President’s Blog #61

I am very pleased that ART has launched its new Learning the Ropes Advanced Call Changes scheme recognising that after achieving good bell handling skills (the end of LtR Level 2), a ringer’s pathway does not have to be into method ringing, but can be into different styles of call change ringing. As its introductory website says “The scheme takes a lot of inspiration from the Devon Call Change tradition, and indeed members of the Devon Association were involved with the development and piloting of the scheme.” One of the Council’s Strategic Priorities is that method ringing should not be the only measure of success, and hopefully this additional structure can help more ringers and bands enjoy call change ringing.

This coming weekend I am off to Devon to attend my first call change competition – the Devon Association’s 6 Bell Major Final. As well as listening to great ringing, and enjoying the odd sherbet, I am hoping this will give me some more inspiration for the first call change competition I am organising which is going to be at Moseley in Birmingham on the first Saturday in June next year. Any local band who wants to develop this style of ringing will be able to enter.

After my success in a previous blog seeking help with Microsoft Publisher, this week I am appealing for people with expertise or just interest in PR to join Vicki Chapman’s PR Workgroup. They have got a few things in the pipeline to work on – video production, the Commonwealth Games, AGM weekend, PR Matters Day 2.0 – but they need a bigger team to share the load and increase the depth and breadth of expertise. Contact

Other appeals for help come from ringing courses – both the established Bradfield course, and nascent North West course are looking for more helpers. It is common for guilds and associations to sponsor students on courses, but maybe they could sponsor helpers as well? Has finding enough helpers always been a challenge for residential courses or has ringers’ propensity to volunteer diminished?

The seminar programme for the Nottingham Roadshow (Sunday 4th September) is settled with very good and experienced speakers. I can reveal a few of the topics to whet your appetite. Arthur Reeves will explore how we can be the best teacher, Nigel Taylor’s talk will challenge our understanding of “what is out of tune?”, Colin Newman will share his extensive experience on how to engage young ringers, and Gareth Davies will paint a picture of ringing in the 18th and 19th centuries. More appetite whetting to come.

By the time the next year’s diaries go on sale we always have a pretty long list of engagements to put in. I now have dates in my 2024 diary, including the RWNYC. Getting weekends booked up more than a year in advance was what made me continue with bellringing rather than playing in an orchestra. That and how much my cello teacher used to get annoyed when I turned up for lessons with blisters on my fingers.

A training ring has found its way to Elizabeth College in Guernsey. This school has had strong ringing links for many years, as schoolteacher Duncan Loweth has taught pupils to ring in after school activities, but now the activity can be ramped up as the school has purchased the ‘Beresford Campanile’, comprising six Saxilby simulators. It will be interesting to see how many young ringers a ring of bells in a school can generate. Can they emulate the likes of Bryanston and Kent School? Much is down to the enthusiasm of teachers of course, but getting bells into schools has to the way forward (much to the annoyance of cello teachers).

Ringing provides very little paid employment outside the trades and the staff of The Ringing World. It is a long time since James Washbrook was paid to teach a band of ringers at Arklow. However, hot on the heels of ART taking on more paid staff, the Ringing World team has advertised for a part-time Editorial Assistant. The deadline for applications is 13th June. Read more at

En route to Charlie’s first peal I had an example of how different a 15 year old’s world is. She had been discussing the concept of a peal with a non-ringing schoolfriend, who had referred to it in a good luck WhatsApp as a ‘peel’. Charlie’s explanation for the misspelling?  “The trouble is we have only ever discussed it over voice.”

I am a big believer in peal ringing as a way to develop ringing skills and experience, so I was pleased to see that the Platinum Jubilee presented quite a few opportunities for other first pealers. I counted 29 and probably missed some. What has been great is that the Jubilee seems to have been an opportunity to widen the pool of participants and give entry level opportunities rather than just to get the band of mercenaries together to ring something flash (or safe).

All the achievements of the Platinum Jubilee weekend will be covered elsewhere so I will restrict myself to this one that caught my eye, and which tells so many stories. For some time, a Saturday morning group teaching hub as been operating at Wendron on the Lizard Peninsula. Last weekend seven of the new recruits rang rounds on six together for the first time. The group was not just taught for this purpose – this is the making of a sustainable local band in a remote area, showing what can be done if you really try, and pool teaching resources.

Finally, as electric scooters become a popular form of transport for many in urban areas, I was tickled by the notice on my church’s notice sheet (incidentally right under a welcome given to the visiting Birmingham School of Bell Ringing) “If you travel to church by scooter, please do not leave them in the Lady Chapel as this space is now being used for prayer ministry during the service.”

Simon Linford
President CCCBR

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