Category Archives: Public Relations

Challenge 500 & Heritage Open Day Update

We’re really doing well and have now got five towers from our the C&S district taking part. What about your tower? Could you join this national opportunity to get some ringing publicity?

Current towers

  • Brokenhurst
  • Minstead
  • Lyndhurst
  • Fawley
  • Eling

Details about the events are available here at our  Heritage Day Details page and the Heritage Open Days website.

Fawley takes up “Challenge 500”

As part of their current recruitment activities, the bell ringers at Fawley have opted in to the Heritage Open Days “Challenge 500” scheme, and also to encourage neighbouring towers to take part so that a programme of visits can be on offer for members of the public.

They have written to neighbouring Tower captains:

heritage-open-daysWe are trying to arrange some tower visits during the Open Days week and on 10th & 11th September. Would your ringers be interested in participating in this. Perhaps we could agree a programme for ringers to visit each of out towers during one of the days?

Please ask your ringers if they would like to take part – then one of us could put together a visit programme.

Best wishes,

Lawrence Clark
Fawley Tower Secretary

Wedding Ringing with a difference

Whilst a Quarter Peal of Grandsire Doubles would not normally be Headline News, and ringing for weddings is taking place in many of our towers on summer Saturdays, this was ringing intended to be heard at the reception.
Maybe the choice of secular wedding venues need not rule out having Tower bells for your wedding!
For the ringers, this also creates the possibility of being paid for ringing Quarter Peals from them to time… not a bad idea, that!
To find out if there are churches bells near your reception venue, click here and search by postcode
Upper Clatford, Hampshire
All Saints
Saturday, 9 July 2016 in 42 mins (9–0–16)
1260 Grandsire Doubles
1 Polly Osborne
2 David Close
3 Ros Brandwood
4 Teresa Brown
5 Mike Winterbourne (C)
6 Vicki Rowse

To celebrate the wedding of Amy Boxall and Simon Cottrell.
Married earlier today in Ludgershall, Reception was taking place within the sound of these Bells

The image shows the treble at Minstead. The website image library doesn’t contain any pictures of the bells at Upper Clatford (yet!)

Central Council Day to strengthen Guilds PR knowledge

PR Officers – Save the date! – Saturday 25 February 2017

The Central Council’s Public Relations Committee is holding a special day for Public Relations Officers of ringing societies on Saturday 25 February 2017 at Wellesbourne. There will be something for everyone, including the opportunity to share good practice, to get to grips with the role if you are new to it or have questions and to hear from experts about working with the media and other PR issues.

Further information to follow but meanwhile please do make a note of the date!

David Forder reports from Eling on the Celebrations for the Queen’s 90th Birthday

On Sunday 12th June the congregation of S Mary the Virgin, Eling, held a celebratory lunch in the church in honour of the Queen’s 90th Official Birthday. The main course consisted of Fish & Chips from the shop in Totton precinct.

Eling Handbells for Queens90The ringers had been asked to provide ‘entertainment’ during the proceedings. A quarter peal was successfully rung having started at 11.30. Between courses appropriate tunes were ring by the handbell team.

After lunch further ringing took place – the photo shows a call-change band which included 2 of our learners Daniel Hartley (4) and Will Holmes (6), their first “public performance”.

As the Queen’s Birthday card was signed, the Rector led other non-ringers who chimed 3 times for the Queen.

Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild

Eling, Hampshire
St Mary the Virgin
Sunday, 12 June 2016 in 45 min (11–3–4)
1260 Doubles
660 Grandsire, 600 Plain Bob
David J Forder (C)
Polly Osborne
Maurice Bailey
Michael Lynds
Stephen N Hough
Adrian J MacKinnon
Rung as part of the celebrations for the 90th Official Birthday of HM Queen Elizabeth II
Eling Quarter Peal Band

Date for Public Relations Officers’ Diaries

PR Officers – Save the date!

The Central Council’s Public Relations Committee is holding a special day for Public Relations Officers of ringing societies on Saturday 25 February 2017 at Wellesbourne.  There will be something for everyone, including the opportunity to share good practice, to get to grips with the role if you are new to it or have questions and to hear from experts about working with the media and other PR issues.  Further information to follow but meanwhile please do make a note of the date!

Kate Flavell


Bell Tower Challenge Has Nice Ring To It

Thursday 8 – Sunday 11 September

Open your tower and be part of something bigger.                                openNat Her

Churches and cathedrals are being challenged to show people the ropes by bringing to life the 400-year old tradition of English-style bell ringing as part of Heritage Open Days this September. The call to the ringing world to open up 500 sites will provide a unique opportunity for ringing bands across England to share the heritage hidden inside their bell towers as well as their passion with millions of visitors who every year venture out to discover the treasures on their doorstep.

Bell ringers across the country are already signing up to take part in Challenge 500 including enthusiasts at some of the country’s most significant and interesting locations such as the ringing chamber at St Peter Mancroft in Norwich. This is where the first recorded peal took place in May 1715 and where there are plans to develop a ringing heritage and teaching centre.

The tradition of change ringing is a unique form of music peculiar to England. Instead of ‘tunes’ the bells ring in orderly sequences that the ringers learn as patterns and then ring from memory. Ringers control the bell with a rope, while the bell turns full circle, mounted on a wheel. Famous people who are reported to have rung bells include comedians Jo Brand, Timmy Mallett, the late Victoria Wood, gardener Alan Titchmarsh and entertainer and writer the late Frank Muir.

In addition to the Challenge 500 ringers are invited to come together to create a collective bell ringing moment as part of the festival on Thursday 8th September between 1800 – 1900 hours.

Loyd Grossman, Patron of Heritage Open Days, said: “Heritage Open Days provides the perfect opportunity to join together to bring to life the four-hundred year old tradition of English-style bell ringing for a huge audience. We are keen to recruit churches and cathedrals to become involved in the festival by registering an event for visitors to discover their bell towers and to take part in hands on demonstrations.”

Chris Mew, President of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, said: “We are excited that bell ringers will join this annual celebration of our cultural treasures. There are 5,000 bell towers for change ringing and our challenge is to unlock the doors to 500 of them. What’s more, some visitors may be able to see the bells, often locked away over our heads, discover our ringing forebears’ achievements recorded on peal boards, learn about bell ringing and maybe have a go themselves.”

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “Ringing out the bells over Heritage Open Days is a great way to bring people’s attention to the cultural and historical significance of bell ringing and its preservation. We are excited that millions of visitors will be able to discover the hidden history of bell towers in churches and cathedrals which will be free to access over four days.”

To take part in the challenge and to be counted, bell towers need to register with Heritage Open Days by 1st August 2016. By registering, all participants will be able to access a free marketing support pack and their event will be listed at from mid-July. For more information, visit the website or email


EXHIBITION AT RYDE (IoW) – Celebrating 130 Years of Ringing

exhibition at RydeDuring the weekend of 28th/29th May Ryde are hosting an exhibition of ringing to coincide with the Central Council meeting at Portsmouth.

Ryde has been ringing for 130 years this year so we thought it time to do a history lesson and we’re hoping to include the records of Island ringer William Rayner, who died in 1823. These records haven’t seen the light of day for nearly 100 years and they do make interesting reading, so worth a visit to view this.

If the attached poster could be printed off and displayed for people to see during and on the run up to the weekend on the mainland I would be very grateful, as it may be an extra incentive to come over to the Island to have a ring at Ryde and Shanklin and view the exhibition.

Contact Paul Robinson - Telephone: 01983 614060 Email: Use Form


Update on BBC Music Day (Friday June 3rd)

Michael Orme writes:

I am working with the BBC on this one, they are excited at the prospect, please let them know you are taking part, some interviews are being set up and a good response from the exercise will help ringers get more BBC airtime.

This seems like a good chance to promote ringing as Music rather than leaving the public with their recent impression that it is now primarily a sport!

Yes, there are loads of things to ring for, and yes, wouldn’t we love to have 18 months warning together with a copper-bottomed guarantee that this or that particular event will be “big” in the media, but at least this event is under the control of the BBC so Michael’s Intel is probably worth a fair amount of copper!

June the 3rd is a Friday – the day of the week when there is usually least pre-arranged ringing – not a bad choice for a special occasion!!!

Post your plans below and the website team will make sure the BBC knows about them.


Ringing for England – Latest News

Towers’ Plans


We have received the following update from Libby Alexander of Ringing for England, which takes place on St. George’s Day Saturday April 23rd.

I am contacting you because I wonder if I could put to you a proposition.  In the past I have suggested to all the Branches/Guilds that perhaps, since the act of ringing is special on April 23rd    a tower within each City could be dedicated to being ‘open’ to the public for them to try their hand at ringing.  I am always being told there are not enough ringers or they are worried about the future and I thought this was the perfect solution.  In the past, whenever it has been done, the response has been excellent and local media have loved it. By having an open day on St. George’s day would unite the idea of being part of a national event, being part of a community activity, being a celebration of our special churches and, most important, being exposed to the skills of bell ringing.  It would also make the public feel more at ease in approaching a church, which they might not otherwise do, if they felt others across the country were doing the same.

Your cities of Alton, Bournemouth, Southampton, Portsmouth and Winchester have several lovely churches and with everyone out and about on a Saturday it must surely be an excellent draw.  The first one this year to come forward is in Somerset and the response from social media has been terrific even though it is only in a village.  I feel sure being in a city would definitely be a positive move for your Guild.  I would love to hear your views on this and look forward to hearing from you.

I have just heard that CCT and English Heritage have now been joined by The Landmark Trust who also want to be involved.  My Best Regards, Libby

Ringing for England iconLibby Alexander

Ringing for England Campaign – April 23rd 2016

Telephone:  07799 23 04 23

Bellringing as a U3A activity?

Sue Le Feuvre reports:
I’m in Guernsey at the moment so went along to the Forest practice yesterday. They have decided to offer bellringing as a U3A activity and yesterday was the first meeting. One lady was having her first handling lesson when I arrived at the church. She seemed to enjoy it and progressed really well.

The U3A is scheduled for 2.00 to 3.00 and so they decided to change the normal weekly practice from 6.30 in the evening to follow on at 3.00 until 4.30. It’s only the first week but it seemed to work really well. The practice was buzzing and rather than hoping that 6 people who could actually ring something would turn up; Phil had to make sure that everyone had a fair crack at the whip. Ringing ranged from call changes to Cambridge and was enjoyed by all.

It’s a ground floor ring so in summer I can imagine people wandering in to have a look when en route to the Occupation Museum…


It’s a frosty Friday evening in New York and, as most people are fleeing Wall Street to head home, Tony Furnivall is just arriving. At the end of the street, built into the stone wall surrounding Trinity Church, is a heavy door with a big cross on it.

He swipes an access card, clambers through the bowels of the church, and then begins the climb up the clock tower. There, in a dimly lit room that overlooks Alexander Hamilton’s grave, he’ll find a circle of ropes dangling from the ceiling. [read more]

How to add the sound of YOUR bells to your tower page

By now you should be hearing the sound of Grandsire Triples from Christchurch Priory!

It’s reasonably easy…and what a great addition to your web page for members of the public and other ringers. Making videos is harder, especially if your band isn’t used to being filmed. Audio files are MUCH less personal!! Here’s how…

Continue reading How to add the sound of YOUR bells to your tower page


Welcome, From The Christchurch Priory Bellringers

We are a band of approximately 25 ringers who provide ringing for morning and evening services at the Priory, as well as weddings and other special occasions. We practice on a Monday evening, 7.30 to 9.00pm. All ringing is listed on our calendar. We sometimes attempt a Quarter Peal before Evensong -please check the calendar as there is no general ringing on those occasions.

We have 12 bells (plus a flat 6) which makes for a number of choices – as well as 12 bells, we also ring the light 6, light 8 or back 8, or the back 10.

Which Bell is Which at Christchurch Priory (Rosemary Rogers)This choice of two number 6 bells also causes endless entertainment and shouts of “wrong bell!”, even for those of us who have rung for several years at the Priory. This explanation of which six to use with which configuration of bells, has been kindly provided by Rosemary Rogers.

The oldest bells were cast around 1370 – for a full history please click here

Christchurch Priory Bell Ringing Times

How family-friendly is YOUR tower?

Thanks to Tina Stoecklin for giving permission for her ideas to be published on this site. Extra ideas from members of the Guild are in italices. Please add your ideas at the bottom of the page!

Most hobbies do take a big  time commitment, and so unless all the
family does bellringing as its main or only activity (so very unlikely), there will be other hobbies competing for that time. Each time a child takes on an activity, it represents a potential time sink for at least one parent, because of extra time going to matches, concerts, plus making teas, manning raffle booths and so on and so on. Continuing to ring in the face of all this other competition is not easy. We have managed it, because it is something that we love (and hope our children will also love), but it is not easy to do, takes quite a lot of juggling, and is only possible because of the patient cooperation and understanding of the rest of the band.

And if I can head off any sanctimonious comments about modern parenting or overindulging children’s activities, every family makes their own choice as to how they spend their free time, and we have to respect that choice. We will get fewer families participating if we make that choice hard or get preachy about it.

There are things a tower can do to make the choice easier, and involve a surprisingly little effort on the part of the rest of the band:

  1. Actually be welcoming to children. We have visited towers where our
    children were viewed with a certain amount of discomfort, while at others were disappointed that we hadn’t brought them. You don’t need to offer a creche, just be nice.
  2. Understand if someone can’t come regularly for whatever reason, and be welcoming when they do. “Hello Stranger!” is not as welcoming as you might think.
  3. If someone can’t come Sunday ringing on a regular basis, they may be willing to be asked for special occasions, and it is worth asking.
  4. Let the children have a wee go. Chiming a bell is possible for any
    child (possibly with help) and perfectly safe. Also handbells are good.
  5. Try to make it easy to return to ringing if they take a break, so try to stay in touch occasionally.  Encouraging them to join the Guild/District Facebook group or an email group takes care of this very painlessly. 
  6. Sometimes do social things that don’t involve a pub, or don’t involve only a pub.

Other good ways to engage children too young be ringers yet:

  • involve them in helping tidy up (stack books, sort ringing worlds.
  • let them help with the rope spider
  • let them see the bells
  • give them a camera
  • let them be (or help be) runners for weddings etc
    – let them “chime” a bell before the service.

Many of these points apply equally to other groups of people, not just
families. Fewer people work ‘normal’ working days than previously, and
shifts and contract work can wreak havoc on regular attendance. Making it easier to come when it is possible to come means you have more chance of that happening.

Learn to Ring at Christchurch Priory

If you want to learn to ring, please contact the Ringing Master so he can arrange for you to visit us on a Monday evening and meet the band.

We recruit small groups and start them with a course which runs for about ten weeks at  9.30-10.30 on Saturdays, where basic bell handling and striking skills are covered.

Once basic bellhandling skills have been mastered, the learners join the early Monday practice, where they ring Rounds and Call Changes with some members of the band. Our practice night then covers the skills of method ringing which keep us all challenged!

Members who wish to, also participate in Guild and District Education courses to work on more advanced skills. The District also has a program of monthly practices targeted at different skills which are open to all those ringing at an appropriate level. Members are also welcome at District Practices which offer a greater variety of levels of ringing, plus an opportuniuty to socialise with ringers from across the Dsitrict.

There are also bellringing programs which run on computers and smartphones which help bellringers to learn “methods”.

ART association-of-ringing-teachersBell Handling skills are taught using the Learning the Ropes Scheme. One of the teachers recently qualified at Level 1 of the scheme, mentored by the tower captain.

A new school recruitment initiative: Winchester and Portsmouth Guild

St Swithun’s senior girls’ school and Winchester College are less than two miles apart geographically, and have long had links in many areas, both social and educational.

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

Winchester College is also one of few schools in the UK to have its own functional ring of bells, rung regularly by staff and pupils and used as a co-curricular training activity. As a parent of two daughters at St Swithun’s and an active member of the Winchester and Portsmouth Guild, it occurred to me in early 2015 that an untapped and rich pool of potential young ringing recruits existed on our doorstep, with the tools to train them already in place.

I approached Hugh Hill, the College master who runs the ringing, who responded enthusiastically to the proposal to join the schools in a co-curricular after school activity; the St Swithun’s clubs coordinator and headmistress were all for it too, and so I turned my mind to the practicalities of getting the initiative off the ground.

Ringing at the College chapel during the Summer term was not going to be possible because of the proximity of the bells to the rooms where the public exams are held; we agreed to kick off at the beginning of the new academic year, and so it was in June that I braved a school hall of a captive audience of six hundred girls and staff at their morning assembly to talk on my favourite subject.

With a time-constraint of fifteen minutes, I chose to focus on debunking myths and preconceptions about ringing which could be deterrents, emphasising the rich social opportunities of which established ringers are well-aware, and the liberal use of video clips of good-looking young male university students engaged in expert ringing. The obligatory Mars Bars Monks were well-received, and some basic maths, physics, history, Greek and Latin, religion and politics got the teaching staff onside.

I invited the girls to a taster session at Winchester Cathedral, and organised plenty of handling teachers, so that they could all have a try. Seven girls and two staff members came on that evening, with others interested but unable to come, it being the last Wednesday of term. We showed them the bells, they all had the opportunity to try some basic handling, and were treated to some of the best ringing the Cathedral band could produce on the occasion.

Moving forward to the Autumn, I turned my mind to the practicalities of training several complete novices on a Tuesday afternoon in a fifty-minute slot. I am not myself a handling teacher, and have a full time job, as do many of the local teachers; I rearranged my work timetable so that I could at least be present, and approached as many of my ringing teaching friends I could think of who are no longer in employment on a weekday afternoon . Because the girls are always accompanied by school staff members, we were able to circumvent any cumbersome disclosure checks. Charles, Edmund, Bruce and Colin rose to the occasion, and have been stalwart, patient and faithful teachers throughout the club’s first term.

The girls signed up for their after-school clubs at the start of the Autumn term, and we ended up with six girls – one already a competent rounds and call-changes ringer – and three staff members, one of whom is an experienced ringer. Everything appeared to be in place for an early September kick-off, when a spanner was thrown in the works; the clock mechanism at the College chapel packed up, and we were unable to ring until Smiths were able to come to fix it. Keen not to lose momentum, I requested permission to ring at

Cheriton Photograph by Caroline Fairley
Cheriton Photograph by Caroline Fairley

Cheriton, my local church, and both the girls and the College boys were duly transported to the countryside for the first four weeks.

With such a high ratio of teachers to pupils, we have been able to give the girls plenty of rope time, despite the time constraints, although ever conscious of the racket that must be apparent from the outside! After one term, they are all handling independently (with watchful supervision) and the College boys have been able to make significant progress with the increase in the number of experienced ringers at their practice. The novices are all now probationary Guild members, affiliated to the College, and have been given the incentive that with enough improvement, we can perhaps get a band together to ring for the school end-of-year service at Winchester Cathedral, and for their Carol service next Christmas.

school ringing quoteMoving forward to next term, all the girls seem keen to return; feedback from my daughters is that ringing is perceived as a quirky and fun activity, different in so many ways from the plethora of after-school clubs on offer, and that there are quite a few girls thinking of trying it out. We will, however, give priority to existing pupils, and will be constrained by the number of girls that can be accommodated in the school minibus, the number that can be safely squeezed into the tower, and how many we can reasonably train at any one time, and so we have pointed several girls in the direction of their own local tower.
For now, the future of the club looks healthy. And next Summer term, we will return to Cheriton, with the kind permission of the church wardens, so that no exam candidate is distracted by our no-doubt much-improved ringing.

Caroline Fairley

Need some Publicity material? Posters, leaflets, videos from CCCBR

There is a wealth of material on the CCCBR website and much of it is effective and has stood the test of time. All links below will take you to the CC website. To look at the original page please click here

Publicity material (produced by the committee or by others) is made available here:

  • Event posters:
    • For Celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday in either PDF or docx format.
    • For a Porch notice in either PDF or docx format.
    • For a Tower Open Day in either PDF or docx format.
    • For a Special occasion in either PDF or docx format.
  • Congratulatory certificates:
    • For a First peal in either PDF or docx format.
    • For a First quarter peal in either PDF or docx format.
    • For a First quarter peal (fewer details) in either PDF or docx format.
  • What is a peal?

    Information about peal ringing that you are free to copy and adapt.
    See: <What is a peal?>

Press releases:

Advice about press releases and samples that you are free to copy and adapt. See: <Press releases>

Ringing related themes:

Short descriptions of various aspects of ringing that you are free to copy or adapt in publicity material, articles, etc. <See themes>

Recruitment video: Up the Spiral Staircase.

A video looking at ringing through the eyes of a young non-ringer. Initiated by Andrew Craddock and funded by the Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild. <Download from here>

CCCBR recruitment poster: Ring the changes.

Available in printed form or as a download <See details here>. Its style matches that of the Recruitment leaflet (next item).

Recruitment leaflet:

Bell Ringing
the ultimate team activity. Glossy leaflet for distribution to the general public. Supplies available from CCCBR. Also as a download.
<See details here>

Presentation slides about Bells and Bellringing

For ringing educational and publicity purposes.
<See details here>

Leaflet for incumbents and churchwardens.

Winchester Cathedral Church School Days

Each year, Winchester Cathedral’s Education centre invites all the Diocese’s Church Primary Schools to send their final year (Year 6) pupils for a day’s learning about the Cathedral and its activities, culminating in a ‘Leavers Day’ service. This year over three days in June, more than 1,600 children from 50 schools each took part in two morning ‘workshops’ split into groups of no more than 20 pupils. An army of cathedral volunteers organised activities including brass-rubbing, calligraphy, gargoyles, stone-carving, and tapestries, but this year a new addition was the provision of three types of bell-ringing workshops.

These comprised –

  1. a trip up the tower to the ringing chamber with an opportunity to ring a muffled bell at backstroke, ringing demonstration, and quiz
  2. handbell ringing and learning the principal of plain hunting
  3. an experience of the Lichfield Diocesan Mobile Belfry, installed on the Close lawn, where children were shown how to ring, given demonstrations and were ‘walked’ through plain hunting

All these activities had to fit into a tight timetable of 45 minutes per workshop

Tower Bells Workshop

To get to the ringing chamber the children had to climb some 140 steps, starting with the turret at the west end of the nave. This took them onto the roof parapet and through a door in the roof to the roof space above the vaulting. Here a walkway runs from the west end, some 350 feet to a doorway in the central tower which opens into the ringing chamber.

After a demonstration of change ringing by a Guild band, children were given a brief introduction about how bells were rung, which included a live TV display of one of the bells being rung, and safety precautions (basically ‘don’t touch any ropes!’).

They were then split into groups so that they could each –

  1. have a go at ringing a bell under supervision
  2. try to ring in time to a computer simulation
  3. take part in a ‘treasure hunt’ finding out clues about bell-ringing

Handbells Workshop

Handbells Workshop at Winchester CathedralThis workshop was held in the North Transept under the supervision of the Guild’s Education Officer.

Children were taught how to hold a handbell so that they could strike it on both up and down strokes.

It is very important that the bells are not knocked against each other or other hard objects (particularly by dropping on stone cathedral floors!) since the soundbow can crack requiring the bell to be re-cast at great expense.

plain hunt diagramChildren were shown the basic principle of ringing changes as shown in this diagram, and the picture shows them simulating this.

The lowest number is the highest note and the highest number is the lowest note, so ‘I,2,3,4,5,6,7,8’ is an octave scale played from highest note to lowest.

Mobile Ringing Workshop

As the pictures here show, a mobile ring was hired from Lichfield and erected on the Close lawn. It was of great interest to the school children and the many other visitors to the cathedral. Guild ringers provided demonstrations and children were invited to try their hand under supervision. The workshop also included ‘walking the changes’, where the children were each given the number of a bell and had to change places in rows on the lawn, just like the diagram above.

Once again this enabled them to understand the principle of how English church bells are rung every Sunday.

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