Category Archives: Guild

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200 Club November draw

The November 2020 numbers for the W&P 200 Club were drawn by Robin Milford of Curdridge and Wendy Smart of Botley, and announced at the on-line Executive Committee meeting on Saturday 21st November 2020. The results were as follows:

 Draw Date20/11/2020  
 TDF contribution£37.00  
PrizePrize Accumulation£40.00Winning
Numbers
Winners
First50%£20.0010Tangley Bellringers
Second20%£8.0016Graham Nobbs
Third10%£4.0019Anne LeMarechal
Fourth10%£4.0035Piers Armstrong (2)
Fifth5%£2.0027Christine Hill
Sixth5%£2.0031Wendy Ling

I have delayed sending out prizes from previous draws this year because of the pandemic, and they are being sent out now. This year’s total contribution from the 200 Club to the Guild Training and Development Fund is £127.

The next draw will take place in March next year for the Guild Executive Committee meeting. 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

Winchester District Coursing order – training presentation from Sat 14th November 2020

Winchester District held an online training course using Zoom on Saturday 14th November. It was presented by Edmund Wratten, District Ringing Master, and attended by over 30 members.

The presentation that Edmund gave is available to download here.

NB: This presentation requires LibreOffice, available to download and use for free from https://www.libreoffice.org/

You will only be able to view the presentation using Impress in LibreOffice. Once you have installed LibreOffice click on the link above to download the presentation. It will not work in PowerPoint or online.


Macro setting required to run the presentation: In Impress (the LibreOffice equivalent of Microsoft PowerPoint) you will need to set the Macro Security level to ‘Medium’ in the security settings, the menu structure may vary depending on which operating system you are using – Go to the ‘Tools‘ menu (or on some operating systems the ‘LibreOffice’ menu);  select ‘Options…‘ (or ‘Preferences…’) ;  expand the ‘LibreOffice‘ heading and select ‘Security‘ then click on the ‘Macro Security…‘ button;  On the ‘Security Level’ tab select ‘Medium‘.

Edmund Wratten

Ringing Master

Winchester District

Remembrance Sunday Ringing and Poppy Wreath at Memorial – St Peter’s Church Bell Ringers – 8th November 2020

St Peter’s Church Bell ringer John Leary, one of the young ringers, tolled the tenor bell on behalf of the band paying tribute to the fallen, before the Sunday Remembrance Day commemorations in Petersfield. John, photographed in the St Peter’s Church Bell Tower is standing by the photograph, on the right of the picture of the Rev Victor Wardle former assistant Priest at Petersfield and a bell ringer.  He died in an internment camp in Japan on 4th January 1945. 

A poppy wreath was taken to the Petersfield War Memorial on Sunday afternoon and placed there on behalf of the St Peter’s Church Bell ringers by Caroline M Welsh, bell ringer, with the following card inscription.

From St Peter’s Church Bell Ringers

When you go home

Tell them of us and say

For your  tomorrow we gave our today

In remembrance

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

Guild Officer Recruitment

Message from the Master:-

Dear Members

At the recent AGM, it was announced that regrettably our General Secretary has had to stand down due to personal reasons and we are URGENTLY seeking a replacement to fill the post for the next 2 years until re-election of officers in June 2022.

It is important for the Guild that we find someone to fill this role. Ideally we would like to have someone available that could be voted in post at the November Exec. If you think there may be someone in your tower who might be interested then please get in contact with them to find out. I would love somebody to just come forward and volunteer however if you think that you might be interested please do not hesitate to email me or give me a call (07583 356 936) to chat about it.

Also attached are 2 recruitment posters for Communications and Striking competition Committees. The Comms committee additionally needs a convener, a post which Andrew Glover has been covering since Gary Marsh left as well as his Webmaster role and he could do with a well-earned break. In the same way please could you consider joining one of these committees to support the Guild or actively discuss with tower members who you think may be interested or suited to the job.

Many thanks

Pete Jordan

Master  – Winchester & Portsmouth Guild of Church Bell Ringers. 

Posters

Guild Secretary

Striking Competition Committee

Guild Communications Committee

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)

President’s Blog #19

The days have probably gone when ringers chose their universities based on the ringing opportunities available. Many of my contemporaries will admit that ringing was a factor in their own choices, but those were different times, times when the “Desmond” (a.k.a. the “Ringer’s Degree”) was almost, but not quite, a badge of honour. For young ringers, going to university can be an exciting time, but it is also a time looked forward to by the ringing communities receiving them. Fresh keen ringers are welcome anywhere.

In my home city of Birmingham, we were pleased to see university students return and also to welcome a few very capable ringers who have stated at our universities. Ringing opportunities are currently limited but the new arrivals have been included in the city centre ringing. There was much discussion on university societies at the Council AGM after workgroup leader Ian Roulstone gave his short presentation, particularly the importance of supporting university ringing if the university society doesn’t have critical mass. More information can be found on this workgroup on the newly updated workgroup page of the CC website

Coverage of ringing in national media seems to have got better in recent years. Emily Hall featured in an excellent BBC piece on the return of ‘Covid-Secure’ ringing to Beeston, turning a difficult situation into a positive. You may also have seen a brief glimpse of comedian Susan Calman in a trailer for her ‘Secret Scotland’ series. A vignette on her visiting the bell tower at Inveraray, looked after by Ruth Marshall, will appear in an episode to be broadcast in December.

Last time I talked about two towers that had moved ringers onto different levels to achieve more separation but has any tower adapted their rope circle to increase the spacing between ropes and ringers? Nantwich, which benefits from a large ringing chamber anyway, has inserted new timber struts between walls to allow a rope to be drawn into a new position (see picture). Be careful when making adjustments to towers – check with the Incumbent whether a faculty is required (Nantwich did and one wasn’t).

Progress is being made on the Covid ringing guidance – quietness is not a sign of inactivity. The Council’s small guidance team is pleased to welcome David Pouncey to its ranks. 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 and is now reviewing and updating all the Guidance Notes.

Situations vacant! The Council is looking for someone to help our Secretary, Mary Bone, in an assistant role. This is particularly in terms of helping with the administration of Council membership, dealing with changes in details, maintaining address lists in various places, and helping in the run up to the AGM. If you have some organisational ability, some spare time, and would like to become a valued member of the team, please either contact Mary secretary@cccbr.org.uk or me.

Changing flights is a regular reminder of overseas ringing trips that have been cancelled. This week I finally got the email from Aer Lingus saying that my flights to New York to judge the Trinity Shield had been cancelled, along with an impossible refund process. But I was happy to take the voucher because it will happen again. The best thing about Aer Lingus to New York from Birmingham via Dublin is you can have four breakfasts – one at each airport and one on each aircraft.

ART has adapted its Learning the Ropes Handbells scheme to allow quarter peals on online platforms in a pragmatic approach to keeping people making progress. Part of ART’s thinking was that such performances are generally harder than ringing with real people in front of you ringing real bells up and down. There is one proviso though in that to complete the LtR Handbells scheme, at least one quarter peal should be rung with real people and real bells. This was felt sufficient to demonstrate good handbell technique and the ability to ring in the same room as others (or same churchyard).

I enjoyed a Sunday evening discussion with members of the Truro DG. An hour easily turned into two as we explored a range of subjects with differing levels of controversy! For instance, “how many rings of bells would you have left in your area if every church with a congregation of fewer than 25 closed for good?” One thing I thought was very interesting and possibly little known is the practice of ringing call change peals – long compositions of call changes, which can be very challenging. Am I right in thinking someone has called a complete peal (as in method peal) in call changes or did I dream it?

Search for Tong in/on Dove and you will see find a perhaps unremarkable 12 cwt ring of 6, but then you come across the additional information “Also hung for ringing: bourdon bell (‘Great Bell of Tong’); rung from chancel.” Rung only on a small number of special days in the year, the Great Bell is a special thing – a special thing which is now easier to ring as it has been re-hung by Taylors. Apparently it actually goes up to the balance now with no hernia risk, which is a definite improvement.

Finally, just like other museums, the Loughborough Bellfoundry Museum has been closed to visitors, and group tours of the bellfoundry buildings have also stopped. Good news is the trust that owns it has received lottery funding to make changes within the building to ensure it is COVID compliant and can reopen to visitors. There are longer term plans to develop the museum further – the Brumdingers young ringers group had great fun helping with ideas for how such a museum could be attractive to young visitors, although there was a lot of focus on the gift shop and café!

Simon Linford
President CCCBR

Content from https://cccbr.org.uk/2020/09/29/presidents-blog-19/ and logo used with permission from Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

200 Club draw results – September 2020

Normally the 200 Club draw is held at the AGM. This year, for obvious reasons, that was not possible so Wendy Smart (of Botley) and I did the draw together last Tuesday. As the AGM was delayed the numbers that went into the hat were those contributing between April and July, to maintain consistency with previous draws, rather than April to September. The amount available was reduced as some of my regular subscribers were unable to make their usual cash payments in person. Anyway, the results of the draw, as announced by Pete Jordan after the Zoom on-line AGM this afternoon, were as follows:

Draw Date: 22/09/2020

Draw for April to July money
Prize Accumulation £34.00

Winning Numbers Winners
First 50% £17.00 13 Allan R Yalden
Second 20% £6.80 15 Viv Nobbs
Third 10% £3.40 25 Nikki Brown
Fourth 10% £3.40 35 Piers Armstrong (2)
Fifth 5% £1.70 6 Pete Jordan
Sixth 5% £1.70 28 Peter Hill

I shall be sending the prize money out shortly. The Training and Development Fund will also benefit by £34 as a result of this draw. The next draw will be in November at the Executive Committee meeting. If anyone would like to join the 200 Club please send me your details as listed on the 200 Club section of the Guild website.

Robin Milford

**AGM TODAY at 3pm**

If you have not already done so, you need to register before you can join the AGM online today.

The registration link will be available from your District or Tower Secretary. It is also available on the Guild Facebook site and Twitter and has been distributed to the win-port email group.

Instructions on how to register are available here.

Once your registration is approved you will receive further instructions on how to join the webinar and guidelines on how to participate in the meeting.

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.

200 Club Draw for AGM

The next 200 Club draw will take place later this week and the result will be announced after the AGM. Because of the delay to the AGM only subscriptions covering the period April to July will be included, to maintain consistency with other draws. The next draw, around the time of the November Executive Committee meeting, will cover the period August to November. Any existing subscribers who normally pay by cash, cheque or bank transfer rather than by standing order might like to check when their last payment was made to ensure you get entered into the next draw. New subscribers will be welcome! Details of payment methods are on the 200 Club page of the Guild website.

Robin Milford

Guild Newsletter – September 2020

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

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

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

Instructions on how to register are available here.


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

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

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

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

Channel Islands District future move to the Salisbury Diocesan Guild


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

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

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

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

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

Hoping you all stay safe and well.

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

Changes to Guidelines on Social Distancing?


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

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

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

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

Virtual Ringing


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Lockdown resources


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

Guild Membership Database


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

Channel Islands District future move to the Salisbury Diocesan Guild

Channel Islands District future move to the Salisbury Diocesan Guild.

Dear Friends

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

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

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

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

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

Hoping you all stay safe and well, 

Pete Jordan

Master  – Winchester & Portsmouth Guild of Church Bell Ringers. 

2020 GUILD AGM PAPERS

Dear All,

Please find below links to the papers including Agenda, motions A, B and C, MoM 2019 and the usual reports for the forthcoming AGM on to be held online on 26th September at 3pm.

Also attached is an item concerning general information about how the online AGM will be conducted and how to register. You must register in order to take part in the online AGM. Registration will open on 12th September.

Regards,

Adrian Nash

Hon. Gen. Secretary

Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers

AGM Papers

AGM Zoom Webinar Registration instructions (registration now open)

AGM Zoom Webinar Joining Instructions

Ringing for VJ Day at Petersfield

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

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

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

Caroline Welsh

Petersfield

President’s Blog #16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simon Linford
President CCCBR

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

Ringing Activities during Lockdown and beyond…

A while ago I asked what towers had been up to during lockdown. I had a few responses that I have reproduced below:

St Peter’s Bellringers of Titchfield , have been meeting once weekly on Zoom since the lockdown started. We have used our time to catch up with what everyone has been doing, we have also ventured into the Ringing Room with mixed results, we are however becoming used to the software.

One of the upsides of the lockdown is that we have been joined by an ex member at our meetings who is now living in the USA.

Lesley Blackburn – Tower Secretary

The Lockerley and East Tytherley band have been meeting on Jitsi Thursday evenings and Sundays mornings since the start of lockdown.  These replace the sessions we used to enjoy in the pub and over coffees.  We end each session with some ringing on Ringing Room for those that are interested – we are gradually getting better at it and managed our first 120 of Grandsire Doubles this morning.  We also set up a WhatsApp group that gets lots of use by the band.

Gary

St Michael’s Basingstoke have a zoom pub night on Wednesday instead of the practice for catch up and recently a quick quiz.

Ringing room practice is late afternoon on sunday. We ate getting better – gradually

Pete Jordan

Hursley

Our usual pattern of Zoom meetings continues, Tuesday is quiz night, Friday is round-up of news and Ringing Room, and Sunday morning is another chance to chat – often with a slightly wider group participating.

We have been making a bit of noise on the bells at Hursley. The Hills spent two Sunday mornings chiming four bells, mainly in rounds with a little bit of call changes, since then the Hursley married couples have rung minimus methods on socially distant bells (1, 4, 6, 8 of the front 8) – masked and hand-washed for about 15 minutes before the morning service.

Some of the Hursley and Romsey ringers have joined up on Ringing Room to attempt quarter peals, with limited success. Last week it looked as if we were going to score Yorkshire Major until a frozen screen/ringer stopped the attempt in its tracks.

On a personal note, I was pleased that the family age touch of 63 Stedman Triples eventually came round after multiple starts, although I would have to agree with the footnote – we found this very hard work!

It would be nice to hear how other towers are getting on – I did have the thought that there are now a lot of ringers who cannot ring because of social distancing, but there might be towers that are silent and could use some volunteers to chime/ring for service.

Peter Hill

Winchester Cathedral

The Cathedral has kept going mainly in the social dimension with walks aranged every – ? – fortnight – but this has all been arranged through the Cathedral What’sApp group, and since What’sApp seems to run only on smart phones and I feel I’m doing quite well if I can telephone people and take the odd ‘photo, I haven’t really got to grips with What’sApp, which also tells me I have a trillion messages and my version of WA is defunct. So no great progress there. We also have a Google Meet session at 7.30 on a Wednesday. That too, I fear, doesn’t work, for me at any rate. All I get is the hula hoop.

We began ringing at the Cathedral last Sunday – with six of us ringing bells #2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11. Very melodious, in a sort of modal, holy-minimalist sort of way. We rang a touch of PB Minor and a course of Cambridge, a hand-picked team. We came down to the Inner close to a round of applause from the rest of the Cathedral ringers. There should be a photo in the Hampshire Chronicle, courtesy of and (c) Colin Cook.

New Alresford has a social get-together on Zoom on Friday nights

Sparsholt has been hosting a get-together night on Monday eves, with people taking it in turn to organise quizzes. We had a grand finale open-air get together with social distancing at Littleton sports ground yesterday, and I think that will be it until September. There has also been a ringing session (using RR) once a week.

Meanwhile, the King’s Somborne/Stockbridge/Broughton/Houghton axis keeps going with five (YES FIVE) weekday sessions of 3/4-hour in The Ringing Room and Zoom. 5.00 p.m. on weekdays.

Bruce Purvis

If any other tower would like to let me know what they have been up to, please email me here and I can add your report to the website.

Thanks

Andrew Glover

W&P Webmaster

President’s Blog #15

There were a couple of salutary lessons this week on what the future may bring. St Margaret’s Westminster, home of a ring of 10, closed for public services forever on economic grounds with the congregation ‘moved’ to the Abbey next door. And then, of indirect significance, Sheffield Cathedral announced the disbanding of its choir, to start again from scratch with a ‘fresh vision’. We also heard of a couple of towers where bands will not ring again, one because there are no longer going to be services and another because its members are too old to return. We may need to start thinking about a future that could be very different.

The wearing of facemasks, which had previously been “strongly advised” in the Church of England, becomes mandatory in England from Sunday. While this is possibly the final straw for some people (“I am not going to go and ring for 15 minutes and wear a ****** mask”), there are plenty of people who do want to ring, including those newer to bellringing. My kids group, the Brumdingers, will ring for the first time next Sunday and the excitement levels have gone off the Richter scale.

The passing of Dennis Brock was announced shortly after my last blog was posted and he has been widely mourned. Dennis was well known as the oldest active bellringer, having been a loyal member of the band at Sunbury since the age of 11. His ringing for his 100th birthday was covered by national media.

The presentation of the Westley Awards for Church Bell Maintenance went ahead last week, hosted by SMWG. The award is for someone who has become involved in belfry maintenance within the last five years, and shows the most commitment to developing and using their own skills and those of others. Seven of the eight nominations were under 25, with a couple looking after bells whilst at university. The winner was Sue McClaughry from Calstock in Truro who has quickly gone from being a new ringer, to a new tower captain, to getting involved in bell maintenance because no one else was able to do, to leading a local rehanging project. She is now a Truro DG bell adviser advising other towers and PCCs. My daughter will add you to her list of inspiring women!

ART has published nearly 50 bell maintenance videos on YouTube, which have been edited and filmed in the last three weeks. They can be found in the ART Online Learning Channel. Like it or not, YouTube is where people go for instruction manuals these days. I have lost the instruction manual for my car six months after buying it but solved the problem of turning off the G-force meter by asking a passenger with YouTube on their phone. Trial and error was only making matters worse.

A late flurry of entries for the July YouTube competition took the number of candidates for “Best ringing on eight or more bells” to 21. Birmingham submitted a few pieces as the closing bell creaked into action, and the Devon call change ringers are once again strutting their stuff. The playlist can be found on the CC website. The judges this month are Wendy and Graham Bloom from Leeds. When I was a young ringer at Cannock, Wendy (then a Smith (always a Smith?)) was a member of the indomitable Lichfield Cathedral band that won our local 6 bell striking contest every year. That band was one of my early inspirations.

Laura Goodin’s “Ringing Room Take-Hold Lounge” has signed up it’s 600th member. The Facebook group acts as a melting pot for those wanting to ring together on Ringingroom. Last week Ringingroom had 3700 unique users, 85% of them from the UK. Many of the rest are from the US, Ireland, and Australia, though there is representation from several other countries as well. If you are looking for the quieter times, avoid Monday-Wednesday evenings, UK time, and Saturday late morning. There is no hour of the day where there isn’t at least someone on Ringing Room.

The use of simulators has come on leaps and bounds in lockdown. Has anyone considered whether it would be possible to deliver a ringing experience in a VR Headset? Does anyone have the knowledge or skills to say how difficult it would be or what it would cost to develop? It would really crack the peripheral vision aspects of ropesight on simulators.

Situations vacant. We are looking for someone with experience in venue or events management/promotion to get involved in a specific project. Contact me and I will let you know what it’s about – it’s a bit Secret Squirrel at the moment.

Westbury saw off a strong challenge from Ebbw Vale in the Facebook contest for best heavy eight. Jewry and Chewton Mendip (my favourites) fell at the semi-final stage. As with previous contests this one has stimulated much debate and banter. Patrick Deakin has now handed over organisation of the contests to Jack Pease, who has wasted no time in launching “Finest rings between 30 and 40cwt”. It’s worth subscribing to ‘Bellringers’ Facebook group just for this.

Mike Shelley talked again in the Ringing World about the Central Council not representing one and two bell towers and practitioners of chiming. I did raise this at the Council Executive meeting last Sunday because I thought it was a question worthy of some consideration. The Council’s member associations focus by and large on four bell towers and above – sometimes threes if they have a band. But not ones and twos, even if hung for ringing. Is there still a ‘Three and Four Bell Society’? Do enough people care about ringing on less than three to form a separate interest group and even society?

And finally, I am going to ring a church bell this Sunday for the first time in five months. I had a 15 minute workout on the bells in Phil Gay’s garage last Sunday (including mask) so I am all set.

Simon Linford
President CCCBR

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

President’s Blog #14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simon Linford
President CCCBR

2020 Striking Competitions cancelled

Hello Everyone.

Regrettably, and as I am sure you will understand, due to the covid-19 situation we will have to CANCEL all Guild striking competitions for 2020.

Apologies to those who were keen and eager to come along for a great mornings fun. Lets hope that next year we can take up the challenge again with renewed vigour!

Pete Jordan

Convener – Striking Competition Committee. 

Latest update from CCCBR on CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) – Updated 20th November

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.

Message from the Guild Master on the Latest CCCBR Guidance

Dear Friends,

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

The CofE have now released their latest update here.

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

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

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

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

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

With best wishes to you all.

Pete Jordan

Master  – Winchester & Portsmouth Guild of Church Bell Ringers

Guild Database Project Team

A small project team was set up as part of the Guild Action Plan, reviewed at the 2019 AGM, to look again at creating a Guild Membership Database. Previous attempts had proved too costly, so a cheaper, simpler solution was required. There was also a requirement for the Guild to be GDPR compliant.

The project team members are:

  • Master – Pete Jordan
  • Vice-Master – Allan Yalden
  • Hon General Secretary – Adrian Nash
  • Safeguarding Officer – John Davey
  • Mike Winterbourne (as Immediate Past Master)
  • Andrew Glover (for the Guild Communications Team)
  • Roger and Cathy Booth (for IT support)

Objectives of the project

  1. To set up a mechanism to reach a greater proportion of the membership than existing social media (The Guild Facebook page has 299 subscribers, but a significant number live outside the Guild. Win-Port has 213 members). The Guild has almost 1,500 members.
  2. There will be a membership database hosted on Google forms/sheets covering all members. Once added to the membership database, members will receive an invite to join a separate communications database, hosted on Mailchimp.
  3. To avoid communications messages becoming ‘junk mail’, those on the communications database will opt in only to receive relevant correspondence, which will be filtered by a predetermined list of ‘interests’.
  4. Create a Communications database on Mailchimp allowing members to sign up to receive communications of interest to them and also allow them to unsubscribe to any areas not of interest.

GDPR regulations came into effect in May 2018 so we are long overdue obtaining the consent of all of our members to hold personal data such as names, addresses, email address and phone numbers published in the Guild Annual Report or on the Guild website, or held by Guild and District officers.

The first part was to obtain approval from the Guild Executive for the project, and to adopt a GDPR compliant Privacy Policy. This was approved in November 2019.

The second part was the introduction of the online Guild Membership Database consent form to replace a previous paper version. This is being rolled out.

Further stages will include the establishment of a communications database for members to opt into, and working with Districts to enhance direct communication with members and make the collection of subscriptions and the production of the Annual Report easier and more accurate.

The project team can be contacted via comms@wpbells.org

Database icon attributed to Stockio.com

CCCBR Guidance on Returning to Service Ringing

The scene is set for a cautious return to ringing. It won’t be all the bells, it won’t be all the ringers, but it will be enough for ringing to be part of the resumption of church services and remind people which day is Sunday.

Returning to ringing is a subject dear to all our hearts. Simulators, Ringing Room and Zoom meetings are just not the same although we should applaud all those initiatives. On 12th June bellringing appeared in a list of activities which cannot take place in churches. That made us determined to find out who was advising government so that we could make our case. All the hard work being done on guidance and risk assessments is useless if the keys to the ringing room door have been taken away.

I am pleased to say we have now made a lot of progress. The people with the metaphorical keys to our ringing room doors are Mark Betson, convenor of the Church of England’s Recovery Group, and Brendan McCarthy, the Church’s Adviser for Medical Ethics, Health, and Social Care Policy. On Monday this week, Mark Regan, Phil Barnes and I had a Zoom call with them to position ringing in the church recovery plan. Note this is Church of England only initially. We intend to have similar discussions in Wales and Scotland and provide what support we can to those in other countries. Hopefully some of this guidance is useful anyway and can be adapted to local circumstances.

Our goal for the meeting was just to establish the Council as the trusted advisor to the CofE team and hence government on bell ringing. We had sent them our suite of six guidance notes, which have now been published on the Central Council website which they were very happy to approve.

Having not really considered bell ringing specifically before, they are 100% committed to making ringing part of the return of church activities. In the first instance though it must be just that. Our return will be about Sunday ringing as part of the church’s mission, not practice or self-indulgence, though they understood our longer-term desire and need to resume that as well. Mark Betson said it would be really good to get ringing going again, reminding everyone which day is Sunday, and letting the bells proclaim that the church is open. He wanted “a package of good news” to be launched together.

Brendan McCarthy was particularly cautious of any misinterpretation of the drop in the UK Government’s social distancing rule from 2m to 1m. He cited all the guidance coming to him that 2m was not sacrosanct, but that going from 2m to 1m represents a 10 fold increase in risk, and that he would remain cautious saying “Our first job is not to kill anyone.” Our return to ringing will therefore be cautious, socially distanced ringing, for a very limited period of 15 minutes, and only for services.

Mark and Brendan had meetings with Public Health England and UK Government that afternoon and this week. They promised to include ringing in the plans and coordinate with us. We advised that we would need a couple of weeks to get restarted, allowing for maintenance inspections, and they would clear such access with the Director of Cathedrals and Church Buildings. They were happy to link our Guidance Notes from the main Churchcare website where their primary Coronavirus guidance sits.

Ringing three or four bells for 15 minutes for a service is not what keeps most of us ringing. The novelty is going to wear off quite soon. It could be a long time before peals or even quarters are possible, and we won’t be able to do any teaching. However it is an essential part of the strategy for us getting ringing going again that the church values our contribution, and we have managed to get them to include us in their plans and see ringing as a positive that we want it to be. If we do not get bells ringing for Sunday service in this first phase of resumption then it will slow down later phases of opening up. It will reinforce the impression of us that some in the church have. 

We don’t know exactly which day this will be from yet, although some Dioceses have said they expect to have services after 4th July. We received specific confirmation that access to towers to check bell installations ready for ringing was approved, provided it is done safely by more than one person, socially distanced.

We therefore need to try and find ways of making this positive. Perhaps it is the opportunity to get ringing going in all those churches which rarely have their bells rung at all. It could be the start of something for those churches.

Finally I would like to thank all my colleagues on the Central Council Executive and Workgroups (SMWG in particular) who have worked very hard in the last couple of weeks (and Giles Blundell for a dose of inspiration).

The full guidance can be found here https://cccbr.org.uk/coronavirus/

Simon Linford
President, CCCBR

Published 25th June 2020

President’s Blog #12

Three months after most of us last rang tower bells there is a glimmer of hope. Bell ringing resumption, in a very limited way, is on the Church’s agenda alongside choirs and organs. Well done to Mark Regan for finding who it was in the Church of England who is advising government, and setting up a meeting with them yesterday morning. A separate report of this meeting will be published shortly, when the accompanying guidance notes have been checked by the Church (just in case they changed their mind today!)

Ringing for Grenfell highlighted how low down the pecking order of consultees ringers are when anything to do with ringing is considered. The Diocese of London announced that bells would ring for Grenfell on the same day that the Government published its guidance on opening churches confirmed that bellringing is still not a permitted activity. This is one of the reasons we are trying to raise the profile of ringing. We are firmly on the radar now and await developments.

The first of my three favourite ringing days of the year didn’t happen in fine style. I certainly benefitted from having at least 10 fewer pints. Matthew Tosh and his team’s wonderful “Not The Twelve Bell Live” helped compensate some of the 1,000 or so ringers who might otherwise have headed to Sheffield for the 12 Bell Final.

Virtual ringing continues to entertain and amuse. I laughed out loud at a comment in the Take-Hold Lounge when someone said they had an enquiry from someone who wanted to learn to ring and they were asked what timezone they were in! That must be the first time that has ever happened!

The custodian of the Lair of the Snow Tiger, Mark Davies (aka Embee Dee) put together a Zoom quarter peal of Stedman Triples with ringers in eight different countries. Is there no limit to how far boundaries can be pushed? “We choose to ring Stedman Triples in Ringing Room not because it is easy but because it is hard.”

Don Morrison has provided a US server for Graham John’s Handbell Stadium. How long before the rather disconcerting “Men in Black” avatars are replaced by people of your choice? Or maybe toy characters! I would so like to ring handbells with a band of muppets.

There is a question of whether any of these ringing tools that have emerged in lockdown will survive and become ongoing support for ringers. Richard Johnston has founded ‘The Dumbbell Society’ and is organising practices for people with dumbbells linked together via Abel and a dose of magic. They have already managed to ring Bob Doubles on distributed simulators, and this is potentially very interesting.

The Council’s Strategic Priorities have now been published on the website, having been serialised in The Ringing World. These were developed at the start of the year and are guiding Council Workgroup activities. They can be found here

Julia Cater’s working party looking at gender imbalance in ringing is well into the data gathering and research phase. Her team of seven will be publishing a website shortly and via that will be asking people with stories to tell to get in touch.

Bryn Reinstadler has kindly agreed to develop a new multi media publication on learning to call and conduct. She is going to focus particularly on making sure it doesn’t matter where in the circle you call from, to try and get us away from feeling that you have to ring a back bell to conduct.

I am delighted that we are continuing to get new people to work on the Council’s initiatives. The latest recruit is Paul Mounsey, who has agreed to represent the College Youths in the Council’s initiative that no ringer should meet a barrier to their own progression (Strategic Priority 2). The officers of the Society of Royal Cumberland Youths have also agreed to support this in principle.

By the time you read this in The Ringing World a new leader of the Historical & Archive Workgroup will be in place, taking over the reins from Doug Hird. Historical & Archive covers a range of activities from the Library to the Carter Ringing Machine. Next month, workgroup member Gareth Davies will be doing a star turn on the Churches Conservation Trust webinar series – his lecture ‘The Ringing Isle’ is on 16th July.

Would your project benefit from £1,000? Ecclesiastical Insurance runs regular awards programmes under which they give £1,000 to whichever causes have received the most nominations. A bit like choosing your favourite charity at a supermarket checkout. Does anyone else always just put it in the tub with the least tokens to even it up? (When I first went to ringers’ teas I used to have pieces of the least popular cakes because I didn’t want anyone to think their cake was unpopular. Does anyone else do that?) The Central Council managed to win one in 2017 and the Peterborough DG has also benefited. It just needs some coordination. Rather than apply again, we thought it would be better to bring it to others’ attention and see if anyone can suggest a project we can all support.

David Smith and Tim Hine in the V&L group have recruited Nich Wilson to lead on Ringing Centre strategy co-ordinating with ART which has its network of ART Hubs. Nich emailed us out of the blue a couple of months ago and said he was interested in getting involved so it’s great to find him a project.

Ringing Around Devon, the quarterly newsletter of the Guild of Devonshire Ringers, was circulated and had an astonishing 18 pages of tightly pack material. And that’s in a period of no ringing! Maybe we should circulate more lockdown newsletters and share more experiences. I remember a long time ago there was a competition for the best newsletter. Tony Kench submitted the College Youths Newsletter, which was produced by him with great pride, only for it to be discounted on the grounds of being “too professional”. A great injustice at the time!

Simon Linford
President CCCBR

Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell ringers – Lockdown Newsletter – June 2020

Ringing in Lockdown

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

It is being sent to all tower correspondents and Guild and District Officers whose e-mail address is published in the Guild Annual Report, and those on our database. It is important that we reach as many members of our Guild as possible, so please do forward this e-mail on to the other members of your band.

Guild Membership Database

The Guild is developing an electronic membership database, so that we can comply with data protection regulations, as personal data such as members names is published in the Annual Report. We also wish to improve communications with our members, which is important, especially in the current circumstances. We now have an electronic sign up form. Please do give us your consent to hold your personal data by completing the following on-line form, and encourage members of your band to sign up as well.

Message from the Guild Master

The first couple of weeks after lockdown came to me as a bit of a shock, as I am sure it did to you. The impact of having to stay at home was somewhat restrictive but understandably tolerable. Being unable to ring, particularly on a Sunday was however a complete shock to the system having been part of the landscape of my life for the past 40 years. The realisation that I was not the only one impacted and the possible effects on everyone in the Guild hit me very soon after. What would you all do without your weekly ‘fix’ of ringing….

Now, 12 weeks or so into lockdown things seem a little brighter with the ringing community making great efforts to keep in touch with each other using social media, virtual tower pub nights and online practices. Talking to the district Chairs over the last couple of weeks there seems to be pockets of such activity in most parts of the Guild, but by no means everywhere. If you have not already done so and you feel able please reach out to your neighbouring towers to check that they are ok and to support them with our new virtual world if they need it.

With best wishes to you all.

Pete Jordan

Youth ringing

The Ringing World National Youth Competition was due to take place in York on 4th July.  There were due to be three teams from the Guild participating, the W&P Youths from the mainland, Vectis Youths from the Isle of Wight and Channel Island Pirates.  The youth bands are naturally disappointed that this fantastic event has had to be postponed, but hopefully these bands will be able to participate in next year’s event.

Youth ringing practices on the mainland will start again when possible.  Practices are generally on the first Sunday of the month, are open to all ringers aged 18 and under (the youngest regular attendee is now 6), and cater for all abilities from rounds up to Surprise Major / Stedman Caters.  Look out for details of practices on the Guild Facebook site and website, or contact Andy Ingram for more information.

When will ringing be able to resume?

Socially distanced handbell ringing is now permissible outdoors, and tower bell ringing has been able to resume in the Channel Islands. However on the mainland, whilst churches will be permitted to hold Sunday services again after 4th July, this limited to a maximum of 30 participants and is subject to ‘social distancing’ measures remaining in place. 

Even though it has been reduced to ‘one metre plus’, social distancing in belfries is extremely difficult, and there are a number of detailed considerations to be thought through as part of the risk assessment which parishes are required to undertake beforehand. Mitigation measures will be required Therefore, even when ringing resumes, it may need to be limited to short durations and with just a small group of people. Ringing as we knew it, and especially teaching new ringers, which requires close contact, may still not be possible for a significant period of time.

We will update you in a future newsletter once things change significantly. In the mean time The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers is working with the CofE and detailed guidance, which is regularly updated, can be downloaded from: https://cccbr.org.uk/coronavirus/

Virtual pub visits, quizzes and webinars
During lockdown, to keep in touch some bands, such as those at Basingstoke, Hursley, Eling and Alresford are holding virtual pub visits, quizzes and even practices. Zoom is the most popular way of doing this. All that is needed is a computer connected to the internet with a microphone, camera and loudspeakers.
The software can be downloaded for free by each of the users and although it’s not the same as meeting people in person, it is a really good way of keeping in touch with each other.
There is also a growing list of training webinars which have been delivered on Zoom.
Virtual Practices
In addition to Zoom, some ringers have taken this a stage further, using internet gaming technology. Several applications have been developed, the most popular being www.ringingroom.com. Users can make a virtual bell to sound by pressing the ‘J’ key on their keyboard. Local bands have then been practicing ringing rounds, call-changes and even methods together. It takes a little getting used to a first, but it is a really good way of helping newer ringers to count their places, and understand ringing theory, as well as good fun.
Other applications include Handbell Stadium and Discord where it is also possible to use motion sensors and dummy handbells to practice double handed handbell ringing.

Training webinars

The Guild Education Committee is putting on a webinnar to help those who have not yet used Zoom or Ringing room to find out more. The webinar will last between about 45 minutes and one hour. There is a choice of three dates/times:

  • Wednesday 1st July  – 7.30pm
  • Saturday 4th July – 10.00am
  • Sunday 5th July – 6.00pm

Places on each webinar need to be limited, so please use the booking form below and we will send you login details before your selected date/time.

Please also use the form to tell us what future webinars you would like us to put on. This could be theory of call changes, listening skills, how to learn a particular method, bob calling and conducting, steeple-keeping; introduction to handbell ringing, etc.

We would also like to hear from people who have specialist skills or spare time to help the Guild and its members. You may have some IT skills or communication skills that could help individual towers update their websites and prepare for the resumption of regular ringing, or you might be able to help with delivering on-line training webinars. There is much which could be done. Book your place here.

Lockdown resources

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

Guild Annual General Meeting

The Guild AGM has been re-arranged for Saturday 26th September. Further details will be published in the next edition of this newsletter.

What has your tower or band been doing together since lockdown?

Many of us will have been missing our ringing since the lockdown began mid-March and still no idea when we can safely return to tower bell ringing.

So what have you all been up to since then?

Have you made use of video conferencing for video chats or used the online ringing platforms or perhaps even taken up new hobby? Or maybe you have just enjoyed the break!

We would love to know what you have been up to, so please let us know at wpbells@gmail.com and we will collate the replies. It would be really great to know what everyone has been doing and might encourage bands that have been fairly quiet to do something.

I know that Hursley have been meeting on Zoom 3 times a week! Peter Hill says “Sunday morning (11:00) is a general catch up – not much is happening tbh, and we sometimes have time for a short touch on Ringing Room. Tuesday has turned into quiz night – quite a jolly affair usually – even if Chris Hill seems to win most of the rounds. Friday night has a greater focus on ringing – touches of Cambridge Minor and Grandsire Triples have come round, but we have seen only modest improvement in our ringing.

Very impressive Hursley! – can any other towers beat that?

Bellringing during lockdown on the BBC!

Following an international collaboration, it is hoped that BBC TV will air a segment in their main news bulletins on Saturday 30th May 2020 on bellringing during lockdown, including interviews and a feature on virtual ringing using Ringing Room.

At the moment the segment is scheduled to air on the main evening news bulletins which are 5.30pm & 10pm on BBC 1 subject to being overtaken by events but the editors are really keen on it so fingers crossed.

CCCBR Stewardship & Management Workgroup When We Ring Again

When we ring again

Our bells have not been rung for many months so it is very important that ringers arrange to undertake appropriate maintenance checks and any necessary remedial work before we start to ring in every tower.

Even though we may be asked or wish to ring at the first opportunity, it is essential that we make sure that it is safe to do so. We do not wish to cause yet more problems for the NHS and emergency services!

Stay at home may no longer apply, but protect the NHS, save lives must still be a firm resolve!

In addition, in most areas people in the vicinity of the tower have become accustomed to the unusual quiet – the bells have not been rung, many church chiming clocks have stopped, and traffic, aircraft, building and industry noises have all reduced markedly. This is a good opportunity to alert neighbours through the local media.

What to do as we prepare to ring again

First, it must be remembered that the majority of bells are the property of the church, so the Tower Captain should confirm with the incumbent that they agree to ringing recommencing.

We strongly advise that all ringing societies ensure that the conditions in every tower are checked. This includes those towers where there are few or no ringers since for these towers, the correspondents may just be a key holder and they may well not be aware that checks should be undertaken or what to look for. We need to avoid the risk that they could let ringers into a tower many weeks or months after we start to ring again, without any checks being done.

Why are we advising that these checks are done, when no one will have been in the church or tower? Even though this should have been the case, no one will have been aware of what may have occurred – for example:

  1. The louvres and bird netting may have been dislodged so that birds have entered the tower and built up what can become very large piles of twigs! (see The Ringing World, issue 5631, March 2019)
  2. Somebody may have entered the tower for some reason, legitimate or otherwise, and left something or removed something such that the conditions in the tower are no longer safe.
  3. Something may have broken or become dislodged during the period since the tower was last visited and could now be in a dangerous state.
  4. If the bells were left mouth up, then something may have fallen into a bell, for example rainwater. (IMPORTANT – checks in the bell chamber with bells up will only be feasible in towers where it is safe to move around without any risk of injury while the bells are up.)

For the relatively few towers where bells are usually left mouth up all the time, this may be an ideal time to undertake fuller inspections and any maintenance, whilst the bells are still down and before being rung again.

The schedule is taken from the CCCBR Manual of Belfry Maintenance 2017 (available here https://cccbr.org.uk/product-category/maint-rest/) It is essential that the Weekly, Monthly and Quarterly checks are completed. Also the Annual checks if those have not been done since about September 2019. Once complete, add these checks to the tower maintenance records, as advised on Page 110 of the Manual. If you do not have people who have the necessary skill and expertise to complete the checks, then ask for assistance from your local ringing society (https://cccbr.org.uk/about/members/)

This is also the time to alert local residents that the bells will be ringing again. This can be on the church website, posters on the church notice board, church newsletters and even notes through letter boxes in the surrounding area. Take the opportunity to remind them of normal service and practice times, along with other extra ringing that may be proposed. Invite them to see the ringers in action – it may be the time to recruit some new recruits!

Alison Hodge
Stewardship & Management Workgroup Lead
smlead@cccbr.org.uk

Inter Tower 6 and 8 bell striking competition

Following the postponement of the competitions in May this year due to Covid-19 issues we are proposing to hold the competitions on Saturday 5th September instead of the 10-bell Inter District competition. The venues are still to be confirmed but are still planned to be in the C&S District.

This is all reliant on the CC and C of E position at the time, however please put it in your diary as a date to work towards. I think we are all dubious as to whether we will be ringing by then so this is a stake in the ground for now. We may need to consider something different nearer the time.

Many Thanks

Pete Jordan

Master  – Winchester & Portsmouth Guild of Church Bell Ringers. 

Striking competition convener.