Category Archives: Campanology

“default” category, can be seen by Google, but isn’t used internally except as the default category. Helps non-ringers find the site.

Notice for visiting ringers

As restrictions are lifted and ringing is able to resume, please note that not all towers are able to begin ringing again. Some may have restrictions in place whilst COVID infection numbers are still high. Many are still observing social distancing and require face masks to be worn. Others are restricting numbers that attend, or limiting the number in the ringing chamber at a time. There are also towers with insufficient number of ringers.

I recommend that if you intend to visit any tower as a visitor, you contact that Tower Secretary in the first instance to check if ringing is taking place and if there are any restrictions in place. Do not assume all towers have restarted. I would hate anyone to have a wasted journey.

If any towers wish to let me know their situation, I can update the website. Please email me at wpbells@gmail.com.

Great to be back ringing again but stay safe!

Andrew Glover

W&P Guild Webmaster

W&P Tower Directory

Isle of Wight District half-yearly meeting – Saturday 24th July

Isle of Wight Half yearly meeting and Centenary Celebration

at Newchurch from 3 pm on Saturday 24th July

Please contact Mary Tester, District Secretary, to get all the paperwork for the meeting.

Hope to see lots of people.

There will be ringing from 3pm, all necessary precautions will be in place.

And a traditional tea with cake!

Guidance in England from 19th July

Ringing guidance for England for the period from 19th July onwards has been agreed with the House of Bishops Recovery Group today and can be found here. The lifting of any restrictions on how long we ring for and with how many other ringers is welcomed, although we need to be mindful that at a time of greatly increasing infection rates, and big regional variations, many ringers will still be cautious in terms of how much ringing they do. Some towers are actually discussing reducing the amount of ringing they do because of the rise in infection levels, not increasing it.

The Church of England’s own guidance has not been published yet, but should be later today. It includes a paragraph referring to the Central Council’s guidance.

Although the wearing of facemasks is no longer mandated in places of worship, and will not appear in the Church of England guidance, we have included a number of situations where due to the particular nature of ringing we would expect masks to be worn, including close face to face teaching, and ringing with unvaccinated children. Some clergy may retain a policy of facemasks in their church or cathedral, and if they do then their wishes take precedence.

The Government now wants us to take responsibility for our own actions. If you don’t think you should ring for as long as you are allowed to – don’t. If you want to wear a facemask when ringing – wear one. If a member of your band wants you all to wear facemasks to protect them – discuss it as a band and come to an agreement. Bellringing is a group activity and we are responsible for each other not just ourselves. The virus has not gone away by any means – we are learning to live with it.

This seems like an ideal time to thank the rest of the Covid guidance team – Phil Barnes, Mark Regan and David Pouncey – who have helped navigate this difficult process over the last 16 months, and the large number of ringers who have given their quiet support behind the scenes. As a team we would like to thank Mark Betson and Brendan McCarthy, the members of the House of Bishops Recovery Group, who have had an extraordinary burden put on them.

Simon Linford
President CCCBR

President’s Blog #38

When my parents chose the name Simon it was because it was unusual. Lots of other parents around the time thought the same and there was a bulge in Simon production, with three in my class at Junior school. But we are now a long way past Peak Simon, and the name languishes outside the top 100, replaced with the likes of Maverick (a famous Tomcat pilot at 73) and Leonardo (a famous turtle at 93). Bellringing Simons are a select yet strong group, with some perseverance enabling us to ring a quarter of Little Bob 14 in hand on Ringing Room. A last hurrah for the Simons on the platform? No – which shows how Ringing Room is going to continue to have a place in bringing groups of ringers together who might not otherwise meet easily and help develop progress in change ringing. As well as keeping many of us sane for the last year, Ringing Room and Ding’s ability to bring ringers together will be one of their legacies.

One of the joys of ringing is that so many resources are developed and provided by so many different people and without charge. Every so often something that is valued is at risk or possibly even lost. So we have a team led by the T&T workgroup looking to identify all the software programmes and assets that we as ringers care about and seeing what can be done about making sure they are as safe as they can be. What would you miss if it went down? I am not missing the Bellringers Facebook group, but would miss BellBoard, Ringing Room, and the Changeringing Wiki, which is the easiest place I can find my PPE articles. You can email the team at it4ringers@cccbr.org.uk and watch out for their forthcoming survey.

Ringing for the birthday of the NHS was well supported and covered by the media – quite a few towers managed to get TV coverage. We had been a bit sceptical when Bruno Peek had first mentioned this about nine months ago. The practicalities of ringing 73 times were mere detail when we didn’t really know what sort of ringing would be possible. Thanks to all who took part and registered their events. It’s supposed to be annual now, but I bet this is something that will wear out.

Unlike the Fourth of July, which will no doubt last forever! Washington ringers celebrated Independence Day with a full peal at the Cathedral – the first ten bell peal outside Australia since March 2020. Five years to the big 250 – the US Semiquincentennial Commission has already started a countdown https://america250.org/

Sadly, questions on whether it was appropriate to dedicate ringing performances to England’s win over Italy in the Euros became academic late on Sunday night.

Meanwhile quite a few peal bands are lining themselves up to ring peals on 19 July, on the reasonable expectation that restrictions are going to get relaxed. When I received an invitation for a 9am start for a peal of Bristol Maximus I assumed it was a joke! But no – some people really are that keen, and will be reminding local populations that have missed their bells quite how long they sometimes get rung for.

Personally, I am going to stick to handbell peals for a while. Making a late entry into the world of handbell ringing has made me realise how much more difficult it is to learn when you are older. For all those who have learned young and found making progress in ringing easy, discovering that learning can be quite hard when you’re just the wrong side of 50 is a good lesson.

I still haven’t finished the Cornwall edition of the Ringing World, despite it being kept handily in one of our rooms of quiet contemplation. Presumably we are now working on County issues and will be working north? I hope Rutland is going to manage a complete issue. I was fascinated by the article in the Cornwall edition about Rounds ringing. I was aware it was ‘a thing’ but not exactly what people do, or that there was a complete society dedicated to it.

I also liked the alternative vocabulary. I would be interested to know of regional variations in other distant outposts of the Exercise. When I learned to ring at Cannock the signal to start ringing down was “Look to the fall”. Who else says that? I only realised that wasn’t universal when I said it in Essex and no one knew what I was talking about.

Picking up on a thread from Ringing Chat (sent to me by my in-house social media monitoring team) there is a lot of discussion about how churches might be used more. In my business life I am close to this subject as I am working with the Church of England on the development potential of church buildings. Churches are often simply too big, and using the space better, or using less of it, is high on the agenda (see what the CCT did at All Souls Bolton – perhaps the best example of creative reuse). If a building can still maintain some worship space but with the rest put to good use this would be a welcome outcome. Bells are now seen as part of the solution. If we can attract visitors and use for buildings that is welcomed.

Once a year the Council has a meeting with Historic England and the Church Buildings Council to catch on various matters churches and bells. The relationship with them is as strong as ever but it was still useful last week to discuss such matters as church closures, historic bell frames, progress on the Dove database project, the Clerical Guild’s proposed ‘Theology of Ringing’, and how ringing is part of the fabric of the church.

Diana Evans of Historic England followed up with “How positive the CCCBR’s approach is. The amount of energy you are all putting into recovery from the pandemic is amazing. Bell ringing is an important part of the life of many historic places of worship and Historic England is keen to encourage the continuation of this tradition.”

Simon Linford
President CCCBR

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

Petersfield rings for 73rd Anniversary of NHS

St Peter’s Church Bell Ringers Petersfield rang call changes  on the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the NHS in thanksgiving and to celebrate NHS, Social Care and Frontline Workers Day, thanking them together with Key Workers for everything they have done during the pandemic. 

Also marking, Her Majesty, the Queen, awarding the George Cross to the NHS in recognition of this past year.  As well as remembering all those who have lost their lives to the Covid disease.

Left to Right:  Simon Poyser, Sue Walker, Madeline King, Christine Rushton, Mary Broadbridge (Tower Captain) and John Leary who called the changes. 

Continuation of Step 3 Covid guidance – England

Following discussion with the House of Bishops Recovery Group, there is not going to be any change to the published guidance for England for the four week extension to Step 3 conditions. They were of the opinion that given the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant, any relaxation would be foolish and contrary to all messages being given by the Government and its scientific advisers. We only face a four week extension, and the majority of bands have shown that it is possible to get service and practice ringing going again under the current constraints, and even ring quarter peals.

Risks are not the same for all bands or all ringing environments. Although those who have had two vaccinations may feel that the risk to them is very low, which of course it is, to give guidance that is different for one set of ringers as opposed to another would go against the inclusiveness of ringing.

There are two elements of the mitigation of virus spread that are not guidance but are mandatory – the Rule of Six indoors and the requirement to wear face coverings in a Place of Worship. Those two elements are not open to interpretation. All the rest is guidance, and guidance is there to enable individuals and bands to make informed decisions as to what is right for them.

An update to the one page summary guidance can be found here. The only changes to this from version 1.02 is that the word ‘around’ has been added before ’45 minutes’ to emphasise that this has a bit of flexibility based on your tower’s characteristics and ventilation (see the footnote). Also a bit of clarification on the ‘or two households’ alternative to the Rule of Six. Two households means for instance a household of four and a household of three could meet together, but not five unconnected ringers plus a household of another two. It’s probably quite unlikely in ringing context.

Finally, when we draw comparison between what we can do in church towers with what we might be able to do in our own homes, in the pub, or in crowded sports stadia, remember that we are not ringing in those environments but in churches. We need to respect the right of the Church to want to protect its volunteers. If, on the other hand, you have someone wanting to impose greater restriction than current guidance suggests, we will be happy to support you in your attempts to open up your ringing, within the current guidance and what your band is comfortable to do.

Simon Linford
President, CCCBR

Article copied from https://cccbr.org.uk/2021/06/17/continuation-of-step-3-covid-guidance-england/

200 Club Draw – June 2021


The latest draw for the W&P 200 Club, raising money for the Training and Development Fund, was scheduled to take place after the Guild AGM on Saturday 12th June. However, as the continuing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic forced the AGM to be held on-line the draw was instead held at the Curdridge practice (4 bells only!) on Monday 7th June. The next draw is intended to be held at the November Executive Committee meeting, so to even up the prize money between draws the money used was that allocated for April to July income. The results were as follows:

Draw date: 07/06/2021

Draw for April to July money

PrizePrize Accumulation£50.00Winning
Numbers
Winners
First50%£25.0032Piers Armstrong 1
Second20%£10.005Christine Knights-Whittome
Third10%£5.0031Wendy Ling
Fourth10%£5.0015Viv Nobbs
Fifth5%£2.508Mike Winterbourne
Sixth5%£2.5014Rosalind Brandwood

Money to Training & Development Fund from this draw is £54.

Prizes for this draw, and those not yet sent out from the March draw, will be distributed in due course – hopefully in person soon!

Robin Milford

Sopley Tower re-opens for practice evenings

Sopley tower re-open practice evenings!

Tower Captain, David Lay, with gladness, has informed us that their Tuesday evening ringing practices, are resuming from Tuesday 15th June 2021 from 8:00pm until 9:00pm; followed afterwards, by the usual visit to The Woolpack.

Please support your district’s local tower practices.

Contact: David Lay

Guild Newsletter – June 2021

Inside this issue:

Following the routemap out of lockdown, since 17th May some towers have already started to ring for Sunday services, weddings and practices, subject to the ‘rule of six’. Guidance for the period from 17 May to 21 June, agreed with the House of Bishops Recovery Group includes:

· Face coverings, hand sanitising between ringing,  and 1m space between ringers when ringing

· Lateral Flow Tests – for those who have not been vaccinated

· Restrict ringing time to 45 minutes whilst maintaining good tower ventilation.

Please do read the two guidance documents as there is much more detail in them.

Guidance 17 May to 21 June

Is it appropriate for an individual to ring?

We will circulate the Guidance for the period after 21 June (or whatever the date is), once it has been published.

Guild AGM – Saturday 12th June at 10.15am

The Guild AGM 2021 will be held on Saturday 12th June at 10.15 a.m. Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic the AGM will be held online using the Zoom Pro platform. You need to register in advance using the following link:

AGM Registration Link

When you click on the link you will be presented with a form to fill in (fields marked with a red asterisk are mandatory).

If there will be more than one person attending via a single connection, please provide the names of the additional attendees in the field provided. Please do not fill in separate registrations for each person.

Once submitted, your registration will be automatically approved, and you will receive an email containing a personalised link to join the meeting. Please keep this email somewhere you can find it on the day and do not delete it as you will not be able to join the meeting without it.

Also do not forward it to another member as the link will only work for one person.

The full agenda, minutes of the last meeting, and officer and committee reports for 2020 . are available to Download as a pdf here

For a Web version Download as HTML here for those who prefer to view this information online. Both versions will be kept up-to-date. with any additional agenda items or supporting papers.

If anyone has apologies for absence, items of Any other business, or comments or questions on any Agenda item, please send them to me in advance so that the meeting can run as smoothly as possible.

Many thanks and best wishes,

Tony Smith, Guild Minute Secretary

Master’s message

This has been a strange time for the ringers of the Guild. Some are relatively new to ringing and the pandemic has put on hold, temporarily we hope, the new and exciting hobby that was giving them enjoyment, gentle exercise and the ability to meet up with, and enjoy the company of, other ringers, not only in our area but potentially across the world.

To the more established ringers it came as a bit of a shock to the system, having lived and breathed ringing for many years, an enforced rest left a big hole in many people’s lives. Through fast developed ringing platforms on the internet, social media and video conferencing, many bands have continued to meet regularly in some form or another for a virtual pub night or regular quiz.

As we now start to come out of lockdown and are venturing back into our towers I have heard many comments and read numerous posts on Facebook about ringers excitement and enjoyment of being on the end of a bell rope for the first time in many months.

The next steps are still a little doubtful with the Indian strain of the virus taking hold but whatever happens please take care, follow the rules and most importantly ENJOY YOUR RINGING.

Pete Jordan, Guild Master

Ringing schools proposal at AGM

The Ringing Schools Committee was originally established with the aim of considering how the Guild might adopt teaching centres in the Guild area modelled on the Birmingham School of Ringing.

As part of the plans for post-pandemic ringing recovery, a number of teaching hubs are being established, largely superseding the original intention.

It therefore now seems more appropriate to provide support to these new teaching hubs through sharing of best practice, and for the Guild to maintain a list of such hubs and the facilities that each of them offers. The committee would also have the information available to act as an initial point of contact for any new ringers who approach the Guild instead of their local tower.

Andy Ingram proposes and Sallie-Louise Ingram seconds on behalf of the Ringing Schools Committee that the Committee’s name and terms of reference be revised.

 Specifically that the following rules be amended:

9.b.v. APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEES 

Delete:

Ringing Schools 

Add:

Teaching Hubs.

10.e. TERMS OF REFERENCE OF COMMITTEES 

Delete: Existing wording:

Ringing Schools Committee. To teach members bell-handling to a good and safe standard. 

Add: Proposed wording:

Teaching Hubs Committee. To provide advice on setting up teaching hubs, to maintain a record of those teaching hubs established in the Guild area, together with a record of the facilities offered and teachers active within those hubs, to provide an initial point of contact for potential new ringers who wish to learn to ring, and to provide a forum for sharing of experiences and best practice between teaching hubs.

Ringing recovery

Over the last year, a lot of work has been going on behind the scenes to prepare for the recovery of ringing after the pandemic.

Details of what is planned in each District are given later in this newsletter. At national level there are a number of initiatives

Recovery champions

The Central Council is establishing a network of Recovery Champions to meet together on Zoom and share ideas and experiences, and disseminate them in their local area.

Initially Guilds and Associations were invited to nominate Champions in their areas, although anyone can become a Recovery Champion. There is always room for more and if you would like to become one, send an e-mail to Annie Hall (Secretary of the Coventry DG) annie.hall@sky.com

Survival and recovery toolbox

The Central Council have also signed a formal partnership agreement with the Association of Ringing Teachers and the two organisations have worked closely together to develop a toolbox, initially for the survival stage, but we are now heading towards the recovery stage.

The toolbox contains a large range of material, from many contributors to help address the issue which Champions have identified:

· Up to 15% of ringers are expected not to return

· Impact is patchy with some towers expecting no problems and others expecting to lose 3 or more ringers which will have a serious impact on the viability of the band

· Ringers are concerned about their mental and physical fitness to ring.

· There is widespread concern about the impact of changes by the Church to the long term future of ringing

Recovery convention

Between 8th and 15th May a series of online presentations took place to illustrate examples of good practice. These presentations were aimed at anyone wanting to make the ringing recovery a success. 

These presentations are now available for download at:

Recovery Convention Presentations

They include:

· Building better relationships with your church.

· Q&A Evening hosted by Dr Andrew Kelso.

· How to re-establish ringing in your village.

· Getting bells and towers in order.

· Managing learners expectations.

· Attracting and keeping ringers.

· Holding a successful practice.

· Developing a ringing cluster.

· Ringing schools – town and country.

Generation Next

The Big Ideas company who organised the successful Ringing Remembers campaign are planning a project to recruit 2,022 new young ringers in 2022. In a Guild the size of W&P this means about 80 new young ringers.

Allowing for the fact that we will not retain them all, we probably need to recruit 150 or more. That’s over 20 in each District. Therefore the Company are thinking about channelling possible recruits into local hubs where kids can learn to ring together. Lots of towers say they need more youngsters but have you thought what you would do if half a dozen turned up and wanted to learn at the same time?

The Central Council have also been working in partnership with the Association of Ringing Teachers (ART), the Handbell Ringers of Great Britain (HRGB) and the Loughborough Foundry Trust. They are well advanced in submitting an application to follow up Generation Next over the subsequent four years, using work experience students to take mini-rings and handbells into schools to teach music and deliver bell themed activities days and summer holiday camps for young people.

Safeguarding

In 2016 the House of Bishops adopted a nationwide safeguarding policy. This requires that tower captains and those who teach young people have DBS checks, and complete level C0, C1 and C2 safeguarding training.

There is also a requirement under the Guild Safeguarding Policy for the Guild to identify those Guild and District activities where DBS and safeguarding raining is required and to keep a register of registered persons. In compiling this register a request may be made to the individual for sight of their DBS certificate and certificates of Awareness Training.

Level C0 safeguarding training is recommended for all ringers. This training is renewable every three years.

If you don’t have any young ringers in your band, this may not matter, but with a nationwide recruitment campaign targeting young people planned for 2022, you ought to be prepared.

Your PCC safeguarding officer can arrange a free DBS check for you. Level C0 and C1 training is freely available through the Church of England safeguarding training portal. The resources and training will equip you and your church to engage positively with the protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults who ring at your tower.

Level C0 and C1 on-line safeguarding training:

Level C2 training requires physical attendance at a half day course, arranged by the Diocese.

Because of Covid these are not currently taking place, although the Guild is considering arranging one or more L2 courses, specifically for Tower Captains and others who teach young people (the Diocesan courses are targeted at all church workers).

These courses may also include some specific material to help with the Generation Next project.

William and Ellen learn to ring at Hawkley and Selbourne

Our son William had learned to ring on his holidays visits back from Switzerland however his sister Ellen had only had a go on backstroke a couple of times.

In Holy Week of 2019 we ran three 2 hour tied bell sessions for the district to improve on point of balance bell control and it was at this time that we taught Ellen to ring a bell.

With follow up sessions she soon became more confident along with William. They were getting to the stage where they could ring some easy call changes and getting their ringing up and down more polished and then lockdown held everything up.

The children really wanted to get on with ringing and when the first restrictions were lifted we were able as a family unit to take them back to Hawkley for more tied bell sessions and socially distanced ringing for Sunday’s until once again restrictions put a stop to it.

As a family bubble we were able to ring at Christmas at Hawkley and Selborne and have since rung for service at Selborne and the odd time at Hawkley.

Now that things are easing again we have a couple of weddings which the children will be taking part in, their ringing has now improved to a good level of striking!

They are looking forward to getting back to Ringing properly and they enjoyed a family bubble ring at Hawkley, 4 bells half muffled for Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

We hope that in time we will be in a position to get our younger Alton & Petersfield District members together for a local outing around the district so that they can bond together as a budding young Ringing team and hopefully introduce some friends to the exercise. So we are looking forward to being able to get back! 4

This video is of us ringing 5 bells for the Sunday service at Hawkley.

Rachael and Roger Barber

Elizabeth College wins Sarah Beacham Youth Award

Elizabeth College, Guernsey

Elizabeth College in the Channel Islands District  is a secondary school and sixth form college, which runs three youth bell ringing practices a week (tower bells, mini-ring and handbells). These sessions are also open to youths from other schools as well as providing a 10-week introduction to ringing course.

A weekly, after-school tower bell practice has been taking place for the past eight years but only in the last fifteen months has the school installed a mini-ring and started an enrichment program within Years 7/8 (ages11-13) curriculum, of which bell ringing is a popular activity.

One member of staff and two volunteers from the nearby tower lead the practice sessions and 10 week course. Three students have received training from local ART Members so that they can help teach handling as well.

Tower bells, mini-ring and handbells are all rung weekly during term time (Tuesday after-school, Wednesday lunchtime and Thursday lunchtime respectively). The 10-week courses run on Friday afternoons during term time and cater for three groups of 7-10 youths throughout the academic year.

Although the Tuesday after-school practice is an Elizabeth College after-school club, it is also open to any island youths and we currently have three students from other schools who regularly attend.

The nearby tower, Town Church (whose bells we use on Tuesday afternoons), have recently launched bell ringing scholarships and, out of five current scholars, four have learnt to ring through Elizabeth College activities.

The Town Church band have frequently commented on how fortunate they are to have expanded in both numbers and ability, from a band that could struggle to ring Plain Bob Triples if some ringers were off-island to it now being a rare week that Cambridge Surprise Major is not rung.

This surge in progress is mainly due to the number of youths that now attend and their ability to learn methods quickly and to ring them well. There have not been many quarter peals rung at the tower for over a year, that have not relied on at least one youth to make up numbers and they are quickly overtaking the adults in the band in ability, leaping through methods onto surprise major.

A third of the Town Church band are either youths from Elizabeth College or learnt to ring through the College and have now left the school but are still ringing at Town Church.

Ways of recruiting young people

There has always been difficulty in recruiting new ringers as the bells are away from the school and so students need to be convinced to attend an after-school session in an unfamiliar building with no idea if they will enjoy ringing or not. Elizabeth College have addressed this in three ways over the past year and a half.

The Maths and Music Departments designed a cross-curricular day for Year 9, which looked at various aspects of maths and music, using bell ringing as an illustration. The students all started the day together and did clapping rhythms at offset beats to show how music can be made with patterns and rules rather than melodies and tunes. Then they split into groups and rotated between three more ringing themed activities.

Not only does the day give every child in the year group a go on the ropes, in the hope that some may enjoy it and be inspired to join the bell ringing club, but it also showcases the complex mathematical side of ringing, to which some will be attracted.

The second recruitment mechanism has been the design and construction of a mini-ring in one of the larger maths classrooms. This works extremely well and is rung weekly, with some students learning rounds and covering whilst others learn Plain Bob and even Stedman.

Finally, the school has started a Friday afternoon activities session for Years 7 and 8 where they have the last two periods on a Friday to do something different to broaden their horizons. They select three activities and have a 10 week course in one before moving on to the next two. Bell ringing has become a popular choice with 27 signing up last academic year and 23 this year.

This course has been fantastic for recruitment and has given us four new ringers so far who are all very keen. One in particular has zoomed through Learning the Ropes Level 2 to be close to passing their LtR Level 5 in just one term by attending both tower bell and mini-ring practices each week and spending almost every morning before school and break time on the simulator.

The mini-ring in its original and new form has been used in three open evenings for prospective students and their parents. Its light weight bells and wheels are ideal for 9/10 year olds to have a safe go, with many getting the hang in mere seconds!

In the future, we would like to train up the existing youth ringers to a high standard so that new ringers will have a strong band around them to make rapid progress; this helps to keep them interested and keep the momentum of the group going. To develop the bob-calling and conducting skills of the group further.

We anticipate that Elizabeth College’s pipeline of young ringers will continue to feed into local and UK bands for many years to come.

Duncan Loweth

PS: We are sorry that the Channel Islands District is leaving the Guild, but what has been done here are a whole range of ideas which can equally be carried out with schools here on the mainland.

Donny Brock wins Achievement Award

Donald Brock a young probationary member of the Channel Islands District of the Guild won the 2020 Learning the Ropes Achievement Award.

This year, because of Covid the ringing achievement award was open to nominations for both those who attained Learning the Ropes Level 5 on tower bells and all those achieving LtR Level 3 on handbells by 31 December 2020.

The judges considered each individual’s ringing development in terms of quality, quantity and complexity, the timescale over which the progress has been made and the support available.

Donny a pupil at Elizabeth College started to ring in November 2018, taught by Duncan Loweth. By December 2020 Donny had passed Level 5, being able to ring Grandsire and Plain Bob Doubles and Plain Bob Minor to quarter peal standard.

Donny rang his first quarter peal in June 2019, eight months after beginning to learn and up to 3rd May 2021 has rung 27 quarter peals, all but two being at the Town Church, plus one on Ringing Room and another which was the first on the Mini Ring at Elizabeth College

To date Donny has conducted three of these quarter peals, the first being 1260 Plain Bob Doubles at St Peter (Town Church) Guernsey on  12th November 2020, two years after starting to learn to ring.

The first quarter band

The ART Awards

The ART Awards are open to all ringers to apply, and free to enter. Everyone is welcome to attend the awards ceremony. A substantial prize fund has been built up thorough sponsorship and donations. The prize money is distributed between the winners and runners up as the judges see fit.

Prizes may be spent in a flexible manner, to be agreed with the winners, so that value is added to the group and activities undertaken by the winners. Besides the prize money, the awards showcase innovative ideas and success, which other ringers can copy and use in their own local towers with pride. Details of current and past winners are published on the Awards website.

Applications for the next Awards close on 31st December and although the 2021 Awards may be slightly different, the 2020 Awards give an indication of the likely categories and prizes.

Do have a look though the previous winners and categories. There may be an idea which you can put into action and apply for an award, if not this year, in a future one.

The Sarah Beacham Youth Award Prize of £800 sponsored by the Sarah Beacham Memorial Trust

The ART Award in the Development of Technology in Teaching: Prize of £1000 – sponsored by John Taylor & Co. and the CCCBR

The ART Award for Excellence in Recruitment or Retention: Prize of £400 – sponsored by Abel Simulator

The ART Award for Inspiring Leadership in Ringing: Prize of £500 – sponsored by Talent Innovations

Learning the Ropes Achievement Award: Prize of £250 – sponsored by The Ancient Society of College Youths.

Learning the Ropes Contribution Award: Prize of £250 sponsored by The Ancient Society of College Youths

For further details of previous award winners visit the Awards website:

Association of Ringing Teachers :: ART Awards

Insurance matters

The Guild has recently renewed its insurance policies, however insurance is often misunderstood, so this article is intended to help members.

Risk and ‘duty of care

Everything in life, even crossing a road, involves a degree of risk. Various people and organisations also have a ‘duty of care’ to others who may be affected by their actions. For example, if you are travelling in your car to a practice and hit by another car, you will exchange insurance details with the other driver and claim against them,  as they have a duty of care not to hit you.

If you are walking along the pubic footpath on your way to the tower and trip on a pothole, you can claim against the Local Authority who have a duty of care to maintain public footpaths in a safe and serviceable condition. However if you trip over your own shoelaces, you will be responsible for your own actions.

Similarly, if you fall down the tower steps because they are worn, and there is nothing to grab on to, then the PCC will be liable. However if they are in good condition and there is a handrail or rope, then it is an accident and you will have no claim against the PCC.

In the tower, a visitor who has never rung before and is invited to take hold by an inexperienced ringer who does not properly explain what to do, and consequently results in a broken stay and injury will have a claim against that ringer.

Risk assessment

It is therefore very important that your tower captain undertakes a risk assessment in your tower to understand all the risks. Risks can be categorised in terms of the frequency that they might happen, say on a scale of 1 to 5, and the severity of harm, also on a scale of say 1 to 5. Multiplying the two together produces a ‘risk score’ on a scale of say 1 to 25

Those responsible for undertaking the risk assessment should then consider how to do things differently in order to eliminate all the high risk items, and actions to reduce the likelihood and harm from the medium risk items. These actions should then be communicated to the other members of the band.

Different types of Insurance

Employers Liability Insurance: Although acting as volunteers, bellringers are considered as ‘Employees’ under most church insurance policies, for any claims that accrue from the PCC’s duty of care. There is also a legal duty for all employers to display a certificate of Employers Liability Insurance in all workplaces. So, you should see a copy on your church noticeboard. This insurance may also apply if your band are on an officialtower outing.

Public Liability Insurance: Covers members of the public who visit your tower, and for which there is a duty of care. For example if there is a tower open day. Provided that you have followed the guidance and can demonstrate that you have taken reasonable care, if an accident does happen you and your PCC will be protected.

If you are teaching new ringers you will also need to demonstrate that you have taken reasonable precautions. This includes carefully explaining to any new ringer what they need to do – e.g. to keep their feet on the floor and not to walk through the rope circle whilst others are ringing.

Personal Accident Insurance: There will be instances where others do not owe you a duty of care, and you should therefore consider having personal accident insurance. However this may depend on your attitude to risk. For example if you are attending practices and Sunday ringing once a week in your own tower, you may not consider this essential. However if you are acting as steeplekeeper the risks are greater. Whilst there will be cover under your PCC’s Employers Liability Insurance, there may be circumstances where they are not liable.

How much insurance cover is needed?

This really depends on what happens if you are involved in an accident. If you are severely injured and unable to work again, and have a young family and a mortgage to pay off, the costs of providing for your family will be expensive. You may also need your house adapted, perhaps even pay for a live in career. For these reasons Employers Liability and Public Liability polices are set at £5m or even £10m cover.

However for instances not covered by Employers or Public Liability, the level of cover is really something that you need to consider in conjunction with your own financial circumstances

Personal accident cover can be expensive. In order to keep the cost down,  if you are under 16, or if you are over 70, the benefits are often substantially less

Often insurance policies cover various additional risks and benefits. Sometimes you can obtain a limited amount of accident insurance and death benefit through other policies.

However, please remember that you can only claim through one incident through one policy. It therefore pays to shop around and consider the small print carefully.

Please also check that your church is adequately insured. At Ropley after a major fire in 2014 the parish found that the actual costs of rebuilding were substantially more than their insurance cover.

Also, if you have a set of handbells in your tower, make sure that the replacement cost is adequate. A typical set of 12 new  handbells size 15 in C currently costs about £4,900 to replace. Given their value, you should also make sure that your handbells are kept secure, so that your insurance is not invalidated.

Checking your insurance can also have unexpected benefits. The PCC at Owslebury recently found that the £15,000 cost of welding their cracked tenor bell and rehanging it, which was caused by a clock hammer,  was refunded by their insurers, less a £500 excess!

Guild insurance cover

The Guild has recently renewed its insurance polices and  saved over £1,100 by moving from AXA to Ecclesiastical Insurance, who insure over 90% of Church of England churches and the majority of Guilds and Associations. This is money which can new be used for bell restoration, or other worthwhile projects in the Guild.

Another bnefit is that our  new policy provides improved cover. The limit of indemnity provided for Employers Liability is £10m and Public Liability is £5m. Previously we only had cover under Public Liability.

Employers Liability

Will indemnify the Guild against legal liability to pay damages and legal costs in respect of bodily injury to an employed person caused during the period of insurance. To clarify, the term employed person does not just refer to employees but also to any authorised volunteers, such as members of the Belfry Stewardship Committee undertaking official inspections. 

As such, if any members were to be injured as a result of a negligence on the part of the Guild, the policy would look to respond to any claims made.

Public liability

There are a number of ways in which this cover operates.
Firstly, Public Liability provides cover to third party property. For example, if loss or damage was caused in some way to a the bells or church building as a result of negligence on behalf of the Guild.

This cover also provides indemnity to anyone attending official demonstrations or training sessions organised by the Guild or its Districts.

Again provided that any injury or damage caused was due to negligence of the Guild, such as an incorrect instruction, then the policy would look to respond in the event of a claim.

If however someone, either an Guild member or member of the public is injured during an event but this is caused due to the building being unsafe, such as someone slipping on paving stones outside of the church due to the churches failure to clear the path adequately, then it is likely the insurance cover provided by the owners of the building would respond in such circumstances.

Similary this cover does not apply to Guild members undertaking activities in their own towers, for which their local PCC is responsible.

Ecclesiastical also confirm that all ages are covered (not only over 16 years).

As with most things if there was a claim then any insurer would want to see evidence of risk assessments, safeguarding polices, etc. The same for any other type of claim.

Personal accident

Covers all members 16-80 years of age whilst participating in Guild activities.

· Death £2,500

· Loss of one or more limbs or eyes, or hearing £2,500

· Permanent total disablement £2,500

· Temporary total disablement £100 per week

· Temporary partial disablement £40 per week

To make a claim, or for further details, please refer to the Guild Treasurer.

Communications review

Over the last two years a series of meetings have taken place with Guild officers to develop a system where the Guild can communicate direct with members.

The Guild now has a GDPR compliant database and for the last year members have been encouraged to sign up. Using this database we are now able to issue regular newsletters to Guild members. District Secretaries can also use the database to communicate with the members in their own District.

More recently we have been looking at the Guild website as this has become cluttered and difficult to manage.

Following to meetings with Guild Officers, we have produced a discussion paper to look how we could improve communications at both Guild and District level.

This discussion paper has already been circulated to District Officers for comment, and is now available to download from the Guild website.

Some of the items that we would appreciate feedback on are:

· GDPR Compliance: The Guild adopted a Privacy Policy in November 2019. However, we have continued to publish some members personal data in the annual report and sent them newsletters without their consent. Should we now cease to do this? It currently affects 59 tower correspondents.

· Website: Does the site need to be redesigned? If so what should it contain?

If we are to redesign the website, is there a Guild member or another ringer with the necessary expertise who is willing to do.

Use of social media

Many of us enjoy using social media and email to share news, stories and useful information, particularly during the pandemic whilst contact with others has been restricted. In the same way the Guild social media and email accounts have been used to share our news, photographs and the odd joke to keep us all in touch, smiling and to break the monotony.

However, occasionally, posts on the Guilds social media feeds or email groups have taken on subjects that some followers have found rather uncomfortable, with criticism aimed at fellow members. In today’s society, this type of interaction is viewed as unacceptable, and depending on content, can be defined as trolling, bullying or harassment. The Guild does not wish to prevent freedom of speech: social media is ideal for sharing news and legitimate comment, but direct attacks are not acceptable. 

Please be considerate when using any of the Guilds Facebook, Twitter, email forums or any other Guild social media accounts.

Attached is the CCCBR guidance which can also be found at: Social Media Guidance

Thank you for your cooperation.

Pete Jordan, Guild Master

Interest groups – The next stage in the comms. database

Almost 40% of the Guild membership have now signed up to the membership and communications database.

So far we have sent out a number of messages to everyone in the Guild and are also encouraging Districts to use the database to send out messages direct

to their members.

However, we are also aware that not everyone wants to receive a steady stream of messages, some of which are not relevant to them.

Therefore we are implementing the next stage of rolling out the communications database.

The intention is that all members will only receive either three of four newsletters from the Guild each year.

However, in addition members have the option to sign up to receive additional communications from the Guild and its committees or your District Secretary, specific to your interests. For example you might be interested in either receiving reminders of surprise practices, or courses aimed at teaching you to ring bob Doubles, but not both.

The interest groups that we have set up are:

· Learning to handle – for new ringers and anyone who would like to improve their handling  skills

· Foundation skills: practices and courses aimed at rounds, call-changes and kaleidoscope ringing

· Learning to plain hunt

· Learning a method inside (Plain Bob or Grandsire)

· Beyond Plain Bob & Grandsire

· Surprise Minor practices and courses

· Surprise Major practices and courses

· Simple conducting (calling bobs in Plain Bob or Grandsire)

· Steeple keeping & tower maintenance

· Learning to teach bell handling and simple method ringing

· Change ringing on handbells

· Tune ringing on handbells

· Outings and ‘tower grabs’

· Young ringers groups (under 18’s only)

· Weekday ringing group – for those who would like to ring and socialise midweek

· Wedding ringing – to help find addition ringers willing to help

· Virtual Ringing (e.g. Ringing Room)

· Social events

· History of bells and ringing

· None of the above

You can also opt to receive communications addressed to these interest groups in neighbouring Districts, other than your own.

Have you provided GDPR consent?

Please do pass on a copy of this newsletter to your fiends, and encourage them to subscribe if they have not done so.

District Secretaries have access to the database, so know who has subscribed, and you can check with them if you are not sure.

If you are one of those who have not yet subscribed and this newsletter has been forwarded on to you, please subscribe to the database by visiting the following link: 

Subscribe to Guild Membership and Comms Database

Heritage Open Days – Hampshire HistBites

Phil Watts, one of our two Diocesan Bells Advisers has been interviewed by Cathy Booth on the history of bells in Hampshire for a podcast to be published on Hampshire HistBites on 30th June.

The podcast channel was established in 2020, supported by the Hampshire History Trust

In 2019, when all the events were in person the Winchester Heritage Open Days Festival had over 22,000 visits with 62% of attendees specifically visiting Winchester because of the festival.

The Winchester District of the Guild is therefore planning to open up towers across the District as part of the 2021 festival, which runs from Friday 10th to Sunday 19th September. 2021

Subject to Covid restrictions, on Saturday 18th September this includes a series of towers along the Test Valley. We do hope that ringers from across the Guild will come and perhaps grab a new tower as well as helping to raise awareness of ringing in these local communities.

There will also be a second podcast, timed to coincide with the beginning of the festival, talking about the history of bell ringing and explaining to non-ringers what to look for if they come along to one of the tower open-days.

Guild Training & Development Fund

As the current pandemic subsides our thoughts areturning to recruiting and retaining new ringers.

In a normal year the Guild loses about 8% of our members through natural wastage, and a higher percentage of learners.

Therefore in these exceptional circumstances we could lose 15 – 20% 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 or dumb-bell

Applications. To be forwarded to Helen Woolford the Honorary Treasurer in writing or e-mail

Decisions. An application for a grant from this fund will be considered by the Officials, and their decision relayed to the applicant in a timely manner.

To qualify for a grant, applicants must be paid-up members or probationary members of the Guild.

Grants towards the cost of residential training courses will normally be awarded up to a maximum rate of 50% of the course costs and not exceeding £100.

The cost of Association of Ringing Techers (ART) teacher training modules and workshops may be awarded in full.

Depending upon the funds available and the number of applications , awards may have to be scaled down accordingly.

Only one award will be made per individual in any one calendar year.

Applicants will be asked to provide evidence of expenses/course fees.

Click here to download the application form

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.

200 Club

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 £714 has been given out in prizes and £599.50 to the Fund. 

At present the Club has only 27 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 at the AGM in June Money received between now and the meeting will go into that draw.

More members mean bigger prizes and more money raised for the TDF!

Robin Milford

The Covid situation meant that the March 2021 numbers for the W&P 200 Club had to be drawn at home,  by Robin Milford of Curdridge and Wendy Smart of Botley.

They were announced at the on-line Executive Committee meeting on Saturday 20th March 2021.

We didn’t peek during the draw, honest! The results were as follows: Winners of the March Draw were:

1st      Robin Milford         £30.00

2nd     Ian M Redway         £12.00

3rd     Jan Allnutt               £6.00

4th     Wendy Ling             £6.00

5th     Graham Nobbs       £3.00

6th Wendy Smart £3.00

£49 will go to the Training and Development Fund from this draw.

Alton & Petersfield District

There have been a number of ‘zoom around the district calls with individual & groups of towers’ thank you for those who have attended, more calls to follow. We can speak directly with towers and understand their needs, challenges etc.

We’ve tried this approach instead of a questionnaire and hope that the comments and ideas gathered are going to benefit us all.

The A&P district exec team met on Saturday 12th May to get together for the first time physically since February 2020. Lots to go through including the second half of 2021, remembering David Hughes, returning to ringing, recruiting and a number of areas on people’s minds .

We have adjusted our schedules so most of our events are after 21st June.

For example: we are holding an ‘Art’ day, date to be confirmed shortly. This will be a morning of painting. There will be some tuition from a professional watercolour artist before we have a go ourselves. The paintings will be judged and the winner will be submitted to be printed on the front cover of the Ringing World.

Our district call-change competition and BBQ is planned for the 7th August at Blackmoor. Thanks to Val, Malcolm and the ringers for this, please put this date in your diary. Details to follow. 

A ‘Younger ringers session’ is also to be planned soon. We have 8/9 district ringers under 18 and we want to see numbers grow with ‘bring a friend and try’ pizzas (no beer’s yet) and some lively ringing. (Thanks go to Mary at Petersfield for this great suggestion) and Emma/Sam will hopefully be on this soon. 

We are keen to get back, it’s been a long time, thank you to all those who rang and tolled for the Duke of Edinburgh, it was really pleasing to see so many A&P district towers listed on the RW bellboard.

I would also draw Roger’s Barber’s communication (below) regarding the potential condition of our belfry’s and ringing chambers especially with heaters etc. (If your church offers ‘PAT’ testing it might be worth including these appliances for the next scheduled check) 

Simon Poyser, District Chair

Just a message of advice for you. I visited a church in the A&P District to check the bell installation to see that it was fit for a family bubble ring for a wedding that is coming up soon.

The tower has been invaded by Jackdaws and although the birds haven’t got through the recently fitted 3mm galvanised bird mesh they have managed to get through the old wire and have been building nests between the two lots of wire, consequently there is a lot of nesting materials mess and undesirables about the place which would have hindered the safe ringing of the bells.

The latter has now been rectified and the bird problem will be dealt with at our earliest convenience.

One other important issue to keep in mind is that electric fan heaters that have been left in the ringing rooms unused for all this time can gather lots of dust which can catch fire when the heater is switched on.

The said heater has now been taken out of use. Please don’t take the return to ringing lightly as it could have serious consequences.

Roger Barber, District Ringing Master

Basingstoke District

This past year has seen unimagined changes in our ringing lives, and with the slow relaxation of the COVID rules, we hope to help our towers move towards opening up and ringing again.

It is clear that there will be a loss of some ringers and, with a year of no recruitment, even if new ringers do come forward, there will be towers who will not have the resources to encourage these recruits or to teach them.  Additionally, there will be a range of ringers who, after such a long time, will need encouragement to resume ringing and a refresher course to give them confidence in the ringing room.

Communication is paramount and the District is making contact with all Tower Captains to establish the individual needs of each tower and offer help, if required.  The plan is to provide assistance with bell handling, method learning, encouraging towers to mix and share abilities so that no tower feels isolated or lets the bells fall silent due to lack of support. 

There are plans for a central ringing center with a simulator which will be open to all members who want to come along for some extra concentrated practice if there proves to be enough interest.  There will also be an emphasis on the importance of socializing – the best part of a practice session is the debrief in the pub afterwards!!

Nici Collins, District Secretary

Winchester District

The best laid plans, as the saying goes, ‘gang aft a-gley’. Plans for the District are no exception, as we see events, such as the Stockbridge Trout ‘n About crafts and food festival cancelled again.

Another door has opened, however, with the Heritage Open Days festival from 10th -19th September.  We hope to combine this with a bell ringing festival, opening up churches across the District on Saturday 18th September.

Of course the Covid situation may change, so everything has to be provisional, but we hope towers will seize the chance to open up to visitors and enjoy a little ringing themselves.  It’s a great chance to recruit some new ringers as well as promote bell ringing to the local communities.

Cathy Booth is interviewing experts on the history of bells and change ringing in Hampshire for the Open Day’s podcast, Hampshire HistBites, – and using this to encourage members of the public to come along.

Some towers have been able to return to ringing since 17th May. We have been getting positive responses from our local communities, who have welcomed the sound of bells returning to our villages. 

Finally, congratulations to Bruce Purvis and Steve Lamb, who were elected  District Chair and Joint District Ringing Master respectively at the AGM in February.

Steve will join Edmund Wratten in coordinating practices across the District for ringers of all levels, as normal service returns.

Micki Nadal, District Secretary

The great benefits of volunteering: A personal reflection

I love volunteering! Why? So many reasons and one is rather selfish, I get so much pleasure from working with others!

Splendid social gatherings and long-lasting friendships can spring up from working together towards a common goal and there is a joy to be had from seeing progress, even ‘though projects in the voluntary sector might sometimes take a little longer than we’d really like, perhaps because the relevant volunteer resource isn’t available at the right time. Patience can be needed.

Magnificent, occasionally surprising, results can be achieved by working in groups, large or small. Organisations and volunteers can benefit greatly.

An unexpected bonus for one volunteer, who had been made redundant a short while before, was being offered a full-time job with the professional contractor he had been volunteering alongside – wonderful!

For a good number of my 69 years, I’ve been involved with charities and voluntary groups of one kind or another. Some ‘hands on’ and others in basic fund-raising or helping to pull volunteer resources together, sometimes all at the same time!

One of my favourite projects was a family initiative, launched when my daughter, Irene, reached the age of 21. She’d received pioneering, life-saving heart surgery at Southampton in 1973 and we wanted to say ‘Thank You’ and to help fund research for other heart patients. It was a tremendous, exciting, interesting and fulfilling experience over many years, making new friends and meeting some wonderful folk. With terrific support we raised over £28,000 for the British Heart Foundation from a huge variety of events.

In ringing, my volunteering roles have been numerous and varied, as for so many other ringers. Perhaps we don’t realise we’re volunteering when we’re doing what we always have done for many years.

Commitment to Sunday service ringing and practice nights, especially if running a tower, being a Steeple Keeper or Tower Officer, is all part and parcel of giving of oneself for the benefit of others. Maybe we forget this when we’re having a good time and somewhen we might query it

light-heartedly? In Newport in the’80s, I recall pushing a wheel-barrow full of rubble (out of the nearby tower) up a plank and into a skip, yelling out to the other young ‘workmen’, enthusiastically busy with the augmentation work, “I don’t remember signing up for this when I joined the Guild in 1970!”

Fund-raising for the major restoration at Arreton took many forms – meetings with Rural Community Council, Biffaward folk, long sessions of form-filling over several years and, what a superb day out being part of a fund-raising team pushing a bell on a trolley from the church to Newport along the main road; it was a few miles and much drink and support were needed, all received in plenty, along with some donations, from locals and passing vehicle passengers! It was all worth it, the project was a great success and we continued to have a constant, superb ringing team effort at St. George’s for many years.

Another great event for me was the abseiling down the Spinnaker Tower at Portsmouth. It had started as a fun thing to do with a friend; she had to pull out so I made it a modest fund-raiser. Through the generosity of ringers, £200 was raised for the projects at Ropley and Ecchinswell.

Less-physical duties for me have been in Tower, District and Guild officer roles such as Tower Captain, various admin. roles – all were very enjoyable – and serving as Guild Master for three years.

The latter was an amazing experience and a great honour giving me the opportunity, alongside the splendid team of supporting Officers, to meet many members, listen to their views and requests and to use their feedback to help plan for the long-term and sustainable benefits for members, including supporting Districts to be more independent of central control.

I wholeheartedly recognise the hard work of all volunteers, especially those who make the delicious Ringers’ Teas, of course! ‘Thank You’ everyone!

Huge amounts of experience, expertise, energy and excitement are out there, for sure, and they are truly needed.

Please consider and don’t be shy or lacking in confidence in coming forward, as we can all offer our own personal, special skills.

I can thoroughly recommend volunteering to all!

Viv Nobbs

Note: These are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by the Guild

Bell restoration news

Belfry Stewardship Maintenance Inspections

With many towers likely to resume ringing after fifteen months of silence, there is a need to check that all is safe.

The Guild’s Belfry Stewardship Committee exists to give advice about bells and their fittings in any Guild tower; to inspect and report on all completed bell restoration works subject to grants from the Guild Bell Restoration Fund, and to continue the work of the Guild’s Bell Stock Survey.

To undertake an inspection, we require an official written invitation from the parish e.g. tower captain, incumbent, Churchwardens or PCC. For health and safety reasons we require another person to be present for the whole of the visit, whether from the parish or another BSC member. The visit is also undertaken on the understanding that it is being undertaken by invitation, the BSC member(s) undertaking the inspection are covered by the PCC’s Public Liability Insurance.

Our visits will be limited to a visual inspection to check the bells and fame from the perspective of an experienced steeple-keeper. not by a bell-hanging professional.

We are also happy to assist with the undertaking of risk assessments and to comment on proposals by bell-hangers for remedial works, prior to the submission of an application for a grant from the BRF.

To apply, contact me Martin Barnes

Professional Inspections

If a professional maintenance inspection is required, the Executive Committee have Guild Bell Restoration Fund will consider applications for up to 50% of the costs of such a visit. You may find that to be economical there may be neighbouring towers who   would also welcome a vist. Bell-hangers can usually inspect three or even four towers in the same are in the same day.

To apply, visit the Guild Website, download a BRF application form and submit this to the Guild Hon. General Secretary.

Restoration at Twyford

The £91,000 scheme to carry out a major overhaul of the frame and fittings, including recasting of three of the bells is being supported by a grant of £7,500 from the Guild’s Bell Restoration Fund. The work will be carried out by White’s of Appleton.

However, Jennie Richardson reports that, because of Covid-19, fund-raising has ground more or less to a halt, so the start date for the works is not yet certain.

Currently, because of the pandemic, most Sundays just one bell is chimed, although the band did manage to ring three bells in memory of William Davies, who was on horseback and lost in fog on the local downs until he heard the bells ringing.

His will of 1754 left money to the ringers to ring for 30 minutes on 7 October each year. 

Further details of how to donate are on the appeal website:

Twyford tower
Twyford bells

St Mary’s Brading – Bells Appeal

St Mary’s Church Brading on the Isle of Wight are currently raising funds to refurbish the current ring of eight bells and add two more bells, make and install a new bell frame with all the fittings and move the clock to a more suitable position.

With all the building works that this involves will cost around £120,000. We have already raised quite a lot but need some help on the last push to get the job done before the bells become unringable.

This project is being supported with a grant of £13,000 from the Guild Bell Restoration Fund.

The latest fund raising event, socially distanced cream tea has sold out—Well done!

Ss Peter & Paul, Hawkley

Subject to faculty, the ring of eight bells at Ss Peter and Paul Hawkley are to be re-hung on new fittings with the existing poor sounding 7th bell (1624 Brian Eidridge Chertsey) to be replaced with a bell kindly donated by the Keltek Trust (1870 James Barwell Birmingham).

The old 7th bell will be hung above the ringing peal and fitted with a trigger action hammer for chiming and also the clock hammer will be positioned to strike on this bell instead of the tenor.

The existing 4th bell (1865 John Warner and sons Cripplegate) is also to be replaced with a stock bell from M Higby and Company, (1870 Mears & Stainbank Whitechapel).

The two bells will be tuned to fit in nicely with the remaining 6 bells and be a vast improvement to the overall sound while retaining the two older bells 5th and 6th (1448 Roger Landon Wokingham).

There  will also be an improvement to the rope falls on some of the bells and also a new ceiling is to be installed in the ringing room. while this work is carried out the bellframe will be thoroughly cleaned and repainted.

It is hoped at the time of this work in late winter next year that we will be in a position to install a ringing simulator so that Hawkley can be used as a teaching centre for the district.

The church authorities are very much in favour of this and have recently had wifi installed in the church! 

Roger Barber

Hawkley

St Mary, Newton Valence

The ring of 5 bells at Newton Valence are to be rehung in a brand new fabricated steel frame on all new fittings. These bells have been in a bad state of repair for some time and were condemned by the bell engineers on their inspection.


Subject to faculty it is planned to retune the back 4 bells and replace the old treble (1560? William Knight Reading) and to augment the peal to a ring of 6.


Two bells have been donated by the Keltek trust to become the new treble of 6 and to replace the old treble. The old bell will be hung above the ringing peal and fitted with a trigger action hammer for chiming. It is hoped that the work might start in the late summer!

Roger Barber

Newton Valence

St Peter’s Ropley rises (literally) from the ashes

The burnt out shell of St Peter’s – Autumn 2014

It was eleven minutes past ten on the morning of Thursday, 19 June 2014 when history at St Peter’s stopped. This was the time shown on the dial of the tower clock when this grade II listed church was destroyed by a disastrous fire.

The cause of the fire is not known, nor will it ever be, due to the intensity of the flames.

The bells

There were originally four bells, details of which are unknown. These were recast into a ring of five by Samuel Knight of Reading in 1701. By the mid-1920s these bells were in a sorry state and had not been rung for some time. The third was found to be cracked.

Gillett and Johnson recast them into a ring of six. They were dedicated on Tuesday 31st May 1927 by the Bishop of Winchester and the Master of the Winchester Diocesan Guild collected a band together to ring them for the dedication service.

Gillett and Johnson’s invoice dated 3rd May 1927 was for a total of £580.0s.0d.

As a complete Gillett ring, when this foundry was perhaps producing its best work, the bells are regarded by many as one of the finest rings of six in Hampshire.  

Preparing to rebuild

The catastrophic fire left only the main walls standing. Therefore, it was necessary to make safe the remaining fabric and provide short-term weather-protection.

Before the bells could be removed and put in storage for safe keeping, it was necessary to erect special scaffolding to safely access the bells. This work in itself was quite expensive.

There then followed a long period when various experts undertook surveys and heritage bodies were consulted about repair methods.

The PCC’s vision was that the rebuilt St Peter’s should be fit for the 21st century. To become, once again, the centre of the community, a space for everyone to enjoy and use – not just those who will worship there., and not just an hour on Sundays.

A dilemma

The original intention was to retain the existing wooden tower. However once re-building commenced it was found that the timbers in the upper parts of the tower were badly damaged, particularly around the beam to post and brace to post junctions, where the strength of the fire penetrated the joint faces.

The structural engineer’s opinion was fire damage into the joints would make re-use impractical.

This left the parish with a dilemma. The bells could have been hung dead, no longer available for full circle ringing. They could have been replaced with a much lighter ring. However even the masonry walls at low level could not be relied upon to take any loads from swinging bells. There was even talk of selling the bells off.

However the PCC were determined to keep their bells and took the brave decision to find a way of retaining them.

The solution, designed with the input of Adrian Dempster, Structural Engineer and expert on bellframes was to retain the old timber framework at the lower levels for historical reasons, and to insert a new free standing steel framework to support the bells, whilst minimising sway, so that the handling of the bells would not be adversely affected. The bells will be hung lower in the tower and now rung from ground floor level.

They will be one of the heaviest ring of bells in a free-standing steel tower in the world!

This work came at significant additional cost, using up much of the project contingency as well as causing a significant delay.

The installation of the bells needed to be put back till a second phase. However, even though it added to the shortfall, the special steel structure was an integral part of the work and could not be installed later. Therefore, it needed to go ahead in the first phase. Other work put off till the second phase included the replacement of some of the stained glass, the fitting out of the new kitchen and even the provision of chairs and soft furnishings!

Phase one is currently due to complete in late autumn, although we will not know the final cost of phase one until the final account is agreed with the contractor. There was a combined shortfall on both phases of around £1.25m on the insurance and whilst we have raised over £800,000 to date, we seem to be chasing a moving target.

Provision has been made for the remainder of the new bellframe and the bells to be installed as an independent package once the current phase one contract is complete and the church is opened again for public worship.

Our plan is therefore to raise the money to install the remaining bell frame and then the bells one by one. Even if we only start with a ring of three, it will enable regular ringing to resume.

The total cost of removing the existing bells, placing them in storage, replacing the timber framework with the freestanding steel one, recasting the cracked fifth, welding the third, heat treating the other four, and hanging them in a new frame is in excess of £295,000.

If you wish to donate you can do so by visiting our Golden Giving page, www.goldengiving.com and searching for sprpcc. In the comments box, please make it clear that you wish your donation to go towards the bells.

Andy Bonner (Church re-building Coordinator)

Rodney Skinner (Tower Captain)

and Roger Booth (New Alresford)

Also with acknowledgement to Alan Buswell for his historic research

Scaffold to remove the bells
The cracked 5th
The new steel structure
Progress as at 3rd May 2021

Ringing and Money – A Personal Viewpoint

The fund has been growing faster than it is spent

Our correspondent AH writes:

There was request at the 2020 Guild AGM for the Bell Restoration Fund Trustees to review their reserves and investment policy. There has been  correspondence in social media since, but I don’t understand what this is all about. Please can you explain.

RB Responds:

At times when interest rates are low, and inflation is much higher, the buying power of money held in any fund for longer than is necessary depreciates significantly.

Prior to 1996  the Bell Restoration Funds Committee of the Central Council of Church Bellringers used to undertake a triennial survey of Guild and Association Bell Restoration Funds (BRF’s). At that time there was 5.3 years worth of grant expenditure held in these funds.

In August 2019 the successor,  the Stewardship and Management Workgroup published an article in the Ringing World. It pointed out that around £5 million was currently held in Guild and Association BRF’s. This was earning little interest. The funds being eroded could be sufficient to fund a couple of major bell projects each year.

With annual grant expenditure now of around £400k, the amount held in reserve by Guilds and Associations has increased from 5.3 to about 12.5 years worth of expenditure. That is without taking into account fresh income coming into the BRF’s

Consequently the Workgroup recommended that Guilds and Associations review the operation of their BRF’s.

The pattern of expenditure in the W&P.

During the 2000’s the BRF was very active, with income of £117,061 and actual grant expenditure of £76,950

In the last decade activity reduced, with grant expenditure totalling £49,835. This is around two thirds of the level in the previous decade.

The reasons for this are not entirely clear, although there has been a reduction in the number of projects applying for grants and the size of the projects. Further research is needed to establish future likely calls on the fund.

Fund raising, however, continued at the same rate as before, although the automatic transfer of £4 from each subscription into the BRF was reduced to £2 in 2016.

This enabled Districts to retain more of the subscription income, to help with their work, including instruction.

A certain amount is retained in the fund to cover grants promised, although sometimes grants lapse, or the money is no longer required.

This has meant that the amount held in the BRF, but unallocated to any project has increased from £55,012 in 2010 to £66,457 in 2020.

With a lag of typically several years before a grant is drawn, £70,086 of the BRF is currently invested in a short term deposit fund with the Central Board of Finance of the Church of England. On 31 March 2020 the interest rate was 0.09% AER, but this has since reduced to 0.01% AER.

What options could the Guild consider?

Charities such as the BRF are encouraged not to hold on to large reserves, but to spend them or meeting their charitable objectives. Generally to date grant levels have been around 10% of project costs, but some Guilds and Associations are now offering grants of up to 20%.

Now is a very good time to spend this money, not only is it loosing its value, but it will help the bell-trades through a difficult period, by encouraging stalled projects to proceed.

Seeing money spent in this way will also be a signal to other parishes and encourage them to apply and proceed with their schemes. It will also encourage members to donate more, and perhaps agree to increase the amount transferred from subscriptions

Another option that the Workgroup recommends is for the BRF to provide grants to make ringing chambers more welcoming for new ringers. 

A visit by a professional bell-hanger may also spot items which the local steeplekeeper may not have spotted. Often this can prevent a major failure which could cost more to put right.

Investing for the long term: Some societies such as the Oxford Diocesan Guild set aside any money not needed   for the next three years into a separate investment fund to achieve capital growth. The value of these funds can fluctuate, and it depends on attitude to risk., but Charities have the power to invest and The ODG take professional investment advice from the Diocesan Financial Adviser, who invests the surplus in a portfolio of funds. Over the last ten years, the investments have grown significantly.

The challenge after Covid

The Church of England is facing a significant financial shortfall. The Diocese of Winchester is in the process of a cost cutting exercise with 22 clergy posts going. In future, as ringers we will be expected to fund a greater proportion of the costs of our bells, whether on new ropes or more major items.

We also have the possibility of one or more of our churches being declared redundant and the bells needing to be found a new home.

It is also important to remember that a ring of bells is of no use without a local band of ringers to ring them. These ringers also maintain and look after the bells. By investing in recruiting and training new ringers, you are helping to safeguard the investment in the hardware.

Roger Booth

Note: These are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by the Guild

Donate to the Bell Restoration Fund

If you wish to donate to the Bell Restoration Fund, please contact the Guild Treasurer at  hon.treasurer@wpbells.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 the donation and provided with a gift aid form to complete.  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.

Hursley come second in national striking contest

On Saturday 3rd April, four bands of young ringers joined 12 others in the first (and probably last) Ringing Room call change competition, discovering that call change ringing on Ringing Room is really difficult, and doing so with closed handstroke leads is more difficult still. “May the team with the best internet connections win!”

The competition was graced with expert judges in Paul Pascoe and Ian Avery, who helped design the format, and who awarded victory to the Beverley & District Online band, with the band from Al Saints Hursley coming a close second.

All teams rang the same test piece, being the first half of 60 on 3rds (slightly less if you started late because one of your band couldn’t find their laptop charger!). The prizes were a choice of books from the Central Council shop for members of the four winning bands.

W&P Guild Ringing Room Striking Contest – Saturday 22nd May

REMINDER: Entries close Friday 21st May.

If you would like to just watch/listen, please contact Peter on the email address below for the meeting link.

Date:Saturday 22nd May 2021
Starting time:9:45 for 10:00am
Ringing Roomhttps://ringingroom.com/798465123/wp_competition
For more info and to enter contact:Peter Niblett
1 Oakland Road, Whitchurch, RG28 7HH
email: pdn3270@gmail.com
Tel: 01256 893997
Mob: 07825 657662
Closing date
for entries:
Friday 21st May 2021

While we’ve all missed being able to do much serious tower bell ringing over the last year, many of us have made use of the opportunities provided by the Ringing Room platform to stay in touch with each other, practice a different kind of ringing and maybe even learn some new methods.

I’m sure we are all looking forwards to getting back to real bells, but we thought it might be fun for the bands who have been using Ringing Room to get together and have an informal virtual ringing competition.

The idea is to run it like a traditional striking competition, but with the judges and participants joining via Zoom and naturally the ringing will be using Ringing Room.  We will send a Zoom meeting link out closer to the date, but if you have been using Ringing Room during the lockdown (either regularly or only just now and then) please get together with your fellow ringers and put in a team.

It’s intended to be a bit of fun and not get too serious, so no prizes, cups or certificates. However it wouldn’t be a striking competition without some rules, so we have put together a set that try and adapt the traditional format into a virtual event. Please feel free to ask questions or comment.

Rules:

  1. All ringers in each team must be Guild members and should have been ringing together on Ringing Room during the lockdowns.
  2. A participant may ring in more than one team, provided that the number of participants doing this is not excessive.
    • No more than half of the members of a team can ring in another team
  3. Each team shall contain 6 ringers, each ringing the same single bell throughout the test piece.
  4. Each team may have four minutes ringing in which to prepare for the test piece.  The treble bell shall then be rung several times to indicate that the team is about to start the test piece.
  5. The competition ringing will comprise 120 changes in any Doubles or Minor method(s) of the team’s own choice, rung on the Tower Bell setting of Ringing Room.
    • The test piece will be rung with a whole pull of Rounds at the start and with no additional Rounds at the end. The initial Rounds will not be judged, but the final row will be judged.
  6. Each team will be able to communicate with each other via Zoom during the practice ringing and the test piece, however they will be placed in a separate “break-out room” so their conversation will not be overheard by the judge or by other teams.
  7. The judge shall have discretion on how to score the test ringing and how much allowance, if any, to make for Internet-related issues. A team will be allowed to restart the test piece if a significant technical issue occurs (for example a ringer getting disconnected from the Internet during the test piece).
  8. The decision of the Committee shall be final in any matter concerning the conduct of the competition and the interpretation of these rules.

***Guild 2021 AGM – Saturday 12th June at 10.15am via Zoom – Registration now available

The Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild AGM 2021 will be held on Saturday 12th June at 10.15 a.m. Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic the AGM will be held online using the Zoom Pro platform. You will need to register in advance using the link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAuc-6grT0rGtcxiY4p5yekVggukGLjRJMQ

Instructions on how to register are available to download below.

The agenda, minutes of the last meeting, and officer and committee reports for 2020 are available here: http://www.methods.org.uk/files/210612.bulk.pdf. This version will be kept up-to-date with any additional agenda items or supporting papers.

Web versions of the papers are at: http://www.methods.org.uk/wparch/agm2021a.htm for those who prefer to view this information online, and this version will also be kept up-to-date.

If anyone has apologies for absence, items of Any other business, or comments or questions on any Agenda item, please send them to Tony Smith in advance so that the meeting can run as smoothly as possible.

Many thanks and best wishes, Tony Smith.
Guild Minute Secretary
on behalf of the Guild Honorary General Secretary.

Formal Statement from the Guild Principal Officers – 16th May 2021

Formal Statement from The Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers


We are aware that communications have been circulated on email and to ringing organisations by one of our members, Mr. S. Castle.


We wish it to be known and understood that the correspondence from Mr. S Castle, supposedly under the Guild’s name, was prepared and issued by him personally, our Guild had no prior knowledge of it and the contents of his communications were not agreed or authorised by us. The Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers accepts no responsibility or liability for his correspondence or the accuracy or validity of the information contained therein.

Local email posts by Mr. S. Castle had made allegations about Guild members. Whilst we value free speech, personal attacks are unacceptable. A statement was issued by us, the Guild’s Principal Officers, to all our Guild members, encouraging and requesting responsible and courteous use of social media and email, as misuse could only be viewed in an extremely poor light, not only by us but in the wider world within which we all operate.

We respect the fact that all members of our Guild are volunteers, we are extremely grateful for the hard work, time and dedication that they invest in ringing and for ringers’ benefit and it is important we continue to work together amicably to support and encourage our fellow members, committees and officers.

As a Guild we continue to commit to dealing with issues raised by any of our 1,500 members as courteously and effectively as possible, using the democratic processes that have stood us in good stead for many years.

Pete Jordan – Master
Allan Yalden – Vice Master
Steve Lamb – Hon General Secretary
Helen Woolford – Hon General Treasurer

Principal Officers of The Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers
16th May 2021

Message from Guild Master Pete Jordan re usage of social media and Guild Email Groups

Dear Guild Members,

I hope this message finds you all safe and well.

Many of us enjoy using social media and email to share news, stories and useful information, particularly during the pandemic whilst contact with others has been restricted. In the same way the Guild social media and email accounts have been used to share our news, photographs and the odd joke to keep us all in touch, smiling and to break the monotony.

However, occasionally, posts on the Guilds social media feeds or email groups have taken on subjects that some followers have found rather uncomfortable, with criticism aimed at fellow members. In today’s society, this type of interaction is viewed as unacceptable, and depending on content, can be defined as trolling, bullying or harassment. The Guild does not wish to prevent freedom of speech: social media is ideal for sharing news and legitimate comment, but direct attacks are not acceptable. 

Please be considerate when using any of the Guilds Facebook, Twitter, email forums or any other Guild social media accounts.

Attached is the CCCBR guidance which can also be found at: https://cccbr.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/200902-Social_Media_Guidance.pdf

Thank you for your cooperation.

Pete Jordan

Master  – Winchester & Portsmouth Guild of Church Bell Ringers. 

Ringing for the funeral of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh – 17th April 2021

Guidance for ringing for the funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on Saturday 17th April 2021

What the Church is expecting is tolling of a single bell during the hour before the funeral, which starts with a minute’s silence at 3pm on Saturday. You don’t need to toll for the full hour, just during the hour, e.g. up to 3pm. Half muffled preferred, but a single bell tolling slowly whether half muffled, fully muffled, or even unmuffled, will have the desired effect.

Initial announcement made on 9th April 2021

It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.

Guidance for ringing for the Duke of Edinburgh 

Following conversations with the Church of England today, half-muffled tolling or chiming of a single bell on Saturday 10th April 2021 at 12 noon, 99 times or up to 5 minutes is recommended following the announcement of the death the Duke of Edinburgh. The Cabinet Office has declared 8 days of official mourning, during which time any other ringing should be half-muffled and in accordance with current Covid-19 restrictions. Half-muffled tolling or chiming of a single bell is recommended on the day of the funeral. There is no special dispensation of current ringing guidance on Sunday.

Webinar recordings

Recordings of the recent webinars held on Saturday mornings have now been uploaded to YouTube. The links are below.

  • Calling bobs in Plain Bob & Grandsire Doubles on 13.02.2021  – Nikki Thomas
  • Learning a method on 27.02.2021  – Martin Daniels and Roger Booth
  • History of bells in Hampshire on 13.03.2021 – Phil Watts

Recruitment and Retention on 27.03.21 – Matt Lawrence

The current run of webinars has now come to an end. More will be arranged after Easter in the run up to ringing resuming if there is sufficient demand. Please let us know any topics you would like to see covered. Send an email to the Communications Team with your suggestions.

Easter Sunday Ringing

Simon Linford, President of CCCBR issued the statement below on 19th March 2021 regarding ringing on Easter Sunday:

Many incumbents are asking if some bells can be rung as part of their church or cathedral’s Easter celebrations, and bellringers are also keen to play part. The Central Council believes that bells are an important part of the act of worship, particularly on Easter Sunday. Unlike at Christmas, UK and Irish Governments have not introduced any relaxations of the rules on meeting indoors for Easter. Those rules are readily available and well understood.

We have established guidance on reducing the risk of ringing both to ourselves and each other, and most recently published our latest thinking on virus transmission and ventilation in ringing chambers, with chancel crossings at one end of the risk scale and small airless rooms at the other. We recommend considering all these factors when decided how many bells can be rung and for how long, in consultation with your incumbent, churchwardens or Cathedral Chapters.

One or more bells ringing on Easter Sunday will surely be appreciated by our churches and communities.

Simon Linford

President

Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

Link to article on CCCBR website Easter Sunday ringing – CCCBR

Please note, ringing should only take place after consultation with the incumbent and provided health and safety restrictions, ventilation etc. are adhered to. This should also include inspection of bells as many will not have been rung for over 12 months.

Vaccination, and Virus Transmission in Towers – CCCBR

Wheatley and Ringing Room **Updated 12th March 2021**

***Updated 12th March 2021***

Wheatley is now integrated with Ringing Room, so the installation below using Python is no longer required. This should make it far easier to setup.

With the increased use of online ringing, you might be interested in Wheatley especially if you find yourself short of ringers or need some steady ‘ringers’ in your virtual band.


Hursley band report that have used it for a couple of weeks now, and think it is an amazing teaching aid to bolt on to Ringing Room while we cannot get everyone back into towers.
Wheatley can be found at https://pypi.org/project/wheatley/
It has to be installed via Python (available from the Microsoft Store, then PIP, and some measure of courage and persistence is needed to find the right directory path before you can put in the correct Wheatley commands.


However having done that, Wheatley is pretty good at ringing all the bells you want it to in Ringing Room. Hursley have used it in their beginners handbells sessions, and it has significantly improved their tower bells sessions over the last couple of weeks.
If you find Wheatley rings too fast, you can change the peal speed if you wish. Suggested speeds are:
6 bells – 2hr 55min
8 bells – 3hr 5min
10 bells – 3hr 30min
12 bells – 3hr 45min
You can also set the Inertia setting to 1.0 – this means that Wheatley will wait for a human to ring, but then go back to the original speed setting, if you leave the Inertia setting off, Wheatley tends to get slower and slower.


The nice thing about using it for learners is that all the bells stay right, and you can have a session with one learner and a teacher who can “stand behind” the learner as the ringing goes on (and call bobs etc).
Of course it is really very good for individual practice for tower and handbells for those of us who don’t have things like Abel.

Article supplied by Peter Hill.

Wheatley image supplied and used by kind permission of Ben White-Horne , creator of Wheatley.

Survival and Recovery Newsletter – Issue 4

Here is the fourth newsletter from the Survival and Recovery team – an ART, CCCBR partnership. It’s a one-stop shop for news – what’s happening and what we are planning to happen which complements the BellBoard Virtual Hub.

Survival and Recovery Newsheet – Issue 4 

This issue leads on new initiatives and new pages added to the Survival and Recovery Toolbox.  The toolbox contains a plethora of resources, case studies and opinion pieces for ringers, Tower Captains and Guilds and Associations.

Survival and Recovery Toolbox

Bell Restoration Fund Rules

1. Title

The fund shall be known as the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers Bell Restoration Fund.

2. Registration

The fund shall be registered as a charity.

3. Aims

The object of this fund shall be to provide financial assistance by way of grants to Churches, within the Diocese of Winchester and Portsmouth, incurring expenditure on the provision, maintenance, improvement
or acoustics of their bells and bell installations, or for the maintenance of the fabric of their towers and belfries, to enable their bells to be properly rung in full circle.

4. Definitions

References to ‘the Guild’ shall mean the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers. References to ‘the Executive Committee’ shall mean the Executive Committee of the Guild.

5. Trustees

The Trustees of the fund, referred to hereinafter as ‘the Trustees’, shall be the Master, the Honorary General Secretary and the Honorary General Treasurer of the Guild, and two Trustees, one from each Diocese, elected triennially by the Annual General Meeting of the Guild.

6. Honorary Independent Examiner

The Honorary Independent Examiner of the fund shall be the Honorary Independent Examiner for the time being of the Guild.


7. Administration

The fund shall be administered by the Trustees.

8. Grants

a. An application for or proposal to make a grant from this fund shall be considered only at a General Meeting of the Guild or at a meeting of the Executive Committee, provided at least one month’s notice in writing has been given of such application or proposal to the Honorary General Secretary.

b. Following notice duly given, the Trustees shall consider such applications or proposals and shall make recommendations to the meeting of the Guild or Executive Committee at which the application or proposal shall be discussed.

c. Grants shall be made from this fund only for the purposes outlined in the objectives in rule 3 above. A grant may be made, subject to the requirements of rule 8a above, if approved by two-thirds or more of
those members of the Guild present and voting at a General Meeting of the Guild or at a meeting of the Executive Committee. To be eligible to vote on such matters, members must fulfil the requirements of the Guild on voting. The Trustees shall inform the Guild of any grants approved at a meeting of the Executive Committee at the next General Meeting of the Guild.

d. Following such approval a grant shall be made, except that the Trustees shall be given absolute discretion to reduce, but not to increase, a grant, in the exceptional circumstances that they unanimously feel it in the interests of the fund and of the Guild to do so. They shall inform the Guild of any such action at the next General Meeting of the Guild.

9. Disbursements


Any payments drawn on this fund under rule 8 above, or required under rule 11 below, shall be made over the signature of the Honorary General Treasurer for the time being and one other Trustee of the fund. No payment shall be made until the work is satisfactorily completed. All administrative and other expenses incurred in respect of the fund other than those specifically relating to the acquisition and realisation of investments shall be borne by the Guild.

10. Accounts


a. The Honorary General Treasurer shall prepare accounts, consisting of a balance sheet at 31st December each year, and an income and expenditure account for the year ending on that date.

b. These accounts shall be presented to the Independent Examiner of the fund who shall satisfy himself as to the correctness thereof.

c. These accounts, duly independently examined, shall be submitted for approval to the Annual General Meeting of the Guild next after the 31st December to which the accounts of the fund have been prepared.

11. Investments

The Trustees acting together shall have the power to invest or otherwise deal with the assets of the fund and such sums as the members of the Guild shall contribute or from time to time decide to transfer to the fund, in such manner as they think fit in the best interests of the fund.

12. Dissolution of the fund

a. If it shall be decided to dissolve the fund, such decision being taken only at an Annual General Meeting of the Guild, one month’s notice having been given by the Honorary General Secretary to Tower
Secretaries of such intent, the assets shall be disposed of to either or between both of the following:

i. To other charitable Bell Restoration Funds as the Guild may select

ii. To the Cathedrals of Winchester and Portsmouth for the religious and charitable purposes of the said Cathedrals.

b. In the event of the Guild becoming defunct, it shall be allowed for the Registrar of Charities after five years non-working of the fund to cause it to be dissolved and its assets applied as under rule 12 a ii.


13. Changes of rules

a. No amendment of, addition to, or deletion from these Rules shall be made which would cause the fund at any time to cease to be a charity in law.

b. No alteration or addition to the above Rules may be made except at a General Meeting of the Guild, or Special Meeting called for the purpose, when the number of eligible members voting in favour must be at least 20 and double those voting against the proposal. Notice of any such proposed alteration or addition must be given in writing at least two months before the date of the meeting to the Honorary General Secretary of the Guild, who shall inform all Tower Secretaries of the Guild of this proposal at least one month before the aforesaid meeting.

Last updated 17th March 2021

Winchester District ADM – Sat 13th Feb at 3PM

Dear All,


Our first formal meeting of the year and since Lockdown was imposed will take place via Zoom, on Saturday 13th February. As you will see from the attached agenda we shall open the Zoom ‘room’ fifteen minutes early to allow people to sign in and be admitted. The link for the meeting is:-

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88388969942?pwd=VGhHOGFaTmYxZlBQbHlLU0ZxaE8vZz09


or, if you with to sign in with the meeting id and passcode these are:-
Meeting ID: 883 8896 9942 Passcode: 135246


I fear that because I can only compose in plain text the link will not work simply by clicking on it, but it should work if you copy it and paste it into your browser. The link will work, however, from the agenda.
The accounts (long since signed off) and District Report will follow in due course, with my apologies for creating two instalments of the process of notification.


Advantages: We do get to meet; no travelling; your choice of sandwiches and cakes for the virtual ringers’ high tea.

Disadvantages: I have zero experience of hosting, we’ll just have to see how this goes; thank goodness Andrew knows what he’s about. No ringing … though I could set up a Ringing Room if anyone fancies catching hold afterwards.


Best wishes,


Bruce

District Secretary

Link to download a PDF of all documents

CCCBR/ART Newsheet Survival and Recovery – January 2021

Here is the latest Newsheet from ART on Survival and Recovery.

ART also issued some ideas from Matt Lawrence entitled ‘Top Tips for Survival and Recovery‘. This is available in two formats to download below. The full article is available in the lastest edition of Tower Talk

Guild Newsletter – January 2021

This newsletter can also be downloaded as a .pdf

Contents

Happy New Year!

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: comms@wbells.org

Master’s Message

Dear Friends.

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

Introducing Steve Lamb – The New General Secretary

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.

Training Webinars and Ringing Room Practices

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

Between webinars

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.

After Easter

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

Pre-recorded webinars, YouTube videos and on-line courses

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.

For newer ringers

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!

Devon call-change ringers

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.

For intermediate ringers

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.

A training session on the eight dumb-bells and simulators at the Mancroft Ringing Discovery Centre

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.

Simon Linford and his daughter Charlie

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.

Guild Training and Development Fund

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.

  • Applications. To be forwarded to Helen Woolford the Honorary Treasurer in writing or e-mail
  • Decisions. An application for a grant from this fund will be considered by the Officials, and their decision relayed to the applicant in a timely manner.
  • To qualify for a grant, applicants must be paid-up members or probationary members of the Guild.
  • Grants towards the cost of residential training courses will normally be awarded up to a maximum rate of 50% of the course costs and not exceeding £100.
  • The cost of Association of Ringing Techers (ART) teacher training modules and workshops may be awarded in full.
  • Depending upon the funds available and the number of applications , awards may have to be scaled down accordingly.
  • Only one award will be made per individual in any one calendar year.
  • Applicants will be asked to provide evidence of expenses/course fees.

Click here to download the application form

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.

200 Club

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!

Robin Milford

Winners of the November Draw were:

  • 1st Tangley Ringers £20.00
  • 2nd Graham Nobbs £8.00
  • 3rd Anne LeMarechal £4.00
  • 4th Piers Armstrong £4.00
  • 5th Christine Hill £2.00
  • 6th Wendy Ling £2.00

Safeguarding

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.

50 Virtual Ringing Things

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

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

The W&P needs YOUR help

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:

  • Maintenance of the WordPress website, Creating and archiving new pages and posts.
  • Maintaining the Guild membership and Communications database held on G Suite and Mailchimp.
  • Maintaining District email lists, approving new members
  • Running the Guild’s Twitter account (wpbells).
  • Posting to the Guild’s social Media sites

If you are interested please contact Andrew Glover.

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:

  • Bells and their fittings in any Guild tower;
  • To inspect and report on all completed bell restoration works subject to grants from the Guild Bell Restoration Fund, and
  • To continue the work of the Guild’s Bell Stock Survey.

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.

Win-Port Email Group moves to Google Groups

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

Bishop of Portsmouth retires

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.

District Annual General Meetings

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

Bell Restoration Fund News

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.

Donate to the Bell Restoration Fund

If you wish to donate to the Bell Restoration Fund, please contact the Guild Treasurer hon.treasurer@wpbells.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.

Winchester District Newsletter December 2020

Ringing returns

For the last nine months, there has been very limited activity, and many ringers may not even have touched a bell-rope in this time. Even if they have, they will not have rung any methods.

However with the roll out of the vaccination programme, there is the real prospect that from late spring or early summer next year we will gradually be able to return to ringing  all the bells and holding practices in  our towers. But we still have this winter to get through.

Things have been happening behind the scenes to prepare for the recovery and we plan to issue regular District newsletters with news and interesting items to help keep members engaged and informed.

In this issue we include details of a programme of webinars which the Guld Education Committee will be launching in January.

During lockdown a number of District towers have been holding regular virtual pub sessions and quizzes.  using Zoom. Some have also been holding virtual practices using Ringing Room, one of these being the Mayflies group which Micki Nadal has written about on page 2

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: comms@wbells.org

Christmas ringing relaxation

The Central Council of Church Bellringers have agreed special arrangements for ringing over the Christmas period with the House of Bishops Recovery Group. Essentially between 23 and 27 December no matter which tier, we can ring for 15 minutes, provided that the ringers are 1metre + socially distanced, and those not in the same bubble are wearing face masks. Further details on the Central Council Website

Have you subscribed?

Around 50% of Winchester District members have now subscribed to the Guild’s new membership and communications database. We are now able to send this newsletter to each of you direct instead of it being ‘cascaded’ via tower correspondents and posted on tower notice boards. This is not practical in the current pandemic.

However, as we are only reaching about half of the membership, do tell your friends about this newsletter and pass a copy on if they have not seen it.

If you have not yet subscribed and this newsletter has been forwarded on to you, please do subscribe to the database by visiting the following link: Subscribe to Guild Membership and Comms Database

Training Webinars

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. These will be held on

  • Sat 16th Jan
  • Sat 30th Jan
  • Sat 3th Feb
  • Sat 27th Feb
  • Sat 13th Mar
  • Sat 27th Mar

The final programme and joining details will be published in the next Guild Newsletter, to be issued at the beginning of January. Topics will include

Listening Skills:  Have you struggled to pick out your bell from the others? How do you know if it you or someone else that is wrong?

Ways of Learning Methods: This will cover the circle of work, the blue line and place bells, and how you can break this down into chunks of work that you can learn.

Calling simple touches: Starting from the perspective of someone who has never called a bob before, we will cover the basics up to the stage where you can call a 120 of Plain Bob or Grandsire Doubles.

History of bells and ringing in the Winchester and Portsmouth Dioceses: This webinar will look at some of the more interesting aspects of the bells in our towers.

Recruitment and Retention –  how to get more new ringers and how to retain them: This workshop developed by the Central Council’s Volunteer and Leadership workgroup will look at the problems facing us and how we might overcome them.

The webinar link will be open from 10.00am for people to logon and perhaps have a  chat. Each presentation will start promptly at 10.15am, followed by the opportunity for questions and answers.

Depending on the content, each webinar will last between 60 and 90 minutes

If you’ve  not already done so, complete our questionnaire and we will make sure you receive details of the upcoming webinars.

Link to questionnaire

Between Webinars

Each Saturday between the webinars we will hold Ringing Room practices using Zoom and breakout rooms, so that people can practice the topics that have been covered in the previous weeks, with an experienced band in a supportive environment.

Restoration at Twyford

The £91,000 scheme to carry out a major overhaul of the frame and fittings, including recasting of three of the bells is being supported by a grant of £7,500 from the Guild’s Bell Restoration Fund. The work will be carried out by White’s of Appleton.

However, Jennie Richardson reports that, because of Covid-19, fund-raising has ground more or less to a halt, so the start date for the works is not yet certain.

Currently, because of the pandemic, most Sundays just one bell is chimed, although the band did manage to ring three bells in memory of William Davies, who was on horseback and lost in fog on the local downs until he heard the bells ringing.

His will of 1754 left money to the ringers to ring for 30 minutes on 7 October each year.

Further details of how to donate are on the appeal website.

Mayflies – a Ringing Room Tower in action

Towards the end of May this year, when the Mayflies were emerging from the River Test in droves and buzzing round my head in the garden, I decided to take the plunge and set up a virtual tower in Ringing Room. 

I didn’t want to call it after a particular tower, as I realised virtual ringing would not be for everyone and I wanted to attract people from all over the place, which seemed to me one of Ringing Room’s advantages. 

The Ringing Room Take-Hold Lounge on Facebook showed that evening sessions often experienced some time lag, so 5pm seemed a good time – before people’s supper and the evening online rush.  With the mayfly hatch in full swing, the name seemed a ‘no-brainer’.  

So, at the beginning of June and with the help of fellow ringer Derek Smith, we had a go, just the two of us and then let various ringing friends know that Mayflies would be open for business Monday to Saturday at 5pm.  We were immensely lucky that our brilliant District Ringing Master Edmund Wratten joined us to give us direction and advice from his base and our former Kings Somborne Captain Sue Spurling joined us from her new home in Sussex. 

With old ringing friends from Kings Somborne, Braishfield, Sparsholt, Winchester and Houghton and new ringing friends from London, Epsom and Staffordshire we can generally count on between 6 and 10 people each day, although if there are only 4 or 5 initially, we’ll ring Minimus methods. 

A little gossip tops and tails our practices, but on the whole ringing is what we are there for.  For our local band the advantages of Ringing Room are huge – we normally ring at six-bell towers, so the chance to practice and learn 8, 10 and 12 bell methods is fantastic.

We have really progressed with learning touches and for those prophets of doom, who say that in the ‘real’ ringing world  we will all be back to square one, I have this to say:  the brain will, I’m sure, retain a lot of what we are learning about ‘what to do instinctively at a bob or a single’ and although we may have to relearn straightforward bell handling and using rope sight (and we fully appreciate this may take some time), when we are settled into a plain course of Bob Doubles and a bob is called, we will remember what we are supposed to do. 

I don’t see Ringing Rooms just as a lockdown facility either – it will be just as useful for learning methods when things are back to normal, but with the added advantage of being able to practice in a real environment too. 

Just as lockdown changed our lives, I believe Ringing Room has changed ringing practices too and given those of us lower down on the learning curve the opportunity and the confidence to metaphorically punch above our weight and try things we would be light years from trying in a real tower. 

Micki Nadal

Stockbridge

Kings Somborne and Mayflies Towers

Ropley Church is being rebuilt

In June 2014, our beautiful church was destroyed by fire. Two of the bells were cracked, one beyond repair and will need to be recast. Now at last, the rebuilding of the church is well under way, with the new roof installed and new tower built!

The aftermath of the fire
Progress Rebuilding

The rebuilt St. Peter’s will provide a wonderful venue for services as well as a place for the Village to gather. The space created will complement other village facilities and will be widely used by the village school, social clubs, concerts and meetings seven days a week, not only an hour on Sundays.

Artists impression of the new interior

St. Peter’s was insured by Ecclesiastical Insurance for £2,854,962. Thus far a substantial sum in addition to this has been successfully raised. The current shortfall for Phase 1, to achieve a useable building was £201,500 (October 2019). Phase 2 fundraising for stained glass windows, bells, clock, furniture etc will follow.

Work undertaken so far includes the installation of the base of the new bell-frame by Matthew Higby & Co., and an order has been placed to recast one bell and weld and heat treat the other five bells.

Because of the damage done by the fire, the bells will be hung within an independent steel structure within the walls, and the ringing room will move to the ground floor level.

The bells will be the largest hung in a free standing tower, but we are assured that they will handle well!

Carol Ward (nee Herring) RIP

I have, I am afraid, sorrowful news to impart.

Carol served many years as the tower correspondent for the Candover Valley Ringers, and hers was a welcome presence at District meetings – including last December’s carol service at Northington, at which she – with the rest of the CVR – was a most gracious host.

Carol was also a doughty campaigner in the cause of combatting the cancer which eventually took her.
I shall miss Carol very much indeed, as I am sure many in the District will.

Bruce Purvis

News from around the towers

Hursley: The band have been meeting for a Zoom call and quiz on Tuesday evenings as well as  other chats, ringing room sessions and quarter peal attempts on other evenings. As tiering allows we have been exploring our Minimus range on 1, 4, 6, 8 of the 12 and that we have been using the 14 on Ringing Room to practice our handbell carols. The band are also holding a virtual Christmas dinner on 18th December. Peter Hill.

Lockerley: Have been meeting on Zoom on Thursday evenings for a chat followed by some virtual ringing and also on Sunday mornings. During the summer months the band were also able to meet socially distanced outdoors.  Gary Davies.

Old and New Alresford: Have been meeting fortnightly on Friday evenings for virtual pub and quiz sessions on Zoom. We have installed extract fans in both towers to improve the ventilation which has enabled us to ring some of the bells on Sunday mornings and for a wedding, before we entered  Tier 2.

Romsey Abbey: The bells are sounded on Sundays and for other special occasions by the Ellacombe apparatus, so most of the band have not rung a bell for nine months. It was fortunate we decided not to remove the Ellacombe apparatus when the bells were rehung in 2007!

Sherfield English: Various numbers of bells have been chimed for services by single households in the band. We have run our regular Thursday training sessions with the Romsey improvers using Ringing Room and Zoom. Nearly all are now able to ring inside to Plain Bob Triples and Cloister Triples without crib sheets! Using visual aids most can ring Stedman.

The new learning environment has encouraged counting places and listening to the ringing as well as upskilling internet knowledge. More ringers have run the practice and called touches. We have also learnt about and used place notation and coursing order, sparked by Edmund’s webinar. Ringing Room allows us to go past Sherfield 8 bell restrictions – if we have lots of ringers we open up a second tower so everyone rings more. We also have completed plain hunt Maximus (16 in here we come!).

We have just realised that we should achieve ringing all the methods set out in Martin’s 2020 wish list without attending the tower!  Martin Daniels.

Sparsholt: The band have been meeting every Monday since first lockdown in March. At first it was a weekly quiz evening with attempts at Ringing Room on Tuesday evenings. We also met socially outdoors in the warmer summer months, for a drink and also a picnic. Since September we have met virtually in the Ringing Room with the sessions led by Edmund Wratten. Anyone wishing to join us on Monday evenings at 7.15pm would be very welcome. Jenny Watson.

Winchester Cathedral:  The band have been meeting for a chat most weeks and when tiering permits have been ringing six bells for fifteen minutes before Sunday services. The large ringing room helps with social distancing. To keep the fellowship up some members have also been meeting up for walks and cycle rides. Steve Lamb.

W&P Diocesan Guild

Muster, Hants & Wilts.

Monday, 7 December 2020

1260 Bob Minor

1–2  Mary Edelsten (Winchester)

3–4  Ian Redway (New Alresford)

5–6  Gary Davies (Winterslow)(Cond)

First virtual quarter peal: 1-2

A new ring of eight for the District

When we retired to New Alresford three years ago, we had intended putting the Charmborough Ring in the loft at the back of our garage, when not in use.

However, we soon came to the conclusion that hosting it up and down  was not something that we wanted to do regularly.

Instead Matthew Higby has recently cast us a new ring of eight, with a tenor of about ¾ cwt in E which will be permanently hung in our garage in the spring

Although light, they will have galvanised steel wheels and handle like bells considerably heavier than they are.

The intention is that besides being available for quarters and peals, we will also run regular training sessions – a bit like Tulloch and Alderney. We also plan to work with local schools to help bring fresh blood into our local band.

As for the Charmborough Ring, they will remain available to help with recruitment post-pandemic. If you would like to hire them for an event next year, please visit the website: www.charmborough.org

Roger & Cathy Booth

Chairman’s message

Greetings to all members in what has been a very difficult and challenging year due to the pandemic.At the ADM last February I indicated that I would not be seeking re-election as chairman in February 2021.

Please feel free to contact me either by phone or email if you are interested in filling this post.It would be good if someone did come forward as I feel the district would benefit from a fresh face.

I am willing to continue as Executive Council Representative if re-elected.

As I write there is hopeful news of vaccines. I hope that next year we shall be, in time, to be able to meet and ring more normally.

May I take this opportunity of wishing you a very happy Christmas and all the best for 2021. Stay well and safe.

John Croft

District Annual General Meeting – Saturday 13th Feb 2021

The District Annual General Meeting will take place on Saturday 13th February 2021 at 3pm by Zoom teleconference. To join, click on this link:

Join Zoom Meeting

Alternatively open Zoom and enter the following:

Meeting ID: 883 8896 9942

Passcode: 135246

This meeting will include the presentation of officers reports and the District Accounts for 2020.

At the meeting nominations will also open for all the officer posts in the District. John Croft has indicated that he does not wish to stand again for the post of Chair, and Bruce Purvis does not wish to stand again as Secretary. We also need to fill the vacant Newsletter Editor post, to help the Guild Comms team.

The District relies on volunteers such as John and Bruce to carry out all of its work. It’s not what the District does for you and your tower, it’s what you can do for the District, and there will be a lot to do to help ringing recover after the pandemic. Please do consider how you can help. The more people that share the load, the better.

Following a decision at the Guild AGM in September, no subscriptions will be collected next year, membership will last two years and a combined Annual Report will be published in 2022 for 2020 and 2021.

Winchester District

Officers
ChairmanJohn Croft
Secretary Bruce Purvis
Treasurer Anthony Smith
Joint Ringing Master
Jennifer Watson
Edmund Wratten
Web-Master Andrew Glover
Newsletter Editor Vacant
Executive Committee Rep John CroftJohn Croft
Independent ExaminerJohn Colliss


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Copy for the next issue of this newsletter should reach us by Sunday 14th March comms@wpbells.org