Category Archives: Guild

News and Events that come from one of the Guild Committees.
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Guild 2021 AGM – Saturday 12th June at 10.15am via Zoom

The Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild AGM 2021 will be held on Saturday 12th June at 10.15 a.m. Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic the AGM will be held online using the Zoom Pro platform. You will need to register in advance and instructions will be issued nearer the time.

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

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

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

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

Dear Guild Members,

I hope this message finds you all safe and well.

Many of us enjoy using social media and email to share news, stories and useful information, particularly during the pandemic whilst contact with others has been restricted. In the same way the Guild social media and email accounts have been used to share our news, photographs and the odd joke to keep us all in touch, smiling and to break the monotony.

However, occasionally, posts on the Guilds social media feeds or email groups have taken on subjects that some followers have found rather uncomfortable, with criticism aimed at fellow members. In today’s society, this type of interaction is viewed as unacceptable, and depending on content, can be defined as trolling, bullying or harassment. The Guild does not wish to prevent freedom of speech: social media is ideal for sharing news and legitimate comment, but direct attacks are not acceptable. 

Please be considerate when using any of the Guilds Facebook, Twitter, email forums or any other Guild social media accounts.

Attached is the CCCBR guidance which can also be found at: https://cccbr.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Social_Media_Guidance_2013.pdf

Thank you for your cooperation.

Pete Jordan

Master  – Winchester & Portsmouth Guild of Church Bell Ringers. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rules:

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

CCCBR Guidance from 17th May – England

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

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

The highlights of the guidance are that:

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

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

Guidance 17 May to 21 June

Is it appropriate for an individual to ring?

Simon Linford
President CCCBR

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

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

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

Initial announcement made on 9th April 2021

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

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

Guidance for ringing for the Duke of Edinburgh 

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

Webinar recordings

Recordings of the recent webinars held on Saturday mornings have now been uploaded to YouTube. The links are below.

  • Calling bobs in Plain Bob & Grandsire Doubles on 13.02.2021  – Nikki Thomas
  • Learning a method on 27.02.2021  – Martin Daniels and Roger Booth
  • History of bells in Hampshire on 13.03.2021 – Phil Watts

Recruitment and Retention on 27.03.21 – Matt Lawrence

The current run of webinars has now come to an end. More will be arranged after Easter in the run up to ringing resuming if there is sufficient demand. Please let us know any topics you would like to see covered. Send an email to the Communications Team with your suggestions.

200 Club Draw results – March 2021

Once again the Covid situation meant that the March 2021 numbers for the W&P 200 Club had to be drawn at home,  by Robin Milford of Curdridge and Wendy Smart of Botley, and announced at the on-line Executive Committee meeting on Saturday 20th March 2021. We didn’t peek during the draw, honest! The results were as follows:

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

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

Robin Milford

Easter Sunday Ringing

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

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

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

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

Simon Linford

President

Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

Link to article on CCCBR website Easter Sunday ringing – CCCBR

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

Vaccination, and Virus Transmission in Towers – CCCBR

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

***Updated 12th March 2021***

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

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


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


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


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

Article supplied by Peter Hill.

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

Survival and Recovery Newsletter – Issue 4

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

Survival and Recovery Newsheet – Issue 4 

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

Survival and Recovery Toolbox

Bell Restoration Fund Rules

1. Title

The fund shall be known as the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers Bell Restoration Fund.

2. Registration

The fund shall be registered as a charity.

3. Aims

The object of this fund shall be to provide financial assistance by way of grants to Churches, within the Diocese of Winchester and Portsmouth, incurring expenditure on the provision, maintenance, improvement
or acoustics of their bells and bell installations, or for the maintenance of the fabric of their towers and belfries, to enable their bells to be properly rung in full circle.

4. Definitions

References to ‘the Guild’ shall mean the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers. References to ‘the Executive Committee’ shall mean the Executive Committee of the Guild.

5. Trustees

The Trustees of the fund, referred to hereinafter as ‘the Trustees’, shall be the Master, the Honorary General Secretary and the Honorary General Treasurer of the Guild, and two Trustees, one from each Diocese, elected triennially by the Annual General Meeting of the Guild.

6. Honorary Independent Examiner

The Honorary Independent Examiner of the fund shall be the Honorary Independent Examiner for the time being of the Guild.


7. Administration

The fund shall be administered by the Trustees.

8. Grants

a. An application for or proposal to make a grant from this fund shall be considered only at a General Meeting of the Guild or at a meeting of the Executive Committee, provided at least one month’s notice in writing has been given of such application or proposal to the Honorary General Secretary.

b. Following notice duly given, the Trustees shall consider such applications or proposals and shall make recommendations to the meeting of the Guild or Executive Committee at which the application or proposal shall be discussed.

c. Grants shall be made from this fund only for the purposes outlined in the objectives in rule 3 above. A grant may be made, subject to the requirements of rule 8a above, if approved by two-thirds or more of
those members of the Guild present and voting at a General Meeting of the Guild or at a meeting of the Executive Committee. To be eligible to vote on such matters, members must fulfil the requirements of the Guild on voting. The Trustees shall inform the Guild of any grants approved at a meeting of the Executive Committee at the next General Meeting of the Guild.

d. Following such approval a grant shall be made, except that the Trustees shall be given absolute discretion to reduce, but not to increase, a grant, in the exceptional circumstances that they unanimously feel it in the interests of the fund and of the Guild to do so. They shall inform the Guild of any such action at the next General Meeting of the Guild.

9. Disbursements


Any payments drawn on this fund under rule 8 above, or required under rule 11 below, shall be made over the signature of the Honorary General Treasurer for the time being and one other Trustee of the fund. No payment shall be made until the work is satisfactorily completed. All administrative and other expenses incurred in respect of the fund other than those specifically relating to the acquisition and realisation of investments shall be borne by the Guild.

10. Accounts


a. The Honorary General Treasurer shall prepare accounts, consisting of a balance sheet at 31st December each year, and an income and expenditure account for the year ending on that date.

b. These accounts shall be presented to the Independent Examiner of the fund who shall satisfy himself as to the correctness thereof.

c. These accounts, duly independently examined, shall be submitted for approval to the Annual General Meeting of the Guild next after the 31st December to which the accounts of the fund have been prepared.

11. Investments

The Trustees acting together shall have the power to invest or otherwise deal with the assets of the fund and such sums as the members of the Guild shall contribute or from time to time decide to transfer to the fund, in such manner as they think fit in the best interests of the fund.

12. Dissolution of the fund

a. If it shall be decided to dissolve the fund, such decision being taken only at an Annual General Meeting of the Guild, one month’s notice having been given by the Honorary General Secretary to Tower
Secretaries of such intent, the assets shall be disposed of to either or between both of the following:

i. To other charitable Bell Restoration Funds as the Guild may select

ii. To the Cathedrals of Winchester and Portsmouth for the religious and charitable purposes of the said Cathedrals.

b. In the event of the Guild becoming defunct, it shall be allowed for the Registrar of Charities after five years non-working of the fund to cause it to be dissolved and its assets applied as under rule 12 a ii.


13. Changes of rules

a. No amendment of, addition to, or deletion from these Rules shall be made which would cause the fund at any time to cease to be a charity in law.

b. No alteration or addition to the above Rules may be made except at a General Meeting of the Guild, or Special Meeting called for the purpose, when the number of eligible members voting in favour must be at least 20 and double those voting against the proposal. Notice of any such proposed alteration or addition must be given in writing at least two months before the date of the meeting to the Honorary General Secretary of the Guild, who shall inform all Tower Secretaries of the Guild of this proposal at least one month before the aforesaid meeting.

Last updated 17th March 2021

Survival and Recovery – Newsheet 3

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

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

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

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

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

Listening skills webinar recordings

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

The recordings of the webinar can be viewed here:

Part 1 – Theory: Link to recording

Part 2 – Practical: Link to recording

Useful resources

Listen and strike: Tips and videos on the Learning the Ropes website

Abel website: Abel, Mabel and Mobel Ringing Simulators (abelsim.co.uk)

Abel – Eight ‘how to’ videos: Abel Ringing Simulator – YouTube

Virtual Belfry website: Virtual Belfry (belfryware.com)

Virtual Belfry – Seventeen ‘how to’ videos Virtual Belfry Ringing Simulator – YouTube

Central Council Publications: Listening CD’s

Whiting Society Publications: Come on Listen to it – book and DVD

Fun with bells podcast: 15 tips to improve your striking – Fun With Bells – a podcast

CCCBR/ART Newsheet Survival and Recovery – January 2021

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

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

Virtual Ringing Room Practices

Aims

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

Dates:

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

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

Joining the Virtual practice

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

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

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

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

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

Breakout rooms

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

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

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

Listening Skills webinar

Saturday 16th January 2021 at 10.15am

With Andy Ingram and Roger Booth

Joining the webinar

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

Link to W&P Webinars

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

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

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

What will be covered?

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

Follow up

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

Ringing Room Practices

Guild Newsletter – January 2021

This newsletter can also be downloaded as a .pdf

Contents

Happy New Year!

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

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

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

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

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

Master’s Message

Dear Friends.

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

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

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

Pete Jordan, Master

Introducing Steve Lamb – The New General Secretary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favourite TV series? The Crown

Favourite food? Roast Lamb with all the trimmings

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

Training Webinars and Ringing Room Practices

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Between webinars

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

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

After Easter

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

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

Debbie Matthias, Blackmoor

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

Cath Hart, Sherfield English and Romsey Abbey

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

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

For newer ringers

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

Devon call-change ringers

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

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

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

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

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

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

For intermediate ringers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simon Linford and his daughter Charlie

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

Guild Training and Development Fund

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

The Training and Development fund is there to help. The object of the fund is to provide financial assistance to individuals and groups incurring expenditure on: the provision of training, attending courses and events, training materials, payment of tutor expenses, educational assets and any other worthy project to enhance and enable the development of a ringer or group of ringers.

Perhaps you would like to buy some attractive leaflets or roller banners for a tower open day, or hire a mini-ring or mobile belfry for your local carnival or festival. You may also want to equip your tower with a simulator.

  • Applications. To be forwarded to Helen Woolford the Honorary Treasurer in writing or e-mail
  • Decisions. An application for a grant from this fund will be considered by the Officials, and their decision relayed to the applicant in a timely manner.
  • To qualify for a grant, applicants must be paid-up members or probationary members of the Guild.
  • Grants towards the cost of residential training courses will normally be awarded up to a maximum rate of 50% of the course costs and not exceeding £100.
  • The cost of Association of Ringing Techers (ART) teacher training modules and workshops may be awarded in full.
  • Depending upon the funds available and the number of applications , awards may have to be scaled down accordingly.
  • Only one award will be made per individual in any one calendar year.
  • Applicants will be asked to provide evidence of expenses/course fees.

Click here to download the application form

In addition to the Training and development fund, Rule 16 provides that the“… First charge on District Funds (after administration) shall be for instruction (whenever possible) in change ringing…” so you can also apply to your District as well.

200 Club

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

The Guild set up the Training and Development Fund (TDF), with the object of giving grants to individuals or groups for training, attending courses, buying educational assets or other worthy projects to help in the development of ringers. The Fund officials are the Guild Master, Vice-Master, Honorary General Secretary and Honorary Treasurer. The 200 Club is run separately, solely to raise money for the Fund.

Club members pay a subscription of £12 per year, preferably by Standing Order to ease administration but alternatively by bank transfer, cheque or cash. This is spread over the year at £1/month. Draws are held three times a year, nominally at the March and November Executive Committee meetings and the Guild AGM. At each draw the total of members’ monthly contributions since the previous draw is split with approximately half going to the Fund, paid at the end of the year, and the remainder given out as six prizes.

The first gets 50% of the prize accumulation, the second 20%, the third and fourth 10% each and the fifth and sixth 5% each. To date £521 has been given out in prizes and £511 to the Fund. At present the Club has only 31 subscribers, so prizes are often small.

If you would like to join, and raise money for this worthy cause, copies of the form, plus a standing order details are on the W&P website: ‘200 Club’. The next draw will take place in March next year at the Guild Executive Committee meeting. Money received between now and the meeting will go into that draw. More members mean bigger prizes and more money raised for the TDF!

Robin Milford

Winners of the November Draw were:

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

Safeguarding

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

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

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

50 Virtual Ringing Things

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

The Charmborough Ring

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

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

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

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

The W&P needs YOUR help

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

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

The Communications Committee is responsible for:

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

If you are interested please contact Andrew Glover.

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

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

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

Belfry Stewardship Commttee. The committee exists to give advice about:

  • Bells and their fittings in any Guild tower;
  • To inspect and report on all completed bell restoration works subject to grants from the Guild Bell Restoration Fund, and
  • To continue the work of the Guild’s Bell Stock Survey.

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

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

Win-Port Email Group moves to Google Groups

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

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

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

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

Andrew Glover, Webmaster W&P

Bishop of Portsmouth retires

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

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

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

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

District Annual General Meetings

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

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

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

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

Bell Restoration Fund News

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donate to the Bell Restoration Fund

If you wish to donate to the Bell Restoration Fund, please contact the Guild Treasurer hon.treasurer@wpbells.org  who will provide you with the details required in order to make an electronic transfer. You will also be asked if you would like to gift aid your donation, and if so provide a gift aid form for you to complete.  If you are a taxpayer, Gift aid enables us to reclaim an additional 25% of your donation from HMRC

If you wish to apply for a grant, when you have decided on a specific scheme send a completed Application Form to the Guild Secretary a minimum of one month prior to the AGM in June or the March and November Executive.  Meetings.  The Belfry Stewardship Committee can help you with advice from an early stage when you are considering options and putting a scheme together.

Christmas ringing and Tier 4 – England

Update from 21st December 2020

I write this with a heavy heart, and it is not made any easier knowing that most of you will be expecting it. The impact on ringing of the decisions of the government in England to introduce Tier 4 and to change Christmas bubble arrangements in other Tiers is as nothing compared with other impacts on people’s lives. Just when we thought we had turned the corner our lives need to be more disrupted.

The new rules for Tier 4 state that no non-essential mixing outside of households (other than in a support bubble) is allowed, with only necessary travel outside the house. Whilst public worship is still permitted, there is no mingling with anyone outside your household or support bubble, so ringing will not be allowed in Tier 4. As with the current Tier 3 guidance, tower bells could still be rung by members of the same household, single bells, or by the use of Ellacombe chimes. The Church’s and our view is that this is part of an act of worship.

We are not changing our guidance in other Tiers at this stage, although the increasing speed of transmission of this mutated virus may cause a review sooner rather than later. The Christmas easing and adoption of Tier 1 ringing guidance in Tiers 2 and 3 should be limited as far as possible – think very carefully about whether it is strictly necessary and consider which church services are most important. The guidance is not a boundary at which to push, and you or your band can decide not to ring for whatever reason. By following the basic principles of reducing travel out of the home and contact with other people as much as possible, we can protect ourselves and our communities. Face masks and social distancing only reduce the risk – they don’t remove it.

I read a lot of ringing social media comment at the weekend, and what was clear was that most ringers are perfectly capable of working out for themselves how national guidance translates to ringing. The most powerful contribution to the debate that I read came from a ringer who works in a hospital in the south west of England, and I hope he will forgive me for quoting him in full:

“Winter pressures within the NHS are tough at the best of times. The system is already creaking under the pressure, and the graphs strongly suggest hospitalisation and deaths are going to increase dramatically. I would STRONGLY URGE anybody thinking of stretching/breaking the rules/advice to get their fix of ringing to reconsider – now is not the time and all you are ultimately doing is risking lives and putting my colleagues and other NHS staff under extreme pressure and risk.”

The one saving grace is that it appears that the end is in sight. Whilst we have some difficult months ahead of us, the promise of a vaccine is now real, and it is highly probable that the course of spread of this pandemic will be fundamentally changed in the first half of 2021. In terms of opening up more ringing, having published guidance on children’s groups, our next effort is going to be looking at more open ringing settings including chancel crossings and ground floor rings, where our setting for ringing is similar to the more open settings enjoyed by singers. Equally though, the virus mutation may make things worse yet in some areas.

The President of the Central Council would usually finish a message written on 21 December by wishing everyone a Happy Christmas, but that somehow doesn’t seem quite right. So instead I will say that I hope that whatever you do, and whoever you manage to be with, you can stay safe and remain positive.

Simon Linford
President, CCCBR

Article from https://cccbr.org.uk/2020/12/21/christmas-ringing-and-tier-4-england/ and logo used with permission from Central Council of Church Bell Ringers.

Christmas Ringing – Advice from CCCBR released 8th December

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simon Linford
President CCCBR

Covid Winter Plan – updated guidance for England Wales and Scotland

England comes out of lockdown on Wednesday this week and enters the three Tiers system. The rules in Wales have not changed since 9th November and the Tiers will not apply. In Scotland, Covid restrictions are governed by five Protection Levels. Central Council guidance is now moving to respond to the Tiers and Protection Levels and so will now be different in England, Wales and Scotland.

England

First the good news and perhaps the light at the end of the tunnel for other areas. Just before we went into lockdown for the second time a month ago, we had reached agreement with the House of Bishops Recovery Group to drop down to 1m+ distancing, and then introduce local risk assessment based on the characteristics of the ringing environment and also risk assessment based on personal circumstances. Our guidance is that in Tier 1 this can now happen, although at first we only recommend ringing for 15 minutes until ventilation in towers is better understood. However look to the end of this statement for our plans in that regard.

In Tiers 2 and 3 we are still recommending that we stick to the government’s guidance that is the same for both Tiers, and that is that “No mixing of households indoors, apart from support bubbles.” As was discussed when the lockdown started, one can argue the definitions of mixing, interacting and mingling, some might even try and argue that ringing is an act of worship or even employment, but the clear intention of the public health experts is to reduce interactions as much as possible so that we get through the winter without another wave of infection. That restricts ringing in Tiers 2 and 3 to families that live together and other households, or the ringing of single bells as currently.

Handbells

The opportunities for handbell ringing will improve over the lockdown conditions. In Tier 1 we revert to the ‘Rule of 6’ which allows six people to meet indoors or outdoors, so handbell ringing is possible (but stay distanced and ventilate well). In Tier 2 a maximum of six people can meet in any outdoor setting only, including a domestic garden, so provided you are warm enough, socially distanced handbell ringing is viable. Tier 3 is slightly more restrictive in that mixing of households outdoors needs to be in a public space, e.g. parks, public gardens or churchyards. Again this give the opportunity to meet perhaps outside the church and ring handbells. Not that you should not travel from a higher tier to a lower tier for handbell ringing.

Wales

Wales does not have the Tier system but does have social distancing of 2m and a recommendation that indoor gatherings other than with your household or extended household is avoided. However, the Church in Wales has specifically recognised ringing in its guidance for places of worship and specifically permits ringing as follows:

“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 diff erent entry points or staggered arrival times. Bellringing arrangements should comply with guidance available from the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers at https://cccbr.org.uk/coronavirus/ ”

Our guidance in Wales is therefore that ringing should still follow 2m social distancing and be restricted to 15 minutes. Ringing for longer could come following the ventilation trials explained below.

Handbells

Ringing handbells outdoors in a public space is allowed subject to the overall guidance on social distance and avoiding large gatherings. Handbells in gardens is allowed however there is a rule that only householders and their one extended household can meet in their gardens. However that still might present some handbell opportunities on warmer days.

Scotland

There is an overall social distancing restriction of 2m between people (not ropes) which is a key driver for practical ringing.

In the top Protection Level 4, ringing has stopped because public worship has stopped. However, in all other Levels ringing is possible provided the social distancing guidelines are possible and duration restricted in accordance with previous guidance.

Handbells

Ringing handbells outdoors is allowed subject to the overall guidance on social distancing. In Levels 2 3 and 4 up to six people from two different households could ring handbells outdoors, subject to social distancing and woolly hats. In Level 1, that increases to eight people from three households. The household restrictions do not apply to 12-17 year olds.

A summary of all the different levels and guidance can be found on the main website here, which is also linked from the Virtual Hub on Bellboard.

Ventilation and increasing ringing time

At first the guidance in Tier 1 is still only to ring for 15 minutes (as it still is in Wales also), however we are going to be working with some ringers on the Isle of Wight and in Cornwall, the two regions with bells that will be in Tier 1, to understand the benefits of ventilation using CO2 meters.

The use of CO2 meters as a means of measuring the effectiveness of ventilation came from studies summarised in a recent review from the Royal Society. Indeed CO2 measurement is the industry standard used to demonstrate effectiveness of commercial ventilation systems. In an enclosed space like a ringing chamber, our breathing causes CO2 levels to increase. Ventilation brings in fresh air and the CO2 level drops. A CO2 meter is a pretty good proxy for the adequacy of ventilation, which in turn will help us estimate if ringing for longer than 15 minutes is safe (because Covid infected aerosols don’t build up). If the CO2 level in the room does not increase, it is likely that the ventilation is good, and we can ring for longer.

Phil Barnes and David Pouncey have both bought a particular kind of CO2 meter from Canada which can be connected to a laptop and display the change in CO2 levels over time. In the Isle of Wight trial, a couple of bands of relatives will ring for 30 minutes in towers with a broad range of ventilation characteristics and measure how the CO2 levels change. This will then be used to give much better guidance on what other towers need to do to improve ventilation. By the time other regions drop into Tier 1 we hope that this work done by the Isle of Wight and Cornish ringers will enable us to move straight to ringing for longer in towers where the characteristics show that aerosol transmission risk is low.

Conclusion

Overall, there is cause for optimism. There will be disappointment for many in Tier 2 areas particularly that the Tier restrictions do not enable us to get back to where we were in the summer, but then that is something the government has thought about in maintaining and indeed increasing their overall restrictions. December 16th may bring more Tier 2 areas into Tier 1. Hopefully the work that will be done with CO2 monitoring will help us to increase ringing times in more towers as more regions drop into Tier 1.

As has been said by various ministers and public health officials, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you have to, and the Tier rules “are not boundaries at which to push, but limits of what you can do.”

Ultimately being sensible and being aware of the risks is a sound basis for deciding on whether to ring or not.

Simon Linford
President, Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

Content taken from https://cccbr.org.uk/2020/11/30/covid-winter-plan-updated-guidance-for-england-wales-and-scotland/ with permission.

Latest update from CCCBR on Coronavirus (COVID-19) Restrictions – Updated 14th May 2021

See the CCCBR website for more details.

Standing Guidance

The guidance for ringing in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland is considered separately here in line with different national rules and guidance from the respective Churches. With the latest level of lockdowns the guidance in each country is very similar. Each country is working along its own roadmap for reducing restrictions and our roadmap is based on that. Thankfully it is nearing an end. It is important to note that the governments’ roadmaps are as yet silent on what amount of social distancing and facemasks are going to be needed in the latter stages and even beyond the full lockdown release. For England for instance, we know there are a number of government teams working on those questions (social distancing and facemasks) and they are not due to report until the end of each roadmap period. That the government is now saying that the 1m social distancing rule might be removed post 21 June shows that some restrictions might well stay.

We appreciate this makes it difficult to plan for things such as wedding ringing in early summer, when a lot of postponed weddings are likely to happen. We do not have a crystal ball but are cautiously optimistic that after 21 June (England) wedding ringing will be fine, and the ‘Rule of 6 indoors’ guidance from 17 May will enable up to six bells to be rung if they can be rung with 1m distancing.

England

Attending a Place of Worship is specifically allowed by law as a ‘reasonable excuse’ provided it is to worship alone or as a household group (the Church of England’s guidance can be found here). The ringing of a single bell or Ellacombe chime (or bells in the case of a ringing household) as part of an act of worship is not prohibited, and if you think it is important enough for a bell or bells to be heard in your community, and you can do it without putting yourselves or others at risk, then that is your decision to make.

The next key date in the England roadmap is 17 May when the country moves to ‘Rule of 6’ indoors. Draft guidance for this period can be found here.

Scotland

In Scotland places of worship have now reopened with strict 2m social distancing, enabling ringing on that basis where possible, and subject to any individual circumstances or your church. The move to ‘stay local’ now should enable more travel to towers within the local authority area. Discussions are underway with one of the churches to try and accept reduced distancing based on the England and Wales guidance.

Wales

Wales has now moved down to Alert Level 3. This is more permissive than England as it allows 15 to meet indoors although it doesn’t say you have to. Guidance for Wales can be found here.

Ireland

Both jurisdictions are on the severest lockdown level, thus precluding ringing.

Updated 14th May

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

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

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

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

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

Updated 7th May

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

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

Stage 3 – no earlier than 17 May

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

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

Stage 4 – no earlier than 21 June

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

Updated 29th April

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

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

Updated 21st April

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

Stage 3 – no earlier than 17 May

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

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

Stage 4 – no earlier than 21 June

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

Updated 5th April

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

Stage 1 – current situation

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

Stage 2 – 12 April

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

Stage 3 – no earlier than 17 May

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

Stage 4 – no earlier than 21 June

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

Updated 26th March

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

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

Updated 19th March

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

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

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

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

Updated 12th March

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

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

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

Stage 1 – starts 29 March

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

Stage 2 – no earlier than 12 April

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

Stage 3 – no earlier than 17 May

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

Stage 4 – no earlier than 21 June

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

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

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

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

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

Updated 26th February

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

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

Stage 1 – 29 March

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

Stage 2 – no earlier than 12 April

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

Stage 3 – no earlier than 17 May

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

Stage 4 – no earlier than 21 June

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

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

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

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

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

Updated 19th February

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

Updated 8th January

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

Updated 4th January

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Updated 27th December

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

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

Updated 21st December

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

Tier 4 guidance added as in the table above.

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

Updated 16th December

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

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

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

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

Updated 14th December

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

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

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

Updated 7th December

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

Updated 30th November

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

See the CCCBR website for more details.

Updated 20th November

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

Updated 8th November

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

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

Updated 6th November

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

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

Detail can be found in this statement from MHCLG

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

Updated 23rd October

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

See this news release.

Updated 16th October

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

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

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

Participation in gatherings indoors

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

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

Participation in gatherings indoors and in private dwellings

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

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

Updated 13th October

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

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

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

Participation in gatherings indoors

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

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

Participation in gatherings indoors and in private dwellings

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

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

Updated 9th October

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

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

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

Updated 2nd October

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

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

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

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

Updated 25th September

There has been no change to guidance this week.

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

David rings in Gloucestershire.

Updated 18th September

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

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

Update on 11th September

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


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


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

Update on 4th September

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

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

Update on 14th August

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

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

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

Update on 7th August

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

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

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

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

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

Standing Guidance

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

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

The restriction on ringing is difficult for bell ringers who are missing the activity that is so much part of our lives. The Church is however very sensitive to the safety of its volunteers and the relaxation of restrictions will not necessarily be as rapid as it is in certain other settings where other factors are under consideration. Failing to follow this guidance could cause this limited return to ringing to be reversed, and we are very grateful to all ringers who have embraced the return to ringing so positively.

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

The Church in Wales includes the ringing of bells in their guidance issued to parishes, which can be found here. Section 1 Paragraph 15 refers to ringing and states “bell ringing is permissible, but bell ringers should observe two-metre physical distancing and hygiene and cleaning regimes should be implemented. Careful consideration of how bell ringers will access the building suitably distanced from other attendees needs consideration, e.g. different entry points or staggered arrival times. Bell ringing arrangements should comply with guidance available from the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers [ref to this site]”We have also included in these guidance notes for checking bell installations prior to ringing. Please see our checklist below for some key areas that may need addressing. The Cathedrals and Church Buildings Division of the Archbishops’ Council confirmed that for jobs that cannot safely be done by one person, two or three should enter the bell tower to undertake them, following social distancing guidance if they are not from the same household.

This guidance is being constantly inline with any changes in the Church’s own guidance and policies, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This website will be updated weekly on a Friday, whether or not there is a change in guidance. Any requests for clarification can be sent to president@cccbr.org.uk – it will get looked at as soon as possible. 

Guidance Notes

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

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

  1. Ringing risk assessment post Covid 9 July 2020
  2. Tower and bells risk assessment after non use 15 June 2020
  3. Tower Safety and Risk Assessment 15 June 2020
  4. Risk assessment template (based on HSE)

Additional Guidance

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Additional Information

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

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

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

Useful Links

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

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

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

The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy.

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