President’s blog – June 2017

Have you ever experienced that sensation, having been hired to do a job, of then discovering all the scary bits that they never dared to tell you at the job interview?  And the consequent feeling of overwhelming doom?  One could be forgiven for thinking that musings like these crossed my mind when coming away from the CCCBR meeting in Edinburgh at the end of May.

In actual fact my mood following the annual meeting has been one of determination and enthusiasm.  The momentous votes for reform and renewal were carried with a very large majority, and so the mandate placed on the incoming officers and members of Council is clear.  Perhaps daunting and challenging, but heartening too, as so many messages of encouragement and offers of support have already been received.  I hope you will have seen the recent “call-to-action” inviting participation in the development of new structures.  Do please circulate this invitation as widely as possible.

On Friday 9th June I was privileged to attend the 90th Anniversary Dinner of the East Grinstead and District Guild.  This is the kind of event that demonstrates some of the best attributes of ringing – conviviality and good fellowship, mutual support and encouragement, recognition of past successes and aspirations for future growth.  In proposing a vote of thanks after the meal, I went on to mention my own aspirations as President:

  • To support the recruitment and development of new learners and new leaders;
  • To engage maturely with church and community leaders;
  • To raise public awareness of our art.

On that third point, I can’t help but mention the excellent publicity that we received through involvement with BBC Music Day 2017.  The main event took place on Thursday 15th June, with a number of highlights in the days before and after.  Over 280 teams of ringers took part, from all over the world, reinforcing the BBC’s theme of “the power of music”.  One radio program that gave us an excellent drive time interview slot has a “reach” of over 6 million listeners – wonderful!

Thinking about that first point, I’m reminded of two recent stellar events on the annual ringing calendar – the National 12-bell Final on 24th June, and the Ringing World National Youth Contest on 1st July.  The latter is a heartening reminder of how a bold and imaginative initiative helps to develop new ringers; the former highlights the standards of excellence to which so many of us aspire.  In years to come, what correlations will we discover between participation in the Youth Contest, and success at the National 12-bell?

You may think that the President’s lot is all about PR and playtime – it’s so much more.  This month I have attended one of the regular Ringing World Board meetings (17th June), and also the annual DAC Bell Advisers Conference on 30th June, held in the majestic environs of Lincoln Cathedral.  Add to this the usual peppering of conference calls (CCCBR Officers, Central Council 2018 planning committee, etc), plus responding to ad hoc enquiries on various topics, and the diary seems to mysteriously fill.

Occasionally, there’s also time for a bit of ringing!  One recent highlight was ringing a quarter peal at St Paul’s Cathedral, for the annual Ordination of Deacons for the Diocese of London, and another was to conduct a first quarter peal for one of our local learners.  Very worthwhile!

Yours in ringing,



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