Category Archives: Ecchinswell

First A.R.T. training in the Guild goes well.

ART Training Day Module 1.

As part of their amazing commitment to training in the Guild and ringing in general Andy and Sallie Ingram held Winchester and Portsmouth Guild’s first Association of Ringing Teacher’s (ART) Module1 – Teaching bell Handling day course on Saturday 25th June.

The day started at 09:00 in The Kings Head at Hursley with the introduction and coffee followed by a practical session across the road at All Saints Church and then back to the pub’s skittle alley for more theory. We continued this way with us cleverly dodging all the thunderous downpours.

9 students attended from 6 different towers of Ecchinswell, Hursley, New Alresford, Romsey, Rotherwick and Winchester.                                                                                                             Different ages and abilities from 3 districts were all there to learn about becoming a teacher on the ART Scheme, how ART approaches teaching others and then hopefully move on to teach their learners about bell handling and bell control to complete Module 1.

The course showed us how to approach learners, hand them a rope for the first time, start backstrokes then handstrokes with bells both up and down and then safely join hand and backstrokes together whilst imbuing them with confidence.


After a lovely pre ordered lunch , more theory followed. The practical lesson of teaching ringing up and down made us look at our own practices with surprising little tweeks here and there. Solving Handling Problems theory followed by the practical, again examined our own practices with most people needing very little correction and having left egos at the door this proved very well humoured.

Starting on an accredited teaching journey may seem at odds even superfluous to a few of the ‘old guard’ who have taught for many years but having a planned path of progress also has it’s place. Keeping a standard, planned learning path allows for a gradual reduction in ‘bad habits’ being taught and good practice being maintained .

ART say ‘National ringing institutions recognised that the ageing population of Tower Captains meant that the old ways of teaching had to change. As often happens at such times, along came individuals who had the knowledge, skills and time to be able to develop a new way. It has grown because it is the right thing being done at the right time’.

Without practice, feedback and reinforcement, basic human nature kicks in and people revert back to their old ways of doing things. That’s what we as teachers need to do to – practise until it becomes second-nature and practise it right. That’s what the ART Training Scheme does for you – it has processes and support to help you change your behaviours’.

A huge thankyou to Andy and Sallie for their relaxed and fun way of teaching and to All Saints Church, Hursley for the use of their bells.

I can’t wait to get back to my new ringers and use them as guinea pigs knowing I have a mentor to fall back on….. priceless..                                                                                                Deb Baker.

A Brief Report on Our Executive Committee  Meeting


At the Guild AGM in Alresford on 2nd of July The Guild Committee needs a whole new team of officers to be elected.

This incredible Committee has steered the Guild into a new era. The Plans are in place, the signposts show the way and the commitment to improve, educate and modernise this vibrant and active community is stronger now than ever before. SO, Please think seriously about helping us to keep the Guild and ringing moving forward. If you have been a secretary or treasurer for a school committee, if you can take minutes or type them up from a Dictaphone recording, if you like collecting data or think ringing needs to have a different voice in the Central Council, now is the time to say ‘do you know what? I could give it a try’. The posts becoming vacant are:

  • Master
  • Vice-Master
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • Librarian
  • Peal recorder
  • Report Editor
  • Minutes Secretary
  • CC reps (five of them)
  • Child Protection Officer
  • Independent Examiner
  • BRF Trustees for the two dioceses

Other Noteworthy Items:

On a cold and sunny morning on 12th of March The Executive Committee Meeting was held in St Barnabas Church Hall in Southampton. 24 members were present with 8 apologies.

We all stood whilst the names of those who have passed away since November were read out.

  • Roy Grayson    (Purbrook)
  • Roy Howard    (Freshwater)
  • Tom Metcalfe    (Blackmoor)
  • Ramon A Stone (life member, West Meon)
  • David Yates    (Arreton)
  • Martin Routh    (Former Tower Captain at Amport)
  • Colin Nicholson     (Formerly of St Peter Port)

With no matters arising from the last minutes the reports and accounts were accepted.

Interesting and noteworthy was that;

  • Our Hon. Librarian and Archivist Bruce Purvis had asked for a budget increase to buy volumes of Order and Disorder which contain ringing extracts from 18th and 19th century newspapers.
  • The Belfry Stewardship Committee planned on visiting and inspecting Droxford.
  • The Bell Restoration Fund gave a report on the Trustees’ Meeting; David Mattingley said there were grants outstanding to All Saints’, Basingstoke augmented from 9 to 10 and awaiting sign-off by the Belfry Stewardship Committee, Houghton where work had started, and Ecchinswell where fundraising was continuing. At Wherwell higher priority work in the church had been identified and so the outstanding grant would be reduced to zero and the church asked to reapply when they were in a position to proceed with the bell restoration. A new grant application had been received from Northington where the plan was now to augment from 3 to 6 at a cost of £17,000 of which £13,500 had already been raised. The Trustees recommended a grant of £2,000. The Trustees agreed with Hugh Routh who pointed out that work on three clappers which was part of the original project specification had not been done and we should not pay grants towards the same work twice.
  • Greg Jordan was elected onto the Striking Competition Committee
  • These fine folks will be presented with Life Membership certificates at the AGM, after completing 50 years of membership!   Congratulations to you all: John Croft (Winchester District Chairman), Alan Hoar of Odiham, Maureen Routh of Steep and  Ronald Tipper of Buriton.

The Master reviewed The Guild Action Plan and  suggested the setting up of 3 working groups:

  • A small working group will be set up to consider the content, format and production costs of The Annual Guild Report. Discussions revolved around how many reports to print IE 1 per person or 1 per  tower, sending it out digitally and if it could be produced in a more cost effective way.
  • Interestingly, A working group to consider the compilation, presentation and costs of books, listing performances rung between 2014 and 2018 commemorating the WWI fallen, to be presented to Winchester and Portsmouth Cathedrals, and that the working group be authorised to register interest with the Heritage Lottery Fund.
  • Excitingly, A working group to consider the possibility of a centralised Ringing Training School for teaching new ringers.

The Committee were happy to support a funding request of £400 towards travel expenses of a joint team of young ringers from the Isle of Wight and Channel Islands Districts to represent the Guild in the competition at Epsom on Sat 2nd April 2016. The rest of the money would be found by the youngsters and their families by fund-raising. We wish them well.

After much discussion a rethink was agreed on the ‘welcome pack’ for new ringers. Whilst people though it (The ART Discover Ringing booklet and a contacts list) was a good idea, just who to give it to e.g. not many probationary members become ringers and how to get it to them was of concern.

The Communications Exec member gave a presentation on Social Media extolling its virtues and its pitfalls.

Future Dates worth noting are;

In the ‘Any Other Business’ section issues discussed were;-

  • The arrangements for the Central Council (CCCBR) weekend at the end of May are well under way. There has been a good response to calls volunteers and Guild members are encouraged and welcome to attend the open meeting and Songs of Praise service both on Sunday afternoon.
  • If a volunteer can be found the requests for Guild sweatshirt production can continue.
  • If there was a form for making a bequest to the Guild. The answer was no it can be put into your Will.
  • Ropley Church was expected to be rebuilt between 2016-2018.
  • The Master promoted the Mid-Monthly Ringing Tours & the next one is on 13th April.

We were all done by 12:00  Then a long and very fast quarter peal of Grandsire Doubles ensued.

Ecchinswell Bell Restoration Trust’s Annual General Meeting

Eccinswell 2016 New Year imageSaturday 16th January, the current committee will step down from their positions for a new committee to be elected and members can then be re-elected.

If you would like to get involved with the trust, can help us with fundraising events and can spare an hour a month for a meeting, please feel free to come along.

The AGM is a FACEBOOK EVENT – do click and join!

A Fitting Send-off For Simon Lipscombe

Ecchinwell Photograph by Andrew G Craddock for TowerBase

Every seat was taken, and the back and sides of the church were packed with people standing, for Simon Lipscombe’s funeral at St Lawrence, Ecchinswell on Wednesday afternoon.

The number, and mixture, of people present gave a clue as to Simon’s influence during his short life – Ringers came not only from the Andover District, but all the other Districts in the Guild and well beyond.

Simon Lipscombe

But the ringers were far outnumbered by people who had simply loved Simon and wanted to be there to say goodbye. There was a group from the Royal Surrey Hospital where he received treatment, many local friends and family, and countless others.

Simon’s involvement with the church at Ecchinswell began early when he began to help out as an alter boy – a moving tribute was paid to him by the long-standing rector of the church, David Bartholemew, who had clearly pared down fifteen years of fond memories and picked out the best – including Simon’s first experiences of bell ringing – he started learning down the road in Burghclere with David, who soon dropped out becuase “It was too difficult for me, but Simon thrived”.

A moving tribute from Senna, Simon’s husband, followed.

Simon’s friends – John and Claire – spoke next, describing Simon’s ringing life and his audacious plan to raise £35,000 to turn the ring of three bells at Ecchinswell into a ring of 6. Claire, who runs the Trust, is determined to complete the work that Simon began.

Jodie Whatmore did a reading for Simon who she saw as a brother, not just as a friend.

Those of us who have got to know Simon as a ringer first and foremost, may have been surprised to learn that Simon was a keen DJ and not averse to raising roof, clubbing with Jodie, making a noise (well, that fits with ringing!) and even on occasion putting dustbins on top of cars. The vision of Simon, Senna, Claire and all Simon’s DJ equipment and speakers crammed into her car in the early hours after a disco, and driving off to the local McDonalds for a cheeseburger and Banana Milk Shake, was vivid.

Simon is irreplaceable for all of us. His contribution to the lives of his friends was deep and rich, his contribution as both an excellent ringer, and a most encouraging and skilled teacher of ringing, has left his band wondering “Who is going to teach us now?”. The band’s continuing enthusiasm, commitment and passion for bells has already resulted in several people signing up to learn to ring – pending a teacher being found.

Twenty Six years is far too short for a life. Nothing can really make those left behind, come to terms with the cruelty of the cancer which he fought for the last two years of his life. But I am sure everyone at the funeral saw new, and unexpected, facets of Simon and was wholehearted in celebrating the life of this extraordinary young man.

Peals and Quarters rung so far, in memory of Simon, including 4 recorded for the day of the funeral.

A final word from Viv Nobbs

Simon was the Convenor of the Striking Competitions Committee. He was trying to arrange very different and exciting Striking Contest Days so that they would be very inclusive and more appealing and inviting,  especially to our younger members.

Despite being in the advanced stage of his terminal illness, he volunteered to serve on the Education Committee. Unfortunately, he was unable to attend  meetings and that saddened him very much.

He worked hard for Church Bell Ringing, ringers, Andover District and our Guild as much as he could and for as long as he possibly could with some marvellous results.

A great inspiration to us all.

Simon Lipscombe Funeral Arrangements

Simon Lipscombe, photo by kind permission of Senna.
Simon Lipscombe, photo by kind permission of Senna.

For all those that knew Simon E Lipscombe-Smith and wish to attend his funeral, it is on Wednesday 18th November at 2pm at St Lawrence’s Ecchinswell Church*.

Parking outside the church is a bit of a squeeze but there is more parking inside the Ecchinswell Village hall car park, just South of the church.

The family are then having a private cremation service at West Berkshire Crematorium however everyone is invited back to Bishops Green Village Hall*, following the church service for the wake.

Simon’s wishes were for blue and pink to be worn to represent the Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Trust (TYAC) who supported Simon throughout his cancer journey. It has been requested that it is family flowers only. Donations can be made via West Berkshire Funeral Directors

From 12:45 there will be an open ring in St Lawrence’s church for anyone who wishes to pay their respects by having a ring of the church bells. The Service ring will then be performed. Once Simon’s service has concluded the tower will then be available for open ringing.

*Map below

Bishops Green Village Hall (google maps identifies this as the pre-school)

Santa’s Visit and Christmas Party – in loving memory of Simon Lipscombe

Click to see bigger version
Click to see bigger version

Hey guys….

I’m Claire, I’m the Fundraising and Events Manager for The Ecchinswell Bell Restoration Trust… CLICK FOR MORE ABOUT THE TRUST

In August Simon & myself sat down to put in place an event with a sleigh & Christmas festivities… Simon loved doing the sleigh events…

So Here it is….. For the first time this week I can smile cause I know Simon would love this so much….

Big massive thank you and well done to John Simpson for his hard work on this… We took Simon’s original & had to give a little tweak to fit everything on…


Now we need your help please…..

Ladies and Gents…. Our flyer for the 4th December… Please save it on your phones, share it, post it on your face books…. Let’s get it out there… Spread the word…

And in the words of Simon “Santa is coming to town”

Master’s Message – RIP Simon Lipscombe

Senna has asked me to let all Guild members know the sad news that Simon passed away late last night. Senna, his husband, was with him holding his hand, and said that Simon was at rest and very peaceful.

Simon and Senna have shown great courage and fortitude throughout Simon’s illness. We will miss Simon with his enthusiasm and his great sense of humour – more than words can tell. Please may I ask that we show our love and support to Senna and Simon’s family at this sad time.

R.I.P. Simon, my good friend, and thank you so much for all that you’ve achieved to encourage and enhance church bell ringing throughout your all-too-short life.

Viv Nobbs