Category Archives: ARTconf17

Two Rusties and a Handbells Virgin

It was a pleasure to meet Peter and Christine Church from Hull at the A.R.T Conference handbells day recently. Part of the weekend was to chat to others from across our ringing world. I invited Peter to tell me a little of his own handbell story…I’d love to share it with you here.

There has never been a strong handbells culture in East Yorkshire, the peak of achievement was back in the early 1970s when a dozen or so peals were rung, the last one being in 1979. Since then there has been a trickle of handbell quarter peals, and that’s it. I put my bells away in the early 1980s when children came along, and then promotions at work, and then Fair Trade, and then outsourcing. It wasn’t a bad life, no complaints, but no ringing.

And then in 2015 during the Central Council meeting in Hull, an old friend came to stay, and during the time we visited Roddy Horton who had kept the handbells light still shining a little. The light re-ignited my interest in handbell ringing which had been dormant for 30 years. Handbell ringing is something that I can do, it suits my logical brain, double handed ringing has hard bits, lots of hard bits, and music.

So in March 2016, I talked a friend and my wife into starting a weekly handbells session. We all have white hair and creaking joints, plus serious responsibilities to others. Two rusties and a handbell virgin is not a good way to start a major project, but progress was made, slowly, and Plain Bob Minor became ringable by the end of June. It was at that point I realised that significant progress would only be possible if we involved more ringers.

In spite of advice to the contrary I organised a regional handbells workshop for late October 2016. Along the way we discovered a local ringer who had a copy of Handbell Manager on a laptop, with a couple of motion detectors. Instantly I could see the benefits of the system. Able to practise any time, any day, with “ringers” who never make mistakes. Any method, any speed, any number of bells. I was hooked.

The October workshop was very successful. 15 ringers had a great day refreshing Plain Hunting and Plain Bob skills, and everyone achieved at least one step forward. Some had a go on the simulator. Part of the success was the discovery of 4 local towerbell ringers with some handbells experience.

But then the real work started. The ringers were spread out across the county, there was no way they would all come together on a monthly basis, let alone weekly. However, by then the two “rusties” had been polished a little, and the handbells virgin had had some experiences. So we started travelling out and ringing with people at every opportunity.

A second handbells day was arranged for end January 2017, and the progress in 12 weeks, in spite of Christmas intervening was tangible. Plain Bob Major was being rung by most people, some were turning out courses of and Kent and Oxford TB and Cambridge Surprise Minor. 4 people decided to shoot for a quarter of Plain Bob Major. 2 good quarters were scored in the February.

And so we arrive in March 2017, the first birthday of the project. Some people fell by the wayside, some never got their legs going, but 4 people have rung 2 good quarters, and there are 7 more who are progressing in spite of only being able to ring once each month. Ringing is taking place in 4 locations, and it would be good to build a handbells band in each of them. Towards that possibility we plan to consolidate our progress with a number of quarter peals, and then to move on by running another workshop: “Going beyond Plain Bob” in July 2017.

What have we learned?
We have learned a good deal about the learning process, and whilst it’s OK for the teacher to be impatient, it is also very important to get the basics right. Standing up might not look like much of an achievement, but falling over because you’re trying to go too fast too soon is totally useless.
We have learned a lot about the skills involved in handbell ringing. We have also learned a lot about how the brain works and the importance of driving stuff down into long term memory.

Above all we have learned that there is still much real enjoyment to be had in creating the mathematical music of the bells.

Peter Church
March 2017

Viv Nobbs Reports from the ART Conference

Around 115 tower bell ringers from across the U.K. descended on our Guild at Old Basing recently to enjoy two days of The Association of Ringing Teachers Annual Conference weekend. It was SO much more than a business meeting!

This registered charity’s mission is simple..
“To improve the learning experience of new ringers”. 

ART,  as it is known, offers training, support and motivation to teachers alongside a structured learning programme for new ringers.

The association was celebrating its fifth birthday and there was plenty of reasons to be cheerful including the news that A.R.T. tutors coached more than 600 new ringers, getting them well underway with their ringing training in 2016.

There was much on offer over the weekend

  • wonderful food (!)
  • ringing on a simulator
  • improving personal ringing abilities – on tower bells and with handbells
  • reviewing new publications
  • enjoying seeing training DVDs e.g. Raising and Lowering
  • learning more about teaching in groups
  • hearing about University Associations
  • exchanging ideas with other members from different locations across the country
  • hearing from guest speaker, Mark Regan, how Worcester Cathedral Bell Ringers feature in Cathedral and local community life
  • being challenged by another guest speaker, Elva Ainsworth, asking us to reflect on our traditional bell ringing culture and whether or not we need to work on changing it to help sustain a healthy future for ringing.

One of the highlights of the programme was The Sarah Beacham Awards ceremony consisting of nine categories.. Our “W. and P. members were delighted to see two Guild entries – St. Michael’s, Swanmore, Ryde received specific recognition from the Judges for teaching very young new ringers and Elizabeth College, Guernsey won the School Group Award – Duncan Loweth, coach, received the award on behalf of his team.

It was very pleasing to note the great amount of interest in the method handbell training on Sunday, very ably presented by our own Duncan Loweth and  Helen McGregor from the Channel Islands. We were reminded of the benefit to our tower ringing if we ring handbells as well.

Rumour has it that several ladies from the Andover District enjoyed the handbell training so much that they are seeking to set up a new group in their area. Yay!!  

At the start of the event, A.R.T. Chairman, Graham Nabb said he hoped that all who attended enjoyed themselves, exchanged ideas and had fun. He was not disappointed!

Our Guild’s volunteers worked so very hard indeed and have received much praise for their organisational and catering skills…reported back here then …
” huge thanks for all your help over the weekend, everyone was delighted with the hospitality that your local team so kindly provided for everyone…. and they positively raved about the food, you’ve set the bar quite high for ringers’ teas from now on!”

So, well done and many thanks indeed, Deb Baker and her team!

W&P’s Basingstoke District impress ART 2017 guests with their food making skills. 

Basingstoke District’s volunteers put on a fine spread at this year’s Association of Ringing Teachers Annual Conference.

‘Literally the best ringers tea I have EVER had’! Said a lady on Saturday afternoon when she came into the kitchen just to thank the crew.

Home made cakes, flapjacks, cupcakes, Eton mess and chocolate Mars Bar sauce for the profiteroles complemented an ambitious and tasty lunch for both days and an afternoon tea on Saturday.

Vice Master Pete Jordan co organised with Deb Baker who was set the task of feeding 115 people on Saturday and 70+ on Sunday in quite a short time slot said ‘this absolutely could not have happened without a crew of intelligent, lovely people who could see a task that needed doing and simply got on with it. It was great to have Christine KW’s experience to fall back on and I was not surprised when she decided to stay after her allotted time was up.

I’d like to say a huge thankyou to our volunteers; Nici, Ella, Martin, Fiona, Pauline, Sue, Helen, Heather, Steve, Betty, Mike, Christine and to Pete for sorting out taxis all other practicalities and letting me bend his ear’.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.








Group Teaching and Working Together – Lesley Belcher

Lesley Belcher speaks at the ART conference on what new ringers want, and how we can work better as teachers.

The real quotes from real recruits may make you think….. that perhaps your new ringers might be wanting more but too polite to say so…?

And it you want to regenerate your Tower then Lesley describes a tower where this has been achieved.

Ringing Culture – Help or Hindrance? – Elva Ainsworth Speaking at the ART conference

“You don’t know what it’s like to be an outsider in ringing if you are inside”

Elva has been  ringing since she was 12, and now works as an independent business psychologist advising a huge variety of businesses on their culture and practice as MD of Talent Innovations.

From what we wear to whether we have a hoover in the tower, she provokes us to reflect on our culture and whether we need to work on changing it in order to create a healthy future.

And the winners of the Sarah Beacham School Group Award are…. Elizabeth College, Guernsey!

Click for full sized image

The ART (Association of Ringing Teachers) Annual conference is taking place in Old Basing over the weekend. Saturday kicked off with the AGM (reporting a healthy surplus in 2016 and steady growth in many areas), followed by a series of seminars, The finale of the day was the ART award ceremony and the first award went to Duncan Loweth on behalf of his school band at Elizabeth College.

ART Conference in March is open to everyone and all are warmly invited.

Open to everyone and incredibly good value for money the ART Conference is packed full of inspirational speakers and learning opportunities.

Viv Nobbs  ‘There is so much on offer over this weekend, much of which members have been asking the Guild to provide’

Don’t miss out on the Inspirational speakers sharing their knowledge and experiences in leadership, recruiting, teaching and ‘igniting the spark’ in learners.

Many will have filled in the Central Council’s questionnaires and CRAG’s Philip Barnes will be there to give an update on ‘The story so far’.

The Award Ceremony in the evening will recognise people who have excelled in their contributions to the bellringing community.

And that is just Saturday!

On Sunday we have a rare opportunity to learn about and further our knowledge on hand bells and Pip Penney will be hosting a Mentoring Workshop.

And don’t forget that your £12 for Saturday INCLUDES a cold buffet lunch and Sunday’s £10 ticket includes tea, coffee, cake and a light lunch!

Don’t miss out on this great weekend!                 Tickets can be booked here

The ART Conference 2017 is coming and the call goes out for helpers

This year on Sat 11th -Sun 12th of March we (W&P) will be proudly hosting The Association of Ringing Teachers AGM and Awards Ceremony in Old Basing Hall, Basing, Basingstoke RG24 7DA.

To make sure the weekend runs as smoothly as possible the organising Committee will need volunteers to help move tables and chairs, prepare and set up lunch,clear away and also do teas and coffees in the breaks, so nothing too taxing.

We will need help from volunteers to make good quality sweet treats IE flapjacks and tray bakes all covered in cling film (a small remuneration will be given to cover ingredients costs). Others will help with the buffet lunches making fresh salads and sandwiches on the day.

It would be lovely if you could look in your diaries now and see if you can offer 1 or more time slots on either days and hopefully we won’t have to press-gang too many people… because that would be unfriendly.

Pete, I and will be there from start to finish and appreciate your offers of help.

These are the time slots that need to be filled.

SATURDAY 11th (All times are approximate)

8:00am – 10:00am  4 people to set up venue ( move tables and chairs etc).

10:00am– 2:30pm   4 people to help with teas/coffee and lunchtime.

3:30pm – 6:30pm    3 people to help with coffee and evening reception.


11:00am – 1:30pm  4 people to help with teas/coffees and make sandwiches.

12:30pm -2:30pm   4 people to move tables and chairs around at the end.

These are start times so early arrival will be appreciated. If you can offer your services, have further      questions or want to buy us a beer please feel free to contact us;

Deb at

Pete at


To check out where it’s all happening here is the link

Many thanks in advance.

Pete Jordan, Deb Baker and the ART team.

Breaking News! ART Conference 2017 tickets have gone on sale.

2017 will see Winchester and Portsmouth Guild hosting the ART Conference including the second ART Awards ceremony at Basing in the Basingstoke District.

The ART Conference is once again presenting a packed agenda of speakers sharing best practice from their ringing as well as ideas from other activities and professions.

The Conference is ART’s leading national event and is open to anyone with an interest in ringing teaching and leadership. We would like to invite you to join us at Old Basing, Hampshire on 11th March 2017 for what is sure to be a full and interesting day.

Tickets are only £12 for the diverse and inspiring Conference Sessions and the second ART Awards Ceremony. » Book your place at the 2017 ART Conference now

The day includes talks by two headline speakers, and a range of afternoon sessions to choose from. A number of new ART products will be launched and stalls will be available all day long long selling a range of publications and the latest equipment. The ART Awards Ceremony will be accompanied by drinks and nibbles.

On Sunday 12th March, you will be able to attend one or two ART workshops. Choose from “Learning Handbells”, “Mentoring Workshop” and “Teaching Handbells”. Tickets are only £10 including lunch.

This year’s sessions include…

  • Engaging your Stakeholders
  • Recruitment: The Holy Grail
  • Ringing Culture: Help or Hindrance?
  • Group Teaching & Working Together
  • ART Assessors – the Key to Quality
  • Igniting the Spark: Lessons from Devon
  • Situational Leadership

For more information download the schedule & agenda for the weekend




Deadline 31st December for ART Award Nominations

There is Only 1 month left to apply for the ART Awards.

The ART Awards are a national and international scheme recognising the people and groups who are successful in teaching ringers. Applications are open until 31 December 2016, with the ART Awards being presented at the ART Conference 2017 hosted by the Winchester & Portsmouth Guild .

With the ART Annual Conference being held in our area it would be lovely to have some worthy people or groups put forward for some of the awards

All you need you do is a little explanation of what and why on the form. Simples.

Reward those who strive for better. 

Please look at groups or initiatives in your area – whether ART connected or not – and encourage them to apply. Group awards are open to ALL!

Most prizes for groups are valued at £400 and for individuals at £200.  Find out lots more about all of the ART Awards at  Make your application for one or more of the ART Awards using the pro-formas on the website.

  • The Sarah Beacham Youth Group Award
  • The Sarah Beacham School Group Award
  • The ART Award for Innovation in the Effective Use of Technology in Teaching – sponsored by John Taylor & Co.
  • The ART Award for Innovation in Recruitment or Retention – sponsored by AbelSim
  • The ART Award for a University Society that has made a Significant Contribution to Promoting Ringing to Younger People – sponsored by CCCBR
  • The ART Award for Inspiring Leadership in Ringing – sponsored by Talent Innovations
  • The Learning the Ropes Achievement Awards (open only to LtR registered ringers)

For the Learning the Ropes prizes you need to ensure completion of LtR Level 5 by the 31st December by ordering the Level 5 certificate for your ringer.

We expect that all ringers who successfully completed their LtR Level 5 during 2016 will be invited to a master-class again (expenses paid from mainland UK)  but to be eligible the LtR Level 5 certificate must be awarded by the 31st December – so get those final quarter peals in NOW.  You can start people on LtR at any level of the course  – but the level must be genuinely completed during 2016.

If you have any questions about the awards please contact Graham Nabb.

Graham Nabb, ART Awards –

Applications are open for the 2016 ART Awards

The ART Awards are a new national and international scheme intended to recognise the people and groups who are successful in teaching and training ringers.

Further to the success of the inaugural 2015 ART Awards, nominations are now open for the 2016 ART Awards and this includes two new awards. These awards are open to everyone, not just ART Members or those using ‘Learning the Ropes’ scheme (unless otherwise specified). The aim is to encourage and recognise the people and groups leading best practice and innovation in the teaching and development of ringing.

Applications are OPEN NOW until 31 December 2016, with the ART Awards being presented at the ART Conference 2017 on Saturday 11 March 2017 at the ART Conference at Old Basing, Hampshire.

If you would like to nominate someone for one of the categories or would like to find out more just click on this link  It’s very interesting especially as St Mary’s, Brightone, IOW won The Sarah Beecham Youth Groups Award last year!


ART Conference 2017 Program

The 5th ART conference programme is now completed and we are able to provide brief information on the speakers and their subjects.

This Conference is open to all ringers – not just ART members. 

It will be held on the 11th and 12 March 2017 at Old Basing Village Hall and booking opens in January via the ART web site at

So come along and hear the latest views on teaching and other topics..

Saturday 11th   March

‘Engaging your Stakeholders’ – Mark Regan  -Who and what are your stakeholders? Why are they important and how do we look after them?

‘New from ART’ – Details of the latest ART products and workshops and launch of the new Raising & Lowering DVD and the ’50 things’ challenge!

‘Recruitment – The Holy Grail  Moira Johnson. – Discussion, ideas and ART support for recruitment.

Group Teaching & Working together – Lesley Belcher  – Teaching and recruiting in groups is highly motivational and efficient find out more about the advantages.

‘Ringing Culture – Help or Hindrance’. – Elva Ainsworth – What is the attitude and focus for your ringers, tower or area – how would you like it to be?  Review the issues and your patch…

‘ART Assessors – The Key to Quality’ – Paul Lewis – Review the work of the assessors and discuss how we can maintain and improve the quality of teachers and teaching.

Situational Leadership – Moira Johnson   Officers and captains are in a position of leadership – here is an opportunity to improve leadership skills.

‘CRAG – The story so far..’  Philip Barnes  Philip is chairing the CCBR review body and will be available to talk about some of the committees thoughts and deal with questions.

‘Have your Say’ – Graham Nabb – An open forum session to deal with questions about ART or other subjects.

2017 ART Awards – Stephanie Warboys & Stephanie Pattenden – The second prize giving ceremony where the winners and their prizes are announced. Open to all no charge. Drinks & Nibbles sponsored by John Taylor & Co.

Sunday 12th

Mentoring Workshop – Pip Penney – An opportunity to discuss and develop the skills of mentoring someone – teacher or ringer.

Handbells – Helen McGregor & Duncan Loweth  General handbell ringing form 10.00 then a learning to ring hand bell session open to anyone interested in having a go followed later by a Teaching Handbells workshop.  Even if you have never rung handbells before come along and try your hand supported by experienced handbell ringers – you may enjoy it!!

This Conference is open to all ringers – not just ART members. 

It will be held on the 11th and 12 March 2017 at Old Basing Village Hall and booking opens in January via the ART web site at


W&P Guild to Host 2017 A.R.T Conference

Winchester and Portsmouth Guild are proud to host next years A.R.T. Annual Conference 2017.

The venue and dates have been set for what will be a busy weekend and we know that our great Guild members will come forward to help and make sure it’s a big success.

SAVE THE  DATE     Diary information;

March 11th -12th 2017,

Old Basing Village Hall.
RG27 7DA