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This year’s Carol Service was held at St Andrew’s Church, Cullompton, so we got together a band of volunteers to provide soup and rolls at lunchtime for the carol singers, with tea and cake being served following the service.
I am not sure how it happened but I ended up being “volunteered” to co-ordinate the lunches and tea; this was quite daunting as the only thing I had organised before was a couple of meals which only involved booking a table, confirming numbers, collecting deposits and making sure everyone knew when to turn up!
Well, after a few false starts we finally had a plan of action and everything started coming together (apart from the venue which was not confirmed until the last minute). We ended up being very lucky on the day as we were able to use the new Cullompton Community Centre. In fact, we were one of the first organised events to take place inside the building which is a fantastic addition to the town and I am sure will be a great asset to Cullompton.
I think the day ended up being a resounding success – well all the soup disappeared and most of the cakes so it couldn’t have been that bad!
Although I did not get a chance to ring before the service (I think we were all busy setting up the cakes etc at the time and let’s be honest, I have rung the Cullompton bells on many occasions anyway), the service itself was a delight. The hand bells were fantastic – the only time I previously had seen hand bells being rung was on the television programme “Britain’s Got Talent”.
I would like to send out a big thank you to the Cullompton Ringers (and their partners/mothers) for rallying around making cakes, signs, finding equipment and coming up with various ideas to help things run smoothly. Special mention must go to the team who were involved in setting up and serving on the day – Sandie, Chris and Rachel (with Jasper), Matt and Janet, and finally my husband, Pat, who was not only my rock but was able to come up with donated soup. And of course, to Richard who popped in and out at regular intervals in-between sorting out things in the church etc. to make sure we were all okay.
Although a long and tiring day, I believe that everyone enjoyed themselves. As for next time ….. I may hang up the apron!
I'm back from my surgical sojourn in the RD&E, minus 6 lbs and a few bits and pieces but feeling a lot better than I have for some time. I really am most appreciative of all the cards and phone calls had from ringing chums whose support has meant such a great deal to me. It will be a while before I am able to continue my bringing The Exercise into disrepute or participate in Guild activities but in the meantime, Sandy and I are grateful for your good wishes and hope that you all are able to enjoy a very peaceful, joyous Christmas.
Have a look at the Training page if you have not done so already - I hope it may bring a smile - and hopefully some ideas from you.
Bampton Church has been holding an annual Christmas Tree Festival for some years. This year the brief was ‘Children’s books’ and Bampton Bellringers' contribution was Mrs Tiggy Winkle.
The tree, adorned with washing, towers over an exhausted Mrs Winkle, seen relaxing in an enormous armchair and surrounded by washing. This scene was handcrafted by Eve Grosse. The clothes horse, made by Tony Trigg and the flatiron beautifully fashioned by Jack Ward, are both piled high with more laundry. We certainly have a very talented team of ringers in Bampton.
At the Christmas Fair held on the Saturday of the Festival, the stall displayed jams, marmalade and chutney made by Pat Hatchett, Sheila Scofield and Ann Barrow. We also raffled a crocheted blanket made by Sheila.
Often on a Friday night, that well-known scribe and septuagenarian Dermot Elworthy can be found at Tiverton, St Paul's practise night, usually ringing the tenor behind to various doubles methods. On Thursday, 2nd December, Dermot achieved one of his major goals in ringing by scoring his first quarter, tenor behind to Bob Doubles. Aiding and abetting Dermot who is unattached (to a particular tower, that is!) were two colleagues from St Paul's, John Kape and Terry Hargreaves, two members of St Peter's, Glen Morgan and Matthew Weighell, and David Bromwich from Culmstock. Along with Dermot, we were all delighted with the result and possibly even more delighted to be plied with congratulatory bevvies (courtesy Dermot) in the local Wetherspoons. Well done, Dermot. We all had a fun evening and look forward to the next one.
- I had a
pleasant day spent ringing quarter peals with friends on
– after a busy day at work, I went to a Surprise Maximus practise night in
Friday 4 November – that evening, a number of us made it through the dark to Stoodleigh for a quarter of Bob Minor. Unfortunately the conductor (me) wasn’t up to the task so after a couple of goes we ran out of time. The striking however was top notch and although we didn’t get the quarter it was an enjoyable evening spent ringing. The unlucky band were: Cath Thorpe, Jenny Jones, Sheila Scofield, Matthew Weighell, Richard Shere and myself.
Saturday 5 November – a quarter peel afternoon with friends, this time starting with Yorkshire Surprise Major at Bradninch (not an easy ring nor an experience to repeat but definitely one for the record books). We lost the quarter of Tavistock Surprise Major at Silverton a couple of leads from the end but we had done over 1300 changes at that stage. The last ring of the day was a real treat – 12 spliced at Broadclyst. 12 spliced is beyond my capabilities so I rang the treble. The bells at Broadclyst are one of my favourite rings, the bells go well, they are in tune, sonorous and our striking was really good so it was a pleasure to take part in.
Sunday 6 November – was the date for a NE Branch quarter of Single Oxford Bob Triples at Tiverton St Peter. We learnt the blue line, did our practising in advance, rang some well struck changes but unfortunately, it wasn’t to be and we didn’t get the quarter.
So, all in all, an enjoyable week with plenty of good ringing, good company, good food, drink and lots of money raised for DBRF. To top everything off, a week later I rang my first peal of Yorkshire Maximus so I am very pleased with myself.
And rightly so! (Ed.)
Bath & Wells Diocesan Association
Tuesday 8 November 2011 in 3:07 (10-3-16)
Composed: R W Pipe
1 Mary R Chambers
2 Susan M Stott
3 Hilary A Beresford
4 Christine Andrew
5 Lesley A Knipe
6 Charlotte A Boyce
7 Timothy M Payne
8 Richard A M Newman
9 Jeffrey Knipe
10 Joseph St J Beaumont
11 Nigel R Woodruff
12 Donald B Carter (C)
First on twelve inside - 6
For ringers who wish to build their method ringing ability, Sheila Scofield and several of the other experienced ringers in the North East Branch of The Guild are giving their time to help those less experienced ringers who are having difficulty in developing skills already acquired.
How does it work? First the Prologue!
I learnt to ring in my late teens/early twenties with a similar group at the 6 bell Tower at Topsham Church. In that time we learned to handle a bell, were taught by Roy Berry who is still the Captain, ring call changes and Grandsire Doubles, Bob Doubles and began to ring Stedman Doubles and Bob Minor. Soon some of us became married, others went to university. One way and another we all left Topsham and soon ringing became a thing of our past. I did ring occasionally but my method ability declined until I joined Silverton ringers; I have enjoyed ringing, mainly call changes, with them since. Occasional visits to such towers as Huntsham, St Peter's Tiverton and St Pauls Tiverton, re-kindled my appetite for method. Now being of a certain age, what information I take in needs constant refreshment to retain!
I found the training on the 12th November, very helpful. Each ringer was invited to name a method in which he/she needed to advance and we were given the individual instruction and practise necessary for this. I chose Bob Minor and in particular Bobs and Singles and I particularly appreciated the time, skill and patience we were given.
Hopefully the practises will continue but I do appreciate the time required from the skilled ringers and the difficulties in arranging a date and time with the learners. Long may they continue.
If I may add a footnote, please - an additional benefit provided by these occasions is the opportunity to experience longer periods of sustained ringing. The average ten minute touch of tower practise night is just not enough for many of the less experienced to adapt to individual bell characteristics and generally "get their eye in" to develop more accurate striking. Others will share Ken's hope that there will be more of these days. Ed.
17 members, family and friends had a delightful evening at the Quarryman’s Rest in Bampton on Saturday 26th November. The Food was excellent, our thanks to Paul the chef, and the company was even better. At one end of the table conversations ranged from training ideas, quarter peals, the TRC website, recruitment & retention and all other things ringing. We then strayed onto model railways. It’s amazing how many bellringers are also into trains; on second thoughts, perhaps not surprising. Topics from the far end of the table? Ask Dermot!/p>
Not sure why, but I am put in mind of Peter West handing over to John Arlott as Alec Bedser takes up the bowling from the Gasworks end . . .
Well, it was rather different below the salt. Not much mention of bells. And no reference to trains, so the company was deprived of my noted dinner conversation concerning Churchwards, Bulleids and Colletts and for which hostesses vie. No talk of websites, peals or recruitment and hardly any talk of bells. But much animation attached to Ferraris, dogs, Aston Martins, yachting and other exciting things. Gordon Milne’s father, Eric, is an ex-motorbike man so that became another topic in the lively evening. But still no bells.
However, I briefly ventured into the realms of training and badgered poor Matthew Weighell, proselytising with all the zeal of those converted by Howard Egglestone, into acceptance of Kaleidoscope Ringing but this didn’t seem very fertile ground. Nevertheless, I did learn that whilst recently on holiday, Matthew logged his 800th tower, so well done him! And thanks to Charlotte and the others involved in organising a fun night out. I thought our new Chairman looked very fetching wearing what I took to be her chain of office. Evidently it wasn't - only "bling", whatever that is. I must make more effort to get with the programme.
Congratulations are due to Michael Hatchett, he has completed 200 peals on the bells at Huntsham and even more impressively has been a member of the Ancient Society of College Youths for 60 years - man and boy!
WELL DONE MIKE !
29 November: Tower AGM so no ringing
6 December: Practice cancelled so ringers can support the practice in Cullompton.
Following last year's cancellation due to lack of participants in the Fred Edwards Shield, 2011 saw a resurgence of interest in this annual striking competition with four teams competing. Five minutes practise followed by not less than ten minutes of call changes on eight. This was held at Uffculme on Saturday, 19 November and was a fun gathering although all teams probably felt that they had rung with greater precision on other occasions. It was rumoured that Tony Lane from the host tower had put the tenor up wrong in the expectation of sabotaging the opposition's efforts but this was quickly discovered to be a dreadful calumny and wholly without foundation - or so the rebuttal went!
With ringing over, we repaired to The George for a buffet supper and the results announced by the judges, Mike and Jill Hansford, who had crossed the border from Somerset to generously give of their expertise. The judges wagged a finger at all teams for inconsistent tenor ringing and clashing in changes; both points of criticism unexpected at this level of ringing but it has to be admitted that the latter was persistent with, it seemed to me, there being a general reluctance for the bell going in to duck out of the way. Results are as follows:
Regrettably, the winning band from Silverton had departed the field of conflict before the Shield could be handed over so no formal presentation was made. Thanks must go to the Uffculme tower for organising an enjoyable evening.
During the week 26 members of the NE Branch took part in 8 attempts in 8 different towers within the Tiverton and Culm Valley Deaneries. 5 attempts of Plain Bob minor were largely as a result of a recent training day held at Huntsham where students wanted to have their first attempts at quarter peals in the method. Hemyock were the only tower to ‘field’ their own team and were successful in ringing 2 methods of doubles. At St Peter’s Tiverton an attempt of Oxford Bob triples was tried for the service ring, but unfortunately came to grief. The ringing of an extended touch before the service showed great promise with some good striking which will be worth revisiting in the near future. Charlotte’s attempt to conduct her first quarter of plain bob minor, at Stoodleigh, fell foul of Friday evening after a long working week but the striking was very good and the bells a pleasure to ring. Thanks to Jennifer for arranging the use of the bells despite not ringing herself. Terry’s Wednesday band attempted 2 during the day and were successful with plain bob minor with thanks to the Somerset friends who annually contribute to the DCBRF. An attempt at Reverse Canterbury doubles, rung at Uplowman on Thursday, was also unsuccessful. Thank you to all who took part. The successful quarter peals are listed below. NE Branch raised £122 for the DCBRF.
The 2011, Guild Eight-Bell Striking Competition was held at Lifton on Saturday, 15 October. The band representing the NE Branch practised beforehand on the slightly lighter ring of eight at Holsworthy and then moved on to St Mary's, Lifton (21cwt) to come fourth in the competition for which six teams had been entered.
The 2010 test piece was Double Oxford; this year's intrepid band rang the delightful Stedman Triples. Members are pictured below.
As an unconnected aside, the famous Holsworthy Bells piece by S S Wesley was written in the churchyard of SS Peter and Paul, Holsworthy. It was first played by Wesley, at that time organist at Exeter Cathedral, on the church's Renatus Harris organ (1645). Harris was a bitter rival of contemporary organ builder "Father" Bernard Smith whose successor was responsible for the instrument now found in St Peter's, Tiverton. Small world . . .
More formal elements of the Branch AGM on Saturday, 1 October were preceded by some excellent general ringing of the lovely eight at St Peter's, Tiverton and followed by the Ringers' service in the Lady Chapel. After the business section of the meeting had been concluded, an excellent Ringers' Tea was served in the Baptist Church Rooms; this led to the Open Forum in which everyone present was encouraged to contribute to the various points of discussion which arose.
This year, the business section included more changes than usually is the case. Les Boyce, after five years at the helm, stood down from the Chairmanship of the Branch - this is the maximum consecutive term that may be served by one person. His tenure of the office has been a popular and successful one but similarly good things are sure to come with the new encumbent (who was elected on merit, not nepotism, as the two Boyces are not related!) so we look forward to a period of consolidation spiced with some innovation as Charlotte Boyce takes up the reins. Incidentally, Charlotte wishes to be addressed as "Chairman", so we welcome her to the committee and her refreshing departure from the stultifying political correctness of modern life.
Although the reasons for Michael Hatchett's resignation from the post of Education Officer were widely understood, it was with sadness that this change was accepted for none has done more than Mike to so enthusiastically or effectively further the interests and ringing standards of the Branch membership. His personal development of the Troyte Ringing Centre makes the North East Branch the envy of many ringing bodies. I, for one, owe him much as he taught me to ring but others may not thank him for that particular contribution to The Exercise!
The newly elected Education Officer is Matthew Webb from Cullompton; he is sure to bring his own perspective to things - indeed, the infusion of the younger blood of Charlotte and Matt into the committee will bring additional vitality. John Kape withdrew from continued involvement with Ringing Mastership; Sheila Scofield and Richard Johnston were re-elected to and joined by Les Boyce in the posts of Ringing Masters. All other committee members were re-elected without opposition.
Those possessed of greater stamina went on to Stoodleigh for an evening ring of the pleasant light six there.
They were lined ranks deep along the West wall. They were seated on the floor along the Communion Rail. They were in the Lady Chapel and by the Altar. There was not a seat to be had anywhere (even the organist was fearful of losing half his bench!) and floor space was in demand as the congregation of family and friends swelled beyond 450. Thus was St Andrew's packed for the Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Colin Davey, held on Thursday, 13 October at Halberton. The sudden death of the 68-year old Colin, Tower Captain at Halberton for a number of years, was totally unexpected and came as a great shock to those who knew him. The ringing chamber at St Andrew's after Colin's quiet guidance and authority will not be the same for those priviledged to have rung with him.
It is a testament supremely eloquent that so many should turn out to remember this charming man held in such esteem and affection by his friends and peers.
As a further tribute and coinciding with the Service of Thanksgiving in Halberton, a full peal of 5088 changes of Cambridge Surprise Major composed by Robert D S Brown was being rung in celebration of Colin's life at All Saints church, Huntsham. The peal took two hours, fifty seven minutes and was rung by:
Treble Leslie A Knipe
2 Sheila C Matthews
3 Richard W Ellis
4 Graham W Elmes
5 Michael Hatchett
6 Jeffrey Knipe
7 Robert D S Brown
Tenor Timothy F Collins (Conductor)
Guild of Devonshire Ringers
Wednesday 5 October 2011
1260 Bob Doubles & Grandsire Doubles
1 Sandie A Reader
2 Pauline Champion (c)
3 Matthew A Webb
4 Richard C Shere
5 Timothy M Bayton
6 Charlotte A Boyce
First quarter for Sandie for over 50 years.
Rung to welcome Jasper Dale Cozens born 27th August 2011.
Sandie took up ringing in 2010 after a gap of over 50 years. She thinks her last quarter peal was rung in 1960 for the birth of Prince Andrew when she was a teenager. It was also a good opportunity to ring a quarter peal to celebrate the birth of Jasper Dale Cozens. Jasper's proud parents Chris and Rachel started ringing in April 2010 after being the guinea pigs at a "Teaching The Teachers" Central Council Course held at Silverton. Look out soon for quarters from Chris and Rachel and maybe also from Jasper in a few years?
Cullompton Tower Captain
Tower outings invariably are fun. The Uffculme shindig on Saturday, 24 September was no exception.
The St Mary's band, joined by ringers invited from Cullompton and other local towers, piled aboard a 1985 23-seater mini-coach and headed for the wilds of Exmoor. The first taste of adventure came at Winsford where the venerable Mercedes had to ford the river in order to get us to the 6 bells (12cwt) of St Mary Magdalene and the first ring of the day. The bells went well but of greater interest to the writer was the organ here and which is one of the very few remaining instruments retaining its original G-compass from before the acceptance of a pedal division in English organs earlier in the 1800s, centuries after the European adoption of Werkprinzip.
Next stop Withypool for another 12cwt ring of 6 and then over to Wheddon Cross for lunch at the Rest and Be Thankful. From there it was downhill to Exford and St John's to be followed by a switchback ride over to Luccombe and the lighter (10cwt) six there. All the while we were entertained by the colourful anecdotes of the moor's history and people as well as the fine baritone singing of Martyn Babb, the driver who did much to dispel the sense of fright occasionally experienced on the precipitous narrow roads of Lorna Doone country.
Most of those on the trip are pictured here and all are grateful to Gordon Milne and Bill Rosewell for organising an outing with a difference; it was a thoroughly enjoyable day.
Due to unexpected circumstances, only three of the towers planned for inclusion in the NE Branch's Mid-Week Outing of 7 September could be visited. Despite the reduced opportunities for ringing, the 16 Branch members who braved the occasionally unpleasant weather, enjoyed a morning of methods and call changes on the two light rings (ca.7cwt.) at Mariansleigh and West Worlington, the latter distinguished by its spire - unusual in Devonshire, before an excellent lunch at the Mount Pleasant Inn at Nomansland. The author was disappointed to find no Doom Bar available but the Betty Stoggs was a splendid substitute - these outings often are as much a voyage of discovery of good ales as they are of interesting bells!
From Nomansland to Chawleigh where, suitably fortified by lunch, the participants seemed to find the heavier weight of the bells (15cwt.) more familiar; the morning had seen a fair amount of missed sallies and frantic grappling before we managed to subdue the worst excesses of the snaking cordage.
Thanks to Ken Wannell for arranging a very convivial get-together which was much enjoyed by those who attended.
Last Sunday, 4th September, brought the sound of bells back to Uffculme after a silence of several months.
Much-needed work has included rotating all the (8) bells 90 degrees on their principal axes and some general machining. All clappers were rebushed and the tenor given a wooden sheathing around the shaft as well as being treated to a new set of trunnion bearings - as the photo suggests, replacement of the latter was a matter of some urgency!
It has been a long wait but the ring is now going well with the tenor's new predictability being appreciated by all. Tony Lane, when ringing at the back, was heard to mumble something about "odd on the backstroke" but where is perfection to be found? The Uffculme ring should now be set for a good many years of providing pleasure to both the ringers and listeners.
August bank holiday Monday saw again teddy bears raining from the Bampton skies. The parachuting teddies event, held as part of Bampton Open Day, raised £232.70 for the ringers, being £111.70 on the day plus £121.00 from local sponsorship of the brave teddies.
Click HERE to see a short video of tower-top events.
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.
|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 you are really keen then e-mail Sheila Scofield on firstname.lastname@example.org .