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President’s Blog #31

About 15 years ago, the roof of Grade I listed Calke Abbey was re-configured and connected to new, bigger, drainpipes because it was no longer coping with increased levels of storm rainfall. It was the first time listed building consent was granted to a Grade I listed building for alterations brought about as a result of climate change. English Heritage (as it was then) revised its definition of ‘conservation’ at the same time to be about managing change rather than conserving things as they are.

This story is relevant because towers are starting to think about adapting to the need for increased ventilation. A couple of years ago I asked for the windows in an airless tower I ring at, Perry Barr, to be changed to be openable, but the request was declined by the church architect. I wonder now whether the answer might be different. The importance of ventilation is becoming more prominent in government guidance and I expect many towers will need to be adapted. Some test cases would be interesting to establish principles.

Last Saturday I attended the first meeting of the new PR Workgroup, which has been assembled by CC PR Officer Vicki Chapman. It was an energising meeting of people all interested in ringing PR – definitely a ‘doing’ group. The Comms & Marketing Workgroup has been wound down. That is not to say that marketing is off the agenda by any means. In fact we are working on two funding bids for large scale marketing initiatives, one with the Big Ideas Company and one with the National Heritage Lottery Fund, the latter in partnership with ART and the Handbell Ringers of Great Britain.

Keeping the PR theme, Jane McCutchan from the Truro DG demonstrated their brilliant PR initiative enabling all bells in Cornwall to be heard on Easter Sunday. Go to the Truro DG website, start typing the name of a tower into the search box, e.g. Gwennap, and you will get a link to the sound of the bells. They have recorded every tower and these links have been distributed across Cornwall’s media. Gwennap is incidentally the scene of the worst sermon I have ever heard, the vicar managing to spend 30 minutes rambling incoherently on the text “When you trim the lamps, burn incense on the altar.”

The PR Workgroup has introduced new faces to Council work. I think a particular success of current Central Council activity is how many people we have involved who would never have considered it before, having moved away from only drawing on the resources of CC Reps. One recruit I spoke to last week introduced himself somewhat apologetically as “only a village Bob Minor ringer really” – but that is exactly what we need. What makes people apologise for lack of experience? Given “only a village Bob Minor ringer” is representative of maybe 75% of ringers (and aspirational for 25%) it is a valuable perspective.

Handbell ringing took a surge with ringers in England in particular taking advantage of Covid restriction relaxation allowing groups to meet outdoors. Lockdown has created a new generation of handbell ringers, with some great success stories like the peal of 147 Treble Dodging Minor with the footnote “first touch of spliced on real handbells 1-2 and as conductor”. Handbell ringing has definitely been my own personal lockdown progress – having not really progressed in ringing for as long as I can remember I have enjoyed rediscovering being rubbish.

Young ringers who missed out on subsidised eBells via ART can take advantage of some more funding made available from the generous donations of the ART Awards of the Handbell Stadium and eBells winners to the fund.)

12 April brings back two mutually exclusive activities, in England at least. Young ringers’ groups can restart under the ‘supervised children’s activities in out-of-school settings’ guidance (see cccbr.org.uk/coronavirus for details), and adults can go to the pub and talk about ringing! I will be celebrating both by going to the gym.

Four bands of young ringers joined 12 others in the first (and probably last) Ringing Room call change competition, discovering that call change ringing on RR is really difficult, and doing so with closed handstroke leads is more difficult still. “May the team with the best internet connections win!” The competition was graced with expert judges in Paul Pascoe and Ian Avery, who helped design the format, and who awarded victory to the Beverley & District Online band. All teams rang the same test piece, being the first half of 60 on 3rds (slightly less if you started late because one of your band couldn’t find their laptop charger). The prizes were a choice of books from the Central Council shop for members of the four winning bands. Special shout out to one of the stewards, George Hart, for choosing my own “Judging Striking Competitions” as his reward for a hard afternoon’s work (bargain at £3.50).

Ironically that is a book that needs another chapter writing on judging Devon-style call change competitions. If I had an extra day in the week I’d write it (with due research). The Ancient Etruscans had eight day weeks – quite clever really as that must have enabled them to get more done.

Ringing on Easter Day proved once again quite how divisive guidance for opening up ringing can become. One thing that is agreed though is that the sooner we get away from rules and guidance that are open to so much ambiguity and room for interpretation the better. Let’s hope we don’t start to have to deal with Covid passports for ringing.

There are over 100 ‘Recovery Champions’ now pulling together and thinking about how to help get ringing back to strength in their local area. Some Recovery champions are taking a very local view, maybe focused on a cluster of towers, while others are coordinating association-wide approaches. One association has allocated a budget of £10,000 to ringing recovery – if you have a rainy day fund, it doesn’t rain much harder than this!

Simon Linford
President, CCCBR

Content from https://cccbr.org.uk and logo used with permission from Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

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.

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

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

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 5th April 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.

England

Lockdown 3.0 has suspended the Tiers-based guidance and replaced it with a mandatory requirement to Stay at Home ‘unless you have a reasonable excuse.’ Our guidance is to adhere to that principle and not go out to ring. This is in line with our guidance during the first period of lockdown when the medical situation was not as bad as it is now.

One difference between the first lockdown and now is that 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.

Scotland

Scotland has gone a step further than England and has closed Places of Worship until at least the end of the month. This therefore means that bells should not be rung.

Wales

Wales is in Alert Level 4. This is very similar to the lockdown in England with Places of Worship allowed to remain open but a general Stay at Home requirement. Ringing guidance is as for England.

Ireland

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

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.

What’s happening after the pandemic?

Article below taken from CCCBR website.

At the start of the first lockdown we were still looking forward to ringing events in the summer. There were plans for a grand “Ringing Returns” festival to mark the end of the almost unprecedented few months off ringing. Three months without ringing would be painful but not seismic. We would get a bit rusty, but we could recover. 

It now looks clear that by the time ringing returns to ‘normal’ we will have missed at least a year. A year without ringing, a year without recruitment, a year without training, a year without the social intercourse that makes ringing what it is. Not only that, but we have months more in which to try and cope without the activity that some of us live for. 

We therefore face two challenges. Survival through a bleak winter with little in the way of ringing to keep us motivated, and then rebuilding at least some of what we had before. That is going to need a lot of effort from a lot of people, but we are not going to wait until next year to start. There are things that can be done now, particularly in terms of survival.

ART and the CCCBR are already working on ways in which we can help ringers and bands stay together and then recover. For instance, we are working together to produce a Survival and Recovery Toolbox from which ringers, bands and even ringing societies can pick the tools that will best help them keep going until ringing can resume and tailor them to local needs. The toolbox will give access to training, a variety of new (and old) ideas and the opportunity to learn from what others have done or are thinking of doing. 

Over the next few weeks, we’ll start to roll out tools, resources and ideas for replacing the routines, friendship and opportunities that we have lost because we’re not ringing. Let’s try and keep as many people as possible enjoying ringing this winter so that we can recover and rebuild when ringing returns to ‘normal’. Some of it will just be helping more people to find resources that already exist.

Questions about some sort of centralised recovery strategy have been popping up on social media, in email chat lists and have arrived by email. We want to assure you that a recovery strategy is being discussed and developed, with the Survival and Recovery Toolbox being just a start. The Council Executive and ART Management Committee are thinking about recovery strategies at a more fundamental level as well. If you have any ideas or would like to help in any aspect of this – building, delivery or engagement – then please get in contact with us. Working together is the best way of building a positive future for ringing.

Lockdown in England and Remembrance Sunday

Latest advice from CCCBR

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

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

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

Hand Bell Ringing Teaching Session at St Peter’s Churchyard Petersfield Hampshire 2020

(Social Distancing Rules were in place)

A few weeks ago, Mary Broadbridge, tower captain at St Peter’s church Petersfield Hampshire organised a special hand bell ringing teaching session taken very kindly by Iain Hayden who has been ringing with the St Peter’s tower band over the last year. There were six learners who under Iain’s tutelage managed to ring rounds and one or two call changes.   Every one very much enjoyed the morning and we are all hoping it will be one of many teaching sessions when with practice we can progress to ringing methods.  Of course, depending on what Covid restrictions are in

A few weeks ago, Mary Broadbridge, tower captain at St Peter’s church Petersfield Hampshire organised a special hand bell ringing teaching session taken very kindly by Iain Hayden who has been ringing with the St Peter’s tower band over the last year. There were six learners who under Iain’s tutelage managed to ring rounds and one or two call changes.   Every one very much enjoyed the morning and we are all hoping it will be one of many teaching sessions when with practice we can progress to ringing methods.  Of course, depending on what Covid restrictions are in place in the future.

The St Peter’s Church band ring for Sunday Service at 09:00 for fifteen minutes and on Wednesday practice for fifteen minutes, ringers taking it in turns to ring on different weeks.  

Caroline M Welsh

Archivist St Peter’s Bell Ringers

Further development of Coronavirus guidance from CCCBR – the Path Ahead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simon Linford
President, Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

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

2020 Striking Competitions cancelled

Hello Everyone.

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

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

Pete Jordan

Convener – Striking Competition Committee. 

CCCBR Guidance on Returning to Service Ringing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simon Linford
President, CCCBR

Published 25th June 2020

CCCBR Stewardship & Management Workgroup When We Ring Again

When we ring again

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

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

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

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

What to do as we prepare to ring again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CCCBR – 123rd Annual Meeting

The 123rd Annual meeting of the Central Council will be unlike any that has gone before.  As with all other large gatherings and meetings we are going to have to manage with an event which is either wholly or largely virtual. We are currently investigating the best virtual platform to use and the degree (if any) to which a physical presence might be appropriate.

Even the best virtual platform will impose some constraints, so we are also planning how best to conduct our formal business. A key element of our preparation will be to ensure that business is limited to what is essential and that any concerns or issues raised by Council Members are addressed in advance, as both debate and voting will be more difficult that in a normal setting.

One very important item on the Agenda is nominations for the post of Treasurer, because Andy Smith is standing down. Please consider volunteering if you have the necessary skills, or introduce this opportunity to someone you think might be interested.

You might be surprised to see a call for nominations for President when I was only elected in September last year. I have definitely got a few things left to do! This is however because I was elected to fill the vacancy when Christopher O’Mahony had to return to Australia. I would be happy to continue if nominated.

The AGM of The Ringing World will be part of the virtual meeting just as it would have been in Nottingham.

Meeting papers and other information can be found on the 2020 Annual Meeting page.

Simon Linford
President CCCBR

SUMMARY OF CURRENT CHURCH GUIDANCE AND CC ADVICE ON REDUCING COVID RISK IN TOWERS

Ringing and chiming

  1. Ringers should not enter the church or tower for chiming, ringing or any other
    purpose under any circumstances unless they are the one “appointed person” for
    that church as defined by the guidance from their Diocesan Bishop.
  2. Not more than one bell should be rung under current church guidance and only by the “appointed person”.
  3. Care should be taken to ensure all clock hammers and any external chiming
    hammers are pulled off before either chiming or ringing.
  4. Always refer to both Church of England and local Diocesan guidance for more detail.

Hand hygiene
For those who are “appointed persons” and wish to chime or ring a single bell:

  1. Sanitizer should be applied to the hands and allowed to dry fully before and after ringing activities.
  2. No other substance than hand sanitizer should be applied to the hands before ringing, including spitting on or licking the hands

Maximum numbers of people in a ringing room

  1. No person other than the appointed person should enter the tower at any time and especially during chiming.

CC Executive
May 11th 2020

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.

Our silent church bells during Coronavirus

Latest update on the CCCBR website – 8th May 2020

We have received many requests to ring church bells in support of acknowledging key workers across the UK but given the need for social distancing and non essential travel, as well as churches being shut, this has not been possible.

The short clip below explains why.

Please fee free to share across your networks and if you have any further queries, please do get in touch.

Vicki Chapman
CCCBR PRO

Winchester Annual District Meeting Minutes – Feb 2020

Unconfirmed Minutes of the Annual District Meeting held on Saturday 8th February 2020 in the Parish Hall, Hursley.

1. Chairman’s Welcome. The Chairman, John Croft, opened the meeting at 5.28 p.m., with a welcome to those present, including the Master of the Guild, Peter Jordan, and our other visitors, and with thanks to the Rector and Wardens for the use of the bells, to the Rector, the Revd William Prescott for leading the service, to Gary Davies for playing the organ and to the Hursley Band for hosting the day and in particular Christine Hill and her helpers for laying on a splendid ringers’ tea [applause], and all those present for supporting the meeting.

2. Attendance. The following 28 members of the District  (representing eleven bands and unattached), and three guests signed the attendance register: Robert Eames and Roy LeMarechal (Bishopstoke) Janice Higgins, Christine and Ian McCallion, Tessa and Tony Smith, and Martin Waldron (all of Hursley), Micki Nadal (King’s Somborne and Stockbridge),Gary Davies and Brenda and John Palk, (all of Lockerley and East Tytherley), Roger Booth (New Alresford), Caroline and Martin Daniels and Jennifer and Nigel Herriott (all of Romsey), Rodney Skinner (Ropley), Jenny Watson (Sparsholt), John Colliss, and Bruce Purvis (Winchester Cathedral), Paul Fitzgerald and Christine Knights-Whittome (Wonston), Joyce Croft, and Trisha Shannon (all unattached); Charlotte Colliss (Swanmore), Pete Jordan (Guild Master – Basingstoke) and Jennifer, Martin Waldron’s partner, comprising the guests. Also present were Christine and Peter Hill, Jinny Kufluk, Christine and Barry Saunders and Derek Stewart (all of Hursley), Caroline Fairley (Winchester Cathedral), John Croft and Edmund Wratten (all unattached); a total of 35.

3. Apologies for absence. Apologies for absence were received from Amanda Bayford, Jen Churchill, Drew and Sue Craddock, John Gawne-Cain, Philip Gillibrand, Andrew Glover, Carol Higgins, Sara Janssen, Elizabeth.Johnson, and Charlotte and Jonathan Smith.

4. Minutes of the Previous Meeting. Subject to amendments (‘Northington’ from ‘Broughton’, item 9, Future Events refers and ‘Elizabeth Johnson’ from ‘Rodney Skinner’, item 10 no. 3, Channel Islands District refers) adoption as a true record of the minutes of the Autumn District Meeting held on 9 November at Easton Parish Hall was proposed by Rob Eames, seconded by Jenny Watson and carried on a show of hands.

5. Matters Arising.

Minute 5, ‘Romsey Show’: John Palk remarked that the potential for securing as many as 60 names for follow-up at the Romsey Show was a ‘pipe-dream’, and questioned the value for money of the outlay of £300. Roger Booth disagreed and explained that at similar events there had often been as many as 50 or 60 enquiries. On this occasion some 15 people had left their details to be contacted, and some of these had started lessons, but there could be better follow up by local towers. Events such as this had the potential to be excellent value for money, both in terms of PR and attracting new ringers, and when so much money was locked up in District, Guild and BRF funds, a great deal of outreach work was possible for the outlay of a very small proportion of these funds. Nigel Herriott observed that, at Romsey at least, recruitment was not a problem. Roy LeMarechal pointed out that the Romsey Show was visited from across the county of Hampshire and beyond and many other towers would benefit.

Minute 5,’Donation to the Youth Ringers’ Outings’: Tony Smith reported that the £100 offered to the organiser to support these outings was taken up in due course.

Minute 5, ‘Ringing World National Youth Competition’ Martin Daniels sought reassurance that the failure of any District ringer to be chosen for the Guild entry for the RWNYC did not mean that the District’s offer of financial support would not be renewed. The Treasurer confirmed that the offer was on-going.

Minute 9 ‘Future Events’. The Secretary remarked on the resounding success of the Carol Service at Northington.

6. Loss of members through death. None notified.

7. Confirmation of belfry elections.

Compounding member:

Emily J Crowder of Kensington on 9 November 2019 prior to a peal at Bishopstoke, proposed by Roy LeMarechal, seconded by Graham Wright.

Probationary members:

Douglas Page and Oscar Schultz of Winchester College on 12 November 2019, proposed by Alec Graham, seconded by Caroline Fairley.

Madeleine McHardy of Sparsholt on 6 January 2020, proposed by John Cleverley, seconded by Jenny Watson.

Hephzibah Murray of Winchester College on 28 January 2020, proposed by Caroline Fairley, seconded by Edmund Wratten.

Christine Hyde of Sherfield English on 4 February 2020, proposed Caroline Daniels, seconded Martin Daniels.

Hannah Whaites of Wonston on 8 February 2020, proposed by Gerry Cornick, seconded by Christine Knights-Whittome.

8a. Election of new ringing members.

Richard Eames of Bishopstoke, proposed by Roy LeMarechal, seconded by Peter Clarke.

George Mansfield, Bailey Riches, Harriet Riches and Nathan Smith of New Alresford, proposed by Ian Redway, seconded by Roger Booth.

Jon Butler and Alison Jones of Romsey, proposed by Andrew Glover, seconded by Rhoda Willson.

Che Haefner and Claire Webster of Winchester College, proposed by Alec Graham, seconded by Caroline Fairley.

Ella Kesterton, Rianne Li and Esther Sweeting of Winchester College, proposed by Caroline Fairley, seconded by Edmund Wratten.

Milena Nunn of Wonston, proposed by Christine Knights-Whittome, seconded by Gerry Cornick.

 8b. Presentation of Certificates. Membership certificates and badges were taken for members at Bishopstoke, Lockerley and East Tytherley, and Sherfield English, and certificates for members at Romsey.

9. Officers’ Reports. Secretary’s Report: the secretary’s report was presented for scrutiny for errors and omissions: with none noted it could be forwarded to the Guild Report Editor for publication. Treasurer’s Report and accounts: adoption of the accounts, as usual carefully examined by John Colliss, was approved by the meeting, and they were signed and dated by the Chairman.

10. Election of Officers. The Chairman, in standing down prior to the election, remarked that if elected he was prepared to serve for a further term of one year, but felt it was right not to remain in office for too long, so that the District might benefit from the new ideas and new directions that could result from a change of chairman. So the District has the coming year to give due thought to choosing his successor. The Secretary echoed these sentiments, adding that if he were elected this year would mark a decade in post. The Treasurer was happy to continue in post, though he ‘would not be offended if anyone else wished to take over as treasurer’. The other sitting officers, bar the Newsletter Editor were likewise willing to stand for 2020, and John Colliss was willing to continue as Independent Examiner of the accounts. The offices were filled as follows:-

 Chairman: John Croft, proposed by Peter Hill, seconded by Nigel Herriott;

Secretary: Bruce Purvis, proposed by Nigel Herriott seconded by Roy LeMarechal;

Treasurer: Tony Smith, proposed by Roy LeMarechal, seconded by John Palk;

Ringing Master: Edmund Wratten, proposed by Nigel Herriott, seconded by Bruce Purvis

Joint Ringing Master: Jenny Watson, proposed by Bruce Purvis, seconded by Trisha  Shannon;

Executive Committee Representative: John Croft, proposed by Nigel Herriott, seconded by John Palk;

Independent Examiner of Accounts: John Colliss, proposed by Bruce Purvis, seconded by Martin Daniels;

Webmaster: Andrew Glover, proposed by Christine Knights-Whittome, seconded by Bruce Purvis;

Newsletter Editor: Following a brief discussion on the need for a newsletter in current circumstances, the meeting agreed to leave the editorship vacant; candidates for all other posts elected on a show of hands.

11. Future Events. The Secretary advised the meeting that the year’s programme was still at an early stage of compilation, with district practices for February and September being established and – most importantly – the location of the next Annual Meeting being settled, at Twyford on 13 February 2021. Concerns were raised – and duly noted – regarding the date for the Spring District Meeting falling on  9 May, conflicting with VE Day commemorations taking place that weekend, and regarding the staging of the Stockbridge Ringing Festival in the height of summer, likely to be busy with weddings and the Trout’n’about Festival on Sunday 2 August – and for which the Charmborough Ring has been booked. The date of 2 May for the Spring District Meeting and an autumn date for the Festival of Ringing were proposed.

12. Guild Striking Competitions. The Secretary reminded the meeting that the Guild Inter-District 8-bell competition would take place on the morning of the AGM on Saturday 13 June at Alton, with the draw at 10.30 a.m. The Guild Inter-Tower competitions (6- and 8-bell) would take place at Fawley and Eling respectively on Saturday 16 May, with draws at 3.00 p.m. The Inter-District 10-bell competition would take place at All Saints’, Basingstoke on Saturday 5 September, with the draw at 10.30 a.m. Tony Smith volunteered to organise a team for the Inter-District 8-Bell Competitions, and his offer was accepted with gratitude.

13. Guild Master. Pete Jordan, the Guild Master, said that when he was learning to ring, he was amazed at the time and effort that was devoted to teaching new learners. Ringing was a hobby, undertaken voluntarily, and he wished to thank us all for our efforts in the teaching and learning process, for our commitment to Sunday service ringing, and for taking on roles at tower, district and guild levels. He thanked us all, very much indeed. Secondly, Pete drew the attention of the meeting to the Heritage section of the Guild Action Plan, which included a planned initiative to record peal boards throughout the Guild. Allan Yalden, the project co-ordinator, requested that photographs of peal boards be sourced and copied – or taken from scratch and sent via e-mail – to him. Caroline Daniels enquired how Allan could be contacted: the answer was “via the Guild website”.

14. Any Other Business. 

  1. Beyond Bob Doubles, February. Edmund Wratten gave notice of the next Beyond Bob Doubles practice, at East Tytherley on Wednesday 26 February, concentrating on triples and major methods such as Grandsire, Stedman and Little Bob Major.
  1. Guild Report. John Palk reminded the meeting that the provision of copies of the new Guild Report was on an opting-in basis, requiring members to request their copies through their tower secretaries.
  1. Format of meetings. Nigel Herriott observed that our average age was now above 60 years. “Six or seven years ago” our ADM at North Stoneham had “filled the church”, and he wondered whether the format for District meetings of ringing – service – tea – business meeting was still viable as our age-profile gradually increased and people were retiring from ringing as they got older. Caroline Daniels enquired rhetorically whether there were any people coming into ringing in their twenties. The Secretary agreed that, although the traditional format of meetings had been subject to change during his tenure, the level of interest and attendance did concern him, and he proposed to organise a meeting of interested parties, including tower reps and the contributors to this discussion, to address just this issue. Tower Reps’ meetings were usually held in June. Roger Booth suggested the issue was not served well by a delay of four months, and that a meeting in April would address the issue to greater effect.
  1. Bell Restoration Fund. The collection for the BRF raised £27.

 

The meeting closed at 6.13 p.m.

Ringing Returns campaign

For a lot of us, this hiatus in ringing has been frustrating, but it has been really great to see the efforts that some are going to to stay in touch with their ringers, to keep practicing their skills using software apps and playing virtual ringing games, and even keeping the after practice virtual pub experiences going.

Ringing Returns will be a campaign over the coming weeks and months looking at two areas:

  1. how we can make good use of the down time to learn something new so that once the restrictions are lifted we can put it in to practice by recording a performance, from call changes to peals and everything in between.
  2. how we can celebrate a return to ringing once restrictions are lifted.

Of course we don’t want this restriction to undo all the great work that has been carried out over the last few years with recruitment and training, and we want to celebrate our return to ringing in a time honoured way, by flooding the air with the sound of bells. We have been and will continue to liaise with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to get what information we can, and make use of their support in the promotion of bellringing when the restriction is lifted.

We don’t know when the restrictions will be lifted so trying to coordinate a specific date for mass ringing is difficult, and it may be at different times depending on which continent you are, or a gradual lifting rather than full scale. The Central Council Comms & Marketing Workgroup have been considering how we could achieve that given that we don’t know when and how restrictions might be lifted.

You could also be using this time to plan a recruitment campaign so that when the restrictions are lifted, you can invite your communities to share in the celebrations. There are some great resources to help with this on the Central Council website https://cccbr.org.uk/resources/publicity-material/ and the Association of Ringing Teachers (ART) has developed a large package of recruitment and retention resources which are available to everyone at http://ringingteachers.org/resource-centre/recruitment-and-retention/recruitment-success

Look out for more ideas and information via the CCCBR website and social media, and the Ringing World.

Vicki Chapman
CCCBR Public Relations Officer

VE Day 75 Advice

The following message has been issued by Bruno Peek, organiser of the of UK’s VE Day 75 celebrations:

“I am afraid that the terrible Coronavirus emergency and consequent Government guidance means that we must advise participants to cancel or postpone the majority of the VE Day 75 community celebrations due to take place on the bank holiday weekend of 8th – 10th May. It is right and proper that people should be kept safe and healthy.

My sincere thanks to everyone who registered their events and were looking forward to celebrating VE Day 75. I know how disappointed you will be that these cannot now go ahead as planned. However, we are still encouraging solo pipers and town criers to continue to mark the occasion from a safe and suitable location.

I am hoping that all the events you have carefully planned can be moved to the weekend of 15th – 16th August when we will be able to celebrate VE Day and VJ Day, both momentous points in our history.”

Vicki Chapman
CCCBR Public Relations Officer

Solo ringing during the Coronavirus lockdown

Message originally posted on the CCCBR website

There have been several enquiries as to whether the ringing of a single bell or a set of Ellacombe chimes should be permitted as they are only rung by one person, especially for Easter Sunday.

It is clear from the UK government that we are being asked to stay at home to help halt the spread of coronavirus and that all unnecessary journeys should cease.  It is also clear from the Church of England that all churches are to remain closed for the time being:

Staying at home and demonstrating solidarity with the rest of the country at this testing time, is, we believe, the right way of helping and ministering to our nation. Therefore, for a season, the centre for the liturgical life of the church must be the home, not the church building.”
(Letter from Archbishops and Diocesan Bishops of the Church of England to all clergy in the Church of England 27 March 2020).

We did seek explicit guidance on this point from Lambeth Palace and were referred back to this guidance, and that churches are closed as part of wider legal restrictions.”  The Central Council Executive does not think this needs to be made any clearer.

Guild 6 and 8-bell Inter-tower Striking Competitions postponed

Fellow Ringers

I am sure you that it will not come as a surprise to you that the striking competition committee have taken the decision to postpone the Guild 6 and 8 bell inter tower striking competition until later in the year. I am not in a position to offer a date at this time as we feel that we need to wait to see how things develop with the covid-19 virus and the rest of the Guild calendar for a few weeks.

We hope that you are all safe and well.

Pete Jordan

Striking competition committee convener

Coronavirus – COVID-19 – Update from CCCBR

Coronavirus – Covid-19 – Update – 16th March

New updates on the Coronavirus have been issued by the UK government today, which include avoiding any “non-essential” travel and contact with others and avoiding pubs, clubs theatres and social gatherings.  If you haven’t already decided to cancel ringing activities, it seems that now is the time to do so.

We must all ensure that we are following the most up to date advice from the Chief Medical Officer (or overseas equivalent) with regard to the Covid 19 outbreak.  Of course the Central Council is not in a position to provide professional advice, however there are some simple guidelines to consider to ensure that we adopt sensible precautions and support each other through a period of rapid change and uncertainty.   The advice is changing almost daily and the latest messages concern potential restriction of movement of people over the age of 70 in the coming weeks, if not sooner.

The demographics of the ringing community has a large proportion who fit in to the over 70 year old and/or medically vulnerable category, and ringers can be quite stubborn when it comes to continuing ringing, insisting that we “keep calm and carry on”.  However, under the current circumstances, we have a duty to be responsible for ourselves and towards others we ring with.  If you fit into a category that has been advised to socially distance yourself, please heed that advice.  If not for you, then to help prevent putting other people at risk.

Having said that, socially distancing yourself can create a sense of isolation, and we must ensure that we maintain contact with our ringing friends, and offer any help and support where we can.  Please check in with those who are advised to stay home, phone them for a chat to ask how they are, drop them a quick text, Whatsapp or social media message to let them know they haven’t been forgotten.

If you find yourself self isolating, consider how you might get your ringing fix if not on the end of a rope.  There are many apps for phones and computers that you can utilise to learn methods, practise listening skills and so on. There’s a multitude of YouTube videos on various aspects of ringing, ringing up and down, rope splicing and many other tower tasks that need doing.  Get out some good old paper and pencil to write out methods, learn the place notation, write out touches etc  – that’ll keep you busy for hours!  Keep in touch with friends on the various bellringing social media communities, maybe even start one of your own.  Get that tower website up to date.  Get around to writing up last year’s tower AGM minutes.  Plan what you are going to do once the restrictions have been lifted, maybe organise a reunion.

Keep up to date with the latest advice from the government, ensure that you support each other, keep calm and keep safe.

———————————————————————————————————————————–

Many people are concerned about the effects of the current Coronavirus outbreak and what impact that has on us and our ringing activities.  Whilst the CCCBR cannot offer any professional medical advice, we would recommend that you adopt sensible precautions and follow the advice from the Chief Medical Officer.

Information about the virus, signs and symptoms can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ but there are some very simple guidelines to follow during every day activities:

Do

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands before and after ringing
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards or use sanitiser gel
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

Don’t

  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
  • lick or spit on your hands before catching hold of a rope, use other methods of increasing grip e.g. liquid chalk

We all have a duty to adopt sensible precautions to protect ourselves, our friends and families and to follow the current advice.  Sources of information for the UK can be found here:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/

https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-guidance

Other territories may also have regular advice updates for which territorial associations may be able to provide further guidance.

Vicki Chapman
CCCBR Public Relations Officer

Guild Striking Competitions 2020

The dates and towers for the Guild Striking Competitions 2020 are:

Guild Inter-Tower 6 and 8-bell competitions on the Saturday 16th May at Fawley and Eling.

Guild Inter-District 8-bell competition on Saturday 13 June at St. Lawrence, Alton. This is on the morning of the Guild AGM.

Further information available from these downloads:

Guild Inter-Tower 6-bell competition

Guild Inter-Tower 8-bell competition

Guild Inter-District 8-bell competition

Contact Pete Jordan

Winchester Autumn District Meeting Minutes – Nov 2019

Minutes of the Autumn District Meeting held on Saturday 9th November 2019 in the Parish Hall, Easton.

1. Chairman’s Welcome. The Chairman, John Croft, opened the meeting at 5.32 p.m., with a welcome to those present, including visitors, and with thanks to the Rector and Wardens for the use of the bells, to Edmund Wratten, Ringing Master, for leading the afternoon’s training in Cambridge Minor and its variants, and to the Easton ringers for laying on a sumptuous ringers’ tea [applause]. Edmund thanked his helpers in the training session.

2. Attendance. The following 20 members of the District (representing eight bands, with three members unattached), and one guest signed the attendance register: Judy Bishop, Sara Janssen and Lyn Russell (all of Easton), Christine Hill and Tessa and Tony Smith (all of Hursley), Sue Spurling (King’s Somborne), Carol Higgins (Lockerley and East Tytherley), Roger Booth and Elizabeth Johnson (both of New Alresford), Rodney Skinner (Ropley), Jenny Watson (Sparsholt), John Colliss, Charlie Curtis, Mary Edelsten, Christine Govier and Bruce Purvis (all of Winchester Cathedral), John and Joyce Croft, and Trisha Shannon (all unattached), and Charlotte Colliss (Swanmore – guest); also present was Edmund Wratten (unattached).

3. Apologies for absence. Apologies for absence were received from Nick Bucknall, Jen Churchill, Andrew Glover, Andrew Johnson, Christine Knights-Whittome, Brenda and John Palk.
4. Minutes of the Previous Meeting. Adoption of the minutes as a true record of the business of the Spring District Meeting held on 11 May at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Twyford, was proposed by Bruce Purvis, seconded by Jenny Watson and carried on a show of hands.

5. Matters Arising. Minute 10: Romsey Show. In response to an enquiry, Sue Spurling reported that 14 September had been a beautiful day, and the Guild’s stand had been very busy during the morning. Roger Booth added that some 250 people, adults and children, had tried their hand on the Charmborough Ring. Fifteen people had left details to find out more about ringing, including three or four for Romsey alone, and some lapsed ringers. All these details had been forwarded to active bands, and if they needed support, Martin Daniels had agreed to arrange helpers. The organisers felt that with better organisation, more names could have been gathered – perhaps as many as fifty or sixty. There was a strong sense that the exercise was definitely worth repeating. Roger added that the Ring had been booked for Stockbridge’s “Trout’n’about” festival of food and crafts, on 2 August next year.

Minute 11: Donation to the W&P Youth Ringers’ Outings. Tony Smith reported that he had written to Sallie Ingram, the outings’ organiser, to learn who should receive the grant voted by the Spring District Meeting, and he had yet to hear from her. The meeting mandated Tony to contact Sallie again.

Minute 12: Ringing World National Youth Competition. No young member of the District had been chosen for the Guild’s team for the RWNYC, so Martin Daniels’ proposal, agreed by the Spring meeting, lapsed.

Minute 15 [incorrectly numbered 14]: AOB: Northington. Elizabeth Johnson reported that a first quarter had been scored on the new ring, on 20 May, featuring members of the Candover Valley Ringers, and Jill Parr, formerly captain of the band; also that the bells had been dedicated by the Bishop of Basingstoke at a service on 6 October. A first peal attempt had been lost when a rope had slipped wheel.

6. Loss of members through death. The death of Derek Yates of East Meon and New Alresford, on 20 September, was noted with sadness. A prominent ringer, he continued his ringing career on handbells after a stroke prevented him from climbing stairs. His funeral was widely attended, and Terry Collins’ eulogy had been published as an obituary in the Ringing World. Also, the death of John Denham on 21 July was noted with sadness: John had been a longstanding and loyal member of the Sunday service band at Twyford St Mary the Virgin. After a short period of silence, the Chairman recited the words of the Requiem.

7. Confirmation of belfry elections.

Compounding members:

William P Carew of Kingsteignton on 28 September 2019 prior to a peal at
Wimborne Minster proposed by Barry Fry, seconded by John Croft.

Probationary members:

Jesse Birks-Kent and Bethany Lunn of Winchester Cathedral on 19 June 2019
proposed by Mike Hopkins Till, seconded by Bruce Purvis.

Christine Wilson, unattached, on 19 June 2019 proposed by Mike Hopkins Till,
seconded by Bruce Purvis.

Evangelia Karletsou of Winchester Cathedral on 25 September 2019 proposed by
Bruce Purvis, seconded by Nick Bucknall.

Andrew R Nunn of Micheldever on 1 October 2019 proposed by Mary Tiles,
seconded by Juliet Pattison.

8. Election of new ringing members.

Marion Daniell and Christine Govier of Winchester Cathedral proposed by Nick
Bucknall, seconded by Bruce Purvis.

Bethany Lunn of Winchester Cathedral proposed by Mike Hopkins Till, seconded
by Bruce Purvis.

Trisha Shannon, unattached, proposed by Edmund Wratten, seconded by Mary
Edelsten.

9. Future Events. The Secretary referred briefly to the few events remaining of the programme up to the next Annual Meeting, at Hursley next February. These included District Practices at Old Alresford on Monday next, 11 November, and at Broughton and Kings Worthy, also the Carol Service at Broughton, still subject to confirmation. An additional training session – added since the Agenda had been published – was a training evening in raising and lowering at Sparsholt, this coming Friday, 14 November, starting at 7.00 p.m. Suggestions and proposals for the new programme included District Practices at King’s Somborne, Kings Worthy, Micheldever, Easton and Wonston. Roger Booth observed that District Practices – certainly those he had attended – were thinly attended, and he urged the Committee to consider his suggestions, circulated earlier, to improve attendance rates. More specifically, Elizabeth Johnson suggested that for District Practices at Old Alresford, we contact her or Rodney Skinner – who ran a practice for the Ropley Band-in-exile on the second Thursday of the month – for advice, as there was in effect no band at Old Alresford.

10. Any Other Business. (1) Future District Committee. John Croft, Chairman, gave notice that he would be prepared to stand for re-election next February, but that if elected, he could serve only one more year, as he would by then have served five years, and felt it was time for ‘new blood’, fresh approaches and ideas, etc. Bruce Purvis, Secretary, gave notice to the same effect, as by 2021 he would have served ten years. Tony Smith, Treasurer, added that he was likewise prepared to serve, if elected, through 2020, but would not in the least be offended should anyone else wished to take on the management of the District’s finances.

(2) Training needs. Edmund Wratten entered a plea for input as to training needs across the District, as it was difficult otherwise to be certain that our training programme had a properly broad appeal across the District.

(3) Channel Islands District. Rodney Skinner advised the meeting that the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission had recommended that transfer of the Channel Islands’ Deanery to the Diocese of Salisbury. This could mean that the Channel Islands’ District could seek affiliation to the Salisbury Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers. It was understood, however, that the decision would be up to the District.

There being no further business the meeting closed at 6.03 p.m.