ and ‘Very High’ Tiers there should be no mixing between households (see Church of England guidance website).

The accompanying legislation for Tier 2 (the middle tier) says this:

Participation in gatherings indoors

No person may participate in a gathering in the Tier 2 area which consists of two or more people, and takes place indoors.”

The accompanying legislation for Tier 3 (the top ‘Very High’ tier) says this:

Participation in gatherings indoors and in private dwellings

No person may participate in a gathering in the Tier 3 area which consists of two or more people, and takes place in a private dwelling or any indoor space.”

Tier 1, the lowest or ‘Medium’ level continues to apply the ‘Rule of Six’ indoors.

Updated 9th October

There is no change to the guidance this week but an article has been published here which explains the Central Council’s current roadmap for guidance, paving the way for more localised decision making. We are also undertaking a wholescale review of guidance documents.

From now on, guidance updates are going to be published on Mondays, which gives time to digest higher-level guidance that is often published on Fridays.

The next guidance update will therefore be Monday 19th October.

Updated 2nd October

The Frequently Asked Questions have been refreshed to remove those which are now common knowledge and add in more recent concerns such as the implications of ringing in areas of increased lockdown.

All restrictions imposed by Governments override guidance either from our Churches or the Central Council. The UK’s ‘Rule of Six’ (in its various forms) for instance is a legal restriction aimed at reducing social contact, rather than guidance.

If (as in the North East of England at the end of September and parts of Lancashire shortly thereafter) no indoor mixing of different households is allowed, then it appears that it would be illegal for anyone other than members of the same household to ring, even if church services are allowed. Places of worship do not appear to have been given a specific exemption, however they have remained open. The position is unclear, although the UK Government’s intention is clearly to reduce social contact in non-essential settings, citing work and education as the only exemptions.

Elsewhere, if extra restrictions (but still allowing six to meet indoors) have been imposed where you live, then the transmission of Coronavirus is high, and the level of risk greater. The CCCBR’s guidelines do aim to be “Covid-Secure”, but you need to make a local risk assessment (focussing especially on the size and ventilation of your tower and the characteristics of your ringers) to decide if it is appropriate to ring – and it may well not be. Remember that the final decision rests with the Incumbent.

Updated 25th September

There has been no change to guidance this week.

The Council’s small guidance team is pleased to welcome David Pouncey to the team. David is a recently retired GP who during a long career spent time dealing with epidemics in Africa, and most recently managing coronavirus patients. As well as taking a share of the workload, David will be specifically looking at the next phase of guidance.

David rings in Gloucestershire.

Updated 18th September

Dicussions are ongoing regarding the potential reduction of distance between ropes, although in view of the upsurge in Covid cases and the number of areas of the United Kingdom entering increasing states of lockdown there is extreme caution over reducing distancing for bellringing at the moment. 

The ‘rule of six’ is now in force in England, Scotland and Wales, albeit with regional variations. Places of worship have an exemption provided those in church stay in groups of six.  

Update on 11th September

The period of time between ringing sessions has been reduced from 72 hours to 48 hours. This is on the assumption that all hand hygiene guidance is being followed. 


We do not yet have the green light to reduce distance between ropes below current guidance, but it is under consideration on the basis that this will enable more towers (and ringers) to ring. The CofE Recovery Group is very sympathetic to the case but are consulting with others included MHCLG in the light of the upsurge in cases. 


The ‘rule of six’ is being implemented in England, Scotland and Wales, albeit with slight regional variations. Places of worship have an exemption but the extent of that is not yet clear and further details are awaited. Although this is unlikely to impact on tower bell ringing, if there is any conflict between guidance and the law, the law prevails. 

Update on 4th September

There has been no change to the guidance this week. Updated guidance to reduce distance between ropes to enable more towers to ring more bells has been submitted for approval. Note that ringing is still limited to 15 minutes but does not have to be for a service, provided it is with the permission of the incumbent. 

Guidance on the use of simulators is being written and will be available shortly.

Update on 14th August

Following last week’s update on wearing face coverings for ringing (which is mandatory in churches in England and Scotland) the individual guidance notes have been updated to include references to face coverings. A number of people have enquired whether ringers who claim exemption from wearing a face covering can ring without them. It is our view that face coverings reduce the risk of transmission of the virus and therefore protect our fellow ringers. Anyone who is unable to wear a face covering should not ring.    

Local lockdowns continue and may increase. The effect of these lockdowns on ringing is principally on handbell ringing in people’s gardens.  

Guidance notes 2 and 4 have been amended slightly to clarify the 1.5m allowed separation for ropes which fall in a straight line, i.e. that the middle of three ropes which fall in a straight line should be 1.5m from the two adjacent ropes.

Update on 7th August

The only two things changed this week are that use of the word ‘facemask’ in this guidance has been replaced with the words ‘face coverings’ to bring this guidance in line with the Church of England’s guidance. The churches in Scotland also refer to face coverings rather than facemasks, while the Church in Wales does not appear to have stipulated the wearing of face coverings yet. Face coverings does not include visors.

We would like to also clarify that ringing does not specifically have to be for a service, but should still be with the permission of the incumbent. Ringers have been asked to ring for weddings, and on Sundays where there is no service but where the sound of bells is welcome to remind communities of the presence of the church. It is still only 15 minutes though, whatever the purpose of the ringing.

The wearing of face coverings is mandatory from 8th August in places of worship in England and Scotland (Wales doesn’t appear to be mandatory but advice welcome). Wearing face coverings does not reduce the minimum distances approved for ringing which remain as :

  • 2m spacing between ringers (which will generally mean alternate bells)
  • 1.5m spacing allowable if ropes fall in a straight line (ringers facing inwards not towards each other)
  • Adjacent bells can be rung by ringers from the same household

An increasing number of places may have lockdown restrictions brought back as happened first in Leicester, then in Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire, and most recently in Preston. The effect of these lockdowns on ringing is principally on handbell ringing in people’s gardens

Standing Guidance

The Church of England and the Church in Wales both allow bells being rung in their churches now that cathedral and church buildings are open to the public. It is on the condition that ringing is in accordance with the guidance on these pages. Public Health England (PHE) has reviewed the Council’s guidance, suggesting various amendments which have been incorporated into the guidance given here. It has all been agreed with the Church of England Recovery Group, whose support for ringing is greatly appreciated. The Central Council will continue to pursue a similar situation for other jurisdictions in which there are bells.

We appreciate not all jurisdictions are the same, even within the United Kingdom. The Scottish Association has done a thorough review of the positon regarding ringing in towers in Scotland and has published its guidance here.

The restriction on ringing is difficult for bell ringers who are missing the activity that is so much part of our lives. 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. Failing to follow this guidance could cause this limited return to ringing to be reversed, and we are very grateful to all ringers who have embraced the return to ringing so positively.

By no means all churches are open for services. Opening is very much down to individual Dioceses and incumbents, taking into account many factors. However ringing does not have to be for a service provided the incumbent is happy to have the bells rung. Bells are a powerful reminder that the church is still there in the heart of our communities. 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.

The Church in Wales includes the ringing of bells in their guidance issued to parishes, which can be found here. Section 1 Paragraph 15 refers to ringing and states “bell ringing is permissible, but bell ringers should observe two-metre physical distancing and hygiene and cleaning regimes should be implemented. Careful consideration of how bell ringers will access the building suitably distanced from other attendees needs consideration, e.g. different entry points or staggered arrival times. Bell ringing arrangements should comply with guidance available from the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers [ref to this site]”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 is being constantly inline with any changes in the Church’s own guidance and policies, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This website will be updated weekly on a Friday, whether or not there is a change in guidance. Any requests for clarification can be sent to president@cccbr.org.uk – it will get looked at as soon as possible. 

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 9 July 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 Guidance

  • The UK Government guidance for the safe use of places of worship during the pandemic can be found via this link
  • The Church of England guidance on Opening Cathedral and Church Buildings can be found via this link

Frequently Asked Questions

We have accumulated all of the questions we have been asked by ringers concerning the guidance, such as why the guidance is still 2m rather than 1m, and whether members of family groups can ring on adjacent bells. We will update these FAQs from time to time and this version is all questions up to 3rd July.

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.

Ringing and COVID-19: What are the risks and what might we do about them?

Useful Links

The latest guidance from the Church of England is available on their website.

The latest guidance from the Church in Wales is available on their website.

The latest guidance from the Scottish Episcopal Church is available on their website.

The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy.

Lockdown in England and Remembrance Sunday

Latest advice from CCCBR

The Covid guidance has been updated in response to the lockdown in England that starts tomorrow for four weeks.

The government in England is asking people to stay at home if at all possible. Stopping ringing during this time is consistent with that request. Churches are closed except for private prayer and broadcast worship. We realise England’s senior faith leaders, including the Bishop of London who heads the C of E Recovery Group, are challenging the government’s decision to ban communal worship during this further lockdown period, but at the moment no exception has been made, and even if it was, our guidance wouldn’t change. This is a much stricter lockdown than Tier 3.

However, we support the tolling of a single bell on Remembrance Sunday, if it is with the permission of the incumbent and churchwardens. This has been specifically approved by the House of Bishops Recovery Group. The tolling of a single bell is a powerful symbol of remembrance understood by communities and will mean a great deal to many. Please be particularly aware of the risks associated with entering a tower and ringing on your own – make sure someone knows you are doing it and can watch out for you. A muffle is not needed when tolling a single bell.

Remembrance Sunday – 8th November 2020

For all of us able to get to a tower to ring, Remembrance Sunday ringing will be different, maybe strange, this year and it will be disappointing most likely for those of us unable to ring ourselves. The remembrance element of the occasion is as important as ever of course, possibly even more so as so many of our communities face such uncertainty and many challenges in everyday life.

Please be kind enough to let me know if your tower has Remembrance Ringing plans, or if you will be ringing handbells or using Ringing Room or similar, as it will help me to respond to media enquiries in good time. In due course, please let me know what you were able to ring, as it will be of interest, and also encouraging, for churches, communities and ringers alike.

Our Guild’s digital archive for the World War 1 Centenary Commemoration is still open for new entries; it will be updated again in the early part of 2021.

Please visit https://wpbells.org/ww1/ for background information.

If you would like to have your Remembrance Ringing included in the digital archive, please email the relevant details to ww1bells@aol.com or submit to BellBoard with the appropriate footnote.

Thank you.

Viv Nobbs

Public Relations Officer

Contact Viv Nobbs

Further development of Coronavirus guidance from CCCBR – the Path Ahead

Last Friday lunchtime, I was notified by my daughter’s school that one person in her year group had tested positive for Coronavirus and the entire year group was being sent home to self-isolate for 10 days. One of the first things she did on getting home was to say that she wouldn’t be able to fulfil either of her Sunday ringing commitments, and she informed both tower captains. Such is life at the moment.

Her absence from ringing was not just a sense of responsibility to her fellow ringers. The school had given pretty strict guidance on what to do in this 10 day period and it did not include unnecessary outings, however strong the mitigations ringing has adopted. Even socially distanced reduced duration ringing was going to be put on hold.

By and large, ringers are an above averagely sensible group and respect the need for the ringing community to be consistent and act as one on the application of the guidelines. There are outbreaks of ‘cleverdickery’ and ‘whataboutery’, but generally the socially distanced, restricted ringing recommended in the guidance has been adopted. However, we have been at the current level of restriction for a while, and even though we appear to be in the second wave of Coronavirus infection in Britain, you probably want to know what the plans are for ringing recovery.

Before going into what we propose to do next, I would like to recap how we have got to where we are now.

When the guidance was originally discussed with the Church of England Recovery Group it was on the basis that ringing for services was a good starting point for getting ringing going again, and was timed to coincide with the reopening of churches. What then happened was that by no means all churches reopened, and so the guidance was clarified to remove the service ringing restriction, as many incumbents were happy to have bells rung anyway.

That first round of guidance did not enable as many towers to start ringing as we had hoped. Smaller towers in particular are not able to ring enough bells at 2m distance for it to be worthwhile, although larger towers have adapted well. We used this as the basis of our discussions with the Recovery Group on reducing distancing to 1m – that we had not been effective in enabling much service ringing with 2m distancing.

Work on the guidance to this point had been shared by Phillip Barnes, Mark Regan and me, with Alison Hodge’s Stewardship & Management Group also working on detailed guidance and risk assessments. Zoom calls are held with the Recovery Group about every two weeks. Knowing that we needed to move into the next phase of guidance, we invited David Pouncey to join the group to give a fresh perspective and to help shoulder a burden that weighs heavily. David is a recently retired GP with very relevant medical experience who had previously engaged with us and offered his help.

The good news for the future is that we have now agreed with the Recovery Group that distance between ringers will be able to be reduced to 1m+ provided other mitigations are in place. Face coverings are probably the most important of them, as the understanding of the aerosol transmission of the virus has increased over the course of the pandemic. This has particular relevance for ringing given the setting of our activity and our close spacing to each other.

We are very mindful however that announcing a relaxation of restrictions at a time when infection levels are increasing may appear inappropriate, even if that relaxation is based on a very sound interpretation of the current risks, and agreement with the Church. So we intend to move to this next level with an overall revision of guidance that shifts the decision making process down to association and tower level, and which can be based on the overall level of restrictions in a particular place or region. The UK Government looks to be moving to a three-tiered “traffic lights” plan based on number of infections per 100,000 of population and when that is launched, we will align our advice to that.

We are also working on clear guidance for local and personal risk assessment, so that you and your band can decide whether to ring or not based on an informed understanding of the risks generally, and your tower’s particular circumstances. Large well-ventilated spaces are much less risky than small unventilated rooms: those who work closely with others have a much greater risk of spreading the virus than those who work from home or have relatively few social interactions. This could enable the low risk environments to extend ringing time to 30 minutes, although high risk environments might conclude that they should not ring at all. We are looking at whether if any tower is unsure about how to interpret the guidance for them, someone at association level could be equipped to help, which is what appears to be happening in most places anyway. We expect all this to be in place in the next week or two. We want to be ready to act as soon as infection levels drop, and to be able to react more quickly to future changes in circumstances.

Finally, Mark Regan has been looking at how young ringers’ groups could benefit from published guidance for “holiday and after school clubs, and other out-of-school settings.” This guidance allows larger groups of children to meet regularly in consistent groups, which could be very useful.

Simon Linford
President, Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

(this article was published in The Ringing World, issue 5711, 9 October 2020)