C&S District July Practice, this Saturday at St Mary’s, Southampton. Everyone welcome from rounds upwards. Method of the Month: Yorkshire Surprise Royal.
C&S District July Practice, this Saturday at St Mary’s, Southampton. Everyone welcome from rounds upwards. Method of the Month: Yorkshire Surprise Royal.
Sadly due to lots of people being away this month I am going to have to cancel the planned surprise royal practice. There will be no practice in April.
I will make contact again soon regarding a possible May practice. The date would be 27th May.
If the May practice isn’t able to go ahead then I’ll have to review the situation as it may no longer be practical to have these practices sadly.
Thanks to those who are continuing to support the practices. Please watch this space.
Due to a number of people being away, we are too short of people in March for a Surprise Royal practice to take place.
So to confirm – there will be NO PRACTICE in March.
Looking ahead to April things look slightly better, so please use the following link to let me know if you can make the April practice.
Sunday April 22nd – 14:00 – 15:30
I’ll update you in early April as to the likelihood of the practice going ahead.
I am now finally able to confirm the location of the next Surprise Royal Practice.
Sunday 26th November 14:00 – 15:30 BITTERNE PARK, Southampton.
Methods as usual to include C/Y/N plus Bristol Royal. If enough we will try some 3 spliced.
I have tried a few other towers this time away from Southampton but they were all unavailable.
Look forward to seeing lots of you on a Sunday!
To confirm the October surprise royal practice will be going ahead;
Sunday 22nd October = 14:00 – 15:30
PLEASE arrive for a 14:00 start, the last few practices we haven’t had 10 until close to half past
Methods: Bristol and C/Y/N spliced and single as required.
I look forward to seeing lots of you then!!
The Surprise Royal practice will be going ahead this SUNDAY, 28th May, 14:00-15:30 at Hursley.
Note the start time is very 2pm as I know previously there has been some confusion
Special methods are Cambridge, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Pudsey with London/Bristol if numbers allow.
Please spread the word to those likely to attend.
Thanks to all those who came to the April practice, we had a fairly good turn out and were able to ring lots including the Pudsey and also London and Bristol.
The date for the next practice is: Sunday 28th May, 14:00 – 15:30
I will be requesting Hursley as the tower. As usual the practice will only go ahead if enough people are free and willing to attend.
PLEASE RSVP as soon as possible, so I can gauge whether a practice is viable or not.
I have a surprise Royal quarter peal day on 29th April going to Abingdon/Oxford St Thos/Shrivenham/Thatcham and have one rope left. The ringer needs to be able to ring Bristol, Pudsey, and spliced CYN confidently and to a good standard.
If anyone is free please get in touch as soon as possible and I can supply more details. Thanks.
The April surprise royal practice will go ahead.
Sunday 30th April, 14:00 – 15:30 at St Mike’s Southampton
Methods will include Cambridge, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, and new for this month PUDSEY.
(We may also ring Bristol and London if enough people attend but the focus method is Pudsey)
I look forward to hopefully seeing lots of you there!
Despite a positive initial reply, sadly it seems that not quite enough people are around this month for a viable Surprise Royal practice. Therefore the practice is CANCELLED.
I did have around 10 replies though, so will contact those people to see if a quarter peal would be of interest.
The next practice is proposed for Sunday 26th February and would be in Southampton. Feel free to indicate availability for this now, however I will email again towards the start of February.
I hope you all had an enjoyable festive break and wish you all a Happy New Year! I hope you are all recharged for more Surprise Royal ringing!
The next date for the Surprise Royal practice is Sunday 29th January 2017. As usual this will only go ahead if enough people say they are free to attend.
Please let me know if you would be able to make this date and time.
I will email again in around a weeks time with an update on the plan.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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:
The aim of the webinar is to help you to pick out your bell from the others and to count your place. We talk about ‘odd struckness’ and there are a series eight practical listening exercises to try. We also show you how you can practice honing your listening skills at home during the pandemic, whether this be on simulator software, CD’s and DVD’s, or virtual ringing with others using Ringing Room or other applications.
The recordings of the webinar can be viewed here:
Part 1 – Theory: Link to recording
Part 2 – Practical: Link to recording
Listen and strike: Tips and videos on the Learning the Ropes website
Abel website: Abel, Mabel and Mobel Ringing Simulators (abelsim.co.uk)
Abel – Eight ‘how to’ videos: Abel Ringing Simulator – YouTube
Virtual Belfry website: Virtual Belfry (belfryware.com)
Virtual Belfry – Seventeen ‘how to’ videos Virtual Belfry Ringing Simulator – YouTube
Central Council Publications: Listening CD’s
Whiting Society Publications: Come on Listen to it – book and DVD
Fun with bells podcast: 15 tips to improve your striking – Fun With Bells – a podcast
I’ll start with two different levels of good news and bad news. The first bit of good news is that it is mid-January and we are still eating Christmas cake. I might actually finish reading the Christmas Ringing World before running out of Christmas cake. Tempering that joy is the fact that there still seems to be a bag of sprouts in the fridge. There are some good things to have come out of Bedfordshire, but Brussels Sprouts are not included.
More seriously the latest lockdown has seriously blunted our hopes of a quick recovery to ringing. I updated the Covid guidance on the CC website but felt it was so obvious what the guidance would be that it didn’t really need to be broadcast. Although many churches remain open there is pressure from churches themselves to close even if governments permit opening. Work on guidance doesn’t stop, and the good news of course is that vaccines raise the hope of some sort of return to ringing.
Young ringers’ practices, which had been enabled by guidance on running out of school children’s activities, didn’t manage to get started at all when Lockdown 3.0 set in, and Tier 4 was excluded from that guidance anyway which would have greatly restricted applicability. When we drop back into Tiers again we may be able to resurrect that in lower Tiers at least.
Christmas ringing was curtailed through no fault of our own, although hopefully all those who wanted to ring at Christmas managed to do a little bit. Many communities would have heard bells for the first time for many months.
How many places’ New Year’s Eve celebrations have bells as a focus? I was amazed to see a video from York Minster of crowds previously surrounding York Minster – the ringing of the bells at the Minster is a key part of that city’s celebrations, and suspending the ringing this year was a key part of York trying to stop people gathering. I remember in the short period when I was a member of the band at St Martin in the Fields how challenging it was to get to the tower on New Year’s Eve to ring out over Trafalgar Square, and the astonishing noise outside that drowned out the sound of the bells anyway!
Which leads me onto an idea that I want to get going this year which is an annual competition to find “Britain’s Favourite Bellringers” (name to be decided). The idea is that this would raise the profile and awareness of bells and bellringers in local communities, with the competition voted on by members of church congregations and the general public. What would motivate people to vote, and what would be a good prize for a winning band?
Did you watch Swap Shop or Tiswas? You need to be a certain age to understand that question! Our house watched Swap Shop because it was on BBC and we weren’t allowed to watch ITV… The basic principle was that deluded kids phoned in with offers of something they didn’t want (usually complete tat) and wanted to swap it for something else (usually more desirable), with mixed success. Adam Crocker has adopted “Swap Shop” to describe a new programme of finding a home for ActionXL controllers which are no longer needed by those who have splashed out on eBells. It’s not really a swap of course – in return for your ActionXL controllers you get thanks and the knowledge that you will be helping someone else’s virtual handbell ringing, which is reason enough to do it of course. If you have spare controllers please email email@example.com – mine have already found a new home.
The St David’s Diocesan Guild featured in an excellent four page spread in the glossy West Wales Life&Style magazine. It is sometimes difficult to steer journalists in the right direction in pieces like this, but Guild Master Anne Bunker is quoted extensively, and clearly managed to get the best out of the reporter. The article also features some very good photography – I am guessing commissioned by the magazine. Journalists struggle to get good photographs of ringing, and we struggle for pictures for our own publicity material. We are shortly going to launch a photo competition along the lines of the YouTube comp that will enable us to create a photo library for ringers and journalists to use (with due permissions of course).
One of the highlights of my last couple of weeks was attending the Ruislip Ringing Room striking competition (fashionably late due to a diary malfunction). Sonia Field put it together and really showed what can be done in terms of maintaining and developing an inexperienced band. Eight ringers who nine months ago could hardly press a key in the right place, ringing courses of Doubles methods – each member had their own team drawn from the other members of the band. All creditable, all fun, and enthusiastic. That is just one example of how bands are keeping going with their ringing survival activities and even building skills.
The joint CC and ART Survival and Recovery group has been in touch with guild and association secretaries looking for ‘Recovery Champions’ who can help with the flow of new ideas and initiatives to keep people involved and motivated until we can return to our towers. Might you be the person your branch or district is looking for? Annie Hall (firstname.lastname@example.org) is already sending information out to the first responders.
And finally, a word for my print edition publisher. It’s an exciting time at the Ringing World. With neither song nor dance the announcement appeared of four additional Directors to the Ringing World who are no doubt looking forward to rolling up their sleeves and plotting the future direction of the business alongside the existing team. It is a challenge I understand they relish, and I look forward to joining the first enlarged board meeting next week. Now where is the Christmas issue I still haven’t finished …
Content from https://cccbr.org.uk and logo used with permission from Central Council of Church Bell Ringers
Here is the latest Newsheet from ART on Survival and Recovery.
ART also issued some ideas from Matt Lawrence entitled ‘Top Tips for Survival and Recovery‘. This is available in two formats to download below. The full article is available in the lastest edition of Tower Talk
The following courses will be held via Zoom.
Saturday 16th January 2021 – 10.15am
Saturday 23rd January 2021 – 10.15am
Saturday 30th January 2021 – 10.15am
Learning Methods webinar (part 1 of 2) with Martin Daniels
Saturday 6th February 2021 – 10.15am
Saturday 13th February 2021 – 10.15am
Calling simple touches of Plain Bob and Grandsire Doubles webinar
Saturday 20th February 2021 – 10.15am
Saturday 27th February 2021 – 10.15am
Learning Methods webinar (part 2 of 2) with Martin Daniels
Saturday 13th March 2021 – 10.15am
History of bells and ringing in the Winchester and Portsmouth Dioceses, with Phil Watts, Diocesan Bells Advisor
Saturday 27th March 2021 – 10.15am
Recruitment and Retention – How to get more new ringers and how to retain them with Matt Lawrence.
We may add more dates later. There will also be opportunities to find out more about other virtual practices being held in your local District.
Joining the Virtual practice
If you have not used Ringing Room before, take a look at this helpful introductory video: Link to introduction to Ringing Room video
If you are not a Ringing Room user, you will need to register beforehand as a user at http://www.ringingroom.co.uk, the video explains how to do this.
On the day, click on the following Zoom link: Link to W&P Webinars
If needed, the Zoom Meeting ID is: 897 2083 3001 and Passcode is: 519422
The Zoom link will be open from 10.00am for you to log in, and the practice will start promptly at 10.15am. We intend to finish by 11.45am
We will split people into breakout rooms for the practice sessions and will give you the tower numbers for the Ringing Rooms on the day.
To save time with allocating people to the breakout rooms, it will be helpful if you could complete this short questionnaire, so that we know what you would like to ring: Link to Breakout Rooms Questionnaire.
The morning will be split into two 40 minute sessions in the breakout rooms, with a ten or 15 minute ‘coffee break’ in between. This will be an opportunity for people to swap breakout rooms, if they wish to do so.
Saturday 16th January 2021 at 10.15am
With Andy Ingram and Roger Booth
Joining the webinar
There is no need to pre-register. To join this webinar all you need to do is click on the following Zoom link:
If needed, the Zoom Meeting ID is: 897 2083 3001 and Passcode is: 519422
The Zoom link will be open from 10.00am for you to log in, and the presentation will start promptly at 10.15am. We intend to finish by 11.45am
We will be recording the webinar for publication on the Guild website afterwards. Therefore if you do not wish your name or face to appear in the Q&A sessions, please turn off your camera or change your Zoom name to something else e.g. John Smith
What will be covered?
The aim of the webinar is to help you to pick out your bell from the others and to count your place. We will talk about ‘odd struckness’ and there will be series eight practical listening exercises to try. We will also show you how you can practice honing your listening skills during the pandemic, whether this be on simulator software, CD’s and DVD’s, or virtual ringing with others using Ringing Room or other applications.
Between now and Easter we will be holding a series of virtual ‘Ringing Room’ practices to help you practise your listening skills and striking. If you would like to find out more, click this link.
This newsletter can also be downloaded as a .pdf
Now that the vaccination programme has commenced, there is every prospect that ringing in our towers will start to return to normal later this year. However, any return is likely to be very gradual and a lot of things will have changed. It may take us several years of hard work to get back to where we were before.
Recruitment and training is going to be one of the key issues facing us. Many towers will have lost some of their band, and will need help to resume. In addition some of us will not have touched a rope for well over a year. The newer ringers will need to re-learn some of the basics.
Since last April some towers have been holding regular virtual pub sessions and quizzes using Zoom. Some have also been holding virtual practices using ‘Ringing Room’. Less experienced ringers who were perhaps just learning to ring rounds can now ring methods inside. But will they be able to do this in the tower?
However, for the next few months there is going to be little opportunity for tower bell ringing. Therefore, in this issue we include details of a programme of training webinars which we will be launching in January. These will take us up to Easter and help us prepare for the gradual return to our towers.
Guild and District Officers will be discussing what support to offer ringers and towers after Easter, and details will be published in our next issue. Please do send us articles for inclusion in the next issue, which will be published at the end of March. Articles should be sent to: email@example.com
I hope you all had an enjoyable, if somewhat restricted and for some a little lonely Christmas. I know that some of us took the advantage of ringing tower bells on Christmas day or perhaps ringing handbells in the churchyard, a great way to remind the local congregation that ringing is still alive and not quite in hibernation.
There are many bands who are keeping closely in touch and active through social media, group video meetings and Ringing Room. If you are not, perhaps the New Year is the time to take the plunge and for ringers to reach out to other members of your band on a more regular basis. If you need help with this then please reach out to the communications committee comms&wpbells.org who will be able to give you some guidance. 2021 offers a brighter future to resume ringing at some stage and we need to be prepared to relight the touch paper when that happens.
I wish you and your families a happy and prosperous New Year.
Pete Jordan, Master
Steve Lamb took over as Hon Guild General Secretary in November. In this interview, he tells us a little about himself
Where did you learn to ring? I learned to ring at Elloughton in East Yorkshire – a 6cwt ring of 6 bells. I was appointed Tower Captain aged 15 as the former captain had to move away and we were short of ringers. It was surreal to lead the band as I was one of the youngest and one of my band was in her 80s. I really enjoyed teaching bell handling from scratch as well as helping the band be as musical as possible.
What age were you? I was 12 years old when I started learning to ring. I’m 48 now and aside from the pandemic I’ve rung without time away from ringing. I love ringing now as much as ever.
Where do you ring now? My home tower is Winchester Cathedral. They are my favourite ring of bells as I really enjoy their tone – especially the back 8. They are wonderful bells though can be tricky to ring really well. I’m happiest ringing Stedman on the backend though I still have a lot to learn. Ringing on higher numbers is a great deal of fun though Surprise Royal and Max often makes my brain hurt 🙂 I love the fellowship of our wonderful band and feel it’s a treat to ring there. The Cathedral is so full of history and I’m conscious that the ringing chamber has many stories to tell. I’m tower secretary and assistant steeple keeper. I really enjoy ringing regularly at several towers across the Guild and particularly appreciate the band at Hursley taking me under their wing.
Which tower would you most like to grab? Exeter Cathedral due to having heard such good things about them from friends who have rung there. I enjoy ringing heavy tenors.
What do you miss most in the current pandemic? Ringing Tower bells!!! Weekly video sessions with the bands I rang regularly with plus some International get togethers has really helped in the meantime. I’ve learned to enjoy RingingRoom – the regular “12 bell mayhem” session has been a highlight.
Favourite football team, and why? San Francisco 49ers – I’ve followed them since I was a teenager. I don’t follow football in England – probably as my nearest team when I was a child was Hull and at the time they languished towards the bottom of the league table. My spectator sport is Formula One – following Lewis Hamilton.
Favourite book/film? Apollo 13 – I’ve always loved Space and this story is one of conquering near impossible odds through ingenuity and teamwork.
Favourite TV series? The Crown
Favourite food? Roast Lamb with all the trimmings
Other hobbies/leisure interests? I’m a keen marathon runner and also enjoy trail running. I love taking photographs too – especially of landscapes and of people.
On Saturday 14th November, Edmund Wratten delivered a webinar on ‘coursing order’ and how it can be used to help your ringing. There was an excellent turnout with 35 members Zooming in.
Following this success, a series of interesting webinars is planned for the period up to Easter:
Sat 16th Jan: Listening Skills. Andy and Sallie Ingram. Have you struggled to pick out your bell from the others? How do you know if it you or someone else that is wrong? How do you count your place, what is meant by ‘odd struckness’. All these and other mysteries will be revealed.
Sat 30th Jan: Learning methods I, Martin Daniels. This seminar will look at the different ways of learning methods. It will cover the circle of work, the blue line, place bells and how you can break this down into chunks of work that you can practice using Kaleidoscope sequences. Also covered will be place notation method construction, and how different methods are related to each other.
Sat 13th Feb: Calling simple touches of Plain Bob and Grandsire Doubles. Speakers to be Confirmed. Starting from the perspective of someone who has never called a bob or single before, we will cover the basics up to the stage where you can call a 120 of Plain Bob or Grandsire Doubles, and some tips how you can at least keep track of some of the other bells some of the time!
Sat 27th Feb: Learning Methods II. Martin Daniels. Following on from the first session, this webinar will look at the methods to try after you can ring Plain Bob Minor. It will explore St Clements and Double Oxford Minor and how these methods can help you develop skills which will lead on to learning and keeping right in more advanced methods.
Sat 13th Mar: History of bells and Ringing in the Winchester and Portsmouth Dioceses. Phil Watts. This webinar will look at some of the more interesting aspects of the subject and the work of the Diocesan Bells Advisers. It will also include details of plans to update the survey of bells in the Diocese and compile a photographic record of all the historic peal boards in our towers.
Sat 27th Mar. Recruitment and Retention – How to get more new ringers and how to retain them: Matt Lawrence. This workshop developed by the Central Council’s Volunteer and Leadership Workgroup will look at the problems facing us and ways in which we might overcome them.
How to join: Follow this Zoom link: Link to Webinars
If needed, the Meeting ID is: 897 2083 3001 and Passcode is: 519422
The link will be open from 10.00am for people to logon and perhaps have a chat. The presentation by the speaker will start promptly at 10.15am. Each presentation will be followed by an opportunity for questions and answers. Depending on the content, the webinar will last between 60 and 90 minutes
Each Saturday between the webinars we will hold Ringing Room practices using Zoom. The link will be the same and we will split the group into a series of breakout sessions, each with an experienced group leader and helpers.
Whether it is practicing your listening skills, learning Plain Bob or Grandsire or a more advanced method, or calling your first bobs, you will be able to do this in one of the breakout rooms, in a supportive environment.
We may continue with these webinars and Ringing Room sessions for a while, possibly dovetailing this with establishing a network of towers across the Guild where you can go and attend training sessions targeted at helping you get back into ringing on real bells.
“Well done for maintaining interest, I enjoyed Edmund’s presentation and feel sure it will have helped a little”
Debbie Matthias, Blackmoor
“I learnt a lot from the coursing bells training, Zoom’s a good way to convey the theory and it’s great to make a little progress when we can’t ring real bells together—thank you for organising it!“
Cath Hart, Sherfield English and Romsey Abbey
There are a lot of on-line training resources and we have selected some of the best ones and sorted them, depending on your level of experience. Click on the hyperlinks below to find out more.
Understanding call changes: This innovative on-line course delivered by Clare McArdle of the Birmingham School of Bell Ringing aims to give you a good all-round knowledge of everything to do with call changes, from understanding what they are, to ringing and calling them. The course uses a ‘Moodle’ site to deliver a variety of content including interactive videos, presentations, worksheets and quizzes. There is also a domino game to play!
Exploring Devon call changes: Devon has a tradition of rounds and call-change ringing, performed by local teams to a high standard of striking. This presentation, delivered by Jon Bint of the Devon Association of Ringers, and a music graduate, explains how Devon call change ringing has evolved as a folk art from the mid 1600’s and compares the difference between it and scientific ‘method’ ringing as the same as that between Jazz and Classical music.
He explains the rivalry between the two systems which arose with the mid 19th century belfry reform movement, and then goes on to explain the key differences – the faster pace, the closed handstroke lead, and the importance of the raise and lower.
Abel Ringing Simulator: A series of YouTube videos with guidance for using the Abel ringing simulator software to practice your ringing on your PC or laptop. The videos are accompanied by notes from an online session delivered by Clare McArdle with additional guidance for using Abel effectively.
Towards better striking: In this 35 minute webinar recording, Tom Hinks focuses on how to achieve accurate striking, looking at various practice tools such as Abel and using sound clips to help you understand how to pick out different errors. He then goes on to discuss the confusing terminology that different ringers use and practical tips on how to make adjustments to your striking whilst ringing.
Virtual ringing – Zoom and Ringing Room workshop: An opportunity for those who would like to set up Ringing Room practices to try it out – with expert technical help. In the words of one user ‘it’s easier than you think!’ We’ve had some complete technophobes on the pilots who’ve left as Ringing Room converts. And it contains plenty of ideas about maintaining the interest of all the band. The workshop is a mix of theory and practical, supported by how-to videos and teaching tips gathered from experienced teachers.
The workshop is free and lasts approximately 90 minutes. This workshop will help you get the most out of lockdown ringing. And, of course, online ringing will still be useful even when we can start practising again. There’s a real sense that blended learning including tower bells, handbells and online ringing will be with us even when the pandemic is over. Follow the link to book a place.
Doubles methods and variations: Steve Horton focuses on Plain Bob, Grandsire and Reverse Canterbury and how you can use different calls to produce a large number of variations on these base methods, quickly and easily extending your band’s repertoire, and adding interest.
How to learn methods: Tom Hinks talks about different ways of learning methods, such as the circle of work, blue lines, passing the treble, and place bells. Don’t worry if you are just embarking on learning your first few methods, everything is explained in simple terms. As Tom is a professional history teacher, he also explains some of the psychology, such as how frequency of repetition and being able to visualise a method in more than way can also help you master a method.
How to learn methods: Phil Ramsbottom highlights different ways to learn methods, and encourages looking for similarities and differences with other methods. He starts with Plain Bob Minimus and explains how this is related to Single Oxford Minor. Then how an understating of the secrets of method construction can be used to help you learn and ring Little Bob and Treble Bob, and how half-lead, double and reverse methods are related to each other.
Calling simple touches: Tom Hinks focuses on calling simple touches, looking at the basics of saying ‘go’, ‘that’s all’ and ‘stand’ through to calling Bobs and Singles in Plain Bob Doubles and Minor and Grandsire Doubles. He explains how different touches work and there are also some helpful resources discussed at the end.
First steps in calling bobs: This on-line course delivered by Nikki Thomas of the Mancroft Ringing Discovery Centre in Norwich teaches you how to call bobs effectively and in the right place, and shows you how to construct touches using all the calling options for Plain Bob Doubles. By the end you should be confidently be able to call touches and call your first quarter peal of Plain Bob Doubles. The ‘Moodle’ site has a variety of content including five tutorials, downloadable presentations, and interactive quizzes.
An introduction to handbell ringing: Simon Linford of the Birmingham School of Bell Ringing uncovers the mysteries associated with learning to ring handbells. He explains that there are three basic patterns which can be used to ring a pair of bells to Plain hunt on six and plain courses and touches of Bob Minor. When you know the secrets, it’s not as difficult as it might seem at first sight.
Once the current pandemic subsides our thoughts will turn to recruiting and retaining new ringers. It could be 18 months before we can recruit new ringers again. In a normal year the Guild looses about 8% of our members through natural wastage, and a higher percentage of learners. Therefore in these exceptional circumstances we could loose 20 –25% of our ringers.
The Training and Development fund is there to help. The object of the fund is to provide financial assistance to individuals and groups incurring expenditure on: the provision of training, attending courses and events, training materials, payment of tutor expenses, educational assets and any other worthy project to enhance and enable the development of a ringer or group of ringers.
Perhaps you would like to buy some attractive leaflets or roller banners for a tower open day, or hire a mini-ring or mobile belfry for your local carnival or festival. You may also want to equip your tower with a simulator.
In addition to the Training and development fund, Rule 16 provides that the“… First charge on District Funds (after administration) shall be for instruction (whenever possible) in change ringing…” so you can also apply to your District as well.
Some years ago Mark Esbester ran a 200 Club to raise money for the Guild Bell Restoration Fund, with around 170 subscribers. When he gave this up in 2016, I thought it would be useful to restart it but to raise money to improve the ringers rather than the bells.
The Guild set up the Training and Development Fund (TDF), with the object of giving grants to individuals or groups for training, attending courses, buying educational assets or other worthy projects to help in the development of ringers. The Fund officials are the Guild Master, Vice-Master, Honorary General Secretary and Honorary Treasurer. The 200 Club is run separately, solely to raise money for the Fund.
Club members pay a subscription of £12 per year, preferably by Standing Order to ease administration but alternatively by bank transfer, cheque or cash. This is spread over the year at £1/month. Draws are held three times a year, nominally at the March and November Executive Committee meetings and the Guild AGM. At each draw the total of members’ monthly contributions since the previous draw is split with approximately half going to the Fund, paid at the end of the year, and the remainder given out as six prizes.
The first gets 50% of the prize accumulation, the second 20%, the third and fourth 10% each and the fifth and sixth 5% each. To date £521 has been given out in prizes and £511 to the Fund. At present the Club has only 31 subscribers, so prizes are often small.
If you would like to join, and raise money for this worthy cause, copies of the form, plus a standing order details are on the W&P website: ‘200 Club’. The next draw will take place in March next year at the Guild Executive Committee meeting. Money received between now and the meeting will go into that draw. More members mean bigger prizes and more money raised for the TDF!
Winners of the November Draw were:
With the need to attract many more younger ringers, on-line safeguarding resources include:
Safeguarding in ringing: In this webinar, Dave Bassford and Ann White, safeguarding leads of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, and who both have substantial experience of safeguarding in their careers outside ringing, discuss DBS checks, L0, L1 and L2 safeguarding training, and the responsibilities of parish, tower, District and Guild officers. They also explain how to properly deal with incidents or concerns, and general ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’!
Levels C0 and C1 on-line safeguarding training: It is recommended that all ringers should complete these two simple on-line training courses which are available free of charge through the Church of England safeguarding training portal. The resources and training you can access here will equip you and your church to engage positively with the protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults who ring at your tower, in both a practical and theologically informed way.
Has been launched as part of the Central Council and ART’s Survival and Recovery Toolbox. The scheme is targeted at those who are new to ringing in the virtual world and is a series of challenges that you can try before we are able to go back to ringing in our towers. The challenges cover simulator software, online ringing, handbells and the enigmatically named tail ends (things that don’t fit into the other categories). When you’ve ticked off a challenge yourself, you can share your experience on the 50 Ringing Things Facebook group. Click on the image left to find out more and join.
The Charmborough Ring attracts a lot of attention at local carnivals and shows. It comes complete with a gazebo and roller banners to promote ringing. It has been used with a number of schools for activities days in the summer term, and although the bells are light, they are perfectly manageable.
We have found that young people can lean to handle a bell in about 15 minutes on them. Previously our main base was at Willingale, near Chelmsford in Essex, although since 2018 we have had a secondary base at New Alresford. Unfortunately Ian Kerwin from Willingale is no longer able to devote his time to the Charmborough Ring due to a change in his personal circumstances. Therefore our main base will now be at New Alresford.
We would particularly like to encourage towers in Hampshire and the surrounding counties to think about using us to help with recruitment, post pandemic. If you would like to hire the Charmborough Ring for an event later in the year, please visit our website.
Also, if you have a vehicle with a tow-bar capable of towing 2.1 tons and would like to help us take the ring out to events, please do get in touch. In 2019 the ring was used at eighteen different events. The more people that can help share the workload, the better. www.charmborough.org
Are YOU interested in helping the guild by supporting some of its committees? We have vacancies which need filling and would love to hear from you if you are interested. Please don’t be shy. You don’t need to be on the steep slopes of the red and black zones of ringing. You could be on the nursery slopes of the green zone, or gentle slopes of the blue zone, but you could have very useful skills from outside ringing that you could offer. If you want to know more please feel free to contact us to discuss the work of these committees further.
Guild Communications Committee. The primary role of the Communications Committee is to keep Guild Members up to date with what is going on in their Guild and Districts. The Committee works with the Principal Officers and District Officers promoting Guild and District events, practices, social events and relaying District, Guild and National Bellringing News. It is also available to help any tower with communications of their events as requested.
The Communications Committee is responsible for:
Guild Education Committee. The Education Committee exists to improve members’ ringing abilities and confidence in all practical and theoretical aspects of bell handling and method ringing. We arrange training days and evenings, designed to help students to enjoy their ringing, and to learn in a friendly, relaxed, but concentrated environment.
They are a mixture of theory and practice, geared to each student’s needs. Students are divided into small groups, led by Group Leaders who will assess what students can do; students won’t be pushed into attempting the impossible, but they will be encouraged to try things. Each group has a dedicated band of helpers so that, when students ring, they will be surrounded by helpful, friendly experts.
The committee will have an important role to play in helping ringing recover after the pandemic. If you would like to act as a committee member, or as a helper on our training sessions, contact Andy Ingram.
Belfry Stewardship Commttee. The committee exists to give advice about:
In the late 1990s the Guild launched an ambitious pioneering project to compile a survey of every belfry in Hampshire with three or more bells. To date over ninety surveys have been completed, providing a wealth of valuable data on the condition of our towers and bells; However the project has only surveyed about half of the towers.
We would particularly like to hear from people with a background in Architecture, Surveying, Engineering or Construction who may be able to help with this and our other work. After the pandemic there will be many rings of bells which have not been rung and may need inspection, and we will also need to train new steeple-keepers. If you are interested, contact Martin Barnes.
With the closure of Yahoo!© Groups on the 15th December 2020, the Win-Port email group has been successfully migrated to a new Google email group. If you were a member of Win-Port whilst it was a Yahoo!© group, you are automatically a member of the new Google group. The Win-Port email group enables members to email other members within the Guild and is an easy method of communication to quickly reach a large number of ringers. It is especially useful for when a “cry for help” is needed when towers were short of ringers for weddings!
The group is intended to be for more social communications and is not to be confused with the Guild Communications Database; that will be used for official Guild and District communications to let you know about Guild and District events. Access to the database is restricted on who can send out communications so Win-Port is an email group for all members to use to reach out to members.
Currently there are just over 200 of us in Win-Port which only represents a small proportion of the 1,400 members of the Guild. There are several members with more than one email address, and others that reside outside of the Guild area. It would be great to get more people added to this group and improve our communications between Guild members.
If you wish to be added, please visit here to give your consent and I will add you to the group. You can only use it if you are a member of it, so please sign-up today! Don’t miss out!
Andrew Glover, Webmaster W&P
The Rt Rev Christopher Foster has announced that he is to retire as Bishop of Portsmouth. He will step down in April 2021. His wife, the Canon Sally Davenport, told worshippers at Holy Trinity and St Columba Churches in Fareham that she was also to resign as their Team Rector. The couple will retire together and live in Somerset.
Thank you to all those who have prayed for us and worked alongside us over the past 10 years, in the churches and communities of south-east Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Sally and I will be sorry to leave so many valued friends and colleagues.”
The Rt Rev Christopher Foster has been Bishop of Portsmouth since 2010. He had grown up in the industrial West Midlands and in Surrey before studying economics at Durham and Manchester Universities and briefly working as an economics lecturer. He was ordained in 1980, served as a curate in Wolverhampton, and as chaplain of Wadham College, Oxford. He became vicar of Christ Church, Southgate, in London, in 1986 and then worked on the staff of St Albans Cathedral from 1994.
Bishop Christopher became the ninth Bishop of Portsmouth in September 2010, succeeding the Rt Revd Dr Kenneth Stevenson. Shortly afterwards, the Rev Sally Davenport was appointed as team rector of Holy Trinity and St Columba churches, both of which are near their home in Fareham.
The Basingstoke District virtual Annual District Meeting will be held on Saturday Jan 16, 2021 at 3pm To join on Zoom, click this link: Link to Basingstoke District AGM
If needed, the Meeting ID is: 835 5007 7104. The Passcode is: 135246
The Winchester District virtual Annual District Meeting will be held on Saturday Feb 13, 2021 at 3pm To join on Zoom, click this link: Link to Winchester District AGM
If needed, the Meeting ID is: 883 8896 9942. The Passcode is: 135246
Ecchinswell, St Lawrence. Everything that everyone has worked so hard for is beginning to feel very real. For the last 8 years the trust has been fundraising and overcoming many obstacles to raise the very much needed money.
Then on 30th October, the three old bells were removed from the tower. The measuring up for the new framework is done, and very soon the six new bells will make their way to their new home and in the not to distance future we will hear their beautiful sweet sound. None of this would have happened without everyone who has supported us in some way and we thank you. The Guild is supporting this project with a grant of £2,500 from the Guild Bell Restoration Fund
Odiham, All Saints in the Basingstoke District. Whites of Appleton have overhauled the fittings of the six bells and strengthened the bell frame. Due to rot in some of the frame timbers, galvanised support steels have been installed under the frame and tie-rods fitted to reduce frame movement. The clappers and pulley units have been overhauled and the defective resin pads replaced. Rope guides have also been installed. This project has benefitted from a grant of £2,300 from the Guild Bell Restoration Fund
Silchester, St Mary. The five bells of Silchester also in the Basingstoke District have been turned and rehung on new fittings in the existing bell frame. The 2nd bell has been tuned. Rope guides have also been installed.
The work was carried out by Whites of Appleton and the project benefitted from a grant of £2,000 from the Guild Bell Restoration fund.
Hambledon, SS Peter & Paul. This ring of six in the Portsmouth District have been out of action following an accident when one of the gudgeons of the 2nd bell sheared and the bell was cracked in the crown as a result. The bells were last rehung by The Whitechapel Bell Foundry in 1978, so the fittings were generally in good order. The bells and their fittings were taken to John Taylor & Co in Loughborough where the second bell was repaired by specialist bronze welding to its crown. The headstocks of all six bells have had new gudgeons fitted by forge welding. New bearings have been fitted and the bells have now been rehung, and await lifting of the Covid restrictions. A £3,000 grant to this project was approved at the Guild AGM in October 2020.
If you wish to donate to the Bell Restoration Fund, please contact the Guild Treasurer firstname.lastname@example.org who will provide you with the details required in order to make an electronic transfer. You will also be asked if you would like to gift aid your donation, and if so provide a gift aid form for you to complete. If you are a taxpayer, Gift aid enables us to reclaim an additional 25% of your donation from HMRC
If you wish to apply for a grant, when you have decided on a specific scheme send a completed Application Form to the Guild Secretary a minimum of one month prior to the AGM in June or the March and November Executive. Meetings. The Belfry Stewardship Committee can help you with advice from an early stage when you are considering options and putting a scheme together.
Update from 21st December 2020
I write this with a heavy heart, and it is not made any easier knowing that most of you will be expecting it. The impact on ringing of the decisions of the government in England to introduce Tier 4 and to change Christmas bubble arrangements in other Tiers is as nothing compared with other impacts on people’s lives. Just when we thought we had turned the corner our lives need to be more disrupted.
The new rules for Tier 4 state that no non-essential mixing outside of households (other than in a support bubble) is allowed, with only necessary travel outside the house. Whilst public worship is still permitted, there is no mingling with anyone outside your household or support bubble, so ringing will not be allowed in Tier 4. As with the current Tier 3 guidance, tower bells could still be rung by members of the same household, single bells, or by the use of Ellacombe chimes. The Church’s and our view is that this is part of an act of worship.
We are not changing our guidance in other Tiers at this stage, although the increasing speed of transmission of this mutated virus may cause a review sooner rather than later. The Christmas easing and adoption of Tier 1 ringing guidance in Tiers 2 and 3 should be limited as far as possible – think very carefully about whether it is strictly necessary and consider which church services are most important. The guidance is not a boundary at which to push, and you or your band can decide not to ring for whatever reason. By following the basic principles of reducing travel out of the home and contact with other people as much as possible, we can protect ourselves and our communities. Face masks and social distancing only reduce the risk – they don’t remove it.
I read a lot of ringing social media comment at the weekend, and what was clear was that most ringers are perfectly capable of working out for themselves how national guidance translates to ringing. The most powerful contribution to the debate that I read came from a ringer who works in a hospital in the south west of England, and I hope he will forgive me for quoting him in full:
“Winter pressures within the NHS are tough at the best of times. The system is already creaking under the pressure, and the graphs strongly suggest hospitalisation and deaths are going to increase dramatically. I would STRONGLY URGE anybody thinking of stretching/breaking the rules/advice to get their fix of ringing to reconsider – now is not the time and all you are ultimately doing is risking lives and putting my colleagues and other NHS staff under extreme pressure and risk.”
The one saving grace is that it appears that the end is in sight. Whilst we have some difficult months ahead of us, the promise of a vaccine is now real, and it is highly probable that the course of spread of this pandemic will be fundamentally changed in the first half of 2021. In terms of opening up more ringing, having published guidance on children’s groups, our next effort is going to be looking at more open ringing settings including chancel crossings and ground floor rings, where our setting for ringing is similar to the more open settings enjoyed by singers. Equally though, the virus mutation may make things worse yet in some areas.
The President of the Central Council would usually finish a message written on 21 December by wishing everyone a Happy Christmas, but that somehow doesn’t seem quite right. So instead I will say that I hope that whatever you do, and whoever you manage to be with, you can stay safe and remain positive.
Article from https://cccbr.org.uk/2020/12/21/christmas-ringing-and-tier-4-england/ and logo used with permission from Central Council of Church Bell Ringers.
The decision has been made to move back the date for the Alton & Petersfield District AGM to the 23rd January 2021. Minutes of the previous AGM will be sent out to your tower contacts in the very near future.
If you would like a copy sent to you individually, please let me know.
Hoping you all have a safe and relaxing Christmas and, if your plans have been affected by recent tier changes, that you can still find ways to stay in contact with those who can no longer be with you in person.
Christmas is the time when some changeringers bite the bullet and do some tune ringing. Out come the carol arrangements and the purists grumble that using numbers is not real music. No, but it’s an inclusive means to an end. I am going to teach my work colleagues to ring Silent Night on Ringing Room, having failed to find a decent arrangement of what is of course the best of all Christmas songs “I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.” Watch this video at your peril as the tune will stick in your mind forever!
Lots of ringers have turned to handbell ringing in lockdown as it has provided more opportunities. The Brumdingers regularly rang handbells outside, and just before it got too cold and too dark to ring outside after school we had started ringing Christmas carols to provide some variety. We left room for improvement. Proof of what can be done with practice comes from the young ringers of Steeple Aston in Oxfordshire, who give this lovely demonstration.
Provided we don’t all go back into lockdown after Christmas, young ringers practices can start again in England at least in the New Year. This is using government guidance that recognises the importance of children’s activities out of school. Detailed guidance is now on the CC website and linked from the Bellboard ‘Virtual Hub’. It’s still not a free-for-all practice as we remember them, but should help those who have been working hard to retain their young ringers during lockdown, youngsters who might otherwise start drifting off into other interests.
The Virtual Hub was what brought the North American Guild’s ‘Online GatheRing’ to my attention, and I was pleased to drop in. This really shows what you can do if you’re well organised. There were 16 sessions across eight Ringing Rooms and Discord channels, with activities ranging from the social (pub, quiz, games) to the intense (Spliced Surprise Major). I was able to join in some surprise major ringing in between my garlic bread starter and Saturday night pizza in front of Strictly.
Following last week’s comment on whether we say that we are bellringers on our CVs (if we have them) I followed Tim Mitchell’s suggestion of introducing work contacts to Ringing Room by posting my interest in bell ringing on LinkedIn, along with Kemp Brinson’s brilliant video introduction to Ringing Room, with an invitation to people to be taught to ring Plain Hunt. Early days but my post has been viewed over 700 times and shared. A Dutch colleague who lives in Perth WA was quite surprised when I told him I had visited Perth on more than one occasion to ring bells and visit the Lucky Shag.
Tim’s longer term idea is to take a mobile belfry to large companies and run team building/recruitment activities. If you work for a large company, maybe one with multiple sites or a campus, do you think that if a mobile belfry was erected in the car park or courtyard, colleagues might be encouraged to have a go and form a ringing group? It might be something we pilot in a few places next year when we can.
The Women in Ringing project has come to the end of its first phase. Apparently the special issue of the Ringing World sold a lot of extra copies and even some new subscriptions were taken out as a result of it. The volume of positive and supportive comments was significant and far outweighed any of the to-be-expected criticisms about the subject of gender. The working group is now developing plans to build on the project, with ideas around mentoring, guidance and learning materials, pledges and commitments to do things differently, and generally maintaining awareness of the subject.
When you ring the 5th to peal attempts at Birmingham Cathedral as I was prone to do pre-lockdown, you really take one for the team on a cold day – the wind whistles in and can even move the rope. However, good airflow through the room keeps the back bell ringers from overheating (so they can ring faster) but also keeps all ringers’ concentration levels high (so they can ring longer). More work is being done by the Covid guidance team on CO2 measurements as a means of assessing how well ventilated towers are, leading in turn to better understanding of how long we will be able to ring for in different types of towers. Expertise in monitoring ventilation in offices and labs using CO2 as a measure has been added to the team.
From time to time people send me their newsletters, particularly when they are justifiably proud of them. The latest submission is the Farnham District Newsletter which is another amazing production, managing to fill 28 pages of copy from three months of no ringing. There is a particularly interesting table surveying the level of activity in the District’s towers, with about half using Zoom and Ringing Room to keep practicing. And laudable reference to Council initiatives! Are 50% or more of the towers in your association, branch or district staying active with online activities?
The first Survival and Recovery newsletter has gone out (available again from the Virtual Hub) and has already uncovered stories of what ringers, districts and associations are doing. The joint ART/CC team has an idea of building a network of ‘Recovery Champions’ in different areas who will absorb the different ideas being banded about and help to see what will work in their area. There are already people doing a lot, but also areas that seem a bit dead, and which might stay that way if we’re not careful. Could you be a Recovery Champion?
Thankfully at the time of writing we will still have guidance in place for ringing over Christmas, at least in England if not in other countries as well. 2020 will be a year to forget. Let’s hope that in 2021 we can Come Back Better.
Content from https://cccbr.org.uk and logo used with permission from Central Council of Church Bell Ringers
Daniel Graham writes:
A final reminder that the November surprise royal practice is taking place this weekend, details as below;
When: Sunday 27th November at 14:00 – 15:30
Methods: Special method will remain as Bristol Royal, but we will also ring Cambridge/Yorkshire/Lincolnshire as required.
An enjoyable and rewarding practice night in Southampton last night at St Michael’s with a particularly good half course of Cambridge Royal and a nice touch of 8 spliced surprise major. Lots of other ringing too including Grandsire Triples/Caters, Stedman doubles and 4 spliced (CYNS) surprise major.
Next week, at Bitterne Park, we start our new venture of increasing our 8 bell repertoire, by starting to work through the methods in ‘Smiths 23’. First method is Cray Surprise Major.
As always all ringers welcome at any of our practices 🙂
The suggested date for the next Surprise Royal practice is Sunday 27th November 14:00 – 15:30. This will hopefully be at Hursley (tbc).
As with all of these practices, it will only go ahead if I can get a minimum number of people reply who are available and hoping to come.
If you are free and likely to attend please let me know asap. A final decision whether to go ahead or not will be made next week.