London 2019 Review

All your bellringing needs under one roof, sort of!

A new Central Council President, a new Ringing World Chair, tours of St Paul’s ringing chamber and bells, quiz night, worship and celebration, the historic presentation to Alan Regin at the CCCBR Annual Dinner, and a roadshow that included 21 speakers, 17 exhibitors, 4 training bells and 3 mini rings, I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

This year’s Central Council weekend took a new direction with the addition of the mini roadshow and the whole weekend was open to all ringers, not just Central Council Representatives.  Events kicked off on Friday afternoon with some general ringing at towers across the City, and the St Paul’s Cathedral ringers opened their ringing chamber for tours to see the bells and the views of the City.  The evening continued with a quiz hosted by Philip Barnes.

“I’d like to thank the St Paul’s ringers for an excellent tour today. It was a real treat. And they kept thanking us for wanting to visit them!”

Saturday morning gave visitors a chance to catch up on the work of the various Workgroups and to see first-hand the progress made since the change in constitution of the Council.  There seemed to be a real sense that the Council was responding to the changing needs of the ringing community.

There was an air of purposefulness about both of Saturday’s business meetings.   The Ringing World AGM saw agreement to a small but important change which modernises its objects and the appointment of David Grimwood as its new chair, building on the tremendous success achieved by Nigel Orchard.    The Central Council meeting whizzed through the Agenda and arrived at the most important part of proceedings, the election of a new President, Simon Linford.  Simon was unable to attend the meeting due to prior ringing teaching commitments but sent a video with the Brumdingers ringing Twinkle Twinkle at the end.  Much to do, but also much has been done and the outgoing President, Christopher O’Mahony, whose leadership has transformed the Council in recent years was presented with a gift as he heads back to Australia in the coming weeks.   Even the Act of Worship and Celebration, with professional musicians and the words of each hymn projected on a big screen, captured the forward-thinking and inclusive feel of the weekend

The evening saw the formal Dinner, kindly sponsored again by Taylors.  The guests were Revd Canon Stephen Evans, Rector of St Marylebone and Diana Evans, Head of Places of Worship Strategy for Historic England.  After the speeches, a special commissioned video was shown giving the highlights of the recruitment campaign Ringing Remembers which aimed to recruit 1,400 new ringers in memory of those who died during the First World War, and which surpassed expectations as a recruitment campaign.  Following that, Alan Regin, MBE, was presented with a bespoke artwork, which included a sandbag which held soil taken to the UK from Ypres, in recognition of his role as the Steward of the Rolls of Honour.   In a moving response Alan talked about how the Ringing Remembers campaign and his work to honour the sacrifice made by over 1,500 ringers in 1914-1919 had affected him personally.

Sunday service ringing had been organised in some City towers and the mini roadshow was in full swing.  There were 21 different talks from workgroup updates, Project Pickled Egg, Insurance, Safeguarding, the Ringing Remembers legacy, bell restoration projects, youth bands and university ringing, understanding and using social media, sound control and building a bell sound, the Ringing Remembers biographies, ART, tower environment, the future of buildings that hold the bells and the making of bells.  The Westley Award was presented in recognition of someone who had become involved in the maintenance of tower bells over the last 5 years.  There were some compelling applications, and the award was presented to Barry Garrett (see RW article 5655 page 905).

The final session of the day was the story of When Ringing Had to Stop, a very entertaining session based on Steve Coleman’s research of the National Archives, letters, diaries and news cuttings of the time.  The story telling was interspersed with readings (and singing) by Mary Bone, Mike Trimm, Kath Johnson, Mike Winterbourne, Emma Rouse and Fred Bone.

After this, visitors made their way home and the clear up operation began.  A huge thank you to everyone who visited during the course of the weekend, to the speakers, exhibitors and mini rings who made the roadshow entertaining and enjoyable.  Special thanks go to the organisers and teams of people in the backgrounds that helped pull all of this together.

“Great conference. Well done all, really enjoyed whole thing.”

Some of the presentations from the roadshow are now available to view here

If you missed out this time around, don’t worry, next year we get to do it all again in Nottingham on 4-6 September 2020.  Save the date and look out for further information soon. #CCNotts20

If you’d like to help shape the 2020 Central Council event, or you attended London 2019 and didn’t have time to complete your evaluation form, please email your ideas or suggestions to

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