Two great minds (Alan Bentley and Tim Kettle) have been at work together to host this great opportunity within the C&S District: A one day course (Module 1) Teaching Bell Handling. This will be held at St. Peter’s, Bournemouth on 9th March 2019 with tutor Gill Hughes. In time we plan to host more in the undercroft conference centre.
St. Peter’s has great facilities within its undercrofts, and in time we hope will become known on the ringers-map as a ‘Learning/Ringing Centre’, as the church invests in making the staircase, tower, steeple, bells more accessible to the public and awareness. We are very lucky to home a beautiful heavy ring of 8 by Taylor’s (21cwt in E), recast as a complete set in the 1930’s. The tower is also home to the popular and successful weekly tailored practice night specifically geared towards bell handling.
For more information please contact Tim Kettle, Ringing Master of St. Peter’s.
Please see the document/poster via the link below. As part of the ringing initiative, Ringing for Peace, please print copies of these out, to display/make accessible to congregation members.
All you need to do is change the email address so it is relevant to your tower.
If anyone needs assistance doing this, please let me know.
Vicki Chapman, Ringing Remembers Project Co-ordinator, writes:
Hopefully you will have seen the Ringing Remembers update published in last week’s Ringing World. However, it would be great if you could spread the word throughout your networks to ensure that all new ringers are registering to be counted towards our target of 1,400 new recruits to join us for ringing on Armistice Day this year.
The Armistice 100 Ringing Remembers website https://cccbr.org.uk/ringingremembers/?rf=34 is now open. The website also gives you some information and useful links regarding the Ringing Remembers campaign including some resources to help you with any publicity. Some Association’s will have already had some leaflets and posters however, I will be sending out more in the coming weeks, especially to those areas that have not yet received any. If you’ve already had some, but would like some more, please get in touch.
To register, click on the Register link which then presents a number of options:
New Ringer – for those who are completely new, have not contacted a local tower and want to be connected with a teacher, we will then match them up with either an ART teacher, or your Association’s nominated contact;
Already Learning – for those that may have gone straight to a local tower and started to learn to ring, in which case please include where;
Returning Ringer – for anyone who has come back to ringing after a period of absence, and therefore unlikely to need to be put in touch with a teacher or Association.
Once they have answered a few simple questions, they will be added to the Armistice 100 database and counted towards our 1,400.
If you were contacted regarding someone wanting to learn to ring in your area, it would be extremely helpful if you could send us an update of how students that have been passed to you are progressing. Have they been contacted? Has a teacher been assigned, if so who? Have they started lessons yet? And even if they’ve decided it’s not for them after all. That way we can really see how many new recruits will be ready to join us for ringing on Armistice Day.
During February the Ringing Remembers Facebook page was launched https://www.facebook.com/groups/RingingRemembers/ . The CCCBR President wrote an introduction/welcome post. The Big Ideas Twitter account (https://twitter.com/Big_Ideas_Co )has regular Ringing Remembers updates and the hashtag #RingingRemembers is being shared in posts. Both are useful if you want to spread the word about any taster sessions or recruitment events you might be hosting. Do please keep me informed and let me know if you need any help advertising your event.
If you have any peals or quarters planned to mark the anniversary of a WW1 ringers death, please let me know so we can help you mark the occasion and if you need any help with publicity.
Ringing Remembers Project Co-ordinator
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers Representative
Registered Charity Number: 270036
Phil Ramsbottom is a member of the St. Martin’s Guild, and an ART teacher.
- In the light of many years experience, the writer recommends improving the teaching of method ringing in the following way:
Move away from teaching Plain Bob Doubles which is leading to losing many recruits early in the learning process.
- Use other ways of teaching proper method ringing, such as Bastow, to provide a more direct and quicker route into ringing the basic lines which ringers use throughout their ringing lives.
- Use other techniques to teach learners (… our future ringers) and in doing so, ensure they leave the tower after every practice having achieved something and with a real sense of achievement. That way we will keep more recruits.
Plain Bob Doubles: the long tradition
For as many years as I can remember, Plain Bob Doubles has been the vehicle for introducing new ringers to changeringing, be it plain hunting on the treble or ringing ‘inside’.
Equally, for as many years as I can remember, it’s very rarely that I’ve not witnessed a new recruit struggling for many more weeks than should be allowed trying to get to grips with the basic ideas of learning a Blue Line and converting it into actions whilst ringing a bell.
Many’s the time I’ve witnessed a pupil learning to plain hunt on the treble, the backstrokes into 3rds and 5ths place always seeming to be a problem. When it comes to learning to ring the method inside, again I have seen too many (far too many) managing a plain course
after months of trying after which it seems to be another six months or more of endless 120’s keeping them as observation bell.
During this stage we seem to lose far too many new recruits, which considering the hundreds of man hours invested in getting this far is an intolerable waste of teaching time. We’re teaching Bob Doubles (and very badly at that) and not teaching ropesight. I have asked many fellow ringers why this attachment to Bob Doubles, only to be told: “Well a pupil can learn to make seconds, far places, dodge in 3-4 up and down all in the same method”.
This is not a persuasive argument: a learner driver, for example, doesn’t attempt to do three point turns or hill starts in their first lesson. The individual skills required are learnt separately, one at a time, slowly coming together in order to gain competence. We need to introduce a system for teaching the individual basic manoeuvres used in methods and in doing so a system which will help familiarize the pupil with, and help them to develop, ropesight. Bob Doubles is not that method.
Plain Hunting with elementary ropesight
It must be said that, for what follows, the use of a wipe clean board and pens in the tower will assist greatly, but only in order to illustrate the Blue Lines immediately prior to ringing without the need for weeks of revision beforehand which often ‘put off’ the learner.
As I mentioned above, most learners (or least the ones I’ve witnessed) take more than a few weeks to get to grips with the mechanics of plain hunting on 5, normally memorizing the numbers, which lets face it, isn’t difficult. Only when touches are embarked on do they have their first taste of needing ropesight and thus more weeks are added to the process.
So, simplify it. Begin by plain hunting on just 2 bells. For what follows, assume that 6 bells are always being rung and the pupil is on the treble. The pupil simply learns to lead for a whole turn, make seconds over the second and lead again. Just four changes but usually easily achieved after only a couple of attempts. Once competent at this, again probably after only a few minutes, then call a different bell into seconds place telling the pupil to work out which bell prior to saying ‘go’ once more. Progressively, giving less time for the pupil to find the seconds place bell (i.e. call a bell into seconds immediately followed by ‘go’). Already the pupil is grasping basic ropesight and after only say 10 or fifteen minutes at the very most. If possible, try and get this far without interruption, i.e. calling stand to ring something else.
The added bonus of this is that the pupil goes home having achieved changeringing by the end of practice night, albeit very basic, unaided as opposed leaving the tower wondering: “Will I ever be able to ring Bob Doubles” which I’ve heard said many times.
We then move on to plain hunting on 3 bells. Apply the same rules as above, giving plenty of practice first with bells 2 and 3 in the correct place moving on to having different bells in 2nds and 3rds place. Don’t feel the need to leave 4, 5 and 6 as cover bells, get them involved too as it all benefits the learner.
Stating the blindingly obvious, now do the same again on 4 bells. Once able to do this with the bell positions changed round, there’s a several things to try next. Firstly while still ringing on 6, ring a plain course or touch of Plain Bob Minimus, with 5 and 6 covering.
Secondly, do the same but starting from a different change other than rounds and also with say 4 and 6 or 3 and 6 as cover bells. Thirdly, try the same but using a method where the treble returns to lead passing the bells in a different order. And lastly, if a suitable band is to hand, try a plain course of Little Bob Minor. The pupil will most likely quickly remember the numbers to get through a plain course, but having developed at least some ropesight in the
earlier exercises, moving on to ring touches doesn’t usually, and shouldn’t, cause too much difficulty.
In all my experience of teaching, I’ve rarely had to go beyond two weeks of practices to achieve the above, although time allocation of the evening might need to be slightly more in favour of the learner, – but look at the payback!
At this point, despite not having yet attempted hunting on 5, move on to ringing inside, and yes, on 4 bells not 5.
Bastow Little Court Bob Minimus
Allow me now to introduce what I consider to be a rather wonderful little method called Bastow which, whilst not stretching the skills of your average ringer, is the best thing I’ve ever discovered for introducing learners to ringing methods inside and ropesight.
By way of comparison I have reproduced the method here, and below, I’ve shown the more usually preferred Plain Bob Doubles. Now ask yourselves this, if you were to show the average learner these two diagrams, which of the two Blue Lines are they most likely to want to learn first? I’ve always had the same reply, – the easiest. Now call me biased, but are there any ringers out there who honestly think that the line for Plain Bob Doubles is the easier of the two? I seriously doubt it, and yet this seems to be the normal approach to teaching method ringing inside.
At this stage it’s also worth pointing out that it’s possible to get a total novice band as far as this stage without needing additional assistance. Starting hunting on just 2 bells and working upwards in numbers can be done with just one ringer present who
understands plain hunting.
Likewise, once a band has got this far, it’s possible to get the same band ringing courses of Bastow with only one experienced ringer. Try doing that with Bob Doubles. Ok, it’s probably been done somewhere but it’s MUCH harder work.
So far, our ‘learner’ has been ringing the treble bell to all the hunting. So, lets keep life simple for them and keep them ringing the treble, – after all, they’ve got used to it by now. To do this we simply start the method in a different place, the second becomes the hunt bell (starting by leading and then making seconds etc…) and all the treble does is this^^.
The purpose of this is to get our pupil to learn how to move towards a dodging position and then perform dodges in 3-4 up and 3-4 down.
To begin with we can help them, for example by explaining that they won’t be dodging with the second: the first dodge is with the last bell they meet at the back; and the other dodge is with the remaining bell.
Once this is mastered, and again usually quite quickly, then start changing the numbers round, and as was done in the plain hunting, introducing other bells into the changes. Say, for example, starting from 153246 with 4 and 6 covering.
Remember, wherever possible, as with all the previous exercises, the ringing should be on 6 bells. It’s also worth noting that I don’t advocate the usual practice of learning the sequence of work, other than it’s simply 3-4 up followed by 3-4 down, another factor which makes this a more appealing way of learning method ringing.
So where do we go from here? Thinking logically, and to avoid the tedium of learning the sequence of work, extend the Bastow to all 6 bells, and keeping our learner on the treble we now have a line which looks like this.
This I’m sure you’ll agree is starting to look like something we recognize as being of
some use, say almost Treble Bob on 6, or half of Little Bob Minor.
From experience, the learner won’t gasp at the prospect of going up to 6ths place for the first time. It’s simply the next dodging position to them. Again, by way of guidance, explain that having done the 3-4 up dodge, simply pass the next bell and then dodge again with
the one after that. Then lie for 2 blows dodging with the bell which comes up to meet you at the back. The only difficulty I’ve experienced is showing the learner how to pick out the bell for the 3-4 down dodge, but as with everything so far, this is more
often than not learned quickly.
Again, the numbers may well be learnt without trying but by this stage that’s not such a bad thing as we have a learner whom we can now move around a bit and get used to ringing different bells. For example, ringing the method correctly with the treble as the hunt bell and the learner ringing the second and/or the third. Doing this negates the need to start from anything other than rounds there being things we can now move on to which will help to develop the ropesight we’re trying to achieve.
After that, one of the next logical steps is adding the dodges in 1-2 and then trebling to an appropriate method. The other alternative, having mastered this line, is to then ring the second to Little Bob pointing out the need not to dodge with the treble in 3-4
at the relevant point. That being said, there’s no reason where these two options can’t be run concurrently. Once these are out of the way there are many different paths to take. Personally I head towards learning the Bobs and then on to Plain Bob Minor and splicing it with Little Bob, even if only in plain courses at first.
- Stop teaching Plain Bob Doubles and wondering why we lose so many recruits at this stage in the learning process.
- Introduce a means of teaching proper method ringing, and by that, have a different but far more direct and quicker route into ringing the basics of the lines we ring throughout our ringing lives.
- Teach our learners (and our future ringers) in a way which means they leave the tower after every practice feeling as though they’ve achieved something and not just got better at something, as opposed to the usual: “Come back next week and we’ll have another go at it”. They don’t always come back next week – and it’s too late then!
Your comments are welcome on this article – scroll down to post publicly, or click here to email the author
We need several new ringers if bellringing at Overton is to continue.
Contact Liz Lewis
Sparsholt tower near Winchester, welcomes new ringers, young or old. Lessons are available on Mondays from 7.0 to 7.30pm on a one to one basis, which is just before the main practice at 7.30 pm. We have 6 bells on a ground floor ring. Anyone interested, or just want to have a try, should contact Jenny Watson
Sherfield on Loddon would definitely like some new recruits and have used the Armistice Centenary as the basis of a recruitment article in the parish (village) magazine.
Great news – to date we have 16 new ringers in our Guild area!
The majority have been introduced to their tower already and the five most recent enquiries, received 8th January, will be contacted very soon.
St Michel du Valle Guernsey, welcomes all wishing to learn to ring
The Alderney ringers are delighted to record that June Banister has passed the highest level of the Learning the Ropes pathway to success in ringing & is now a qualified Change Ringer. The training scheme was launched 5 years ago – there are only 79 ‘graduates’ so far reaching Level 5 and two of them are on Alderney:-)
Maurice will be enjoying his 93rd birthday on Weds 13th Dec so at practice on Mon 11th we rang 93 changes of Cambridge Minor before singing ‘Happy Birthday’ and enjoying a slice of birthday cake.
Gary Marsh writes:
The Basic Raising and Lowering course held at St. Mary’s Church, Bishopstoke was a terrific event. It had an air of nervous celebration about it as we arrived at the church and signed in with Christine. I say nervous, as we knew as beginner ringers that we would soon be tackling what often seems to be the most challenging and coordination defying tasks of raising, and particularly, lowering, a bell. It felt like a celebration as we had got to the point in our ringing careers where our handling had moved on enough to be trusted to rise to the challenge of learning these new skills without breaking anything!
With six tutors and ten on the course we got the chance to be instructed alongside fellow raising & lowering novices, sharing instructors, ropes and experiences. It made for a great sense of community. Our tutors were calm, encouraging and excited to be sharing their knowledge.
So us ten not-so-novices can move forward with our ringing, able to more fully participate at our home tower with our potential raised and anxieties lowered. The milestone of making the first loop complete in a safe and welcoming place, well away from our own woodwork!
Gary Marsh (46), Wonston Tower, ringing ten months.
And Romy Coldman writes:
After two years of ringing and never really mastering the mysteries of raising and lowering, I jumped at the chance when I heard about the course.
The day was very well organised where we had one tutor to two learners. We all had a full two hours of individual practice and assessment less the much needed tea break after working up a sweat. As a learner, I certainly need more practice until I can raise and lower with confidence, but the tips and skills gained from the course were invaluable.
Many thanks to Andy Ingram, Christine Knights-Whittome and all the tutors – especially Mike, my tutor, for his patience and encouraging words.
I would highly recommend this course not only for beginners but for anyone who wants to improve their skills.
Romy Coldman (Hinton Admiral)
Christchurch is aiming to recruit up to six new ringers. Lessons take place on Monday evenings.
The first steps of learning to ring are all about handling and controlling a bell. Later, if you plan to ring heavier bells (or much lighter ones) you may need to brush up these skills and take them to a new level.
Posts about Bell Handling on this website:
- C&S District NEW Training Morning. Brockenhurst. Saturday 21st March 9:30am until 12:00noon. February 21, 2020
- Association of Ringing Teachers/ART Training Scheme: Course places available. January 17, 2019
- Overton Bellringers are recruiting now February 9, 2018
- Sparsholt bellringers welcome learners January 19, 2018
- Sherfield on Loddon Recruiting New Ringers January 13, 2018
- RINGING REMEMBERS RECRUITMENT CAMPAIGN January 13, 2018
- Kickstart your ringing career – Summer School in London Aug 21st-25th July 24, 2017
- Two trainees write about last week’s Guild Raising and Lowering Course June 16, 2017
- Bell Handling April 3, 2017
- September 2017 Ringing Courses at Tulloch April 3, 2017
- New Book from ART: A Ringer’s Guide to Learning the Ropes® January 20, 2017
- New Video Launched – Raising and Lowering Skills December 1, 2016
- Learn to Ring in the Candover Valley October 11, 2016
- Learn to Ring at Ryde September 9, 2016
- Selborne Welcomes Beginners to Bellringing September 7, 2016
- Join the Band at King’s Somborne September 6, 2016
- Training Places Available at Highclere September 6, 2016
- Learn to Ring at Blackmoor September 6, 2016
- Adult Training Places Available at Overton September 6, 2016
- Learn to Ring at Eling August 13, 2016
- Are you Recruiting? Have you put that on this website yet? August 11, 2016
- Training Places Available for Bellringers at West Meon August 3, 2016
- Learn to Ring at Dummer August 1, 2016
- New Bell Ringers Learning at Newport (IoW) June 20, 2016
- Alton Learners and Improvers on Tour June 10, 2016
- Learn to Ring at Ringwood February 20, 2016
- News from Blackmoor ** New Recruits Welcome February 19, 2016
- Learn to Ring at Christchurch Priory January 9, 2016
- Learn to Ring at Eling December 19, 2015
- A Bell Ringing Lesson for a young ringer… December 9, 2015
- Learn to ring at Holy Trinity Church, Wonston November 19, 2015
- Learn to ring on the Isle of Wight November 6, 2015
- Learn to Ring at Brockenhurst March 19, 2015
- Learn to ring in Bournemouth February 21, 2015
- Learn to ring in Minstead (New Forest) June 16, 2014
2 peals of bells, a simulator, handbells, patient & friendly ART tutors and no neighbours – all add up to a winning combination
Learn to ring week Sept 18th – 22nd
Are you struggling to get enough ‘rope-time’ in your home tower? 18 places are available @ £50 per head for 5 days of total immersion in the fun of ringing. ART registered tutors will lead students through bell handling, change ringing in hand and working with a simulator to produce ringers fit for the 21st century. We will liaise with your local tower for easy integration when you get home. 5 days of concentrated handling/listening/ rounds/theory & vocabulary – what better way to spend a week? We will provide a light lunch of soup/sandwiches & all day tea & coffee. Accommodation available locally, we can make recommendations but you must book your own.
Improve your ringing week, Sept 25th – 29th
Can you ring a bell unaided but want to polish your handling? perfect your raising & lowering, work on your call changes, understand ropesight & work towards plain hunt. Learn about plain bob, what does it mean to dodge. Fancy a go on handbells? we can help:-)
18 places available for a week of intensive tuition covering handling, hunting and bob doubles. Learn to ring handbells. Perfect your striking with a simulator
For £50 pp we will provide a week of patient tuition, easy to ring bells & friendly support – extend your horizons at Tulloch. Light lunch and all day tea & coffee provided. Accommodation available locally, we can make recommendations but you must book your own.
This is an opportunity to get on track with the best team sport/performing art/mathematical puzzle in the UK.
For more info & to book your place please see www.tullochbells.com
In agreement with The Ringing World the series of 8 articles titled ‘The Education Column’ by David Smith, published during 2016, have now been added to the Education area of the website. Links are also below.
|1. Introductory rumblings|
|2. What is Bastow? Why is it useful?|
|3. How Quick are your Sixes?|
|4. Little Bob and Penultimate|
|5. Let’s be Original!|
|7. Down Mexico way|
|8. Back to Basics|
With Grandsire Doubles and Triples behind us**, the Education Committee is turning its attention to the Listening Skills course on Saturday 8th April, based at Lockerley. This is a full-day course, including lunch, and covers all sorts of different things which ringers may not have tried (in addition to ringing). It is for ALL abilities, including relative beginners, and is a lot of fun. Expect the unexpected! **click to read a review of the Grandsire course
If you, or others within your tower, are still thinking about this, could I just remind you that the closing date for the receipt of applications is Wednesday 22nd March – not very far away! – and places are already three-quarters full. Courses so far this year have all been over-subscribed, resulting in waiting lists, so if you think this would be of interest to you or your fellow-ringers could I suggest you send in your applications a.s.a.p. In case they have been mislaid, further copies (both Word and pdf versions) of the poster and application form are attached.
Any queries before you take the plunge – do please give me a call or email me (see below)
The Learning Curve resources have a new URL https://cccbr.org.uk/services/education/the-learning-curve/
If you have not browsed them before then now’s the time!
In November, last year I attended an education training day arranged by the Guild for Double Norwich Court Bob Major (DNCBM). Followup from this day, some of the attendees of the course organised a practice evening at Eling, Southampton and the band at Eling tower kindly gave up their evening practice to support the learners from the Guilds Education Day, and we rang DNCBM all evening. This was a fabulous evening. Lots of support and encouragement. After this practice I was asked to consider organising a practice in my local area, Basingstoke. I found the request daunting but went with it.
I approached my home tower St Michael, Basingstoke to see if the tower could be used for such a practice. A simulator practice was offered and a date for 28th February 2017 was confirmed. I posted the date, time, venue and method to be rung on the Guild website with the help and support of the Webmaster. They created me a link so those that were interested could contact me direct.
I asked the Tower Secretary at St Michael, and the District Secretary, to publish the event to capture those that may not have access to the Guild website.
Two learners took advantage of the opportunity and nine helpers volunteered to assist on the evening. We had fantastic and generous support with people giving up their time and traveling from all over the county to support. The Guild Master and members of the Education Committee have been so supportive in the run up to the practice evening, they gave me plenty of advice and contacts prior to the evening which helped eliminate any concerns or challenges that presented themselves while organising the evening.
The Guild Education Days are great and the idea that learners should seek to consolidate and embed their learning from the wider ringing community is proactive and innovative, especially where more complex methods may be harder to practice within home towers.
By calling on the expertise within the Guild, the necessary rope time to learn the method has been achieved. Creating the opportunity to consolidate the learning so quickly after the initial training has paid off, not just with individual confidence with ringing the method but also tapping into peoples enthusiasm to help grow the skills within the Guild. I have had lots of positive feedback from other people who have heard about this and I have had suggestions of possible methods for future practices. The opportunity and support is there in the ringing community and I would encourage others to think about doing what we have done. With this in mind I have decided to do something similar for Stedman Doubles and this is what has happened…
- Stedman Doubles practice Saturday 1st April 2017 10:30-13:00 at Herriard **Full
Hello everyone one, at the end of my last article about Double Norwich Court Bob Major, I said watch this space for a Stedman Doubles practice. Well I have to say that the practice is over subscribed, which is amazing. If you are disappointed that you have not been able to get on to the practice this time around I can organise another.
I’m a great fan of ringing courses and have been to Sparsholt (the predecessor of Bradfield), Hereford and Bradfield many times both as a student and helper but not for many years. But last year I decided that it was time for another visit.
When applying students have to choose the group that they think will be suitable for the stage they will be at about 4 months down the line so best to consult with your tower captain to get advice. Some people are over-ambitious while others don’t realise how near they are to a giant leap forward. For helpers you simply tick the groups you are confident you can keep right in. I ticked the boxes up to Plain Bob Minor but omitting Bell Experience. No learner needs me wandering all over the place trying to figure out who to follow in call changes!
I was very lucky my flight was on time so I knew I’d be in plenty of time to get to Reading where I was being collected by another helper and taken for lunch. But I was just too early and had to hang around for 2 hours until off-peak train fares kicked in. Next time I’ll go a few days early and make the cost of my flight worthwhile. There must have been nearly 20 of us helpers sitting in the pub garden on the bank of the river at Pangbourne and it was a wrench to tear ourselves away to check into the course.
Although I’ve been many times before I was semi-anonymous this time because I’d previously used my married name. Even Margaret Winterbourne, who organised the accommodation had no idea I would be there. But I don’t really melt into the background so my cover was soon blown. One sad thing for me was how many of my old friends were not there; some had died while others had simply dropped out due to old age. But it was lovely to see so many young tutors.
Bradfield College is a vast site and no matter how many times I’m there it still takes me at least a day until I can find my way around. The accommodation used was in different blocks than the last time I was there. Smashing new blocks though mine was right at the top of the hill. I wonder if Margaret might have taken pity and allocated me a room nearer sea level if she’d realised I was the old girl? But at least it was quiet up there, well away from the beer room.
Those who book in early have a couple of hours spare to get their bearings or simply rest before the action begins. Kicking off is the welcome meeting hosted by The Two Mikes. They can rival Ant and Dec any day! The tutors are introduced, ‘elf ’n’ safety covered and everyone separates off for the first theory session with their group. This usually starts with introductions and sorting out car sharing and most importantly finding out whether any locals have recommendations on pubs for lunch on the Friday and Saturday. Then some theory on the group’s method. This year I was helping with Grandsire Doubles which I was pleased with (at the beginning anyway). After 3 days of nothing else it becomes rather tedious and that’s why my favourite group to help on is plain hunt. You get to ring all sorts of doubles methods while the learner plain hunts the treble.
Then evening meal and off to the first tower. Ringing at different towers is an important part of the learning process. They do try to allocate the more challenging bells to the more advanced groups but since they make use of every available tower within an acceptable distance from the college some will be easier than others. But I think this is a good opportunity for those who only ever ring at their home tower to experience other towers and maybe realise how lucky they are at home.
Once back from ringing the options are the brew room, the beer room or back to your accommodation block to put your feet up. You might not feel like collapsing on Thursday evening but you probably will by Saturday evening!
Friday and Saturday follow similar patterns; breakfast followed by an optional session, then off for the day to ring at 4 towers with a pub lunch in between. Returning to the college in time for coffee, followed by a theory session for your group and more optional talks.
On Saturday evening there was a mini ring striking competition which I somehow found myself in a band for. Needless to say we didn’t win; I’m not certain but I think we came 4th (out of 4).
Sunday morning is taken up with optional sessions for students or service ringing for helpers. Then after lunch a final ring.
I may not have been exactly correct on the order of when group sessions and optionals etc are held but rest assured there is a lot happening and you will never have time to be bored. Oh and did I say there is coffee and cake provided at regular intervals throughout the weekend.
The optional sessions vary each year but include handbells, conducting, teaching handling, rope splicing and any number of interesting things, much of it specifically aimed at relatively inexperienced ringers. The best attended sessions are always Steve Coleman’s so if you’re going the advice is to get to his talks early if you want a seat.
I think the course is best suited to those ringers in the bell experience group up to ringing doubles or minor and perhaps triples; partly because less experienced ringers will get more benefit from the whole experience of meeting other ringers, realising that others are also struggling and just simply becoming more aware of the wider world of ringing but also because a course or even half course of Surprise Major takes so long to ring that each student will only get one ring at each tower.
It is a wonderful but very tiring experience but don’t be surprised when you get back to your home tower keen to demonstrate your new skills to find that your mind goes totally blank and you haven’t a clue how to ring the method you rang all weekend. Give your brain a few days to clear and you will reap the rewards.
Bradfield is now taking applications for this year’s course on 17 – 20 August 2017 so why not think about going.
Sue Le Feuvre
“Yes I did” said The Lord Mayor when asked if he’d enjoyed his tower bell ringing Taster Session!!
The Lord Mayor had met with bell ringers before and was keen to have a go at Tower Bell Ringing himself. He met up with a group of Portsmouth ringers at St. Agatha’s Church recently and was “Shown the ropes”.
He had noticed how challenging it can be, physically and mentally, and that young bell ringers get a good deal of fun out of the activity. When young ringers learn and then develop together, in a group, bell ringing is particularly exciting for them especially when they train for, and enter, competitions.
There are now teaching slots available in the Portsmouth area and The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress – who both did very well in their training sessions – are kindly offering their support to match the demand of potential new ringers to the availability and location of local Bell Ringing Coaches.
Local young groups including scouting organisations, church groups, schools and the Duke of Edinburgh scheme would be ideal.
For further information, please see http://wpbells.org
or email the District Secretary, Lisa
Public Relations Officer
Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers.
Tel: 07594 609 366
The Pompey Chimes newspaper (the Portsmouth Diocese paper) recently featured an article and photo of this event which happened in Brighstone. Click to read….
This year’s Essex Ringing Course runs from Thursday 6th to Saturday 8th April. The closing date for applications is Friday 10th February.
Details are at <https://eacr.org.uk/course>
The following is reproduced from that page:
PRACTICAL RINGING SESSIONS
- GROUP A — Improving foundation skills.
- Have you reached the stage in your early ringing career where even if you understand the theory of what you are meant to be doing you are finding doing it an entirely different matter? If so this group is for you. Students in this group will work on their individual ringing skills so that they can improve their bell control, listening and ropesight. This may require time working alone on a bell as an individual with the advice of your tutor, as well as ringing with other ringers. Students will also practise raising and lowering a single bell.
- GROUP B
- A Group for those who can ring Rounds competently and who are ready to take their first steps in call changes and then, possibly, in change ringing on 3 or 4 bells. If you are in any way doubtful about joining Group C, then join Group B; you will still find something to learn and will have the opportunity to fill in steps in your ringing education you may have missed or not appreciated.
- GROUP C
- A Group for those wishing to plain hunt on 5. The opportunity to practise on different rings of bells and in different orders both on the treble and “inside” will be provided. The Group will emphasise the skills required for change ringing and will be learning ropesight and considering striking, as an essential preliminary to ringing the treble. Practice may be given at ringing the treble to Bastow, Minimus and Doubles, to “Stedman Quick Sixes” and to Plain Bob Minimus as appropriate, before progressing to ringing the treble to Plain Bob Doubles.
- GROUP D
- A Group for those who really have ropesight and bell control and are ready to ring the treble to Grandsire Doubles and Plain Bob Minor. It is intended to progress to ringing the treble to touches in both these methods. A number of other methods may be rung to practise the different rhythm of change ringing with six bells.
- GROUP E
- A Group for those who are competent in ringing skills as outlined in the above groups and wishing to learn Plain Bob Doubles on an “inside” bell.
- GROUP F
- A Group for those who are already competent in ringing skills as outlined in the above groups and able to ring touches of Plain Bob Doubles and who wish to learn Plain Bob Minor “inside”. You should be able to treble hunt reliably to touches of Bob Minor before applying for this group; if in any doubt consider applying for Group D.
- GROUP G — Grandsire
- Starting with Doubles and progressing to Triples with calls. Applicants must be proficient in ringing the treble to Grandsire and be able to ring touches of Bob Doubles “inside” to get the full benefit from this option.
- GROUP H — Doubles Beyond Plain Bob & Grandsire
- Would you like more variety on Practice Night? Explore Reverse Canterbury, St Simon’s and other methods or variations which contain a number of different ‘works’ which will be useful in your future ringing career.
- GROUP I — Beyond Bob Minor
- The Group will study and practise several Plain Minor methods (Single / Double Court and Oxford) which introduce many of the building blocks and concepts needed before progressing to Surprise. Methods such as St Clements and Little Bob may also be included. Applicants must be able to ring touches of Plain Bob Minor on an inside bell competently.
- GROUP J — Stedman
- Starting with Doubles and progressing to Triples with calls and theory on extension to Caters and Cinques. You should be proficient in ringing up to Group G to get full benefit from this option.
- GROUP K — Surprise Major
- To get the full benefit from this group applicants must be able to ring Plain Bob Major “inside”, be able to ‘treble bob’ proficiently and have some experience of Treble Bob or Surprise Minor. The Group will start with Cambridge Major and move on to Yorkshire.
- GROUP L — Calling & Conducting Touches
- This Group will start with calling Plain Bob and Grandsire Doubles, and progress to Plain Bob and possibly other Minor methods. Students will be actively involved in calling a variety of touches, and will be expected to ring whilst others of the Group are calling. No previous experience of calling is required, but you must be able to ring touches of Grandsire Doubles and Plain Bob Minor “inside” competently.
This article is copied from the TowerTalk Magazine.
Illustrated throughout with colourful photographs, diagrams and interactive activities to help the reader consolidate and check what they have discovered, this book provides a step-by-step guide for ringers from bell handling through to ringing Plain Bob Minor inside.
The fundamentals of ringing are explained in an easy to read, uncomplicated style which will appeal to all age groups. Learning tips are provided to highlight important information and guidance is given on skills building at every stage, with emphasis placed on the importance of developing all the foundation ringing skills.
The book is easy to dip into to find information about each stage of learning. It follows all the Levels of the Learning the Ropes Scheme provided by the Association of Ringing Teachers [ART] and will help ringers progress from handling right up to ringing their first methods and calling their first touches.
Nicki Stuchbury, of Lillingstone Lovell, Buckinghamshire, said “I absolutely love the layout with the colours and diagrams; it is just the sort of resource that I would choose to learn from.” And Veronica Baker of Maids Moreton, also in Buckinghamshire, added “Proficient ringing will not be obtainable without the basics and your chapters have captured this fact.”
The on-line resources that complement Learning the Ropes have been comprehensively reviewed and updated to coincide with the publication of the New Ringer’s Guide. Each key skill is supported by its own web page with appropriate video and audio links in addition to further information and resources for you to print and use in your tower. There are new resources for leading and covering (Level 2), peals & quarter peals (Level 3) and successful dodging and steppingstone methods (Level 4). Why not have a look at www.smartringer.org/ringing?
Ringing at St Michael’s, Swanmore, Ryde, Tuesday 10 January:
Great news from Kieran Downer and the team – there’s so much interest in the bells here (see Pompey Chimes, yes they’re in there – again!) that a weekly practice night is needed! So if you are local and you’d like to find out about bellringing, you’re an absolute beginner or wanting to improve or learn about the uniqueness of 3-bell rounds… see you on Tuesdays from 6.15pm at St Michael’s (Wray Street entrance). Ring the bell outside the vestry door and you will be shown the way to the tower.
Several young learners who started last year getting on very well with handling and getting to grips with all things bells – well done all of you.
Those of you organising tours to the Island will find these unique steel bells are now on the ‘to go to’ list when you are over here, so rise to the challenge! That now makes 15 ringing towers on the Island for you to choose to ring at. Really not enough hours in the day are there? Better make your trip a week and enjoy some of our other world renowned attractions whilst here. Tourist advisers on hand if you need them – just ask!
Whilst occurring outside our Guild, this may be of interest to people wondering “how can I restart ringing at an under-used tower?” RM
Eleanor Wallace Writes:
As some of you may know, I have been working with Mike Pitman recently to try and formulate a plan to get the practices and quarter peal nights up and running at Kingston again. They are such a beautiful ring of bells, and being a Kingston ringer myself for years I hate to see them not being rung as much as they should and going to waste.
As I have finally finished university and returned to the area I now have time to dedicate myself to re-establishing a regular practice night. However, I need as much support from everyone as I can and am asking for your help. Mike and I have come up with a concept of having two practice nights and two quarters a month on a friday so that the bells are rung every week, and we hope that it at least one night a month may appeal to all ringers of any standard, so that people don’t feel pressurised to dedicate themselves every single week.
The below is the monthly structure which I am trying to introduce, and I would love to hear what you guys think, advice etc as have never done anything like this before.
From Friday 3rd March practice nights and quarter peal nights will be resuming at Kingston from 7:30 – 9:00 pm, and we would really love for you to join us. We have a lovely sounding and very easy-going ring of ten bells (tenor 26-3-16) and we want to get them ringing regularly again with the long-term aim
of becoming a supportive teaching tower. We are aiming to create a monthly structure that caters for ringers of all abilities; whether you are a called change ringer or a surprise ringer we hope to provide something for everyone.
1st Friday of the Month – Open Practice Night
Any ringer of any ability who is interested in getting practice at ten bell ringing is more than welcome. Ringing will range from Rounds and Called Changes to Plain Caters and Royal, as well as any six to eight bell ringing if its requested. Whatever you’re learning, come along! Any more advanced ringers who can help out will also be very much appreciated too.
2nd Friday – Advanced Ten Bell Practice
For ringers who want to challenge themselves learning Surprise Royal or just want to keep the cobwebs off. We will be practicing the Standard Eight Surprise Royal methods (and others as time goes on) with a special method to focus on every week.
3rd Friday – Open Quarter Peal
Whatever the method or number of bells, if you fancy ringing a quarter peal then let us know and we will try to organise it for you. This night is aimed at giving people of all standards quarter peal practice and achieving firsts in method etc. Just pop an email to Eleanor Wallace (form below)
4th Friday – Advanced Quarter Peal
We will be working through the Standard Eight Surprise Royal (and others afterwards) quarter peals. If you’re interested in getting involved, achieving firsts in Surprise Royal etc. just send an email to Eleanor:
- Remembrance Sunday – 8th November 2020
For all of us able to get to a tower to ring, Remembrance Sunday ringing will be different, maybe strange, this year and it will be disappointing most likely for those of us unable to ring ourselves. The remembrance element of the occasion is as important as ever of course, possibly even more so as so many of our communities face such uncertainty and many challenges in everyday life.
Please be kind enough to let me know if your tower has Remembrance Ringing plans, or if you will be ringing handbells or using Ringing Room or similar, as it will help me to respond to media enquiries in good time. In due course, please let me know what you were able to ring, as it will be of interest, and also encouraging, for churches, communities and ringers alike.
Our Guild’s digital archive for the World War 1 Centenary Commemoration is still open for new entries; it will be updated again in the early part of 2021.
Please visit https://wpbells.org/ww1/ for background information.
If you would like to have your Remembrance Ringing included in the digital archive, please email the relevant details to email@example.com or submit to BellBoard with the appropriate footnote.
Public Relations Officer
- 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
- President’s Blog #20
It’s funny how words come into your lexicon (like that one). I have spent 50 years not feeling a need to use the word ‘nuanced’ and now hardly a day goes by without it coming into conversation. (nuanced: a. characterized by subtle shades of meaning or expression.) The current review of the Coronavirus ringing guidance is intended to be more ‘nuanced’ – to recognise the different levels of risk for different people and in different ringing settings, and enable more local risk assessment and decision making. As I write this, the new three tier system has been announced in England, which may then be reflected in the rest of the UK, and we will need to assess its implications quickly.
Of course ringing restrictions are not just about the United Kingdom. In Australia, nearly all the towers were shut at one stage, but now only about half remain listed as completely shut. The others are anything from minimal ringing to nearly normal. Regulations vary enormously from State to State in Australia, as do the policies of individual churches. Some towers are ringing in New Zealand and plenty of quarters are being reported from Wellington. Kilifi is open and ringing! Last weekend would have been the North American Guild AGM in Honolulu but of course it was replaced with a Zoom meeting with rather more variable weather conditions.
Ringers everywhere in the world are grateful for the opportunities presented by Ringing Room but have you also seen what I think is the best explanation of bellringing in a short video ever? I almost need to create a special category in the YouTube competition to be able to give it a prize. Maybe I should send a prize anyway because the September competition didn’t work out. Well done to Kemp Brinson for this video.
A good week for media coverage. The Spectator carried a brilliant article initially asking why the bells were not ringing at Westminster Abbey. Clearly very well researched, completely in tune with the current restrictions, very supportive and appreciative of bellringing. It is behind a paywall but has been posted in the Bellringers Facebook group. I’ll see if we can get permission to publish it (although this may work). One could quote almost all of it but perhaps just: “Among themselves, ringers refer to their art as ‘The Exercise’. How excellent is that? Recently, Catherine Pepinster at the Telegraph urged young people to keep the art alive. I would have thought it was a natural choice for the Harry Potter generation.”
Another Zoom call last week with the CofE Recovery Group which culminated in the post made last Friday and in The Ringing World. What we have also just got on the radar is the subject of guidance to support Devon’s call change competitions. This is something in which I have a keen interest because I would like to see how the focus on striking that these call change competitions engender could be used elsewhere. Some bands might enjoy and benefit from developing call change ringing per se, rather than seeing it as a stepping stone to struggling through Bob Doubles.
After the first peal on Ringing Room, I suggested it was something no one else would ever do. So I am a bit surprised that I have now rung three. This doesn’t put me very high up the leading peal ringers during lockdown list, which is headed by some prolific handbell ringers, for whom the pandemic has almost been an opportunity. At least it has given time for some people to develop their handbell ringing. The list is headed by Daniel Page, Daniel Page’s brother (and recently elected Junior Steward of the SRCY – congratulations Jack), and Colin Newman.
Possibly the most stupendous peal of the pandemic has just been published – the Perrins family ringing Scientific Triples in hand (pictured). Although the magnitude of this achievement will be lost on many, enough people spotted it to give it that most current and coveted of accolades – ‘Top of the Pops’ on BellBoard. Scientific has been rung to a peal in hand once before – by members of the St Martin’s Guild (including the current Editor of The Ringing World on 1-2) in 2008.
Sunday morning saw a call from one Bruno Peek. This might be a name you recognise, but if not he is the self-styled “Pageant Master”, who has spent the last 30 years organising nationwide acts of celebration, described by The Independent as “the go to man when Britain stops to remember the past.” One of his most high-profile ventures was organising the lighting of 250 beacons across the United Kingdom (and islands) for the Queen’s 90th birthday. He was also behind VE Day and VJ Day celebrations. Bruno is very keen on bells. He sees bellringing as a key way to bring communities together and mark special occasions. So far so good. He wants bell ringing to be part of an annual celebration of the founding of the NHS, which we can probably manage (next July). And he wants to help with the “Britain’s Favourite Bellringers” idea. Awesome.
I have not mentioned this before. Imagine an annual competition to find Britain’s Favourite Bellringers, or better still the World’s Favourite Bellringers, voted on by local communities rather than ringers themselves. This would highlight and profile how important bells are and help make people realise what is going on in the tower. I think maybe regional heats, then national finals. This is a good time to do it because the lockdown has made many communities realise that they miss their bells. Bruno loves the idea for a start, and thinks he can get it in the Daily Express and the Telegraph. Let me know if you have any bright ideas about how this might work in practice.
And Bruno also chipped in £25 for the Mobile Belfry. He would like the proposed Mobile Belfry to be the centrepiece of the final celebrations, parked on Horseguards Parade in front of all the media. Now wouldn’t that be great?
Content from https://cccbr.org.uk/2020/10/13/presidents-blog-20/ and logo used with permission from Central Council of Church Bell Ringers
- Guild Officer Recruitment
Message from the Master:-
At the recent AGM, it was announced that regrettably our General Secretary has had to stand down due to personal reasons and we are URGENTLY seeking a replacement to fill the post for the next 2 years until re-election of officers in June 2022.
It is important for the Guild that we find someone to fill this role. Ideally we would like to have someone available that could be voted in post at the November Exec. If you think there may be someone in your tower who might be interested then please get in contact with them to find out. I would love somebody to just come forward and volunteer however if you think that you might be interested please do not hesitate to email me or give me a call (07583 356 936) to chat about it.
Also attached are 2 recruitment posters for Communications and Striking competition Committees. The Comms committee additionally needs a convener, a post which Andrew Glover has been covering since Gary Marsh left as well as his Webmaster role and he could do with a well-earned break. In the same way please could you consider joining one of these committees to support the Guild or actively discuss with tower members who you think may be interested or suited to the job.
Master – Winchester & Portsmouth Guild of Church 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.
President, Central Council of Church Bell Ringers
(this article was published in The Ringing World, issue 5711, 9 October 2020)
- President’s Blog #19
The days have probably gone when ringers chose their universities based on the ringing opportunities available. Many of my contemporaries will admit that ringing was a factor in their own choices, but those were different times, times when the “Desmond” (a.k.a. the “Ringer’s Degree”) was almost, but not quite, a badge of honour. For young ringers, going to university can be an exciting time, but it is also a time looked forward to by the ringing communities receiving them. Fresh keen ringers are welcome anywhere.
In my home city of Birmingham, we were pleased to see university students return and also to welcome a few very capable ringers who have stated at our universities. Ringing opportunities are currently limited but the new arrivals have been included in the city centre ringing. There was much discussion on university societies at the Council AGM after workgroup leader Ian Roulstone gave his short presentation, particularly the importance of supporting university ringing if the university society doesn’t have critical mass. More information can be found on this workgroup on the newly updated workgroup page of the CC website
Coverage of ringing in national media seems to have got better in recent years. Emily Hall featured in an excellent BBC piece on the return of ‘Covid-Secure’ ringing to Beeston, turning a difficult situation into a positive. You may also have seen a brief glimpse of comedian Susan Calman in a trailer for her ‘Secret Scotland’ series. A vignette on her visiting the bell tower at Inveraray, looked after by Ruth Marshall, will appear in an episode to be broadcast in December.
Last time I talked about two towers that had moved ringers onto different levels to achieve more separation but has any tower adapted their rope circle to increase the spacing between ropes and ringers? Nantwich, which benefits from a large ringing chamber anyway, has inserted new timber struts between walls to allow a rope to be drawn into a new position (see picture). Be careful when making adjustments to towers – check with the Incumbent whether a faculty is required (Nantwich did and one wasn’t).
Progress is being made on the Covid ringing guidance – quietness is not a sign of inactivity. The Council’s small guidance team is pleased to welcome David Pouncey to its ranks. David is a recently retired GP who during a long career spent time dealing with epidemics in Africa, and most recently managing coronavirus patients. As well as taking a share of the workload, David will be specifically looking at the next phase of guidance and is now reviewing and updating all the Guidance Notes.
Situations vacant! The Council is looking for someone to help our Secretary, Mary Bone, in an assistant role. This is particularly in terms of helping with the administration of Council membership, dealing with changes in details, maintaining address lists in various places, and helping in the run up to the AGM. If you have some organisational ability, some spare time, and would like to become a valued member of the team, please either contact Mary firstname.lastname@example.org or me.
Changing flights is a regular reminder of overseas ringing trips that have been cancelled. This week I finally got the email from Aer Lingus saying that my flights to New York to judge the Trinity Shield had been cancelled, along with an impossible refund process. But I was happy to take the voucher because it will happen again. The best thing about Aer Lingus to New York from Birmingham via Dublin is you can have four breakfasts – one at each airport and one on each aircraft.
ART has adapted its Learning the Ropes Handbells scheme to allow quarter peals on online platforms in a pragmatic approach to keeping people making progress. Part of ART’s thinking was that such performances are generally harder than ringing with real people in front of you ringing real bells up and down. There is one proviso though in that to complete the LtR Handbells scheme, at least one quarter peal should be rung with real people and real bells. This was felt sufficient to demonstrate good handbell technique and the ability to ring in the same room as others (or same churchyard).
I enjoyed a Sunday evening discussion with members of the Truro DG. An hour easily turned into two as we explored a range of subjects with differing levels of controversy! For instance, “how many rings of bells would you have left in your area if every church with a congregation of fewer than 25 closed for good?” One thing I thought was very interesting and possibly little known is the practice of ringing call change peals – long compositions of call changes, which can be very challenging. Am I right in thinking someone has called a complete peal (as in method peal) in call changes or did I dream it?
Search for Tong in/on Dove and you will see find a perhaps unremarkable 12 cwt ring of 6, but then you come across the additional information “Also hung for ringing: bourdon bell (‘Great Bell of Tong’); rung from chancel.” Rung only on a small number of special days in the year, the Great Bell is a special thing – a special thing which is now easier to ring as it has been re-hung by Taylors. Apparently it actually goes up to the balance now with no hernia risk, which is a definite improvement.
Finally, just like other museums, the Loughborough Bellfoundry Museum has been closed to visitors, and group tours of the bellfoundry buildings have also stopped. Good news is the trust that owns it has received lottery funding to make changes within the building to ensure it is COVID compliant and can reopen to visitors. There are longer term plans to develop the museum further – the Brumdingers young ringers group had great fun helping with ideas for how such a museum could be attractive to young visitors, although there was a lot of focus on the gift shop and café!
Content from https://cccbr.org.uk/2020/09/29/presidents-blog-19/ and logo used with permission from Central Council of Church Bell Ringers
- 200 Club draw results – September 2020
Normally the 200 Club draw is held at the AGM. This year, for obvious reasons, that was not possible so Wendy Smart (of Botley) and I did the draw together last Tuesday. As the AGM was delayed the numbers that went into the hat were those contributing between April and July, to maintain consistency with previous draws, rather than April to September. The amount available was reduced as some of my regular subscribers were unable to make their usual cash payments in person. Anyway, the results of the draw, as announced by Pete Jordan after the Zoom on-line AGM this afternoon, were as follows:
Draw Date: 22/09/2020
Draw for April to July money
Prize Accumulation £34.00
Winning Numbers Winners
First 50% £17.00 13 Allan R Yalden
Second 20% £6.80 15 Viv Nobbs
Third 10% £3.40 25 Nikki Brown
Fourth 10% £3.40 35 Piers Armstrong (2)
Fifth 5% £1.70 6 Pete Jordan
Sixth 5% £1.70 28 Peter Hill
I shall be sending the prize money out shortly. The Training and Development Fund will also benefit by £34 as a result of this draw. The next draw will be in November at the Executive Committee meeting. If anyone would like to join the 200 Club please send me your details as listed on the 200 Club section of the Guild website.
- **AGM TODAY at 3pm**
If you have not already done so, you need to register before you can join the AGM online today.
The registration link will be available from your District or Tower Secretary. It is also available on the Guild Facebook site and Twitter and has been distributed to the win-port email group.
Instructions on how to register are available here.
Once your registration is approved you will receive further instructions on how to join the webinar and guidelines on how to participate in the meeting.
If anyone has apologies for absence, items of Any other business, or comments or questions on any Agenda item, please send them to Tony Smith in advance so that the meeting can run as smoothly as possible.
- 200 Club Draw for AGM
The next 200 Club draw will take place later this week and the result will be announced after the AGM. Because of the delay to the AGM only subscriptions covering the period April to July will be included, to maintain consistency with other draws. The next draw, around the time of the November Executive Committee meeting, will cover the period August to November. Any existing subscribers who normally pay by cash, cheque or bank transfer rather than by standing order might like to check when their last payment was made to ensure you get entered into the next draw. New subscribers will be welcome! Details of payment methods are on the 200 Club page of the Guild website.
- Guild Newsletter – September 2020
This is the second of an occasional series of newsletters being sent out to inform members about what is happening with ringing during the easing of Lockdown and to help prepare for the eventual resumption of regular ringing.
It was sent to all tower correspondents and Guild and District Officers whose e-mail address is published in the Guild Annual Report, and those members who have signed up to our database. It is important that we reach as many members of our Guild as possible, so please do forward this newsletter on to the other members of your band who may not yet have signed up.
Guild Annual General Meeting – 3pm, Saturday 26th September
The Guild AGM will now be held online using Zoom. You will be required to register in advance if you wish to attend:
Instructions on how to register are available here.
Once your registration is approved you will receive further instructions on how to join the webinar and guidelines on how to participate in the meeting.
At the time of registration you will also be given the opportunity to send in any questions you would like answered during the meeting. You will be able to ask questions during the meeting, but it would helpful to the Guild Officers’ to know of any in advance.
Due to the added pressures of running the AGM online, we need to streamline the process as much as possible to minimise delay on the day. To help with this, please register apologies of absence with your District Secretary in advance, so that they can be passed to me before 26th September.
Secretary – Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers
Channel Islands District future move to the Salisbury Diocesan Guild
As you may be aware, the episcopal oversight of the Channel Islands is planned to be transferred to the Salisbury Diocese. This decision which was approved by both Houses of Parliament in July 2020. There is still ongoing work to complete this process which is expected to be completed in 2021.
In discussion with the Master of the Salisbury Diocesan Guild of Ringers we both felt it was important to understand the wishes of the Channel Island District members, as to whether they wanted to remain in the W&P or to move with their churches to the SDG.
Over the summer there has been much discussion in the Channel Islands District and a vote of all district members returned a 65% wish to move to the Salisbury Guild. The W&P and SDG will be working over the coming months to agree the final date and what needs to be put in place for a clean transfer.
This will be a sad day for the W&P, having enjoyed many years of association with the Channel Islands. We have made many friends in the ringing community through close association, and I am sure that we will continue to enjoy ringing together in the future after the move.
We will keep you up to date as things progress and perhaps – COVID allowing – we can mark the transfer in due course with a decent bit of real ringing!
Hoping you all stay safe and well.
Master – Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers.
Changes to Guidelines on Social Distancing?
We understand that a change to social distancing guidelines from 1.5m to 1.0m between ringers ‘in a line’ and with mitigations (e.g. face-coverings) may be approved by the CofE Recovery Team soon. As soon as this change has been approved, the updated guidelines will be published on the CCCBR website, which is updated every Friday:
Of course, this will have limited impact as most ropes in most towers are between 0.8m and 0.9m apart, and we will still be limited to 15 minutes ringing. However, we also understand that changes are in the pipeline which may permit the use of simulators in small groups for longer periods.
We also understand that the Rule of Six does not apply to Church services, where the limit remains at 30 participants.
Ironically, the rule of six does now allow up to six people form different households to meet indoors, subject to social distancing. Therefore those ringers who have up to now been meeting outside to ring handbells (socially distanced) will be able to meet and ring indoors.
Quite a few bands throughout the Guild are holding virtual meet ups using Zoom in order to keep in touch, and some are also holding virtual ringing sessions using Ringing Room. We hear stories of relative newcomers making excellent progress on virtual platforms, improving their listening and place counting skills. Even quarter peals are now appearing on BellBoard, with firsts for both new and experienced ringers who’ve never touched a pair of handbells before.
Current estimates are that the results of vaccine trials are likely to start to come through by Christmas, but even if we are lucky and one is approved it will be next summer before sufficient vaccine is manufactured for it to become widely available. We may therefore have to wait till at least next summer, and probably longer before practices and meetings can resume. Even then, older ringers may be reluctant to venture outside their home tower. Therefore, especially with the long winter evenings, virtual ringing has an important role to play.
Michaela Nadal of Stockbridge runs an open session on Ringing Room most weekday afternoons at 5pm – Mayflies tower – and visitors are always welcome. If so, contact her for further information at: email@example.com.
You can also join the ‘Ringing Room Take Hold Lounge’ Facebook group. You can meet up with other users by clicking on the ‘Events’ tab to see a listing of practices taking place each day.
Would you like to run your own Zoom/Ringing Room sessions?
The Education committee is also running a further webinar targeted at Tower Captains and others who would like to run their own virtual practices. The workshop session has been developed by Gill Hughes and Lesley Boyle who have been running virtual practice sessions in Derbyshire and Cambridgeshire for some months. Lesley also rang in the first ever virtual peal! The workshop will include lots of tips and tricks to help yo get the best out of the applications, overcome typical issues and run successful practices. Therefore there may even be something for more experienced users!
The session will take place on Saturday 10th October, starting at 10.15am and will last about an hour.
If you would like to join, please register by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the Zoom link.
The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers and Association of Ringing Teachers have added further material to their selection of links to ringing related videos, blogs, quizzes, podcasts and training webinars which will be of interest to members of your band. There’s a lot of material, it grows every week and it’s well worth a look:
Guild Membership Database
We now have 351 members who have consented to join the Guild membership database, which is about 25% of the total Guild membership. In this period of Covid-19 it is more important than ever that we keep in touch with our members. Therefore please do encourage others in your tower to sign up. There is a link on the Guild website or they can sign up here: Link to database sign up form