President’s Blog #4

Half term was a good opportunity to get out and about and Monday evening was a trip to Stone (nr Dursley) to meet the Let’s Ring! group. This young ringers group, featured on the back of a recent Ringing World, is in its 3rd year of recruiting youngsters from the local area, with a high retention rate, good ringing progress, and a commendable focus on striking. Catherine White Horne is doing a fantastic job. My daughter Charlie and I were made very welcome. I have never seen so many smileys and exclamation marks in quarter peal reports!!! 😊

Let’s Ring! does initial teaching during an intensive February half term (just because that’s when the first one was). Teaching youngsters quickly and intensively so they get to the good bit asap is definitely the best way to go.

One thing I want to get up and running is a Summer Camp where ringers who will be heading to University learn how to teach, but with their students being younger ringers going on a ‘learning to ring’ summer camp. With university societies having to do more to teach undergraduates rather than relying on ready-made ringers, having ringers going to uni with the experience of teaching would give much more confidence when faced with those eager (or nervous) Freshers.

Two weeks ago now we had one of the quarterly face to face Exec meetings that is then joined by all the Workgroup leaders. This was a bit of a whirlwind, but we went through all the strategic priorities and associated actions, put names by many of them, dropped one of two duff ones, and generally moved from the thinking stage to the doing stage.

I don’t know whether the old CC Admin Committee ever went ringing after its meetings but it seemed an appropriate thing to do, rather than just sit around talking for the whole day. And reflecting the breadth in experience of the group, we rang a quarter of Bob Triples which was Alison Everett’s first on 8 inside. So that particular Saturday was 6 hours of meeting, one quarter peal, couple of pints, and method learning on the train in both directions (as usual).

I am now sending the Strategic Priorities working document out to all association Chairs, Masters, Ringing Masters, CC Reps – I am personalising every one so it is taking a while – please bear with me. Great feedback though so far. Interesting also that I have heard back from quite a few territorial associations who are taking a long hard look at what they do, so there is appetite for trying to crack some of the problems we know we all have.

Visiting all association websites to check contacts is educational in itself. Full marks to Ely for acknowledging and providing links to all their neighbouring associations! Interesting also to see how many smaller associations have been formed around the borders of larger associations where needs are not being met. Plenty of examples of this. I used to be in a similar Branch of CAMRA – Surrey Hampshire Borders branch was formed in the no man’s land between the aforementioned counties. Someone has to look after Aldershot.

I have never been on a residential ringing course such as Bradfield, Hereford or Essex, but they are highly regarded by those who go, whether as leaders, helpers or students. There is clearly demand for more of them, especially by those who are struggling to break into change ringing but lacking local opportunity. We are therefore going to try and establish two more starting next summer, based in the north of England to balance out the provision. V&L are looking into it and I am sure they would be interested in suggestions as to where one could hold such a course. And maybe even volunteers to help with them when locations are decided.

I like posting searching question on Facebook and seeing what happens. A question on whether we can teach leadership in ringing had a huge response – nearly 200 contributions – with much discussion of what makes a good ringing leader, the possible split of the role of Tower Captain (appointed by the incumbent/church wardens) and Ringing Master. The traits of good ringing leaders were well understood. Enthusiasm and being nice to people were regarded as highly desirable attributes.

Lesley Belcher (Chair of ART) has been doing a fantastic job helping getting the CCT’s “Learning the Ropes” campaign moving along, speaking to the local ringers at all the 16 (ish) target towers that are going to run ‘ringing taster days’. CCT are starting their filming at All Souls Bolton, where they are hugely impressed with the enthusiasm of the local ringers, and the work they are doing with school groups. All Souls Bolton is a showcase of regeneration and re-purposing of a redundant church – a stunning piece of architecture and a vibrant place  Taster days are taking place through May and June, preceded by a video-based social media marketing campaign.

Last week I spent 35 hours on Council work including travelling. Not sure where those hours came from really. All the travelling though doubled up as method revision opportunities as I had quite a few peals with lots of methods. Some Spliced Maximus at Magnus practicing for a 10k, and then 147 Minor for the evening before the Henry Johnson Dinner (to prove that I am a proper minor ringer). In between that I had to brush up on my Smiths and Chandlers 23 Spliced which was so I could join Alan Regin in ringing his 100th peal of Smiths and 50th peal of Chandlers. Well done Alan, and thanks for reminding me why Rutland got dropped from the Core Seven.

Off to the Henry Johnson Dinner now. Thought it would be better to write this before than after.

Simon Linford
President, CCCBR