President’s Blog – March 2016

Missing blogs for 2016 – yes, it’s been a bit hectic even after having an extra day in February!

There has been plenty going on, not least the lively debates in the Ringing Wold about “secularised” ringing. This was followed with the media picking up on the “Is ringing a sport?” question. The latter started in The Times and quickly escalated to TV and Radio involving a number of Council Officers in interviews and also reporters descending on towers to film ringing. One crew member even arrived in lycra with a heart monitor. This is being taken seriously, however, and further dialogue has been engaged regarding the eligibility and benefit of ringing being categorised as sport.

Early in the year a response was given to the Church Buildings Council regarding its report on the future of churches and the implications for ringers. This will also be an ongoing exchange, some of concerns regarding disposal of redundant bells having already arisen previously.

I attended another CBC function in Westminster on 15th February regarding celebrations for HM the Queen’s 90th birthday. Seemingly ringers are ahead in their planning but all parishes should now have had prompts from their Dioceses regarding services and events.

Safeguarding advice based on the latest C of E requirements was circulated in January and already has raised some questions which will be clarified with Westminster. On a similar theme of safeguarding children, the Department of Education views on “radicalisation in teaching” did not appear to apply to ringing and response to consultation said just that.

In addition to the usual round of conference calls, I attended the Ringing World Board meeting in February and the position of the publication appears to have become more secure but still depends on all its supporters. The Annual Conference of ART took place on 12th March hosted by the Loughborough Bell Foundry. Once again the work of ART must be praised in the realms of teaching and advancement of new ringers, some of whom picked up well deserved awards. The day was highlighted by the opportunity to see 3 new bells being cast.

A successful conference was organised at Wellesbourne jointly by the Library and Biographies Committees with the whole proceedings being streamed live. Not only was there the chance to see a wide range of new and old publications but the subjects covered by speakers raised interesting issues.

Finally, there was the sad attendance at funerals of two prominent ringers, John Ketteringham best known as a bell historian and John Chilcott, for many years ringing master at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Next month sees major celebrations for Sir Arthur Heywood and Council’s 125th anniversary in Duffield, the 400th anniversary for William Shakespeare and most importantly Her Majesty the Queen’s real birthday on 21st April. I hope that you enjoy ringing for all these occasions.

Meanwhile a very Happy Easter,

Chris Mew, President CCCBR

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