Category Archives: Isle of Wight

Shanklin Beaver Away with Taster Session

Under the leadership of Lucy Titchmarsh, 14 members of the 1st Shanklin Beavers, together with a few helpers, descended on Shanklin tower last Tuesday to try their hand at ringing.

Under the guidance of Revd Barry Downer, Shanklin Tower Captain Kieran Downer and Swanmore Captain Lexi Skeldon the group were given a tour of the tower and belfry and given the opportunity to try ringing a bell.

Whilst space was tight the group were split into two and whilst one group were in the tower the others attempted handbell ringing, with differing degrees of success in the Church!

Refreshments were served by the Shanklin team to round the evening off.

Thanks are due to all those who helped make the evening a success.

Queen’s Guide Award for Brading Ringer

Saturday evening was a very special occasion for Brading ringer Cerise Moody.

At the Palace of Westminster she was awarded her Queen’s Badge for Guiding. Cerise has worked long and hard to achieve this well-deserved award and all Island ringers I am sure would wish to congratulate her on this momentous achievement.

A message was also given to her by Sophie, Countess of Wessex, as President of the Guide movement and the award was presented to Cerise by Head Guide Amanda Medler.

Photographs by courtesy of Marghanita Allen.


Because of the atrocious road and weather conditions on the Island there is no practice at Carisbrooke tonight.

Please also note that Sunday ringing at Carisbrooke is at 9.00 for a 9.30 service and at Newport ringing is 10.00 for 10.30 as the service has been moved to 10.30 not 11am as usual.

Photograph by kind permission of Karen Twine.

Island’s New Publicity Officer

At the Guild Annual District Meeting on Saturday at Carisbrooke, as mentioned elsewhere, Lexi Skeldon, was appointed Publicity Officer to serve for the next 12 months.

Lexi is currently tower captain of St Michael’s, Swanmore, Ryde and has been a force of nature in getting the team there up and running and to a standard to be able to perform for church services.

Together with boyfriend Kieran Downer the pair have worked long and hard to get Swanmore on the map, and now with her new position I feel sure we will be even more aware of her presence!

All publicity for the Island will now be dealt with through Lexi, who may be contacted through her details on the District Officers page of this web site.

We wish her well in her new role and urge you all to support her and use her useful contacts to publicise your tower events.


Isle of Wight District Calendar for 2018

April 14: Don Exell 8-bell striking competition at Brighstone

May 19:   Guild Inter-tower competition

May 26: Lester Bailey 6-bell striking competition at Whitwell (tbc)

June 9: District Outing

June 16: Guild AGM and Inter-District 8-bell, Basingstoke area.

July 7: Ringing World Youth competition, London Area

July 21: Half yearly meeting at Niton (tbc)

August 4/5: Chale Show

Sept 22: IOW Day (quarter peal day?) and Heritage Open Day and Ride and Stride

Oct 6: Fred Green Change ringing at Shorwell

Nov 11: Remembrance Sunday, ringing for Peace, more information to follow.

Dec 8: Christmas party – to be  discussed at the ADM

Feb 16, 2019 Annual District meeting at Newport (tbc)

Thank you Isle of Wight District!!

A wonderful donation of £ 114 to our WW1 Centenary Commemoration Project!

The Island’s ringers voted on Saturday to donate proceeds of raffles held recently.

We will be discussing the project’s finances at the Executive Committee Meeting next month. Meanwhile this is very generous and encouraging. Thank you.

WW1 Centenary Commemoration Project Coordinator

Responsibility All Too Much!

During the Isle of Wight ADM on Saturday, held at Carisbrooke, Phoebe Allen thought she would rather like to have a go at being Ringing Master.

Mike Winterbourne duly relinquished his badge of office in the hope of enjoying an easier afternoon.

Having tried on the heavy medallion Phoebe decided the job was not for here and quickly relinquished the post – maybe when a bit older then Phoebe?

Some good ringing was enjoyed by Island members with a touch of Stedman Triples being the highlight.

After a short service and a filling tea, yes lots of cakes as usual, the well attended meeting got underway.

Officers were all re-elected to their posts, with the exception of Lexi Skeldon, who takes over the post of Publicity Officer.

A raffle was held and the meeting decided the money from this and last years raffle, which was still being held by the Treasurer, should be donated to the WWI book project to help with the cost of that. I don’t have the exact amount to hand but it was in the region of £105.

The meeting closed at 7.05. Our thanks to Guild Master Mike Winterbourne for sailing the Solent to attend and also to Carisbrooke ringers for providing the tea and venue.

Golden Celebrations at Shanklin

St Saviour’s Church at Shanklin saw a peal attempt on Saturday to help celebrate a Golden Wedding Anniversary for locals Jan and Ian Hookey.
Jan is a ringer at Shanklin and Ian is organist and the celebrations began earlier in the week.
Unfortunately, after three-quarters of an hour of ringing some superb changes on sometimes indifferent bells, an injury occurred to one of the ringers and it was thought wise to bring the course round at a quarter, so that instead could be recorded to mark the occasion.
Even by doing that, ringer Caroline has recorded her most rings of different methods at one attempt.
The event is recorded in Ringing World as follows.
Shanklin, Isle of Wight
St Saviour on the Cliff
Saturday, 10 February 2018 in 48 mins (18–0–14 in E)
1320 Doubles (8m/V)
4 extents St Simon’s, 1 each of Eynsham, St Martin, St Leonard, Reverse Canterbury, Plain Bob, Kennington, Grandsire.
1 Tristan Allen
2 Caroline May
3 Barry Downer
4 Margaret Downer
5 Kieran Downer (C)
6 Marghanita Allen
Rung to celebrate the Golden Wedding of Jan and Ian Hookey.
We all send our warm congratulations on reaching this milestone in their lives to Jan and Ian and wish them both well for the future.


Please note the isle of Wight Guild Annual District Meeting is looming.

To be held on

Saturday, 17th February,

at Carisbrooke in the church hall.

Ringing from 2.30 with tea and service prior to meeting.

4pm Service in church

4.45 Tea in the church Hall

6pm meeting

Don’t forget – something for the raffle

Please clear your diary so you can attend this important District event. We need your input and voting arm!

All the Island ringing records will also be on display for public viewing.

First of 2018 for Ryde

Ryde tower had a good excuse last Saturday to ring its first quarter peal of the year.

A rather special baptism had been arranged in the church so what other excuse do we need to ring?

Revd Canon Graham Morris and his wife, Angela, hosted the day to have the family of Morris and Shave come together for the baptism of new family member Harry George Shave, the service was conducted by none other than Harry’s granddad!

Hoping to ring the 8 at Ryde we ended up on 6 as ringer’s were up to other things on the day. So a quarter peal of Plain Bob Doubles was attempted and a well-struck method was scored, with Graham Nobbs doing the honours of conducting, something he admits to not doing very much of.

Details of the ring are as follows and will be found recorded on Bellboard:

Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild
Ryde (All Saints’), Isle of Wight
Saturday, 27 January 2018 in 45min
1260 Plain Bob Doubles
1 Vivien Nobbs
2 Jill Taylor
3 John R Stock
4 Caroline May
5 Graham Nobbs (C)
6 Peter Taylor
Rung to Celebrate the Baptism this day of Harry George Shave, with the Service Conducted by his Grandfather, Revd Canon Graham Morris.
The ringers were invited into the church hall following the successful completion to join the families for tea and cake – need I say we do not need to be asked twice!
We welcome Harry into our Church and wish him a long and fulfilled life.
Following on from this, Sunday Evensong also seemed like a good time to ring again so being on a roll we did just that, again with Graham’s (Nobbs) help in conducting. Don’t get confused with all the Graham’s we have, I haven’t persuaded the Vicar to take up a rope yet – I’m working on it!
Again details of this are on Bellboard.
Thank you to all for your efforts and for making the weekend such an enjoyable time in the depths of winter.


Tower Captain at Arreton, Paul Wise, has decided after many years of hard work, to resign from the post of tower captain.

There are no members of the team able or willing to take on the task so this leaves ringing at the tower in a state of flux for the moment.

There will be practices tonight and for the next two weeks but after that the issue is less clear. The district will need to decide who will be contact for visitors etc.  so would currently suggest any contact should be directed through our District Secretary, Mary Tester.

As further details emerge or are resolved I will try to keep you all up to speed with developments.

Mary Tester’s details are currently available on the District webpage.

To reiterate, the last practice under Paul’s direction will take place on Monday, 12th February. Hopefully we shall have news about how a resolution can be achieved before that. I will post news on the Arreton webpage as things develop.

There is our Annual District Meeting on Saturday, 17th February, so I’m guessing this topic will be high on the Agenda.

Paul, and his other half, Joyce, have worked long and hard to keep Arreton as a ringing tower and a great debt of appreciation and gratitude is due to them both.

Shanklin go ‘Cubbing’!

St Saviour’s Church bell ringing team, under the guidance of Tower Captain Kieran Downer, held a taster session at the church on Saturday (27th January) for the Shanklin Scout troupe.

The group had a go at backstroke, then rounds at backstroke. After that they went up to see the bells and saw how they work.
Back down in the church, call changes on handbells were rung and refreshments were laid on to help sustain the group in their efforts.
Like the Scouts and Cubs, Shanklin will always ‘Be Prepared’ with tea and cake!
Some of the group getting to grips with handbell ringing!
Shanklin Scout group and ringers pose for a memory of the occasion.

Ringing Down on 2016

I have now had chance to update the ringing of Peals and Quarter Peals on the Island for 2017.

Peals rung by Island ringers totalled three for last year, half that rung in 2016, and the fewest in five years.

Quarter Peals totalled 53. Again a drop on recent years but it’s quality that counts not quantity!

For the nerds amongst you I’ve attached a breakdown of towers and what has been rung where.

qtr peal breakdown



The festivities are finally over and the clamour and pressure for all of us for our time to attend various towers for Advent, Christmas and New Year ringing is over for another year. Now would be a good time to reflect how we, as ringers, actually view our place in our little part of the ringing world.

Have a good look and ponder at what you actually do. Do you visit another tower to help or go to learn how they work and gain further experience? Or are you just a ‘my tower practice night and Sunday ringer at my tower’ sort of person? Or ‘they don’t ring what I’d like to ring’ ringer?

Whatever experience any of us have as a ringer can be helpful to other towers and will help you in your ringing experience.

Time is, of course, the problem for many of us. However, if you make your mind up to make at least just one extra trip per month to another tower and force yourself out of your comfort zone you will be helping other teams and gain more friends within our tight community.

Some of us are not getting any younger and it is nearly time for some of us to step aside and let younger ringers take over our responsibilities. We need everyone to ‘pull together’ (pun intended) and give more thought to the future of ringing, wherever we are based.

There are a lot of ringers, particularly on the Island and I would think in the Guild in general, who are now getting on in years and feel that they have carried the responsibilities for long enough and would like to relinquish some of those responsibilities to younger ringers so that ringing may carry on after we are no longer able to take part. We still enjoy our ringing but would like more time to ‘ring’ not ‘organise’!

We also need to encourage younger ringers to join our ranks, not an easy task I know, and still difficult to get the word ‘out there’ and to get our enthusiasm for this ancient art more widely known, and not just when national celebrations bring us to the fore, as they will again in May and November this year.

So I ask, as the new year begins, think about what you might actually be able to achieve with just a bit more thought and organising of your time.

Happy New Year all…

Lexi Skeldon, Tower Captain at St Michael’s Church, Swanmore (Ryde), posted the following on Facebook and I thought it might be worth repeating here.

Over to Lexi:

Now it is the new year we now have 6 BELLS at Swanmore (Ryde)!! 🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔.

We have Jake and Kiera who are ready to move on to Grandsire Doubles tennoring behind!! But because we rarely ever get help they can’t! 😭😭

Because, “new year new me”. How about you make it a new year thing to come and help the lovely Swanmore ringers progress 💪 especially as ringers all over the island keep saying “wouldn’t it be nice for young people to ring”? EXCEPT NO ONE BOTHERS TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT!!!

Every ringer or tower on the island is after all ONE BIG TEAM!! so why not help each other?

We also have Sarah, who is on call changes, and Phoebe, Lily and Edward who are just coming onto call changes and we need people to help them!

Our tower is a tower specifically for young ringers so why not come and help them progress! Even if you’re only on call changes yourself! It will still help!!

Our practice night is EVERY TUESDAY 6.30 TILL 7.30, so its only an hour of your time! And why wouldn’t you want to spend that hour with my lovely Swanmore Munchkins?

Hope to see a full tower on Tueday!!


Tristan Allen, ringer at both Brading and Shanklin, has managed to score his first Stedman Doubles at St Saviour’s  Church,  Shanklin, as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.
Fired off in 42 minutes on Monday, 11th December, the 1260 changes was rung followed evening Mass and was rung with the following team:
1 Kieran Downer (C)
2 Caroline May
3 Margaret Downer
4 Tristan Allen
5 Barry Downer
6 Ken May.
Congratulations Tristan, a well deserved achievement.

Message of Thanks from Viv Nobbs

Viv has posted her thanks for the help and support over the sad weeks following the death at 96 of her Mum, Irene.

I repeat here, for those of you who know Viv and Graham through ringing, her comments for those of you not on Facebook:

‘We had tremendous support from many friends on Monday at Mum’s funeral. Thanks to you all.

The service was marvellous as far as we were concerned – Mum would have been very humble to know that serving Police Officers – quite a number – were there to honour her by forming a guard of honour and then six of the group being pall bearers.

It certainly helped family members to have so many folk there to share the sad occasion. x x

This to my fellow ringers:

Thanks everyone for the ringing tributes for Mum throughout Monday. The ringing at Newport and at Ryde was wonderful. Thanks to David Weir, Darren Westmore and John Stock working together and going that extra mile to achieve the very best for Mum and our family. Once again, we’ve seen the ringing family providing valuable support, umprompted, just when it’s needed. Exceptional !! Thank you all.’

Here also is the quarter tribute we rang on Monday evening:

Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild

Ryde (All Saints’), Isle of Wight
Monday, 4 December 2017 in 50 min (26 2cwt)
1260 Grandsire Triples
1 John R Stock
2 Vivien Nobbs
3 Margaret Downer
4 Paul Young
5 Stephen Noyes
6 Kieran Downer
7 Graham Nobbs (C)
8 Revd Barry Downer
Rung in Celebration of the Life of Irene Kathleen Ball, Mum to Viv, whose Funeral took place earlier at The Minster, Newport, and following tolling of the tenor 96 times.


Remember all ringers who would like to attend the Isle of Wight District Christmas knees up on Saturday, 9th December, at St Michael’s Church, Swanmore near Ryde, you need to give the numbers from your tower of those attending to Lexi Skeldon or Kieran Downer by this Saturday (3rd December) at the very latest.

Don’t be shy, you will enjoy it! Don’t forget it is also free, as the team at Swanmore are providing this for us, but they would like prize donations for the raffle and/or money donations to their tower fund.

Dress up if you like, or not, as the mood takes you – I get the feeling we might remember this party!

Triple Downer Team Achieve Firsts

To help some Newport learners along, a quarter peal was rung at Carisbrooke, David Weir conducting 1260 changes of Plain Bob Doubles last Sunday (26th November).
For three of the Newport ringers it was a quarter peal of firsts: Maximus (aged 12) rang the treble, Keira, (aged 13, and Max’s sister), rang inside for the first time and bringing up the rear was Kevin, Dad to both of them, ringing his first quarter as a tenor.
Their efforts are recorded in Bellboard as follows:
Priory Church of St Mary the Virgin
Sunday, 26 November 2017 in 42mins (7cwt)
1260 Plain Bob Doubles
1 Maximus Downer
2 Keira Downer
3 Richard Knight
4 Ian Orchard
5 David A Weir (C)
6 Kevin Downer
The ring was for Evensong service at the church.
Well done to all three on achieving the first, of what we hope will be, many quarter peals.
Just in case anyone is thinking the Downer name sounds familiar, I should point out that the family are not related, so I am informed, to the Revd Barry, Margaret and Kieran Downer of Brading and Shanklin fame! Methinks recording quarter peals and peals has just got a bit more complicated!


Ian passed away 9th November.

For all of Ian’s friends – you would be very welcome to attend the Cremation Service; it’s on Tuesday 28th November – 10 a.m. – at Poole Crematorium, Gravel Hill, Broadstone, Bournemouth, Poole BH17 9BQ

Family flowers only, please – donations to the local hospice LEWIS MANNING. Ian volunteered as a driver for many years and then later on worked in its local charity shop.

Any messages of condolence including cards for the family can be sent to Viv Nobbs through the usual channels, please.

Ian was a non-ringer BUT he was very supportive of ringing and loved the heritage of ringing. He was also keen on canals, traction engines and steam railways, something a lot of ringers seem to be interested in also.

Even though he lived in Poole, his main two ways of giving to the Isle of Wight’s ringing world was by helping with the fund raising and getting his hands dirty in local bell restoration projects (he had been a hands on volunteer at the major restoration work at Arreton and also at Ryde).

He was a member of The Society for the Preservation of Isle of Wight Church Bells for many years and, until ill-health struck, a regular on the gates at the Chale Show – hence the venue of St Andrew’s Church at Chale for a quarter peal on Saturday which is to be rung ‘open’ in his memory. He was proud to have been born a “Londoner” – so London Surprise Minor seems a fitting method.

As a side note I am told Ian was a bit keen on the cooking side with his adventurous lumpy custard and very lumpy gravy being legendary!

RIP Ian, the fun will be sorely missed by all who knew you.


The Isle of Wight towers continued in the celebration of the 70th Wedding  Anniversary of HM The Queen and HRH Prince Philip with ringing on Sunday at Shanklin, the team recorded ringing as follows:

St Saviour on the Cliff
Sunday, 19 November 2017 in 10 mins (18–0–14 in E)
1–2 Kieran Downer
3 Maureen Kelly
4 Anna Burns
5 Jan Hookey
6 Derek Pittard
7 Marghanita Allen
8 Tristan Allen
Rung before morning Mass to celebrate the 70th wedding anniversary of HM Queen Elizabeth and HRH Prince Philip


Ryde managed a quarter peal during Monday afternoon, the day of the anniversary, with one ringer scoring her first ever quarter peal.

Ryde (All Saints’), Isle of Wight
Monday, 20 November 2017 in 49 min
1260 Grandsire Doubles
1 Anne Deegan
2 John R Stock
3 Jill Taylor
4 Roy Tillcock
5 Adrian Burns (C)
6 Peter Taylor
Rung in Celebration of the Platinum Wedding Anniversary of HM The Queen and HRH Prince Philip on this Day.
First ever quarter peal: 1.
St Michael’s at Swanmore in Ryde also took part on Monday with the following:

St Michael and All Angels, Swanmore
Monday, 20 November 2017 in 20 mins (2 in F♯)
Rounds and Call Changes
1 Phoebe Allen
2 Kiera Joy
3 Sarah Saddington
Rung to celebrate the 70th wedding anniversary of HM Queen Elizabeth and HRH Prince Philip
Also present were Jake Saddington, Lexi Skeldon, Kieran Downer, Damian Allen.
Brading also sought to join in the celebration with their bells ringing out also on the day:
St Mary the Virgin
Monday, 20 November 2017 in 20 mins (9–3–19 in G)
Rounds and Call Changes
1 Robyn Downer
2 June Mitchell
3 Barry Downer
4 Mitchell Reeves
5 Marilyn Gage
6 Margaret Downer
7 Jan Hookey
8 Geoffrey Wilkins
Rung to celebrate the 70th wedding anniversary of HM Queen Elizabeth and HRH Prince Philip.
Also present were Lexi Skeldon, Jake Saddington, Sarah Saddington, Kiera Joy, Kieran Downer.
I feel sure more reports from Island towers will reach me in due course, of which I will record when details emerge.

Funeral of Irene Kathleen Ball

As most of you who knew her will now know Irene passed away peacefully at home on 7th November, aged 96 years.

Now reunited with loving husband Norman. A loving, caring and compassionate Mum to Roger, Pauline, Viv and Graham. Nanny to Irene, Ralph, Steven, Heather and Karen and great-Nanny to Arthur, Aaron and ‘Ella.

The family have now announced arrangements for the funeral service, which is to take place on Monday, 4th December, 11.30am at Newport Minster, followed by burial at Springwood Cemetery.

Family flowers only, but donations, if desired, to Admiral Nurses (cheque payable to Earl Mountbatten Hospice) c/o William Hall Independent Funeral Directors, Newchurch IW (01983) 868688.

In her lifetime Irene was a great supporter of ringers and ringing on the Island and will be greatly missed by all her knew her.

If you need any further information please contact Viv Nobbs or myself and I will put you in touch with the family.


Godshill District Practice

Last Saturday, 18th November, saw the getting together of members of the Isle of Wight District for a practice of ringing Plain Bob and Grandsire at Godshill tower.

The meeting was well attended with about 12 members and, under the direction of District Master Jenny Brudenell, a helping hand was lent to those ringers still learning their bell handling and mastering the complexities of plain hunting and covering.

Plain Bob Minor was also managed and the evening concluded with the ringing of a touch of Stedman Doubles.

Our thanks to the Godshill team for allowing us the use of the tower.


St Michael and All Angels Church at Swanmore, Ryde, made history for ringing on the Isle of Wight on Saturday and kicked off celebrations for the historical 70th wedding anniversary of HM The Queen and HRH Prince Philip this coming Monday.

It should be noted that no monarch in British history has achieved this milestone.

For the first time ever at this tower a quarter peal on five bells was rung on the simulator, all those ringing recording a first at doing so.

Details are recorded as follows for publication in The Ringing World:

Saturday, 18 November 2017 in 38 mins (Sim)
1260 Doubles (6m/p)
60 Stedman, 240 each of St Martins, St Simon’s, Reverse Canterbury, Plain Bob and Grandsire
1 Tristan Allen
2 Margaret Downer
3 Barry Downer
4 John R Stock
5 Kieran Downer (C)
Rung to celebrate the 70th Wedding anniversary of HM Queen Elizabeth and HRH Prince Philip.
First Doubles ever rung in the tower
First on a dumbbell – 3, 5
First on a simulator for all.
Swanmore and its ringers are to be congratulated and should be proud of this milestone achievement.