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It is with considerable regret that the death of Chris Shere is recorded here. Chris, who suffered a heart attack some eleven years ago, succumbed to the consequences of a further and much more recent attack and died at his home in Huntsham on 18 February last. He was fifty six.
He was both respected and liked as a member of the Huntsham community and a keen participant in the activities of the Troyte Centre where he had been ringing for some four years; in this he followed his father who rang at Huntsham in the 'forties and early 'fifties and with his sister Ann and cousin Richard, shared an enthusiasm for the bells. He will be sadly missed by those who knew and rang with him.
The funeral will be held at Huntsham church, 2 pm on Tuesday, 1 March. After the service, a farewell touch will be provided by fellow ringers.
Those who know the fine ring at the cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand, will be greatly saddened by the extent of the damage suffered as a consequence of the latest earthquake, pictures of which have been seen in the English news media. The photos show the absence of the once lofty spire but what is not immediately obvious is that the bells and frames have gone too. This is a dreadful devastation, particularly as this was, perhaps, the finest ring in a country not over-endowed with full circle towers. Sadly, there will be no calls of "Go Yorkshire Surprise Maximus" here for some years to come.
Sympathy is extended to the ringing brotherhood in New Zealand.
After a year's interregnum, Bampton once again has a resident vicar. The Rev Lynne Burgon was greeted by some splended ringing as recorded by these two "Peal Boards"; she is welcomed by the local and very active ringing community of the North East Branch.
The first course in Raising and Lowering was held at Huntsham on 23 October last year and proved such a success that popular demand dictated a second seminar on 22 January last. This proved no less successful as Sharon McCabe's account testifies. Consequently, a "consolidation" day is being planned as a successor to these two training days. Watch this space . . .
Having started my new hobby of bell ringing nearly a year ago, I was asked if I would be interested in attending a day’s training course at Huntsham on raising and lowering the bells. Of course I jumped at the chance.
We arrived at 10.00 to a lovely warm welcome of hot coffee and biscuits and we all got to know where everyone on the course had come from (there were 5 of us) and, of course, asked the usual questions of “how long have you been bell ringing?” and “how did you get into it?”
Mike (our instructor) gave us a run down on what the day would hold for us, and then we made our way to the ringing chamber. Six of the eight bells were already “up” and we took it in turns to lower the bell on a one-to-one basis so Mike could observe our “technique”. He then gave us feed back on how we could improve. This was all put across in a very friendly manner so none of us was left feeling intimidated.
The rest of the morning was taken up by practicing raising the bell and lowering while following an experienced ringer (our thanks go to Richard for being so patient in repeating the same thing over and over). Mike continued to encourage us all and answered every question we put to him.
At 1.00 we stopped for lunch which included warming soup, rolls, salad, cold cuts, cheese and a wonderful banana trifle (I don’t think I will ever forget that trifle, it was so good). Again we were very grateful to Pat for all her hard work in keeping us fed and watered.
During lunch we were joined by more helpers for the afternoon session. We spent the afternoon putting into practice what we had learned in the morning by taking turns to lower in peal, firstly as one of 6 bells and then one of 8. These were incredibly helpful and although we were not always keeping in time it was really useful to learn the reasons why and how to get back into time with the other ringers.
At the end of the course we all enjoyed a chat over a cup of tea and slice of Victoria sandwich.
I am sure I am not alone in saying how helpful and enjoyable this course was. I certainly intend to take part in more in the future.
All I need to do now is put everything I have learned into practice (and plenty of it) so that I, too, will be able to raise and lower in peal with confidence.
I cannot thank everyone enough (especially Mike) for their time and kindness.
The branch has a Bell Advisor, Jack Ward who is ready, willing an able to help any tower regarding inspections (incuding Quinquennial inspections). Advise PCCs how to approach and work with commercial bell hangers. Jack is also available to give advice and help with project management and maintenance training.
On Saturday 4 December the North East Branch held the last of its training events for 2010. The weather could have been more kind, and as a consequence three of the intended participants were unable to attend because of the snow and icy roads. The trainer made a trial run the day before to check the routes into and out of Huntsham and route information was given to those requesting local knowledge. This session was to consolidate Plain Bob Triples, which has been a Monday evening method at Huntsham whenever there have been sufficient ringers present.
The morning started with coffee or tea and biscuits - essential on a cold morning - and then straight into the first exercise which was plain courses of Bob Triples. Emphasis was placed on coursing order and the order in which each bell passes the treble. The second exercise was to ring three courses with three bobs at home. For those ringing the second, third or fourth bells this touch has similarities with Plain Bob Doubles with the fifth bell as observation. It was emphasised that the second reason for this touch was to keep five, six and seven coursing as in the plain course. The third exercise was a bobs only touch in which the second, third, fourth and fifth bells were all affected by bobs giving more varied coursing orders. The fourth exercise involved singles and the final exercise of the morning was a touch including bobs or singles at every lead with the participants on bells two or three. This provided an opportunity to look at what was happening as each of the other working bells made fourth's place at bobs or singles. Each of the three participants who made it to Huntsham rang each of these five exercises on the bell of their choice.
The session ended with one of Pat's light lunches - hot soup, cold meats, cheese, rolls, salad bits and pieces and a yoghurt to finish.
Sessions such as this place a burden on the helpers who rang between them fifteen touches of Plain Bob Triples in three hours. Without helpers we cannot run our training events and helpers become thinner on the ground as the year progresses. So a big "thank you" to all our helpers this year. Our 2010 programme has been well received and all sessions have been fully booked - only the weather has really influenced attendance.
The 2011 programme starts with another raising and lowering all day session on Saturday 22 January.
Saturday, 27 November was the date for this year's annual North East Branch dinner. The place was the Redwood's Inn, Uplowman, just a brisk walk from the Uplowman church, scene of recent Branch success in the Guild 6-bell striking competition. A couple of dozen or so hardy souls braved an unusually cold night to enjoy an excellent meal and an evening of fun in the pub which turned out to be much more convivial than the sepulchral venue of last year's do. Everyone had fun and it seemed a little selfish that all this bonhomie was not spread amongst a wider section of the Branch membership.
We now have just over 100 Branch members of the Guild so Saturday's turnout was, perhaps, not so bad but sadly, of the 16 towers represented within the Branch, only regulars of the two Tivertonians and Bampton were present. It is a pity that there is not greater support for the activities of the Branch and to the organisation of which the committee devotes considerable effort. Perhaps next year will see an increase in enthusiasm generally and for this very worthwhile annual get-together in particular. Most of those who shared all this year's fun are pictured below:
Sheila Scofield was behind the camera and is the one to blame for Glen Morgan and Terry Hargreaves not being in front of it!
During the week, 33 ringing members of the NE Branch took part in Quarter Peal attempts. We rang 13 attempts in the Tiverton and Cullompton Deaneries and in 9 of our Branch affiliated towers. At the end of the week, £190.00 had been raised for the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund (DCBRF). 7 of the attempts were successful and there were a number of FIRSTS. Details below:
Bampton, Saturday 30 October
1260 Plain Bob Minor:
Pat Hatchett 1
Ann Barrow 2
Sheila Scofield 3
Charlotte Boyce 4
Tony Trigg 5
Michael Hatchett (c) 6
Rung in memory of Richard Charles (Dick) Sloman a Bampton ringer for many years.
Huntsham, Monday 1 November
1260 Plain Doubles in two methods:
Alan Edwards 1
Christopher Bolt 2**
Sheila Scofield 3
Leslie Boyce 4
Michael Hatchett ( c ) 5
Jack Ward 6
Brian Samuels 7
Mike Heard 8*
Rung with 768 covering. *1st quarter peal, **1st quarter peal in two methods on an inside bell.
Broadhembury, Tuesday 2 November
1260 Plain Bob Doubles:
Lucy Tame 1*
Pauline Champion 2
Richard Shere 3
Matthew Webb 4
Reginald McKenzie 5
Martin Lloyd 6
*1st quarter peal.
Washfield, Wednesday 3 November
1260 Doubles (1 P & 5 M):
Sally Lawrence 1
John West 2
Martin Blazey (c) 3
Terry Hargreaves 4
Giles Morely 5
Bryan Williams 6
Cruwys Morchard, Wednesday 3 November
1260 Plain Bob Doubles:
Nellie Croft 1
Charlotte Boyce 2
Richard H. Johnston 3
Michael Hatchett 4
Matthew Weighell (c) 5
Clive Jones 6*
*1st quarter peal. ** 1st quarter peal in this tower including 2 local ringers.
Cullompton, Sunday 7 November
1296 Plain Bob Caters:
Charlotte Boyce 1
Sheila Scofield 2
Michael Hatchett 3
Richard Shere 4
Richard H. Johnston 5
Leslie Boyce 6
Matthew Webb 7
Matthew Weighell 8
Pauline Champion (c) 9
Terry Hargreaves 10
*1st quarter peal of plain bob caters rung by a NE Branch resident band.
Tiverton St Peter, Sunday 7 Novemeber
1280 Yorkshire Surprise Major:
Sheila Scofield 1
Charlotte Boyce 2
Richard Shere 3
Michael Hatchett 4
Leslie Boyce 5
Richard H. Johnston 6
Pauline Champion 7
Matthew Weighell (c) 8*
*1st as conductor in Surprise major. **1st quarter peal of surprise major with a resident NE Branch band.
It was a most encouraging quarter peal week for the Branch. The participation rate was high and most attempts included ringers who were pushing their personal envelopes. Even where quarters failed, they provided useful practice at a sustained period of ringing. Standards are rising, and, as our 2nd place in the recent inter-district striking competition showed, the Branch now has a core band of ringers who can reliably ring together to a high standard of striking. The week concluded with two quarters by North East members that not only pushed the Branch’s ringing boundaries but also provided real ringing pleasure.
This report submitted jointly by the Branch Ringing Masters.
Bampton – Bob Minor
This was the day after the Bampton Charter Fair, so parking was difficult due to the car park near the Church being full of camper vans. It was very tempting to stay there to savour the smell of other peoples’ breakfasts but instead we gave warning to the campers and went off to the Church to ring up the bells and generally disturb everyone’s quiet morning. This was a pleasing quarter peal; certain coursing order combinations allowed some very good striking provided by Pat Hatchett, Ann Barrow, Sheila Scofield, Charlotte Boyce, Tony Trigg and Mike Hatchett conducting from the back. Some members of the band were tiring towards the end but Mike and the other ringers kept up the support and encouragement and we successfully arrived at rounds after 1260 changes.
Calverleigh – Doubles: 3 methods
An intrepid team of ringers (Glen Morgan, John Kape, David Bromwich, Charlotte Boyce, Terry Hargreaves and Dermot Elworthy) met up in the darkness in order to ring. We found some torches and set off to the church to ring the lovely set of six bells. The plan was to splice 3 methods (Grandsire, St Martin's and Plain Bob) with Terry, John and I taking turns calling. This was Dermot’s first quarter experience ringing tenor behind and he did a splendid job. Unfortunately there were some method mistakes and miscalling so , after three tries, we eventually called it a night and retired to the pub.
Cruwys Morchard – Plain Bob Doubles
I arrived slightly late to find 4 other members of the band and several supporters but no conductor! After finding a phone signal in the churchyard, we phoned Matthew and he duly arrived just after 8pm. Cruwys Morchard has an enthusiastic band of ringers who have only been ringing for Sunday services for just over a year, so it was lovely to see so many of the local band out to support Nellie and Clive. We spent the intervening time having an impromptu practice of plain hunting for Hillary and Lesley who did very well and were pleased to have the practice. The quarter peal, rung by Nellie Croft, Charlotte Boyce, Richard Johnston, Michael Hatchett, Matthew Weighell and Clive Jones was successful and Guy Cruwys arrived to listen to the end. Clive, ringing the tenor in his first quarter peal attempt, was shattered at the end but he did a sterling job on a very difficult bell whilst also contending with his glasses slipping down his nose!
Culmstock – Plain Bob Triples
Culmstock bells are rather a challenging ring - four ringers have to stand in a straight line making ropesight difficult for even the most experienced ringers. We gave it a good shot but unfortunately there were some swapping and method mistakes, so eventually we retired from battle. However, we are determined to try again, perhaps at a different tower! The team were Alan Edwards, Ken Wannell, John Kape, Charlotte Boyce, Richard Johnston, David Bromwich, Mike Hatchet (C) and Tony Trigg.
Included for the first time within the Troyte Ringing Centre’s training programme was a course in "Raising and Lowering in Peal". This took place at Huntsham on 23 October but had been fully subscribed since it was first announced months previously, indicating a particular interest in and a need for instruction in this neglected but important element of ringing.
After an introductory welcome from Mike Hatchett, the morning was devoted to individual tuition, firstly in lowering and when some competence (and confidence) in coil-making was acquired, moving on to raising. Up, down, up, down – everyone was thankful for the lightness of the front six Huntsham bells! Mike introduced a novel and effective exercise – ringing up to, perhaps, half way and holding the bell in that arc whilst just lightly touching the sally with thumb and finger of one hand and “no more and no less” pulls on the backstroke. Take the bells up a bit and repeat; bring them down a bit and repeat. This is strange behaviour not usually found in a ringing chamber and the racket of six bells all doing their own thing was frightful (thank goodness for sound attenuation!) but it proved a really first class means of “feeling” the bell and establishing improved control. Pat Hatchett laid on her customary cold collation lunch and for which people always are grateful but doubly so now in view of the amount of physical effort expended during the morning.
Course participants were joined after lunch by the helpers needed to make up the band for peal work. So often helpers are the anonymous, unsung heroes of ringing training without whom the ultimate in team participation could not function and, so often, it is the same people giving of their time and knowledge who throw themselves into the breech. There are many others who could and should pitch in to share these obligations to the welfare of The Exercise. On this occasion the selfless included Richard Shere, Charlotte Boyce, Sheila Scofield, Tony Trigg and Leslie Boyce.
So, on to the raise en tout ensemble; firstly on six bells and then the full eight. This engendered considerable discussion of the merits of different conventions of starting; “Go on three . .” (generally regarded as the Devon style) or the “Bristol” arrangement. Similarly, how to stop when back at the bottom? General experience seemed restricted to either “123, miss and catch” or just an unresolved fizzle into timid silence with the ringers putting on their coats denoting the end of ringing down. However, Richard Shere introduced another option wherein the bell leading down stamps his foot to indicate the end. This achieved instant acceptance as the “Cullompton Stomp” and is sure to receive widespread adoption . . . As much can be learned from this sort of discussion as from the more formal elements and it ended a thoroughly delightful day during which much wisdom was imparted and much received, thanks to the work put in by Mike Hatchett.
A second course of this syllabus will be held on 22 January, next year.
On Saturday,16 October, the North East Branch of the Guild of Devonshire Ringers hosted the annual Guild striking competitions. Good bells, good ringing, good company and, to general acclaim, good food. These coupled with splendid autumn sunshine combined to ensure that everyone had an enjoyable day, even if, in the end, some were not placed first in their respective competitions. The occasion was divided into three competing classes: 8-bell, 6-bell and Novice.
The easy-going, light six (8cwt) at St Paul's, Tiverton were an ideal choice for the Novice competition and that may have been responsible for encouraging a record number of teams to enter. Regrettably, an imposition of a time limit on the availability of the bells meant that the length of the test piece had to be reduced from 180 to 120 changes. Nevertheless, the smaller number proved more than adequate for teams to demonstrate their abilities.
The Guild rules define Novices as less experienced junior members or adults who have not rung a quarter peal and this section's teams were composed of ringers meeting these criteria in about equal measure. It was good to see youngsters from Exeter and Plymouth performing well but no less encouraging to have recently recruited adults demonstrating that it is never too late to learn. The youngsters of Emmanuel Plymouth were unlucky to have been pushed into third place by the grey hairs of St Peter's Tiverton by a mere quarter of a fault! Later, at Huntsham, judge John Foster emphasised the need for bands to concentrate on establishing a good rhythm at the outset. However, he commended all the Novice teams for some good ringing.
A noteworthy performance (37 faults) of Double Oxford Bob Major was given by the band representing the N E Branch, gaining a highly creditable 2nd place behind the winners, Exeter 1, who, as one would expect of a cathedral band, were in a rather different league at 13,25 faults. Those ringing the eight at Huntsham and bringing much kudos to our neck of the woods were:
|Michael Hatchett (Cond.)||1|
Judges at Huntsham were Steph Ewings and David Trist.
Some thoughts from Mike Hatchett, the Branch Training Officer:
"Each year we enter a team for the Guild 8 bell striking competition. We
have struggled during the last two or three years to bring the team
together for pre-competition practices. We have limited experience
ringing major methods together as a team. However this year we were
able to practice together as a team on, I think, five occasions over a
six week period. After the first practice we decided we would ring
Double Oxford Bob Major and after the second practice we decided to ring
a little faster than we normally ring. Richard Johnson helped
considerably by making constructive comments after each touch. Most of
our practices were held during the evening and many of us were tired at
the end of the working day, so there were several method errors during
an evening of practice touches. In my opinion there are three stages in
the preparations for a striking competition; the first stage is to
eliminate method errors, the second stage is to strike the whole touch
well, and the final stage is to ring the test piece with confidence. As
each practice session progressed the number of method errors increased
and we had some difficulty in striking the first three or four leads
really well. We had the great advantage of ringing on a tower within
our own Branch and at the final practice we decided to finish earlier
than normal and before we got too tired and our ringing deteriorated.
Our test piece during the competition went well, there were no
significant method errors and we struck the first three leads really
well enabling us to settle down quickly and our confidence grew as we
progressed through the test piece. We probably rang as well as we could
without significant additional practice. We do not ring extended
touches together as a team and in my opinion our ringing would benefit
from a quarter peal or two as part of our pre-competition preparation.
This would help us to develop our concentration and we may then be able
to ring together at a more consistent speed.
We enjoyed our tea, we were all very pleased with our second place in the competition and we considered the Exeter team were very worthy ringers."
6 teams competed for the 6-bell prize on the 8cwt ring at Uplowman, where Exeter St Mark's won the John Longridge Plate. St Peter's Tiverton proudly took second place with 120 changes of Plain Hunt Doubles rung by:
|Matthew Weighell (Cond.)||5|
A splendid Ringers' Tea was provided by the host Branch and grateful thanks must go to those who slaved at home and subsequently in the Huntsham village hall to lay on such an excellent spread.
In all, it was a very successful and much-enjoyed day. Two bands from the North East competed in two of the three categories and gained a second place in each case; a hearty "Well Done!" to them both. However, for a few this may not have been enough ringing - later that evening your roving reporter spied several contestants engaged in Cambridge Maximus at the Cathedral!
As an experiment for the next six months some Sunday Services are being jointly held with Tiverton St George.
This means that there will only be Sunday ringing on the first and third Sunday of the month at Tiverton St Paul.
Tiverton St Paul
Members of the North East Branch extend a warm welcome to two new incumbents in the Tiverton and Cullompton Deaneries. On Saturday 11th September the Revd. Steve Goodbody was installed as Rector of the Exe Valley Group of parishes at a service in St Peter’s, Oakford, while at the end of the month the Revd Sue Blade was officially made Rector of the Sampford Peverell Group at a service at St John the Baptist’s Church. Steve was previously curate at St Leonard with Holy Trinity in Exeter and Sue was a chaplain at the University of Christ Church, Canterbury. They now have responsibility between them for 12 churches with ringing peals of bells.
Ringers from across the Branch came together to ring quarter peals to welcome them. In both cases the bands included ringers from churches in their respective group of parishes. Here are the details:
On Saturday 11th September 2010
1260 St Simon’s, Plain Bob and Grandsire Doubles in 45 mins.
1. Nellie Croft (Cruwys Morchard)
2. Richard Shere (Cullompton)
3. Terry Hargreaves (Tiverton, St Paul)
4. Matthew Weighell (Tiverton, St Peter)
5. Leslie Boyce (Tiverton, St. Peter) - Conductor
6. Catherine Thorpe (Washfield & Halberton)
Rung to welcome the Rev. Steve Goodbody, the new Team Rector in the Exe Valley Group of Churches, and his wife, Sarah, to Withleigh Rectory.
On Friday 1st October 2010
1260 Reverse Canterbury, St Simon’s, St Martin’s, Plain Bob and Grandsire Doubles in 45 mins.
1. Catherine Thorpe (Washfield & Halberton)
2. Sheila Scofield (Bampton), Branch Ringing Master
3. Charlotte Boyce (Tiverton, St Peter)
4. Richard H. Johnston (Plymtree)
5. Leslie Boyce (Tiverton, St. Peter), Conductor
6. Colin Davey (Halberton)
Rung to welcome the Rev. Sue Blade, the new Team Rector in the Sampford Peverell Group of Churches, to Sampford Rectory We wish both Steve and Sue every success in their ministries and look forward to working with them in the future.
On 15 September, the Guild's North East Branch staged its second mini-outing of the year. First stop was the unusual octagonal tower and cosy ringing chamber at Bishops Hull and from where The Old Inn pub lunch was an easy walk. Thence to Nynehead where the ground floor ring of six has only recently been brought back to life after twenty years of silence.
Nynehead provided two unexpected surprises; firstly, the Robbia Madonna, a magnificent 15th Century Italian marble placed in the north wall of the ringing chamber and set behind a pair of small wooden doors to protect it from wayward bellropes. The second bonus was Jean Parkinson's unexpected discovery of her great grandfather's gravestone in the churchyard and that her forebear's farm is now owned by Alan Howe, Tower Captain at Nynehead.
The day ended at Langford Budville and the easy-going six always popular with visiting ringers, some of whom participating on the 15th are pictured below and against the backdrop of the grand Nynehead House.
Grateful thanks are due to John Kape for organising a very enjoyable day during which the weather proved dry, if not very warm.
The Stoodleigh bells should be up and running by February. Work started last week and the bell hangers come in this morning (6th September). Everything will be replaced during January. Having raised over £30,000 for the bells with grants and here in Stoodleigh, the Heritage Lottery Fund came up with £44,000 to help with the bells but mainly to cover a conservation programme on the 15th century bosses and foliate wall plates and set up educational projects. I have been thrilled that the whole thing has happened so quickly as it was June 2008 when the bells were condemned.
If any tower is interested in ringing here they should initially get in touch with me and I will then talk to our tower captain. (Tel: 01398 351402).
The North-East branch of the Guild of Devonshire Ringers covers 16 towers largely in the Tiverton & Cullompton deaneries. The Mid-Devon show is a very local immensely popular mini-county show held right in the centre of our patch. What better place could there be to advertise ourselves and recruit more ringers. In previous years, we have had display boards with a small bell at the back of a shared tent, but this had not proved very effective. So this year we decided to have a stand of our own with purpose design display boards and to bring in a mini-ring of six bells.
Fortunately we were able to hire the Charmborough Ring from the Charmborough Bell Trust (www.charmborough.org) and on the Friday evening before the show Roger Booth duly arrived with the ring on its trailer. With Roger’s expert guidance and a willing group of helpers it took less than two hours to have the ring up and working. We were very lucky with the weather; an enormous black cloud passed us by, while the sun shone. The Charmborough Ring is the heaviest portable ring available in the country, the bells ranging in weight from 39lb (18 kg) for the treble to 94lb (43 kg) for the tenor. They are run without stays and have a very pleasing tone.
On the day of the show, we had demonstrations ringing every hour with a steady stream of members of the public having a go in between. The whole day was extremely successful with dozens of people having a go– sometimes there was quite a queue; over twenty indicated they would like to learn to ring and left their details. It was good to welcome the Bishop of Credition to our stand. Bishop Bob is a great supporter of ringers in the North East Branch and the work of the Troyte Ringing Centre.
Our thanks go to Roger Booth from the Charmborough Trust and also to our ringers Richard & Marion Newman and Lesley Knipe from Shepton Beauchamp and Fred Sage from Trull, who helped with the demonstration and provided tuition. Our stand was jointly funded by the North East Branch of the Guild of Devonshire Ringers and the Troyte Ringing Centre and we thank all those who make donations to the Ringing Centre so that we can fund events like this.
Click on a thumbnail to see a larger image - click again to close.
A young teenager walked through Bampton churchyard with his teddy bear and proudly announced to the assembled company of helpers that this would be the "... tenth certificate of bravery 0n my bedroom wall that my bear has won ...". So it was August Bank Holiday Monday, aka Bampton Open Day and we were all set once again to parachute teddy bears from the top of the church tower. Our bellringers now know the ropes. Two of us are at the top of the tower armed with rope and wicker basket, fishing rod, launch rod and lifeline. Another team is assembled below taking money, recording teddy names, fitting parachutes and lifelines and filling the wicker basket with apprehensive teddies. Yet another team of first-aiders offers jelly babies to those reluctant to bid farewell to their teddies, and to check out those teddies who suffered hard landings or who get tangled up in trees or the church roof. Finally, there is our scribe whose job it is to write up the Certificates of Bravery, getting all the details correct, including the sometimes-incomprehensible names of migrant bears.
Of course there is much more that goes on behind the scenes. For some years now a team of bears has spent time in various Bampton shops advertising the event and gaining sponsorship. This year Costcutters' bear was a clear and outright winner persuading customers to part with £92.01 in the run up to Open Day, whereas the Butchers' bear failed dismally to get people to part with their small change. Maybe the idea of a bear loose in a butcher's shop did not appeal, so next year we might try a gorilla in the butchers!!
Pre-event sponsorship raised a total of £129.89 and we parachuted one hundred and thirteen bears during the afternoon. As usual we refused to parachute spouses and mothers-in-law and this year with great reluctance we had to turn away two enormous bears for whom we did not have adequate lifting gear or large enough parachutes. We all had a wonderful time, it was great fun and we had lots of bears enjoying their first parachute descent as well as some very experienced bears with many successful descents to their credit. Incidentally, what happened to the snake we parachuted last year? Did he take offence at being tied into a knot so that we could fix his parachute? We raised a total of £242.89 this year, thank you all so much.
See this video on Youtube of a brave Teddy parachuting for charity - and fun!
It all started when the Bampton PCC decided to postpone a “Weekend of Fun” for parishioners programmed for 7 and 8 August. So we were left with a free Saturday – unbelievable! What should we do? We decided it was about time we did something to help all those brave young people who return wounded from Afghanistan and Iraq. And so the idea of “To ring or not to ring to provide Help for Heroes” was born. We divided Saturday, 7 August into half-hour slots between 10.00 am and 6.00 pm and invited friends of the Troyte Ringing Centre to become sponsored to either have the Bampton bells ringing or silent for each half hour.
With a little care we programmed the day so that the ringing slots were between 10.00am and 1.00pm and between 3.00pm and 6.00pm, giving just enough time for one peal in the morning and another in the afternoon. The period between 1.00pm and 3.00pm could be periods of silence or periods of ringing by the local band. Life got just a little complicated when various Bampton ringers were either on holiday or at the Taunton Flower Show on the Saturday in question.
Some late night mental arithmetic suggested that if we raised £1.00 per minute throughout the day, we could total £500 for the day as a whole. Therefore, we set ourselves a target of £500. By mid July, we realised we could comfortably reach this target and so we raised our sights to £1,000. We produced a “thermometer” with increments of £50 up to a maximum of £1,400 and wondered if we were being too ambitious. By 1.00pm on Saturday, 7 August as the first peal ended at exactly 1.00pm – well done Robert Brown – we had burst the thermometer and we reached £1,500 during the first period of silence. At 6.00pm we stopped fund raising just as Tim Collins completed the second peal in less than 2 hours and 56 minutes; Fred Sage led us down with less than 10 seconds to spare. Who was it who said “. . . take a calendar with you when ringing a peal with Tim Collins”?
We served tea and coffee, biscuits and cakes throughout the day. We had a collection box in the town during the morning and another in the church all day. During the post-6.00pm reckoning, we found the “tea ladies” had pockets full of banknotes totaling £300 and our collection boxes raised nearly £350 – fantastic! Pledges and additional funds are still coming in but we know we have raised in excess of £2,550. So our original hopes of raising £1 per minute resulted in us raising more than £5 per minute and has exceeded our wildest dreams. A very big “thank you” to the friends of the Troyte Ringing Centre and to the Bampton parishioners. You have all been absolutely wonderful. AND, we did not receive a single complaint. So just remember, all you tower representatives who don’t like your bells rung too often just in case there are complaints, this particular day touched the hearts and minds of a very generous small town population.
Just imagine what we could do if every tower held one such event during the year. The world in which we all live might just become a better place for many of those who are disabled or disadvantaged in some way.
Both peals were rung for the Devonshire Society.
10:00am Morning Peal
BAMPTON, Devon, St Michael and All Angels,
Saturday, 7 August 2010. 2h 59m (14)
5040 Surprise Minor:
(7 methods: London, Bourne, York, Ipswich, Beverley, Surfleet, Cambridge)
1 Mervyn C Way
2 Sheila C Matthews
3 Lesley A Knipe
4 Michael Hatchett
5 Jeffery Knipe
6 Robert D S Brown (c)
2:00pm Devon Call Changes
1 Pat Hatchett
2 Eve Grosse
3 Sue Partridge
4 Ann Barrow
5 Dermot Elworthy
6 Jack Ward (c)
3:00pm Afternoon Peal
BAMPTON, Devon. St Michael and All Angels,
Saturday, 7 August, 2010. 2h 56m.
5040 Surprise Minor:
(11 methods: (1) London, Wells, (2) Westminster, (3) York, Durham, (4) Norwich, (5) Beverley, Surfleet, (6) Bourne, (7) Cambridge, Ipswich)
1 Frederick J Sage
2 Sheila C Matthews
3 Lesley A Knipe
4 Michael Hatchett
5 Jeffrey Knipe
6 Timothy F Collins (c)
Life is just amazing at times! Thank you all so much.
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Photos by David Whiteway
|SOUVENIR GOODS - PRICES|
A collection of brand-marked items are for sale to support the Troyte Ringing Centre. The souvenir goods are available at both Huntsham and Bampton churches, you can also find them at training or social events, or order them when you book your training or ringing sessions. If your really keen then e-mail Sheila Scofield on firstname.lastname@example.org .