President’s Blog #56

We have just passed the second anniversary of Boris giving the “you need to stay at home” speech and the suspension of ringing in the UK. Ringing was curtailed in other countries too – I don’t remember what order it all happened in now. I marked the anniversary with an update on the Covid guidance pages noting that almost all restrictions here have gone, with the removal of the need to wear face coverings in places of worship in Wales, and my whole family going down with Covid.

Ringing is still impacted. As I write this my own practice has been cancelled because four people at least will be missing, and many bands in the 12 bell eliminators last Saturday made late calls on their substitutes. Sadly, Leeds ran out of fit people. What looks to have been a great 12 bell gathering in Brisbane will hopefully be remembered more for a quarter peal of Orion than for eight attendees subsequently getting Covid.

Pre Covid, the idea of not ringing for the whole of Holy Week gave some people palpitations. I initiated a discussion on the RingingForums as to whether the restriction on ringing in Holy Week was weakening. It seems to me that there are more practices happening, particularly early in the week. No liturgical reason for the restriction was found other than that there should be no ringing after the Gloria on Maundy Thursday, so this may be a tradition we have imposed on ourselves!

There are good examples of using a break to do useful things though. Spring cleaning is a favourite. The Guildford Guild has a comprehensive set of training courses running, all topics focused on ringing recovery, recruitment, teaching, maintenance and running practices.

In a similar vein, Matt Lawrence, who straddles the V&L Workgroup and ART Management Committee, is running an online Recruitment and Retention Workshop on Sunday 24 April at 7pm  If it’s anything like the workshop he ran on the Sunday of the ART weekend just before the first lockdown this will be excellent and very useful.

We got all the way through ‘60 on 3rds’ at the Brumdingers practice last week. I only said “push the handstoke leads in” about 20 times. The good thing is that the band is enjoying it, and at the same time as learning to ring methods it is clearly a test of bell control. I mentioned this on the RingingForums as part of a thread I started on the “Median Ringer” – a generally agreed hypothesis that the Median Ringer can ring Bob Minor. After a contributor said they thought their band would benefit from such call change focus and asked where they could find an introductory guide, I decided to write one in my spare time. Ha ha.

No honestly I am. My forthcoming eBook will share my experience of introducing Devon call changes alongside method ringing, and how a band can start to develop ringing in this style. I have a new young technically-minded volunteer who can work out how to use Hugo for me (Bryn Reinstadler used Hugo to write the , her eBook on calling and conducting). Give me a couple of weeks.

ART is launching its new Advanced Call Change Scheme, which I have mentioned here previously, and Graham Sharland, John Bint and Ian Avery are coming up from Devon to run a Devon Call Change Masterclass as part of the ART Conference in May. Then those looking to follow the tips in my book can think about entering our inaugural invitation call change competition which is going to be at Moseley in May next year (note to my local band – trust me it will be fine).

A highlight of my pre-Covid ringing fortnight was being part of a concert performance at Worcester Cathedral. A half-muffled quarter of Grandsire on the haunting harmonic minor ten was a programmed precursor to a performance of the St John’s Passion – just the odd hard stare from the audience as we tried to slip away down the side aisle. Better than some ringers I used to know who stayed for the first half hour of Evensong (in the warm) and then left as the pub opened just before the sermon!

The Council is currently consulting with its members on whether the affiliation fees paid to the Council should go from an amount per Rep (currently £50 per Rep subject to a maximum of six Reps) to an amount per member of each Affiliated Society, an amount which would be between 20p and 25p. For those who think the Council is a waste of time and doesn’t do anything, 20p a year might seem to be an inordinate amount to pay, while those who understand and appreciate its role might think that 20p per ringer per year is laughable.

However, for all the Council does, and I am hoping that before too long we will have a poster to go on tower notices boards that explains all the things that the Council does and how they can be found, not much actually costs any money. We are fortunate that volunteers do so much that we might otherwise have to find ways to pay for.

One particularly valuable thing which we could easily have to pay for is Safeguarding advice. Our current two Safeguarding Officers are retiring after giving sterling service, and we are recruiting replacements. We have two willing volunteers already but we want to build a small team, so if there are other people with experience who would be interested in helping, please drop an email to

Talking of which, I passed my Leadership Safeguarding Training! And got a certificate. I had feared failure when I didn’t submit enough words on the subject of what I had learned (I had actually done the C2 course so had heard it before). Most Dioceses seem to be adopting the approach that everyone does Basic, Tower Captains do Foundation, and those at Cathedrals, leaders of youth teams, schools, etc., do Leadership. If you are required to do Leadership, I suggest just trying to embrace it with an open mind. There is much in it that is useful, even if religion is not your thing.

Simon Linford
President CCCBR


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