President’s Blog #52

Ringers around the world are mourning the loss of Bruce Butler, President of the North American Guild, and someone who meant so much to all those who knew him. The Zoom memorial event which I was able to join was very moving, with not only ringers but his neighbours, former work colleagues and family all sharing their memories. There was an interesting moment when one of the Butlers’ fellow condo residents said “what is this ‘change ringing’ you’re all talking about”, leading to me being asked for an impromptu explanation suitable for an American audience.

I have always thought that it is a shame you only learn lots about some people when you hear or read their obituaries. The first time this really struck me was when I heard Rodney Meadows’ obituary at a College Youths meeting – he had other interests in which he was at least as good, about which we knew little. In last week’s Ringing World we learned that David Salter was a professional magician and illusionist! Bruce is someone I now wish I had known earlier in my ringing career.

John Harrison of the Historical & Archive Workgroup is looking for guidance on how the Council extends its collection of ringer biographies. This work was expanded beyond just collecting those of Council members back in 2009 and they went online from 2014. They are now working to provide access to a comprehensive online biographic resource that integrates the current biographies collection, Bill Butler’s ‘Prolific Peal Ringer’ articles, the 12,000 Obituaries published in the Ringing World, and the war casualty stories researched and published by Alan Regin. John and his team now want to expand the reach yet further, potentially with more people helping to source stories and write about ringers  A full article was on p34 of The Ringing World, and if this is something that interests you, get in touch with John on or read the article here.

I completed the second part of the Leadership Safeguarding course and am now waiting to see whether I have failed or not. Is it possible to fail, I hear you ask? Well only insofar as I had to write 250 words on my reflections on the course, what I had learned and what I was going to change as a result of having been on it, and I was not able to write much. Rather than padding it out with dummy Latin, I submitted my inadequate homework and await the consequences.

That second part is really just like the old C2 course that has been replaced with this new two-session one. You work your way through a case study, discussing what you would do if faced with the same situation. To make it work you really need to try and adapt the case study into a ringing context, even though the particular scenario used is pretty unlikely to face any of us. Still, it clarifies the processes you need to go through if faced with a concerning situation, and that’s useful and interesting.

Mandatory wearing of face coverings has gone in England now, as I probably don’t need to point out! Although it was interesting that on Thursday night at Brumdingers when I said that face coverings were no longer a requirement, everyone still wore them, and this evening I still wore one for face to face teaching.

A trip to Abbots Bromley practice last week, ostensibly to see a training bell in action, introduced me to two things I have not done before. One I am unlikely to do again (Kent Treble Bob Triples) but ‘Sonic Mapping’ on eight will definitely go into the toolbox. Here is the first Brumdinger effort

The Government has confirmed that the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme is extended until 31 March 2025. This gives grants to cover the VAT which might otherwise be incurred on projects involving the repair of listed places of worship, including repairs to bells. Essentially it makes projects cheaper and hence more likely to happen. This three-year continuation is good (if esoteric) news and should enable longer-term planning for projects.

In my second YouTube offering this week, I spent an hour at Harborne last weekend recording some good call change ringing. This is developing resources for supporting call change ringing by demonstrating different styles. While you can find plenty of examples of good call changing ringing in the South West style – just look at the entries in the YouTube competition to see some – there isn’t any good film of call change ringing in the ‘open handstroke’ and ‘spending more time in the musical changes’ style (to my knowledge). So we have done some and here it is . A bit nerve-wracking knowing we would be compared with Devon’s finest, and we justified our imperfect raise by saying that we just don’t do it as often as them.

Even if you don’t do podcasts this transcript of one is worth a read, and you can listen to it here. In fact if you hadn’t already got this far I would have suggested reading it instead of my blog! If everyone who is reading this could do one thing and that is introduce the YCRA to a young ringer you know, and get them to either listen to this podcast, it would be a good thing.

Teaser alert. The Schools & Youth Groups Workgroup, the YCRA and ART are finalising plans for a pilot ‘summer camp’ this year. The idea is that some young ringers on their way to university do an ART M1 course (teaching bellhandling) immediately followed by teaching some young recruits who are paying to come on a ‘Learn to Ring’ summer camp. The point is that those going to university arrive there with experience of having taught another young ringer and will thus be more confident faced with keen freshers. And of course we teach a crop of new ringers in the bargain. Watch this very exciting space!

Simon Linford
President CCCBR

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