It is with great sadness that we report the death of the President of our I.W.District – Peter Smith aged 91 and a Life Member of the Guild. Peter had been Tower Captain & churchwarden at All Saints, Freshwater for many years, teaching many people to ring.
A funeral service celebrating his life took place on Friday 3rd January 2020. The church was filled with members of the congregation, family & friends plus many bell ringers from all over the Island. The bells were rung “open” to bring the coffin into church for the lovely service, then rung again as the cortege took Peter to his final resting place in the churchyard – always within the sound of the bells that he loved.
Owing to most Island ringers volunteering to man the gates for the Chale Show over the weekend of 4th and 5th August there will be no ringing at All Saints, Ryde, during this weekend.
If you are visiting over that weekend and would like to ring at one of our towers please ensure you check with tower secretaries or tower captains beforehand as this will also apply to a lot of our towers.
Because a lot of ringers are busy or on holiday the decision has been taken to cancel this Monday’s (30th July) practice at the Minster at Newport as it is felt there will be not enough ringers to make a viable practice evening. Normal practice will take place next week (6th August).
On Sunday Ryde tower helped ringer Maureen Kelly celebrate her 80th birthday, and on Swithen’s Day with not a drop of rain in sight!
With a lot of organising, secret meetings, ‘coffee meetings’ and underhand communications we pulled off a very special afternoon with nearly all the ringers of the Isle of Wight attending Ryde church hall to help celebrate this milestone event.
Maureen admitted to being a ‘bit nervous’ as to how the day would play out, knowing me she had every reason to be so!
In the event, on such a hot day, and with a hall full of friends, everything went to plan and I think the afternoon tea, organised and laid out by the Parish Church tea team, was a superb ending to all the hours of organising.
An Island band was raised to ring Grandsire Triples for Evensong service in celebration but unfortunately at the half way stage the rope slipped on the 7th and the quarter was abandoned. Remaining ringers did however ring a long touch of Stedman Doubles for the service, something not often achieved at Ryde.
Maureen has asked me to pass on her thanks to all of you that attended and to also thank you for the good wishes, together with the many cards and gifts she has received.
This morning, Maureen sent me this message: I was on a high and didn’t get to bed until this morning, and up again at 5ish, to open the cards I received yesterday afternoon. I’d call that a success then wouldn’t you!
A true Jamboree…ringers, visitors and NHS Ambassadors!
I’m sure all ringers wish to thank NHS on the Island for asking us to join their 70th Anniversary fun in this way and to work alongside them for several months for our mutual benefit and enjoyment.
The aim was 15 towers out of 15 ringing and it was achieved with much team effort. Island ringers turned up trumps, as ever! Thank you all.
Bishop Christopher of Portsmouth has sent his message saying it was a remarkable endeavour adding “I’m bowled over by the scope and ambition of the ringing and delighted you celebrated the NHS 70th birthday so well. Please pass on my good wishes to all who participated.”
It was wonderful and so very special indeed to take part in such a splendid celebration….a great opportunity to meet up with ringing friends from the local area and beyond. Five were on holiday and joined the merry throng and four came out of retirement “For the day” to help the Roving Ringers who were helping to ensure all towers were able to participate. A busy time of year and not all local ringers were available, of course. We wonder if those returning to ring just for the occasion will have enjoyed it so much that…..well, who knows?!
Our churches’ visitors went off with Ringing Remembers recruitment leaflets, distributed by the NHS Ambassadors, our partners for the event. One visitor and one NHS lad were former ringers we discovered (one a peal ringer) …we’ll all be in touch again, for sure!
The majority of participating towers were visited by NHS ambassadors and they presented certificates of participation to towers and the ringers. The remaining ones will be presented with their certificates in the next week.
It was a hot, long and very busy day so the tea and cakes kindly set up ready for us by the congregation members at Chale, before we joined them for their service, were delicious and very welcome.
John Stock reported that when they’d started ringing at Freshwater at 5 p.m. several folk entered the church to thank them excitedly for ringing for England’s football victory!
Yes, it was indeed a superb result for us all!
All Saints’ Ryde ringer and W. and P. Guild P.R.O.
Jane Followill Reports from Swanmore and Brading:
Wowsers! What a day!
We started our day ringing on the three bells at Swanmore. We had approximately 15 ringers ranging from learners to experienced and of all ages. Rounds were rung in the 45 minutes with a little plain hunt at the end. Our NHS representative, Sarah Kearney, respiratory clinical nurse specialist had a go. She stayed the whole time and thanked us very much.
Brading next! Ringing on all 8 with again about 15 ringers. Unfortunately, Jay Nevett, healthcare assistant was unable to attend due to family matters. Rounds and call changes were rung in the 45 minutes.
Time for lunch… At St Saviour’s on the cliff in Shanklin. Jan Hookey set up a tea and biscuits station. Yummy! All 8 bells were rung… Again, rounds and call changes.
Andy Hollebon, Head of Communication made a small speech thanking us all very much, not only for ringing today but also for our WW1 ringing efforts. He apologised for not everyone having certificates but didn’t realise there were going to be so many of us ringing! He assured that more would be sent through.
A little bird had told us that Andy had dabbled with ringing in the past and he was offered an opportunity to ring again. Let’s hope he takes it up again in the future!
A fantastic day was had by all and it was great to see six young ringers joining us!
Edwin Cole, tower captain at Chale, has informed us there will be no ringing practice this coming Thursday, 5th July.
I understand the Wight Mouse will still be open if you miss this and turn up but still fancy an afternoon sitting in their garden overlooking the coastline to Freshwater with a nice cooling drink in your hand! Sounds like a plan to me!
Members of the Middlesex County Association & London Diocesan Guild have been visiting the Island over the Bank Holiday weekend and together with visiting most of our towers took on the task of ringing a full peal at All Saint’s, Ryde, on Sunday, in what must have been the hottest day this year so far.
However, the peal was scored in three hours and four minutes so congratulations to all the team who took part and our district hope the party enjoyed the lovely weather and hospitality that our Island has to offer.
Details of the peal are as follows:
Ryde, Isle of Wight
Sunday, 27 May 2018 in 3h 4 (26–2–2 in E♭)
5040St Simon’s Bob Triples
Composed by Donald F Morrison (no 7547)
1Stephen J F Mitchell (C)
2Mary E Gow
3Anne M Anthony
4Martin F Mitchell
5Stephen R Smith II
7Matthew E Rayner
8William J Stungo
Rung as part of Twickenham (and friends) ringing weekend on the Isle of Wight.
Isle of Wight District bell ringers gathered at Whitwell on Saturday last to honour the memory of Lester Bailey, a past ringer of Godshill, whose Memorial Shield is contested for every year in June.
Seven towers entered teams this year with a good mix of ringers, ageing from 7 to about, well, let’s just say oldish!
Steve Castle dusted off his passport to cross the Solent and judge the competition for us, and for that we are very grateful for the time and effort on his part in agreeing to our request.
The sun shone for us all so a running picnic tea outside in the grounds of the church was provided by Sue Day, with her team of willing Whitwell helpers laying on ample supplies of tea, coffee, cold drinks, and of course, our dietary need of cake and biscuits!
Photos: Mary Tester
Each team took their turn to ring five minutes of call changes and the final result was as follows: 1st: Ryde (31 faults, 76%); Joint 2nd: Brighstone (41 faults, 62%) and Chale (46 faults, 62%); 3rd: Brading (70 faults, 47%); 4th: Shanklin (88 faults, 45%); 5th: Arreton (111 faults, 27%); 6th: Swanmore (115 faults, 17%).
John Stock, Ryde tower captain, receives the certificate and shield from judge Steve Castle.
In all a lovely social afternoon for all our Island ringers and we thank Jenny Brudenell, Margaret Downer and Mary Tester for all their work in organising the event.
Saturday saw the Isle of Wight bell ringers come together and pull all the stops out to have a day of remembrance, ringing and raising funds for the World War I Books of Remembrance.
St Thomas’s at Newport was the gathering point at 10am where we managed to have enough ringers to ring 10 of the 12 bells, however things didn’t go quite as plain sailing as we had hoped as in addition to the already broken stay on the 8 we managed to pair the 7 with it as well! Sorry Newport!
Visiting ringers from the Guildford Guild area of Dunsfold joined us for the day also together with visitors joining us for ringing at the various towers en route.
We did, however, remember the three ringers from this tower who lost their lives in the Great War. They were William John Curtis Millgate, Alfred James Hale and Frederick James Chiverton.
Viv and Graham Nobbs then cycled to Godshill as part of the challenge for the day’s fundraising, distributing leaflets and cajoling passers by with bell ringing information and recruitment on the Island.
At Godshill we gathered speed with more ringers joining the day out and here we remembered local ringer F. Dennis.
We managed some method ringing here too and, adding insult to injury, as Viv called to chime Queens at the lower the rope on the treble fell to the floor in front of her. Thankfully things improved from thereon!
Lunch was then taken at various venues with some of us taking advantage of the superb weather and enjoying a picnic in the recreation ground at Godshill, with Toby Teddy supplied by Shanklin Sports Shop and Toymaster as mascot for the day leading the way.
The group then split into two with Viv and Graham heading off on their bikes again to Whitwell, where ringer Cyril George Petchey was remembered and then onto Niton where tea and cake were on offer to those taking part by the local band there.
The second group, led by John Stock, headed off to Arreton followed by the last stop at Brading where the intended Teddy Bear picnic didn’t quite happen but Brading ringers put on a good tea with some more ringing.
The day was more successful than we could have imagined and we thank all who took part in whatever way you participated. It was a mammoth task organising the day but the weather made all the difference.
At the end the total toward the World War I Project ended with £326 being raised. A huge effort from island ringers who deserve a huge thank you for their efforts.
Pictures supplied by Jan Richardson and Viv Nobbs.
Revd Canon Graham Morris rocked our Parish on Sunday with the news that he and his wife, Angela, have decided to move back to North Island to Cirencester and take up a post which will be closer to his family.
Members of the bell ringing team will miss them both deeply and we thank them both and their wider family for the help and encouragement with our ringing in the past six years.
We do, however, respect and understand their difficult decision to leave and we wish them well on the new chapter of their lives.
I wonder if I add another two bells to our tower could I persuade him to change his mind?!
The following statement was issued on Sunday from the Vicarage:
Statement to the Parish. 6th May 2018
These last few weeks have been filled with emotional highs and lows as Angela and I have faced up to some important challenges, for ourselves, and for our family. The time has come for us, to now accept a new challenge.
The Bishop of Tewkesbury has extended an invitation (subject to the usual safeguarding checks being made) for me to become the next Vicar of Cirencester in the Diocese of Gloucester.
After nineteen years here on the Is…land, this has been a difficult decision to make, and one that has caused us to reach deep into our hearts for the answer. We believe that God has answered our prayers in enabling us to continue in the work that we both love, i.e. serving a parish: whilst also becoming more easily accessible to our families at a time when their needs are as important as ours. Some of you will be aware of the personal circumstances surrounding my Dad, and of Angela’s decision to go and work for Amy. Returning to the Midlands, means we will be living midway between our parents in Herefordshire, Amy in Winchester and Tim in Portsmouth.
Island life has been fabulous and we shall miss it; being your priest for the last 6 years has been a real privilege. It is likely that we shall move at the end of July, and be inducted as Vicar of Cirencester early in September.
As we make this leap back across the water, we will of course be praying for you as the search for my successor begins. We hope that you will also pray for us as we embrace this new opportunity.
Please note that as the evening practices for both Arreton and Newport, which usually take place on Monday, are on the Bank Holiday (May 7th) this week the decision has been taken to cancel the practices at these towers and you should all be out having fun and enjoying the ‘hot’ weather here on the Island.
St Michael and All Angels Church, at Swanmore in Ryde was the tower with some notable firsts on Sunday.
The first first was for 16-year-old Jake Saddington who, as a Swanmore-taught ringer, rang his first quarter peal covering on the 6-bell simulator. May congratulations are due to him for all his hard work in getting to this stage at a fairly rapid rate.
Kieran Downer clocked up another first with ringing his ‘first’ on the ‘new’ treble.
The final first is recording that this is the first ever 6-bell quarter peal recorded for this tower, albeit on a simulator. Well done to all the team at Swanmore for all their enthusiasm and hard work in getting a team up and running.
The event is recorded for Ringing World as follows:
Sunday, 29 April 2018 in 40 mins (Sim)
1Kieran Downer (C)
4John R Stock
1st quarter peal – 6. Jake is the first Swanmore taught ringer to ring a quarter peal.
1st 6-bell quarter in the tower and 1st on the treble.
Arreton ringer Gerry Faulkner romped through his first ever quarter peal at St George’s Church, Arreton, on Sunday.
Gerry covered for the quarter peal, which was rung ahead of St George’s Day on Monday for the Church’s Patronal Festival, and is the first to be rung there since August 2016, so a very special event by local ringers.
After 13 years of being a ringer he was finally persuaded to take the plunge and is another one of our Island band of senior ringers to achieve that.
We congratulate him most warmly on the achievement and hope this will be the first of yet more to come!
The successful quarter is recorded for Ringing World as follows:
Arreton, Isle of Wight
Sunday, 22 April 2018 in 41 mins (8–2–0 in A♭)
240 each of St Simon’s, St Martin’s, Plain Bob, Reverse Canterbury. 300 Grandsire.
On Tuesday morning (24th April) Haylands Primary School at Swanmore, Ryde, visited St Michael’s Church, for a look to see how bells are rung and were given a tour of the tower.
Some 56 year-one children with their teachers were split into four groups and were guided by Tower Captain Lexi Skeldon together with Kieran Downer, Jan Hookey and John Stock on hand to help with ringing and teaching about the church and its working bells. All of the group took a bell to have a go at ringing backstroke, some more successfully than others!
An enjoyable morning was had by all with a darkened room required for the helpers to recover afterwards!
Following his licensing during the afternoon a quarter peal was rung at Brighstone on Sunday (22nd) to welcome the new rector, Revd Clive Todd and his wife Carolyne. OK, so we have to share him with Shalfleet, Thorley, Calbourne, Newtown, Shorwell, Mottistone & Brook but I’m sure we will all cope!
Church of St Mary the Virgin
Sunday, 22 April 2018 in 39mins (7–1–15 in B♭)
1Stephen Noyes (C)
First Grandsire Triples inside: 5
We welcome both to our Island and wish them well for the future.
Ryde ringers took to their ropes early on Saturday morning in an attempted quarter peal of Plain Bob Minor to honour the Queen, who has been celebrating her 92nd birthday over the weekend.
However, two-thirds of the way through things all started to go horribly wrong and went downhill rapidly thereafter!
First the conductor miscalled so we stood and abandoned the attempt and thus after some talk rang a while longer with a touch of Reverse Canterbury being completed.
On leaving the tower we were confronted by men from the Gas Board who were evacuating the building because a gas leak had been identified beneath the tower in the boiler room – right beneath where we had been ringing!
Work on this continued all day and into the evening and by late evening we were still not sure if the church would be able to be reopened for services and ringing to take place on Sunday.
Many of you would have had experienced the noisy evening as the electric storm struck the Island.
At this point the men of the gas party were still on site, fortunately not in the building, but a lightning strike hit the tower and as one of the workers said to me this morning: ‘It was a bit of a fright to be so near, and especially with a gas leak nearby!’
Photo by kind permission of Ryde resident Jordan Wade.
During the course of the worst storm to hit the Island since the early 1980s, over 3,400 lightning strikes were recorded over the Isle of Wight area, with at its peak 93 strikes per minute being recorded island-wide.
Ryde tower, locally known as the Gothic Rocket, escaped damage and ringing was allowed this morning with 10 minute’s notice given for the all clear.
Workmen are still on site today (Sunday) with a big hole in the Church ground, but for now some sense of normality has returned with normal Sunday services being allowed to take place and performed by our incumbent Revd Canon Graham Morris.
We now reflect on events of the past 24 hours and think of how things could have been so very different!
The Island ringers were hosts to a group of ringers from the Witney and Woodstock Branch of the Oxford Diocesan Guild for a 3-day tour.
The group, led by Michael Probert, arrived on Friday and started with a practice at All Saints’, Ryde.
During the course of the fairly reasonable weekend for weather the group managed to ring at all the Island’s towers, and I’m told enjoyed their time over here.
The tour concluded with ringing at Ryde again, this time four of their group joined four of the Ryde band in a quarter peal of Single Oxford Bob Triples. The successful ring was the first in this method for all the visitors, and I must admit they were feeling quite chuffed with the ring as they left the tower to catch the ferry home.
The quarter peal is recorded on Bellboard as follows:
Sunday, 15 April 2018 in 50 min (26 2cwt)
1260Single Oxford Bob Triples
2Lindsey Thornton (Stonefield)
3Alison T Merryweather-Clarke (North Leigh)
4John R Stock
5Michael Probert (Freeland)
6Neil R Ephgrave (Freeland)
7Graham Nobbs (C)
For Evensong and to Celebrate the Centenary of The Lions Club and 30th Anniversary of the Lady Lions.
First in method: 2, 3, 5, 6; visiting ringers from Witney & Woodstock Branch of the Oxford Diocesan Guild.
Brighstone hosted the 8-Bell Striking Competition in memory of Don Exell on Saturday, 14th April. This is the first time the tower have been able to host an 8-bell event with the addition of the two extra bells being inaugurated last year.
Six teams entered the first Island competition of the year for a lovely afternoon of ringing and socialising amongst Island ringers.
Paul Miller acted as judge and Margaret Downer, Isle of Wight District Deputy Ringing Master, thanked him for standing in at short notice.
Teams entered in the following order: 1, Brighstone (call changes); 2, Brighstone (Grandsire Triples); 3, Brading (call changes); 4, Ryde (Grandsire Triples); 5, Shanklin/Swanmore (call changes); 6, Under-30s scratch team (call changes).
Following his deliberations Paul gave advice and suggestions to all teams as to how to improve but did say that 49 years ago when he moved to the Island and joined Ryde team there were no 8-bell teams of any note so was pleased to see that in our lifetime ringing on the Island had come so far as to be able to sport six teams for a competition, something that would have been unheard of, even 25 years ago!
In giving the results he did say he had been harsh in his marking but hoped this would be to our advantage and help us with improving our ringing in general. The inexperienced teams were particularly to be congratulated on their sterling efforts.
The final result was as follows: 1st, Ryde (48 faults); 2nd, Brighstone Grandsire team (86 faults); 3rd Brighstone call change team (114 faults); 4th, Brading (146 faults).
Team 5 (Shanklin/Swanmore) were unfortunately unmarked as even with a gallant effort by all they didn’t complete the piece required. The Under-30s scratch team didn’t enter as competitors but to give their young team the experience of competition ringing, the youngest being just 7 years old in the last few days!
With all the enthusiasm shown this afternoon this bodes well for Island ringing into the future.
Tea and cakes were served by the Brighstone team so a big thank you to them for their hospitality. To Paul we also offer our thanks for an onerous job well done.
Ryde tower captain, John Stock, receives the Don Exell Trophy from judge Paul Miller at the conclusion of the competition.
Photo courtesy of Mary Tester.
Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers