Category Archives: Firsts Fortnight

WP Guild Firsts Fortnight 1st-15th Match 2016
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New Alresford Band reaps a First for Tichborne Harvest

After ringing for morning service today at New Alresford, six members of our band went to ring for the harvest festival service at our neighbouring parish of Tichborne. These bells have no band of their own, but members of the congregation were very appreciative and thanked us for our efforts. The Rector said it meant a lot to the village to hear their bells being rung, even to those who did not manage to come to the service. It was also Nathan Smith’s first quarter, rung as part of the Guild’s ‘Firsts Fortnight’.

Roger Booth

“Firsts Fortnight” at Petersfield

We had a very successful “Firsts Fortnight” here at Petersfield.

We set SMART targets for everyone who wanted to participate and made sure there were opportunities to have a go.  It was really motivating! 

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Relevant

T – Time-bound

Here’s what we achieved:–

Caroline learned how to jump in one change from Queen’s – to Rounds – to Tittums – and back again.

Christine joined in ‘firing’ for the first time.

John rang a successful Mexican Wave.

Madeline rang Erin Doubles.

Mary rang a touch of Stedman Triples.

Melanie called touches of Grandsire Doubles.

Mike (our loyal regular visitor from Steep) rang a touch of Stedman Triples.

Moo conquered ‘anti cat’s ears’ in Stedman Doubles.

Sue rang down in peal.

Robin rang Bob Doubles starting from a different bell (not his usual 2).

We would like to thank all the people who helped to make this scheme work for us, especially our regular visitor-helpers Mike and Terry, and all the extra ringers who came to the special extra Grandsire/Stedman practice organised by Moo.

A ‘Firsts Fortnight’ message from Guild Master Viv Nobbs.

Firsts Fortnight – for “Firsts” read “Progress for ringers (and ringing)”, what a tremendous response! Thank you all very much and we hope you all enjoyed it; it would seem to be the case. 🙂

A superb mix, from – first time on the end of a rope to new Surprise Major method and Maximus ringing, for example. There were handbells, fun challenges, peals, calling and conducting, simulators, theory lessons and homework, entering a striking contest, running a practice, ringing on higher numbers, ringing in new places, quarter peals. Tower captains certainly did their bit; they were really coming into their own, looking at new and exciting ways to inspire us ringers and enjoying the rewards and the great sense of achievement alongside their ringers, I’m sure!

What a marvellous way to share our ringing; involving ringers of all ages and at all experience levels, right across The Guild and beyond …amazing! Excitement levels were very high – there was a real buzz in the towers and it was evident on our Guild’s Social Media, too. Our Guild’s Communications team reported:

  • we are interesting many of those in the Twittersphere with our ‘Firsts Fortnight’ initiative. They are liking and sharing our tweets about the fun we are having, the positive learning and the natural networking that’s going on i.e. people moving around the Guild and not being afraid to get to know each other, and they are asking themselves if they could do the same things.

  • the people ‘liking and sharing’ our Firsts Fortnight initiative have been from all over the country, from Durham Ringers, Chigwell Ringing Centre, Castle Bromwich Bells, University Ringing, Fulham Ringers, Eastbourne Ringers, Kenysham Bells, Tied Bells in Norwich, Hereford District to Dengie Bells in the Essex peninsula.

So, why a “Firsts” anything? I strongly believe that maintaining ringers’ interest often results in retaining ringers in our towers and I love the concept of “Challenge, motivation, believe and achieve”! Many of us love to explore what’s over the horizon and I’m convinced that’s the case in ringing. Sometimes we need gentle persuasion and encouragement from our peers and mentors to take the next step, to supply the tools (including some extra confidence maybe?)…fortunately it’s there for the taking!

Many ringers report that they love nothing better than to help a less-experienced ringer to move on a step or two – yes, it’s very rewarding indeed – and we might reflect, with some affection, on the folk that have helped us reach our own ringing level, especially when a new ringer says

“I feel guilty at how much time you spend teaching me!” But, hey, we’re a team after all, we’ve all been there – at the very start – and are very grateful for our own teachers’ and mentors’ invested time in us.

So, new ringers, teachers, experienced ringers – all were involved with our ‘W & P Firsts Fortnight’ – a great opportunity to provide some short-term focus for us all. Much progress was made and a great time was had by all -just how it should be!

All of this surely bodes well for the future? So, what next……?

A Roundup of the Firsts Fortnight Achievements – by Tim Martin

Following the success of First Peal 2015 which took the world of ringing by storm last year our Guild Master Viv Nobbs proposed holding a Guild Firsts Fortnight which ran from March 1st to March 15th 2016. The idea was to build on the successful concept of encouraging more people to take a step forward in their ringing but also to recognise and celebrate that a personal milestone in ringing is an important event whatever the achievement. With ringing being a team activity, just as First Peal 2015 added many new peal ringers to the peal ringing community, encouraging local ringers through Firsts Fortnight helps local bands build their skill levels and possibly achieve things that were not possible previously.

It seems that W&P ringers embraced Firsts Fortnight at every level from taking the next step in the learning process, ringing a different bell, trying a different method etc through to first quarter peals, first quarters in method and firsts in conducting. Traditionally ringers have marked first achievements such as first quarters and peals but we should recognise that for many ringers the road leading to such achievements may be long and sometimes discouraging and indeed some either do not aspire to these levels or perhaps have little opportunity to do so locally. So something that celebrates these stages and encourages people to try to take their ringing to the next stage cannot do otherwise than benefit ringing in the area generally. Looking at the list of achievements it certainly seems to have achieved the objective set for us by Viv and many bands seem to have been really inspired to try some new things.

Hopefully everyone will have seen the regular updates on the website but a few highlights include the Isle of Wight young ringers outing to Alderney, some of the Alton ringers ringing firsts in the USA and another ringer from Bramshott ringing in Canada for the first time!  An all ladies band rang for a service for the first time at Winchester College and an all ladies band helped one of their number plain hunt for the first time at Ringwood. Many people had a go at ringing something different and hopefully realised that it’s easier than they thought.  Lots of people got the chance to do some conducting from call changes to spliced surprise Royal and people took the opportunity to ring touches and quarters in different methods.

The following people rang their first quarters.
Isla Ingram, plain Bob doubles at Awbridge
Will Holmes, plain Bob doubles at Eling
Lisa Ashforth, plain Bob doubles at Wickam
And Oliver Challoner,Pip Dillistone and Graham Nobbs all rang their first quarter in hand.

Tim Martin

Click here to read all the detailed reports


Firsts Fortnight News from the Isle of Wight Young Ringers

 Kieran Downer reports from the Isle of Wight Young Ringers’ trip to Alderney…..

  •  Lexi Skeldon, Rosie Morrision, Maddie Burgess, Tristan Allen and Lily Johnson all rang on Alderney for the first time!
  • Rosie Morrison rang on 12 and rang in the Kaleidoscope session.
  • Lily Johnson – Plain Hunt Caters, trebled to Grandsire Triples and rang in the Kaleidoscope session
  • Lexi Skeldon – Plain Hunt Caters and rang in the Kaleidoscope session
  • Maddie Burgess – Did the Mars Bar challenge – up to the balance at hand and back strokes; Rang inside to Plain Bob Minor on her own;  Rang and called go and stop for Plain Hunt  Caters

Lily’s photos from the trip are here…

Firsts Fortnight news from Brading (Isle of Wight)

Firsts Fortnight 1st - 15th March 2016Kieran Downer, (Isle of Wight) is pleased to report from Brading

  • Jane  Followill rang the treble to Grandsire Doubles
  • Cerise  Moody rang the tenor behind without anybody standing behind
  • Sam  rang the tenor
  • Libby Followill rang 3 new bells in one evening (5, 6, 7)
  • Mitchell Downer (aged  4 years!) called some call changes and



Firsts Fortnight News from Milford On Sea – First QP, Isla Ingram

Congratulation to Isla on ringing her first quarter peal during Firsts Fortnight. Thank you to the rest of the band.

Awbridge, Hampshire
Clock House Bells
Friday, 4 March 2016 in 39 (3–1–2 in E)
1260 Plain Bob Doubles
John A Dodd
Colin J Butler
Roy LeMarechal
Sallie-Louise Ingram
Andrew J B Ingram (C)
Isla K A Ingram
First Quarter 6 Rung for the W&P Guild’s “Firsts Fortnight”

Sallie Ingram Reporting


Firsts Fortnight News – Bournemouth St. John’s Ringer scores 1st QP of Caters

Firsts Fortnight 1st - 15th March 2016Well done to Marisa Bartlett (Bournemouth St John’s) for her first on 10 during Firsts Fortnight! Not sure if it counts as part of the firsts fortnight but as tower is outside of the Guild but she is a member – Plain Bob Caters, Wareham, Dorset. (Jack Pease Reporting)

Salisbury Diocesan Guild
Wareham, Dorset
Lady St Mary
Friday, 11 March 2016 in 52 mins (17–1–20 in E)
1296 Plain Bob Caters
Marisa Bartlett
David Barrance
Tricia Stephens
Ed Warren
Mike Jenkins
Angie Jasper (C)
Sally Jenkins
Mike Jasper
Phil Stephens
10 Paul Tyson
First on 10 for 1 and 5
First on 10 for over 40 years: 4
Rung for Hampreston Quarter Peal Day
Also birthday compliment to Josie Hennessy, sister of treble ringer

SUGCR (Southampton University) Firsts Fortnight News

Firsts Fortnight 1st - 15th March 2016Clare Merivale- Master of Southampton University Guild (SUGCR) – reports:

Tower: SUGCR towers

Our Firsts Fortnight News Is….: Max Hammick: first touch of grandsire without help
Oliver Chaloner: first handbell quarter peal
Pip Dillistone: first handbell quarter peal
Phil Moyse: first time conducting a handbell quarter peal
Jon Mills: first time ringing a plain course of Bob Minor on handbells, first peal of doubles
Josh Harris: first peal
Myles Tyrrell: first quarter peal attempt (followed by a first quarter just outside of first’s fortnight)
Therese Strand: first quarter peal attempt (followed by a first quarter just outside of first’s fortnight), first ringing tour, first time ringing at a cathedral
Abbey Marlowe: first time ringing Plain Hunt on 5 not on treble, first time ringing plain hunt on 7
Imogen Clarke: first time tenoring without help
Jay Wroe-Brown: first time tenoring, first time ringing at a cathedral
Clare Merivale: first peal of doubles, first time calling a touch of Plain Bob Doubles
Chris Knapp: first time ringing at a cathedral


The Performances:

Southampton University Guild
Southampton, Hampshire
St Barnabas
Wednesday, 16 March 2016 in 39 mins (2–3–2 in F♯)
1260 Plain Bob Doubles
Myles AB Tyrrell
Clare M Merivale
Jonathan C Mills
Josh L Harris
Oliver B Chaloner (C)
Therese Strand
First quarter: 1 & 6
Southampton University Guild
Southampton, Hampshire
The Ascension, Bitterne Park
Sunday, 6 March 2016 in 2h35 (3–1–0 in E♭)
5040 Doubles (2m)
Extents 1-3,8-10,15-17,22-24,29-31,36-38 Grandsire; 4-7,11-14,18-21,25-28,32-35,39-42 Plain Bob.
Alice J S Gibbin (Vice-Master 2014 & Master 2015)
Josh L Harris (Vice-Master 2016)
Philip D Moyse (Vice-Master 2013 & Master 2014) (C)
Jonathan C Mills (Vice-Master 2015)
Kristian D Scudamore (Vice-Master 2012 & Master 2013)
Clare M Merivale (Master 2016)
First peal: 2
First of doubles: 4 & 6
Rung by a band of current students, all of whom have been either Master or Vice-Master of the Guild.
With best wishes to our mothers this Mother’s Day.
Southampton University Guild
Southampton, Hampshire
45 Mansbridge Road
Tuesday, 1 March 2016 in 34 mins (11 in G)
1260 Plain Bob Minor
1–2 Oliver B Chaloner
3–4 Peter Dillistone
5–6 Philip D Moyse (C)
First in hand: 1-2, 3-4, and as conductor.
First in the house.

Have You Reported your Firsts Fortnight News Yet?

Please get your final reports in by the end of the weekend to make sure they are included in the final summary next week!

Send in Your News

Firsts Fortnight achievements by the Alton St Lawrence Bell Ringers (Mostly in the USA!!)

Firsts Fortnight 1st - 15th March 2016Matt Watts Reporting:

We have achieved our firsts in the last couple of days of “Firsts Fortnight”.

Judy Sparling, Andy Sparling and Matt Watts all attended the first mini ring practice on Tim Barnes new mini ring in Chatham, NJ. With the Trinity, New York band.

Andy Sparling and Matt Watts lost their first peal attempt of Stedman Caters in New York, but scored their first quarters of Plain Bob Caters, first quarter rung in USA for both, and the first quarter of Caters for Matt.
During this little trip Kaylee South took up the slack and took on the running of her first practice, and her first Sunday morning service ringing at St Lawrence, Alton


Eling Band Achieves Lion’s Share of Tower Captain’s Firsts Fortnight Goals….

Firsts Fortnight 1st - 15th March 2016Derek Jackson’s original challenge to the Eling Band created a lot of curious interest online (it has been one of the most-read Firsts Fortnight posts) and inspired no fewer that TWENTY THREE people to attend the practice night that week! Here’s what the band achieved…. RM

  1. Daniel to ring in a striking competition for the FIRST time. DONE
  2. All participants of the theory lessons do their homework for the FIRST time and work out the figures of X 14 X 36 X 16 etc Lead end 16 (Which gives you 1 5 6 3 4 2)
  3. Tina learn to call a basic call-change.Done 15/03
  4. John ring the treble unaided to a touch of Little Bob Minor without help, for the FIRST time. Done 15/03
  5. Lawrence ring above inside for the FIRST time.
  6. Susanne learn to raise a ball IN PEAL for the FIRST time.
  7. David to identify a Minor method he could ring FIRST, once he notifies the rest of us.DONE
  8. Susanne. Choose any tune and convert it into handbell music so that the handbell team ring it FIRST. Done 15/03, and very musical!
  9. Lawrence. Write out a plain course of Stedman Triples.

a. Alan learn Carlisle Surprise Minor for the FIRST time, and ring it on Sunday.. DONE .

b. David ditto.DONE
c. D.C.J. ditto DONE
d. Margaret F. ditto.DONE
e. Margaret F2 ditto.DONE
f. Steve ditto.DONE
g.Get Well Maurice ditto. and a quarter dedicated Done 13/03

11. Mary. Ring P.C. of D.N.C.B.M.    Done 15/03
12. Polly Call a basic touch of Stedman Triples.       Done 15/03
13. William. Ring his first quarter peal.      Done 13/03
14. Polly Ring a quarter peal of Cambridge Surprise Minor.    Done 12/03

Derek Jackson

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 16.30.12

Duncan Loweth Reports on Firsts Fortnight from the Town Church, Guernsey

Firsts Fortnight 1st - 15th March 2016In February, looking towards firsts fortnight at the Town Church we realised that a large majority of our ringers would be away at different times and we would struggle to achieve our firsts in our normal ringing slots.

However, keen to rise to the challenge we all compared diaries and put together a plan of action.

The fortnight started with Judith Lainé ringing her first QP of Grandsire Doubles.

The next attempt had to be changed at the last minute and became M Doubles – a first in variation for all – Duncan Loweth, Mike Bubb Jane Le Conte and Sue Park. Our thanks to Mike Bubb from the Vale calling it for us.

In the second week Jenny Dunning rang her first QP on the treble which was called by Forest ringer Anne Dorey who picked up her first as conductor.

John Lihou rang over over 720 changes treble bob hunting to Cambridge for the first time, but sadly the QP fired out 5 min before the end.

Duncan Loweth rang his first QP of surprise in hand before Sunday service ringing as a practice for a peal attempt after service ringing. The peal also being first surprise in hand for Peter Bevis of St Anne, Alderney. A quick nap and a bite to eat later the peal band rushed to St Giles, Reading to ring Duncan’s first QP of London S Major. Many thanks to the Reading ringers for their assistance.

Back in Guernsey Colin Sills rang the treble to Grandsire doubles for the first time in a QP.

Having rung the tenor for several first QP over the fortnight Janice Firth had not yet picked up her first in the tower. Handbells were the answer where first she rang her first course of Little Bob Minor followed by first of Spliced (Plain and Little).

With various of the band off Island we were lucky that enough were back by the last day to attempt a QP of Barrow-upon-Hummer which has been our special method in the tower for the last couple of months. Considering we had not practiced it for several weeks we rang it very steadily and it was a first in method for all – Duncan Loweth, Paul Lawrence, Jane Le Conte and Sue Park.

We’re very grateful for the help we received from ringers from other towers in Guernsey and further afield in scoring our firsts over the past 15 days.

Duncan Loweth
Tower Captain

Photo  from used by permission

A Shared First for 7 Catherington Ringers

Firsts Fortnight 1st - 15th March 2016Tower: Catherington

Our Firsts Fortnight News Is….: An unusual group of methods for a QP of 8 spliced at Catherington – a first for nearly all the band! Reported by Mark Esbester
Catherington, Hampshire
All Saints
Sunday, 13 March 2016 (8–2–20 in A♭)
1280 Spliced Surprise Major (8m)
160 each Ashtead, Cassiobury, Cornwall, Cray, Ipswich, Lindum, Uxbridge, Yorkshire.
1 Doug Boniface
2 Marie Boniface
3 Alison Hunt
4 Diana Bishop
5 Tom Bishop
6 Andrew Byford
7 Ian Hunt
8 Mark Esbester (C)
First in these methods by all except 8.
By members of the Sunday service band.

Happy Birthday Harry White Spelled Out in Method Names…

Michael Bubb Reports on a first for everyone in a Quarter Peal at Vale, Guernsey:
Firsts Fortnight 1st - 15th March 2016Our quarter peal on 14th March as a celebration of Harry White’s 80th birthday included Horsley. Austrey, St Ignatius and St Thomas, variations which we had not rung in a quarter peal in the past. With a little poetic licence the methods and variations spelt out Harry White 80.
Have fun see what names you can come up with ringing methods and variations in a quarter. Nothing rude though!
Vale, Guernsey
St Michel du Valle
Monday, 14 March 2016 in 43mins (6–2–23 in B♭)
1280 Doubles (6 Methods and 5 Variations)
One extent Horsley, Austrey, St Remigius, Reverse Canterbury Pleasure Place, Eynsham, Winchendon, Huntley, St Ignatius, St Thomas, Eynesbury and 80 Grandsire
Helen Rolf
Nicky David
John David
Peter Gallienne
Michel Bubb (C)
Robbie Sherwood
Methods and variations chosen and rung in that order to tell all Harry White is 80.
Photograph by Andrew G Craddock for TowerBase

First Peal in 15 methods for 3 Catherington Ringers (Firsts Fortnight)

3 members of Catherington Band scored Firsts this week…
Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild
Portsmouth, Hampshire
St Agatha
Tuesday, 15 March 2016 in 2h 42 (3-0-1)
5152 Spliced Surprise Major (15m)
448 Ashtead, Bristol, Cambridge, Ipswich, Lincolnshire, Rutland, Uxbridge, Yorkshire, 224 Cassiobury, Cornwall, Cray, Lindum, London, Pudsey, Superlative, 146 com, atw
R Mark Esbester
Malcolm M Powell
Alison Hunt
Kathryne R Arkless
David Hohl
Thomas J A Bishop
Graham A Nobbs
Toby Arkless (C)
Most methods – 3, 5, 6
Circled the tower – 1
Reported by Toby Arkless

Lockerley Ringers score Firsts in Minehead

Firsts Fortnight 1st - 15th March 2016John Palk reports:

In visiting Minehead over the  week-end  Bren and I were just placed on ropes, without being told what we were ringing, as is Andrew’s way.

We then rang plain courses of PB10 and Grandsire Carters followed by Bren inside to Stedman Caters with me on the tenor (the Stedman may not be  a first as we have rung it on the course at Hursley!).


Photo from used by permission

Firsts Fortnight News From the Catherington Band – Cray Surprise Major

Firsts Fortnight 1st - 15th March 2016Tower: Catherington decamped to Soberton

Our Firsts Fortnight News Is….: Probably the first quarter of Cray Surprise Minor for the band. Catherington band (with help from Nick from Chichester) decamped to Soberton for the night. Definitely the first blows in the method for 4.

Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild
Soberton, Hampshire
St Peter

Tuesday, 8 March 2016 in 51 (13-1-24)
1344 Cray Surprise Major
1 Doug Boniface
2 Marie Boniface
3 Ali Hunt
4 Ian Hunt (C)
5 Diana Bishop
6 Dave Hohl
7 Nick Deadman
8 Tom Bishop
First blows in method 4.

Firsts Fortnight News From Eling – Will Holmes First Quarter Peal

Firsts Fortnight 1st - 15th March 2016Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild
Eling, Hampshire
St Mary
Sunday, 13 March 2016 in 43min (11-3-4)
1260 Plain Bob Doubles
1 William J Holmes
2 David J Forder
3 Margret Forder
4 Margret Feneley
5 Stephen N Hough (C)
6 Colin J Butler
First Quarter for Will Holmes. Also get well wishes to Maurice Bailey, recovering from a recent operation.

First Ladies’ Band to ring for a service at Winchester College


Winchester College Photograph by Chris Kippin
Winchester College Photograph by Chris Kippin

Tuesday 8th March
International Women’s Day
This is believed to be the first Ladies’ band to ring for a Winchester College service

Firsts Fortnight 1st - 15th March 2016Rounds and call changes
1 Caroline Fairley
2 Pernille Faye
3 Isobel Wolf
4 Jennifer Baxter
5 Elizabeth Barter

1st Quarter Peal for 2% of Paul at Niton

Firsts Fortnight 1st - 15th March 2016* 1st ever quarter peal for 2% of him. 1st since he became a burden on the NHS in 2009. (Liver, heart, lungs, knees and beard)”

Niton, Isle of Wight
St John the Baptist
Sunday, 13 March 2016 in 39 mins (9)
1272 Cambridge Surprise Minor
Composed by Glen A A Taylor
Paul Miller
David Langford
Caroline May
David Court
Stephen Noyes (C)
Rodney Downer
A “got well” compliment to Paul, his first quarter for a long time following major surgery.
For Evensong.
Niton Photograph by John Palk

Firsts Fortnight News from the Bournemouth Sacred Heart Band

Firsts Fortnight 1st - 15th March 2016Tower: Sacred Heart, Bournemouth

Our Firsts Fortnight News Is….: Ben Jennings rang Rounds and Call changes on 10 for service at Christchurch Priory. A very good achievement considering he has learnt to ring at Sacred Heart, Bournemouth which only has a 3 and half cwt ring of 6!!

Kim Matthews

Winchester District Youth Practice – Firsts Fortnight News.

Firsts Fortnight 1st - 15th March 2016Winchester District Youth plus friends, had a really productive and enjoyable practice at Sparsholt on the afternoon of Sunday March 13th. Everyone was up for attempting a “First” and first up was Daniel Hartley of Eling who successfully called changes to Queens and back to rounds. Daniel was ringing an affected bell which made it all the more difficult. Well done Dan! Megan Bucknall of Winchester Cathedral rang plain hunt on bell 3 and then bell 4 . She also conducted her first call changes. Sam Fussell of Lockerley rang the Sparsholt tenor and called his first call changes. Thomas Blissett of Sherbourne St John rang the tenor to rounds and rang the treble to Grandsire after changes had been called by the conductor. A large chocolate cake was devoured ( not a first) and Jen Churchill managed to drink her tea. (Definitely a first) Well done Will for ringing your first quarter on the treble earlier in the day.

Jen Churchill

Photo by Rosemary Oakeshott