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200 Club – November 2019 Draw Results

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

 

Ringing World Article – W&P Remembers

As we approach Armistice Sunday for this year, here is the article that was published in The Ringing World on Friday 25th October 2019 about the archives of Armistice centenary ringing presented to Winchester and Portsmouth Cathedrals earlier this year .

Guild presents archives of Armistice centenary ringing to its two cathedrals in special services

Tommy
Tommy

The Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers (W & P) is an active Guild representing ringers across the Channel Islands, part of Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. As reported in 2018, our Guild had successfully undertaken a mammoth task, creating an archive of many special memorial ringing performances that had honoured those who had died as a result of World War One.
Two bound volumes of the archives were to be presented to Winchester and Portsmouth Cathedrals at special services. It was wonderful to see how many folk came forward to volunteer their time and expertise. A project mascot was adopted; ‘Tommy’ – a 30cm high, clear Perspex silhouette in the form of a World War One Tommy soldier who travelled across our large Guild area. The archive continues to be updated digitally, available to see here.

The Charmborough ring outside Winchester Cathedral
The Charmborough ring outside Winchester Cathedral

The two Cathedral services took place in May 2019; what wonderful occasions!
At both venues we displayed project material in advance of the services. Both Cathedrals’ bands ensured there was splendid service ringing. Visiting ringers were able to ring in the areas during the day; at Winchester, the Chamborough Ring created much interest to members of the public, in addition to the Cathedral tower bells. Both services had been well-crafted and supported by the Cathedrals’ clergy, organists, choirs, vergers, staff and volunteers. We were delighted and honoured to welcome large congregations of ringers, their families and friends and local dignitaries. We all shared the emotions of the Archive presentation ceremonies and reflected as we heard the lovely handbell ringing, a very fitting accompaniment to the presentations.

At Portsmouth Cathedral’s Choral Evensong, on 12th May, The Lord Mayor and
Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire were greeted by the Dean of Portsmouth, The Very Reverend Dr Anthony Cane, and our Guild Master,
Mike Winterbourne. The Right Reverend Christopher Foster, Bishop of Portsmouth, welcomed the congregation. During the service, Alverstoke ringer, Soul Stanford and Portsmouth Cathedral ringer, Chris Cockel, presented the archive; it was received by
Bishop Christopher. Guild Officers Mike Winterbourne and Heather Frazer read lessons. Intercessions were led by Canon John Owen, Vicar of Steep and Froxfield with Privett. The congregation stood for the Act of Rededication led by Charlotte Mossop, a ringer at St. Michaels’, Basingstoke. After the service we enjoyed hearing Louis Verne’s Organ Voluntary ‘Les Cloches de Hinckley’. The Reverend Canon
Dr. Jo Spreadbury, Canon Precentor, was instrumental in the service and all of the prior arrangements; we were pleased to thank her personally at the lovely informal refreshments reception provided by the Cathedral ringers.

Charlotte Mossop and Lee Mason, Lord Mayor of Portsmouth
Charlotte Mossop and Lee Mason, Lord Mayor of Portsmouth

On 19th May at Winchester Cathedral, The Very Reverend Catherine Ogle,
Dean of Winchester, together with Guild Master Mike Winterbourne, greeted the
Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire, the Mayor of Winchester and the
Lord Mayor of Portsmouth. The Dean conducted the Choral Evensong service; our Guild Master read a lesson. The archive book was presented to The Dean by
ringers Matthew Dancy of All Saints’, Basingstoke and Isla Ingram from
Milford-on-Sea A candle was lit and the congregation was asked to
‘Individually and together, commit to the cause of peace and reconciliation’. As the final part of our act of worship, we were invited to listen to the Organ Voluntary ‘Carillon-Sortie’ by Henri Mulet. The very pleasant refreshments served to our guests by local ringers and enjoyed by us all brought a lovely, quiet conclusion to the day.
The last word here to ‘Tommy’ then:

‘People ask me why I am transparent?
After 100 years none of my comrades are still alive,
But I hope that their children, grandchildren and future generations will not let them disappear completely;
but once, every now and then, catch a glimpse of me and remember.’

Viv Nobbs
Public Relations Officer for W & P

Viv Nobbs (PRO) and Mike Winterbourne (Master)
Viv Nobbs (PRO) and Mike Winterbourne (Master)

Tommy 1The Archive of ringing performances

Latest version of the Record of Ringing in Remembrance of those who gave their lives in the Great War 1914 – 1918 – The Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers

Here is a link to download the latest version (as at 29th October 2019) of the Record of Ringing in Remembrance of those who gave their lives in the Great War 1914 – 1918 – The Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers.

Bound copies of the original version were presented to Winchester and Portsmouth Cathedrals in special services held in May 2019.

Winchester District Training Evening – Friday 15th November – Raising and Lowering in Peal

PLEASE NOTE: This has been rearranged from Friday 1st November.
Dear All,
We’ve found a gap in the schedule enabling us to offer a training evening on Friday 15th November, on Raising and Lowering in Pea, at Sparsholt.
Please let Jenny Watson know, on 01962 808167 or email, as early as you can, whether to learn or to help.
Best wishes
Bruce
Winchester District Secretary

20191115 - WIN Training Evening - Sparsholt

Firsts Fortnight is here!

Hello Everyone.

Firsts Fortnight is here from 11th to 27th October, and this is your ideal opportunity for your learners – or more experienced alike, to do something new for the first time.

Don’t forget to upload it to Bellboard under the W&P Firsts Fortnight link so we can all celebrate your successes!

Thanks

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

FirstsFortnight2

CANCELLED: C&S District Annual Trip Saturday 21st September 2019 to Axe Valley CANCELLED

THIS OUTING HAS SADLY HAD TO BE CANCELLED DUE TO LACK OF CONFIRMED NUMBERS (FEWER THAN 8), MAKING THE DAY FINANCIALLY NOT VIABLE.

I would appreciate feedback – you can contact me via the link further down, below.

Best wishes,

Peter

 

Dear District!

Following the poster that went out to tower contacts last week, here are all of the finalised details I have been busy working on.  If all goes to plan, looks to be a great trip, in an Area of Natural Beauty.  Historical towers for ringers, bygone trams and cream teas along the coast for those that join us that do not ring.

Please let me know names and numbers as soon as you can, plus your lunch choices.  There is a downloadable pdf pack below, so you can print of all, or the pages you need. Also screen grabs of the pdf for instantaneous ease of viewing if you’re going paperless!

I hope to see many of you there! All are welcome.

Peter

Click here to contact Peter Murdock-Saint

CLICKHEREtoDownloadWPBellsDistrictAnnualTrip2019pdf

September District Practice, Meeting and Hinton Trophy Striking Competition 07.09.2019 Fawley.

Dear all,

Here are the details of the next meeting. Apologies for the delay as we were trying to organise skittles for after the meeting, however that has proven too hard this year, watch this space for next year.

Everyone welcome to come along even if you are not taking part in the striking contest. If there are any teams for the striking contest, please let Colin Butler know.

A general poster for the Outing at the end of the month will be sent out after this e-mail. Please encourage all your members to come along. Full details will be released at the meeting.

Look forward to seeing you next week.

Sallie

Contact Sallie Ingram

Contact Colin Butler

PDFs below of Meeting and Hinton Trophy information:

September Practice and Hinton Trophy

September 2019 Agenda

ADM 2019 Minutes

 

Guild Education – Listening Skills – Sat 12th October – 9.30 – 5.30 at Lockerley

The Guild Education Committee is running another of its very popular Listening Skills courses, on Saturday 12 October, based at Lockerley.  This is a day for ringers at all levels and covers all sorts of things you may not have tried before in order to help you listen to the bells – or, more precisely, to interpret what you are hearing. It is a non-competitive day where you can have fun with ringers from across the Guild, learning quite a lot in the process, involving listening exercises, hand-bells, ringing exercises, and much more; you do not need to be an expert. And we also include a hot lunch!

A poster and application form (both Word and pdf versions) are available on the links below, so please talk about it amongst your friends and send in your applications.

As always – any queries, let me know.

Christine Knights-Whittome

For: The Guild Education Committee

 

Downloads:

ApplicationForm – Listening Skills 12.10.19 Word Version

Application Form – Listening Skills 12.10.19 – PDF version

Poster – Listening Skills – 12.10.19 – Word version

Poster – Listening Skills – 12.10.19 – PDF version

 

 

Charmborough Ring will be at the Romsey Show – Sat 14th September – PR and recruitment opportunity!

Update from Roger Booth – 19th August:

The Charmborough Ring will be an attraction at the Romsey Show on 14th September. We have received an excellent response to our earlier request, and now have more than enough people to man our stand throughout the day of the show.

Whilst there was some concern that we might not recruit anyone, and it could rain on the day, at similar shows the Charmborough Ring attracts a lot of interest. The record is the Milton Keynes ringers who collected 90 names and contact details in one day. Around half came to the taster day a fortnight later. Most of these learnt to handle a bell, attending a programme of intensive handling lessons over the next couple of weeks. They then went on to join a local band. Half of these were still ringing two years later. Even if we are only partially as successful, it will be an excellent result, and we will also have exposed a lot of people to ringing.

Our taster day is 12th October at Hursley. So far we have heard from the following towers about help with following up enquiries and teaching people afterwards: Basingstoke (St Michael), Bishopstoke, The Candovers, Kings Somborne, Lockerley, New Alresford, Old Alresford, Petersfield, Ringwood, Romsey, Sherfield English, Stockbridge and Twyford. If you would like us to put people who express an interest in learning to ring in touch with your tower, or would like to help with the teaching, please do let us know as soon as possible, using the Google form below. All teachers are welcome, you do not need to have attended an ART Teaching Module. We will then be in a position to follow up each interested person quickly after the show:

https://forms.gle/HGJYLpuG8mPewX1n9


Original article:

The Winchester District will have the Charmborough Ring at the Romsey Show at Broadlands on Saturday 14th September. The show attracts up to 24,000 people from across an area stretching from Portsmouth to Bournemouth, Salisbury, Andover and  Winchester, and even beyond, and our primary aim is to raise awareness of ringing and ringers amongst members of the general public. We require assistance in many ways during and after the show:

Firstly – On the Saturday 14th September

 It requires 14 people at any one time to ‘man’ the stand. If you would like to help us in the morning or the afternoon or indeed all day to ring or to talk to members of the general public, we would like to hear from you. At the show the Ring attracts a lot of attention, and there are usually many people who would like to find out more about ringing. However the key to successful recruitment and retention of new ringers is in the pre-planning and the quality of the follow up afterwards.

So Secondly – On Saturday 12th October

We plan to hold a ‘taster morning’ at Hursley on Saturday 12th October, for those members of the public who are interested, so that they can have a go and find out more about the commitment involved in learning to ring.

And Finally – After that

Whilst we would like to direct people to their nearest tower, not all towers have an active band, so we would also like to hear from you if you and your tower are willing to help teach people who express interest. Ideally we would like to match potential new ringers with teachers/towers where they can receive intensive ‘one to one’ bell handling lessons, so that they can handle a bell in a few weeks and be ringing rounds in time to ring for Christmas.

Anyone in the Guild (and beyond) is welcome.

There is an on-line form here where you can let us know.  https://forms.gle/nmMHNrYg3YoicdaWA

Romsey Show banner

 

Guild Education – Raising and Lowering in Peal – Bishopstoke – Sat 14th Sept. 9.30am – 12.00 noon

September seems a  long way ahead ….. but with families about to go away for the school summer holidays, and some towers not holding practices during August, we want to catch everybody early.     Attached are details of our Education Morning on Raising and Lowering in Peal, to be held at Bishopstoke on Saturday 14th September, 9.30 am to 12.00 noon.   This is NOT basic raising and lowering, but is specifically for those ringers who are already confident and competent in the basics, but need help to keep in place when raising and lowering in peal.

Attached is the poster giving all the details, together with the application form (both Word and pdf versions) – have a look and talk to your friends

As always – any queries, let me know.

Christine Knights-Whittome

On behalf of:  The Guild Education Committee

Link to poster to download to display in your tower please.

200 Club Summer Draw Results

The Summer draw of the 200 Club took place this afternoon at Freshwater immediately after the Guild AGM. A total of £89 had accumulated since the last draw in March, giving £43 to go to the Training & Development Fund and £46 to be split for prizes. These were drawn as follows:

Prize Prize Accumulation £46.00 Winning Numbers Winners
First 50% £23.00 18 Tony Smith
Second 20% £9.20 6 Pete Jordan
Third 10% £4.60 11 David M. Hughes
Fourth 10% £4.60 9 Margaret Winterbourne
Fifth 5% £2.30 25 Nikki Brown
Sixth 5% £2.30 34 Margaret Downer

The next draw will take place on Saturday 16th November 2019 at the Guild Executive Committee meeting in Southampton. Money received between now and the meeting will go into that draw. More members means more winnings and more money for the Training and Development Fund! Please send me your forms, which may be found on the Guild website under ‘200 Club‘.

Robin Milford

2019 Guild Sweatshirts and Polo Shirts

A huge thank-you to everybody who bought new sweatshirts and polo shirts bearing the Guild logo earlier this year; in all, there were nearly 70 items and, even keeping to 2016 prices, this resulted in an unexpected surplus going into Guild funds.

What a wonderful advertisement this is for our Guild, and nowhere was this more apparent than at Winchester Cathedral on 19th May. With those attending the WW1 Evensong, and those who helped outside all day on the Charmborough Ring, it was fantastic to see so many Guild logos as well as District and individual Tower logos on display, proclaiming our pride in our art.

One of our Guild ringers inadvertently ordered himself a Guild sweatshirt instead of the polo shirt he really wanted. Does anybody have a new polo shirt, XL, preferably Royal Blue, which they would be prepared to swap for a sweatshirt, XL, also Royal Blue? Or do you have one which, having ordered it, you now find you don’t need? If so, please get in touch with me.

Contact Christine Knights-Whittome

Have your say – Wed 17th April from 7.30pm – Winchester

The Guild Education Committee are holding an open event ‘Have your say’ on Wednesday 17th April (Holy Week) at 7.30pm in the Undercroft of Winchester Cathedral. The next decade will present many challenges and the object of the event is to consult with members, and all those with an interest in education to develop a strategy for the delivery of training by the Guild Education Committee into the 2020’s, and how this dovetails with the training provided at District and tower level. This work will also feed into the updating of the Guild’s three year action plan.

We particularly want to find out how we can help individual towers, how we can recruit and retain more young ringers, and how we can best support individuals who wish to make progress with their ringing. For this reason we are circulating tower correspondents with a short on-line survey to collect some information about the current state of ringing in towers. We can then present some statistics at the open meeting to aid discussion. The questionnaire asks about the ringing and the number of ringers present on a typical Sunday (3rd March) and at practice the following week.  Obviously the more towers that respond the better.

We intend to share the results of the survey on the Guild Website and Facebook Group before the meeting. On the night we will be sitting Guild/District officers, Tower Captains, new ringers (including Ringing Remembers recruits) and other ringers together in separate groups to discuss the findings, and report back, so no-one should feel inhibited. Everyone will have their say. We are particularly keen for newer ringers and young ringers to come along and do hope that at least some of the ringers from your tower will attend.

To give us an idea of numbers, please contact Christine Knights-Whittome,  before Monday 15th April.

Last Ringing at Swanmore (Ryde), Isle of Wight

Unfortunately, Swanmore church is closing their doors on the 31st December, meaning there will be no more ringing at Swanmore in 2019 at all.

Our last practice is Friday 21st, 6.30-7.30pm.  We will be ringing on Christmas Day and we will be ringing on Sunday the 30th for the last time.

Ringing times for Christmas Day is to be confirmed. Sunday 30th December is 2 till 3.30pm.

All ringers are welcome to join us for the last ringing on the bells at St Michael’s Swanmore before the church closes. If you haven’t rung there yet, this WILL be your last chance!

Lexi Skeldon

 

 

 

Christmas Ringing Times 2018

Please send in your Ringing Times so that visiting ringers can join you for practices and Sunday Ringing.

The following news has already been sent in:

Send in your times:

 

Final call for WW1 performances to be included in the printed archives

Please send us your WW1 Centenary Commemoration performances, including Remembrance ringing, up until 30th November 2018 if you haven’t done so already. We’d like to include them in the printed volumes of the archives. We need them now, please…. ww1bells@aol.com

Thank you and well done everyone!

Cheers,

Guild PRO

Micheldever Refurbishment

The following is an article the Micheldever Band is very grateful to have had printed in the Dever News as part of their appeal to raise funds for new ropes and ahead of their Tower Open Morning of the 17th November.

Please look out for a follow up report next week with some good news!
Gary Marsh – Wonston

The Bells of St Mary’s

It was thanks to the curiosity of new bell-ringer Sharon Duncan-Reynolds that we made the discovery. Sharon wanted to go up the tower to see what the bells actually do and as local ringing master Edmund Wratten happened to be present that day, he led the way. Donning ear defenders, they watched carefully as a ringer below pulled the bell ropes. That is how we discovered that, even when the lightest bell was rung, the huge metal bell frame moved against the wooden frame on which it is mounted. That was last autumn and as a result we were prompted to give serious thought to the whole state of the bell chamber.
Work immediately started to stabilise the frame and until it got too cold for further work most of the 60 or so rusted lower bolts,which are over 60cm long, were loosened (with more than a little effort) greased and retightened so stopping any movement of the metal frame.  Since the spring the 40 or so top bolts have received similar treatment. Next we tackled the rusting frame itself – cleaning with wires brushes and white spirit, followed by the application of rust preventing undercoat and rust preventing top coat. The plain bearings on which the bells hang, having accumulated years of solidified grease, have been cleaned out, new felt pads inserted and the bearings re-greased.   The wooden frame has received wood preserver and the whole bell chamber cleaned out.

Micheldever Bells - BeforeMicheldever Bells - After

The pictures reveal the difference that has been made but probably don’t quite show how awkward it is to get at some parts of the frame or how dirty we have been getting crawling around it.  It is clear that little maintenance has been carried out for quite some time. Apparently Harry Symes, blacksmith, bell ringer and steeple keeper for many years, who made the rope guide for the church but died in 1991, used to keep the bells in immaculate condition.  It is said that his family kept the bells maintained while there was no ringing during WWI so that when peace came they were ready to ring out.

The current team cannot claim to live up to those standards but has put in its best effort and it has been a team effort; there is no way this could have been done without lots of hands on the job and even so it has taken a couple of months intensive work each Tuesday to get the cleaning and painting done.  We now at least all have a better appreciation of what it takes to keep the bells going.

We do have one thing to ask though.  We have all put in labour and some cash to do this work; no charge has bee made to the Church.  The Church did pay £200 this year to replace a rope for us, for which we are very grateful. But our 5 remaining ropes urgently need replacing; one has a temporary repair and another will very soon need the same.

We need £1000 to allow us to replace our 5 remaining ropes and keep the bells ringing at Micheldever for the next 10-15 years.  Please can you help.

Micheldever - Ropes

Any donations would be gratefully received. They can be given to Belinda Hughes, or posted into the box in the door to the tower in the corner of St Mary’s. Cash is great or cheques should be payable to Micheldever PCC. Please consider completing a gift aid envelope so we can claim the tax back on your donation.

Battles Over - Armistice 100 -11112018

We will be ringing for the service of remembrance  on 11 Nov and again at 12:30 pm as part of the national celebration of the centenary of the Armistice in 1918 – Ringing Remembers.  Church bells across the country will ring out and Big Ben will strike. We invite you to join us if you would like to see the bells being rung and to get a feel for a bell rope afterwards.  We always welcome new ringers.

Bell ringing team:-  Andrew Tollyfield (steeple keeper), Juliet Pattison (tower captain & secretary), Mary Tiles, Felicity Botham, Belinda Hughes, Sharon Duncan-Reynolds, Ben Bell and with help for practices from Charlotte Smith (Kingsworthy).  Also special thanks to Charlotte for her help working with the team on maintenance.
Continue reading Micheldever Refurbishment

200 Club – November Draw – Results

The November draw of the 200 Club took place last Saturday morning prior to the Guild Executive Committee meeting.  A total of £95 had accumulated since the last draw in July, giving £47 to go to the Training & Development Fund and £48 to be split for prizes. These were drawn as follows:

Prize % of prize fund Amount Winning
Numbers
Winners
First 50% £24 16 Graham Nobbs
Second 20% £9.60 27 Christine Hill
Third 10% £4.80 14 Ros Brandwood
Fourth 10% £4.80 4 Rob Hatch
Fifth 5% £2.40 25 Nikki Brown
Sixth 5% £2.40 9 Margaret Winterbourne
The next draw will take place on Saturday 16th March 2019 at the Guild Executive Committee meeting in Southampton. Money received between now and the meeting will go into that draw.
There are at present only 25 members actively participating in the draw, so prizes can be rather small. More members means more winnings and more money for the Training and Development Fund!
Please send me your forms, which may be found on the Guild website under ‘200 Club‘. I shall shortly be sending the Guild Treasurer a cheque for £148 as this year’s contribution to the Fund.

Robin Milford

***URGENT*** – WW1 Centenary Commemoration performances up to and including those rung on 30th November 2018

WW1 Centenary Commemoration performances up to and including those rung on 30th November 2018

1259 individual performances harvested to date!

Please:

– submit your performance details, including footnotes, to us urgently. This will give our team the best possible assistance in ensuring their inclusion in the printed volumes

– consider what was rung on Armistice 2018, including any references to Ringing Remembers ringers, those new and returning.

–  send the details direct to ww1bells@aol.com and

– remember to add them to the event on BellBoard, if appropriate, In which case, please include “Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild”.

We’d love to see every tower in our Guild recognised in the printed archives especially.

Performances post-30th November 2018 will be included in the digital archives.

Please be encouraged to ring more!

Thank you.

Viv Nobbs
WW1 Centenary Commemoration Team

Bells on Radio Solent this weekend!

This is the latest we have from Tim Daykin at BBC Radio Solent re: Bells this weekend…

Tim Daykin is broadcasting live from Royal Victoria Country Park Chapel.

Hopefully there will be a clip from the ringing of 1918 Plain Bob Triples at New Alresford recently reported here and a talk-up about the national ringing. This will most likely be towards the end of the programme.

Francis Mitchell has kindly supplied information to Tim re: the Chapel and its bells.

“Yes, I opened the Chapel and ran Tower Tours with volunteers from the Friends Group for over 4 years until the Chapel closed for the recent refurbishment.

The Chapel tower holds a clock chime of 3 bells (Whitechapel 1862) which were hung dead and sounded by clock hammers. The largest is the half ton hour bell which also has an internal clapper to which a rope was attached so it could be sounded as a service bell. I eventually persuaded Hants County Council to get a rope reattached so the bell could be “rung” on Tower Tours, as it is now.”
Tim’s show is broadcast from 6-9am on Sunday

 

Message to all our “Ringing Remembers” Ringers

To all our “Ringing Remembers” ringers, we wish you well for Sunday. Wear those badges with pride, you deserve to, for sure!

Armistice 2018 will be very meaningful for all of us ringers and we’re pleased and honoured to have you join us for this special Commemoration ringing tribute for the nation. Thank you all for your hard work and personal commitment that was necessary to reach the stage of being able to participate in Armistice  2018 ringing.

Most likely, you will have spoken to David Mattingley or me when you were first introduced to our Guild, or our conversations might have been by email. We look forward to meeting you all in person in a ringing room in the not-too-distant future.

Meanwhile, best wishes once again for Sunday and please consider letting me know of your experiences of your WW1 Centenary Commemoration ringing on Sunday.

Thank you all and your tutors who have worked vey hard consistently to achieve amazing results.

Guild Public Relations Officer

The Call of Bells

For centuries the bells have called
through countless ringers’ hands
To come to worship, prayer and song
the people of these lands

The bells fell silent one by one
as ringers went to war
They’d heard the call to go to fight
the war to end all wars

Four years on the guns fell still
and most of them returned
Their families embraced them back
they went to join their bands

The broken bones that many had
would mend in time they hoped
But those whose limbs were lost in war
would never hold a rope

And men with shell-shock could not bear
to hear the bells again
The sound brought back the crash of shells
the cries of dying men

Now fourteen hundred ringers lie
beneath a distant sky
Though silent, still we hear their call
their spirits ring on high

They call to us to ring the bells
to learn the ancient art
So England evermore shall hear
the nations beating heart