As you will know Ropley has no church and no bells at the moment, but we do have a band of ringers. We practice on the second Thursday of the month at Old Alresford in the winter and Bishops Sutton in the summer. We do have a problem, half the band are ill. Two are needing an operation in the near future which will put them out of ringing for some time, another is getting over an illness which put them in hospital before Christmas and they are still weak and a fourth has a sick husband. I do not want to stop practices but with only three ringers it may happen. I am asking if you could give an evening a month to help? If there is no response then practices will stop, meaning it will be very difficult to start again. Please contact me if you can help.
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Sundays: occasional Sundays at Bishop’s Sutton, check with Tower Secretary
Practices: Unringable at present following major fire.
Latest News from Ropley
News from Elisabeth Day 24th April 2016:
“Over the past year we have been gathering information on the condition of the church walls, presenting that information to the various interested bodies and discussing the possibilities of what could be achieved for the church rebuild. At the end of March we had a site meeting with Historic England, SPAB, the EHDC.
The PCC is inviting you to a meeting at the village hall on the 16th June at 19:30. There will be a presentation by the PCC and John Alexander (our appointed architect) on the condition of the building as it currently stands, the challenges that we face and what the rebuild possibilities could be.”
STARTING WITH THE REALLY IMPORTANT BIT:
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:
- 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.
A detailed report about the Fire at Ropley is scheduled to appear this week in the Ringing World, but the tower captain has written this message of thanks to all the ringers who have been so supportive since the fire last Thursday.
It looks like we’re still many years off of ringing the bells again, and at the moment we’re stuck with the heartbreaking scenes of seeing the 5 and the 6 exposed through the remaining charred beams of the tower. Trying to keep positive, we’re excited about recreating that dedication service when the church has been restored, again remembering Mariana Sophia Hagen, linking the past while using the opportunity to get a new generation of people involved in ringing.
The damage could have been worse, our practice was due for that Thursday night, when the bells would have been left up, ready for a wedding on the Saturday. We’ll never know, but If the fire had been a day later, we suspect the bells might have come down, pulling much of the tower with them.
The response from villagers contacting us to let us know how much they loved the bells, how much comfort it brought them, reminding them of loved ones who are no longer with us, as well as the bell ringing community, has meant so much through these tricky first few days. As anyone who runs a tower knows, it can be a struggle to keep the belfry chiming week after week, getting enough ringers together when modern life can so easily get in the way. To see all those years of hard work literally go up in smoke was devastating, so it means an incredible amount that others understand the loss, and are standing by us, offering help of storing the bells, places to keep practicing, we don’t know how much help we’ll need yet, but we couldn’t have asked for more support from the bell ringing community.
Jason, and Lucy Clements
In case the you would like any extra information, there’s this web page written about the last restoration of the church, including what is inscribed on each of the bells, and a poem written by M.S Hagen, who was responsible for their restoration, and gifting a new treble bell:
Telephone: 01420 568175
Address: 11 Bernard Avenue, Four Marks, Alton GU34 5DQ
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