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Press Release: WW1 Centenary Commemoration Service Days at Portsmouth and Winchester 12th and 19th May

This Press Release below has been issued to  Winchester Diocese and Cathedral promoting church/ringers/community working together and a young ringer very much involved.

Here is Leigh, Ringing Remembers Ringer, proudly showing her Ringing Remembers certificate. Leigh gave a presentation to her school and the text is displayed here.

Leigh - Ringing Remembers.JPG

Ringing Remembers: Leigh’s learning to ring story.

In February 2017 at Brighstone we had two bells cast at Whitechapel foundry in London. They were cast on the penultimate day of casting before the foundry closed after being in continuous business since 1570. The new treble was funded by the Society for the Preservation of Isle of Wight Church Bells and the new number 2 by local ringers and friends. Leigh was there on the 4th April when the bells arrived. Leigh’s dad helped with the augmentation of the bells. We were able to ring all eight bells on 24th April. Leigh has been learning to ring the church bells at St Mary’s church since August 2017. Sadly, 1,400 bell ringers died during World War 1. To honour there memory, the campaign Ringing Remembers set out to recruit 1,400 new bell ringers to be able to ring on Remembrance Sunday. Leigh signed up and rang four times during Remembrance Sunday. She rang twice for the service and twice in the evening to coincide with the beacons that were being lit nationally. Leigh mostly rings the number 2 bell, but she has rung the 1 and 4. She rings rounds and call changes during Friday evening practice and for the Sunday morning service. Leigh is currently the youngest ringer on the island. At the moment she can confidently ring either the handstroke or the backstroke with help from Beccy her instructor. Leigh’s next step will be to ring both stokes gaining complete control of the bell. If anyone fancy giving ringing a go, speak to Beccy Noyes who is tower captain at Brighstone. Practice night 19:00 to 20:00 on Tuesdays. “I really, really love ringing.”
Leigh.


Winchester and Portsmouth Anglican Cathedrals will be hosting special services to give thanks for all people lost in World War One and to acknowledge the role of bell ringers during that conflict and in all our communities.

On 12th May at 6 p.m. in Portsmouth and on 19th May at 3.30 p.m. in Winchester, local dignitaries will be joining bell ringers and cathedral congregations as part of the commemorations of the Centenary of the end of The Great War. As a mark of respect for all those who made the supreme sacrifice for us, members of  The Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers will present each cathedral with an archive; the volumes detail the Guild’s ringing performances, rung since 1914, in honour and memory of the men and women who died in World War One.

Bishop Christopher of Portsmouth says ‘The ringing of church bells across the U.K. remained restricted throughout World War One. How wonderful that we are free to play our part in honouring all those that died as a result of the dreadful conflict.’ He recognises the special performances in the printed volume as ‘recording over a century of bell ringing from the tolling of a single bell to the most complicated of peals, from tiny village churches to Cathedrals.’

Bishop Tim of Winchester reflects ‘The statistics are abhorrent: more than nine million fighting men, out of 65 million from 30 countries, died in  World War One. It was devastating and hard to escape its impact. On 11th November 1918 peals of bells once more rang freely, breaking the near silence that had been brought about by the four years of war. Today, almost everyone of us, whatever our ethnic, national or religious roots, is aware that we have inherited a world deeply shaped by The Great War.’

On Armistice Day 1918 records from Portsmouth describe the outpouring of relief that four years war had ended…’The bells of St Thomas and St Mary were much in evidence.’  The ringers who were working in the Royal Dockyard had been allowed to leave work early to ring the bells ‘ simultaneously with a service in the front of the town hall and with hooters blowing’.

100 years on to the day, Portsmouth heard the cathedral’s half-muffled bells ring out 7000 ‘changes’ over four-and-a-half hours, remembering and honouring the 7000 residents of Portsmouth who had lost their lives in World War One.

In Winchester Cathedral the, then, Winchester Diocesan Guild of Bell Ringers’ own war memorial is to be found; an oak tablet recording the names of the fallen. A significant tribute to the Guild’s members lost in The Great War are two bells, cast especially, and installed in the tower in 1921.

Over 1,400 bell ringers died as a result of World War One – more than 60 were ringers from The Winchester and Portsmouth Guild area. ‘Ringing Remembers’ was a worldwide recruitment campaign to symbolically replace those 1,400 bell ringers. There were many new  ringers of all ages recruited from the two Dioceses in 2018. Leigh Ruszczyk, aged 5, from Brighstone, Isle of Wight was one of the 2,804 new ringers who rang bells on  Remembrance Day 2018.

In Winchester Cathedral grounds during the afternoon of 19th May there will be the Chamborough Mobile Belfry. Passers-by will be invited to have a go on the delightful, tiny bells….there will be plenty of help on hand for visitors wanting their first attempt at tower bell ringing.

WP service flyer - Portsmouth

Viv Nobbs

Living on the end of a rope and sally! A weekend of courses and quarter peals!

It has been a while since a ‘report’ as such has featured on our district page.  I’ve been so acutely busy ringing recently, I just had to get down in words what has been going on in district ringing since 2019 new year!

As many of you will be aware, I have been bitten by both the lesser-spotted quarter peal bug, and the greater striped ringing fever.  It is wonderful to be given so many opportunities to gain valuable rope-time and partake in something as close to sporty as I shall ever get.  (Apparently gossiping is not an Olympic event).

January saw the re-installment of the district Quarter Peal Club hosted by our Vice-Chairman, Polly Osborne at Minstead. It was a valuable opportunity to treble at length to a minor method (St. Clement’s).  Here I happened upon a friendly and familiar face to me now, Jack Pease, who has often conducted in the past, but tonight was having a rest and Jimmy Hodkin took the reigns.

Jack was most kind, complimentary, and remarked that trebling to minor seemed “a bit too much within my comfort zone”, and insisted that I ring treble to a quarter-peal of triples in the near future with him, and also attend the minor course Jack was running at Bere Regis.

I felt much happier leaving Minstead tower, than I did arriving, partly because I managed to arrive at Minstead village in the pitch black forest in heaps of time, but then got dreadfully lost within the village for half an hour, and ended up in a strange place called Emery Down, and was then horridly late.  Not the greatest first impression really of myself, appearing to new people, gasping from running at the top of a ladder poking my head through a trap door.

Jack’s Bob Minor Course on the Friday morning was a bright and early start for me, even the New Forest ponies were still sleeping instead of trying to get into my rubbish bins.  We headed to Bere Regis, to a delightful ring of six that went very majestically.  Was a good learning curve to ring at a more relaxed and steadier pace.  I started the course mainly trebling where I felt secure, but as the morning progressed, and as I got to know the band a bit more, I ventured round the circle ringing plain courses on the 3 and 4, and eventually a touch.  I did try the 5 but alas it was a step to far turning in a much heavier bell to method work.

I came away from Bere Regis course refuelled with plenty of kindling to take back with me to my home tower, and many useful tips and tricks, handed down from our brave leader (Jack) and the other helpers.  It was a really relaxed atmosphere too which lended itself to a great learning experience.

Saturday lunchtime saw yet another quarter peal at Sacred Heart, Bournemouth in celebration of Kim Matthew’s retirement from her position as Librarian of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.  I shall fast forward to the shock I was in after the quarter peal had finished, when I truly discovered what ‘splicing methods’ actually meant!  I can only compare it to when school used to make me attempt the hurdles…you just have to keep going, even if you knock them all down!  I understood splicing methods to be a few methods rung one after the other after several touches/courses of each method, NOT methods running concurrently, and switching to and fro like an over-excited American pin-ball machine!  Ross made an amazing job of calling this complex quarter, which I can only imagine akin to being like reciting the Bible from memory…..backwards.  I was most fortunate to have Angie Jasper by my side on the 4 sorting my stumbles out very swiftly and efficiently.

From Sacred Heart, I had to hot foot it to Christchurch Priory, for our annual district meeting.  Here I had been roped in (excuse the pun), to playing the little box organ for the Evensong service in the Lady Chapel.  It was a very special atmosphere, especially as the incredible acoustics in there took the little organ and accompanied singing into the rafters.  I wish they would stop putting carpets down in churches.  Kills acoustics!  I faced two problems here. One that the organ had been placed next to the ringers tea table that had enough cake and sandwiches to fulfil even Paddington Bear, and had all been thoroughly wrapped in foil so having a sneaky sausage roll from the kitchen of Rob Skerton, mid service, was impossible.  The second problem was the lady that pulled on my arm during the exit voluntary, to stop me playing, which I dutifully did as I expected there to be an emergency…no such luck…it was an announcement about the toilet, and that vegetarian sandwiches were located on a separate table.  At least that meant this year the egg and marmite sandwiches were nowhere near the salmon paste!  I was also so pleased to matriculate from Acting Webmaster to Webmaster.  I was really very touched when so many raised their hands when asked for nominations.  I’m very much looking forward to arranging the district outing, and the skittles evening post striking competition at Fawley.

The next day was the forboding quarter peal of Grandsire Triples, and was confirmed by the band around me the evening before.  Off I headed to St. Michael’s Southampton in my Mystery Machine (ongoing joke, as you never know where you’ll end up….especially when I leave the handbrake off and head up tower).  St. Michael’s really is a fascinating place indeed.  Jack shoo’d me up the wooden spiral that winds its way through the innards of the organ (definitely needed going over with my DustBuster TM- poor pipes), and I entered the poshest, loftiest and most spacious ringing chamber I have ever been in.  I later found out that the church is the only medieval structure left within the city walls of Southampton, and that the Luftwaffe used it as a mapping point to their targets, so it never got bombed!

The band were all incredibly friendly and supportive.  St. Michael’s has a gorgeous ring of 10, with a lovely bright Gillet (bell founders) sound.  As a musician, sound is a vital factor to me, and it was a great help to hear each clear bell as I coursed up and down.  We only used the 8 bells for triples, would have loved to hear all 10 going.  The void across the ringing chamber floor between myself and the tenor was such that I thought I was going to have to send up smoke signals to communicate!  Again, it was another tower I left from with a spring in my step, chased back to the Mystery Machine by winter’s icy blast from the docks! Mother told me to put a hat on….why are they always right?

Finally, on Tuesday, I hared across the county to Cerne Abbas for the Hampreston Monthly Quarter Peal Day.  This month’s was arranged superbly by Angie Jasper.  It’s an incredible set up.  I’m unsure what the collective noun for bellringers is, but we all gather in an area with our rosters, and head off to various towers, interchanging bands, some ringing first attempts, crazy methods (Percy’s Tea Strainer Triples, Mental Block Minor etc), practice conducting, trebling, tenoring, ringing inside the method, and break for lunch, then do it all again at churches in deepest countryside for the afternoon shift. Seven quarter peals were rung that day between about 15 people.  Incredible.

I feel very honoured to be made welcome into this group in my early career as a ringer, and there’s always something for me to have a go at and push me.  Finally managed to negotiate my way through 1260 changes of St Nicholas Doubles (failed attempt at Christmas), and the afternoon shift saw me tenoring at Hilton to Eynesbury Doubles.  Sadly we didn’t get the attempt.  Really tricky bells, plain bearings, and keeping the tenor at the back and ‘up’ was a tough job, seeing use of blue inhaler.  Just to round the day off in true Murdock-Saint panache, I managed to fly base over apex down the last part of the tower stairs, my ankle currently doing a wonderful impression of the aurora borealis….well worth it however.  Driving home the 40 miles was interesting on the clutch, fortunately the petrol station had bagged ice for parties, which I strapped to the ankle with a towing rope.  Even though we did not get the attempt, we used the time to ring through a few different touches of the method, and it was great learning experience in handling a big and difficult tenor!

I would like to thank especially the following people in no particular order:

Kim Matthews, Polly Osborne, Ross Bradley, Angie & Mike Jasper, Sally Jenkins, Jimmy Hodkin, Jack Pease, for arranging these incredible opportunities in particular for new ringers.  The bell ringing community is really like a second family.  I must also thank my home tower teachers, David Lay, John and Liz Davey, Tim Kettle for their unending patience, understanding and time.

Looking forward to ringing with many of you over the coming year,

Over and out

Peter

Title photography by Jack R. Pease.

The ART AWARDS and how to apply.

The ART Awards continue to grow every year – with over £3,000 in prize money waiting to be won. Now is your chance to apply for the 2019 ART Awards!

The teaching awards (the first six listed below) are open to everyone – not just ART Members or those using ‘Learning the Ropes’ scheme – the aim is to encourage and recognise the people and groups leading best practice and innovation in the teaching and development of ringing. The individual ringing awards are open to those who have completed one of the Learning the Ropes programmes (on tower or hand bells) or participated in the Learning the Ropes Plus scheme.

ART Awards 2019

Prizes will be awarded in the following categories:

The Sarah Beacham Youth Group Award
Prize of £400 – sponsored by the Sarah Beacham Memorial Trust

The Sarah Beacham School Group Award
Prize of £400 – sponsored by the Sarah Beacham Memorial Trust

The ART Award for Excellence in the Use of Technology in Teaching
Prize of £500 – sponsored by John Taylor & Co.

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

The ART Award for a University Society that has made a Significant Contribution to Promoting Ringing to Younger People
Prize of £500 – sponsored by CCCBR

The ART Award for Inspiring Leadership in Ringing
Prize of £400 – sponsored by Talent Innovations

The ART Learning the Ropes Individual Achievement Awards
Two prizes of £250 – sponsored by the Ancient Society of College Youths
Five highly commended prizes of £25 each

Worried about applying?

The judges (led by Stephanie Pattenden) aren’t looking for the most professional application; what they are looking for is ideas, commitment and results. So if you’re looking at new ways of recruiting it’s not just the idea, but the number of people you recruited and whether they stayed. Easy ways to show that – number retained a year or two later, new recruits coming in (success breeds success), quarter peals, striking competition results, practice attendance, or ringing progress (LtR Levels) and don’t forget photos and quotes. There’s no magic formula; think why what you’re doing has been successful and put it down on paper. Please don’t be modest!

What are we looking for?

Hopefully having convinced you that the ART Awards might be relevant to you or a ringer or group you know, what are the common themes that appear in previous years’ winning applications?

  • Having a vision or passion and making it happen: however big or small, making things happen is what leadership is all about, even if you don’t call it that.
  • Trying out new things: some of which work and some of which don’t. If we don’t move with the times ringing will not flourish, so tell us about the risks you took – what you tried or did differently
  • Getting young people ringing: over-turning all those misconceptions that exist about children seeing ringing as “uncool” and giving up at the first hurdle.

If you recognise and identify with any of these themes, why not consider applying for yourself or a ringer or group you know? There will be an ART Award that’s right for your application….and if you applied and didn’t win last year, how about applying again, now you’ve got another year under your belt – Lerryn School did that last year and they won!

How do I enter?

Further information and application forms are available at www.ringingteachers.org/recognition/awards.

The closing date for applications is 31 December 2018 – so now is the time to make sure that those doing great work don’t miss out!

sent by Louise Nightingale, Communications & Marketing Workgroup Lead

 

 

Guild says goodbye to Rosalind Martin

To all in Winchester and Portsmouth Guild of Bellringers,

We would like to inform folks that Rosalind Martin has stood down as web-master for the Guild’s website.

Rosalind has been at the forefront of such major change that it is impossible to mention all the areas.

The Herculean task of building our website and future proofing it has led to it becoming a site that has a reputation of excellence in the bell-ringing world.

Now that the building and refining has been achieved and Rosalind is largely living in Birmingham, she feels this is a good time to step away.

There is a plan being drawn up to spread Rosalind’s workload out to as many people as we can in the team but help is being sought by us from everyone reading this.

We need;
• Assistant Webmaster to support Andrew Glover who has taken over the role
• More News Coordinators in each district who can collect ringers’ stories, anecdotes, local news and ringing successes and play at being a new editor ~ Full support will be available

Ros, the Comms Team would like to acknowledge your sustained effort and skills as a website builder and Web-Master.

We know you will join us in wishing Ros all the very best and we look forward to continuing to ring with you.

Thank You

The Team. and Guild Master

Portsmouth District Quarterly Meeting at Shedfield.

Last Saturday 21st April at St John the Baptist Shedfield 30+ Ringers from the district gathered to ring the 8 bells (12cwt).

This was followed by an Evensong Service with suitable ringer’s hymns, prayers and readings while sat in the choir stalls.

Betty Daish and her team then provided a superb tea, set up in the well furnished study centre which was very popular with all.

Finally the QDM meeting, chair by Brian Baverstock which he progressed speedily through the standard agenda. One item that was proposed and accepted, was that for this and all future district meetings the service collection would be passed to a charity of the host tower’s choice. In this instance the £55.10 raised was delivered to the Rowan’s Hospice.

Further Ringing followed to end an excellent Saturday afternoon’s entertainment.

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