President’s Blog #78

Exciting news that our film maker and bellringer George Perrin is busy filming for our project to create three short videos about ringing for PR purposes.  He has spent a week in the North at Skipton and Barbon before heading south to film with the Kent Young Ringers (who were great apparently), then East Grinstead, Itchingfield and Horsham. To recap, we are producing three videos particularly suitable for use on social media and made to our own agenda – a short Facebook video (2-4 minutes), a 4-6 minute YouTube video and then a longer 8-12 production also for YouTube.

Hopefully you have engaged with your church to mark Bell Sunday in some way? I gave our vicar a link to the Bell Sunday resources that Max Drinkwater and Vicki Chapman have put together and she thought they were great, quickly putting together a suitable service. The organist even said he had an anthem with handbell accompaniment, so we will find out whether it is the organ or the handbells which are out of tune. Note that it doesn’t have to be on May 14th if for instance your church wants to focus on Christian Aid that week – pick one either side.

I am slowly accumulating entries for the National Call Change competition at Moseley on 3rd June. It is ‘National’ because it is open to anyone, rather than just a local association – a few teams from the south west are making the trip, hoping to showcase their skills and compete against some local method ringing bands. Still there is room for more entries if your band fancies testing its Devon call change ringing skill against others.

Those involved in property development projects know that when the main contractor actually starts on site you are much nearer the end of the project than the beginning. So it was for the Churches Conservation Trust, who saw their contractor start work on the Old Black Lion in Northampton. I was able to go to the launch ‘party’, complete with ubiquitous ceremonial shiny spades and, unusually for the start of a construction project, lots of beer. A significant change to the OBL project since it started is that the building will host the CCT’s offices, as well as the pub and of course our ringing centre.

The Ring for the King media train is finally slowing.  There have been over 70 interviews and filming requests that we know about, and probably many more we don’t know about.  They got a bit obscure – I don’t expect much to come from my interview on Dubai Eye, although maybe someone may decide the Emirate ought to have the best ringing centre in the world …

Last weekend saw what looks to have been a very successful Hereford Ringing Course (if you can’t afford handbells you can use bananas). A Council aim is to increase the number of such courses, as they are popular but not very evenly spread, as shown by people travelling from Kent to Hereford, and Birmingham to Essex. Last year was the first North West course, which we seeded with a local team who then ran with it and created an excellent event – it should open for 2023 bookings this coming weekend. The ever popular Bradfield course is running in August and is already open. A team has now started working on a course in the South West – anyone interested in getting involved at the early stages of this venture should contact Hayley Young

We had our annual catch up of all matters ringing and insurance with the team at Ecclesiastical. It is very useful to have ringers there (Marcus Booth and Becca Meyer) who can advise churches and ringers. We still get churches asking to see visiting ringers’ Public Liability insurance when this shouldn’t be necessary – ringers are ‘authorised volunteers’ and are covered by the church’s policy. We conceived (and have now commissioned) a series of articles that is going to explore ringing insurance claims through the trials and tribulations of “The Accidental Band”.

Ecclesiastical is actually part of a very large insurer (insuring churches is a very small part of their business), and they mentioned a referral programme they run which will pay £130 to your local church if you take out a home insurance policy with them. Since 2017 £450,000 has been donated to churches and cathedrals.

I sometimes face a dilemma when not having enough money for an appropriate level of tip in a restaurant –  do I leave the little I have and make it look as though I specifically don’t value the service, or put nothing at all so they think I just forgot? Along with quarter peal and peal fees this is becoming my only use of notes and coins. With many of us having answered questions in the Ringing World survey about BellBoard finances, I discovered that you can put donations onto BellBoard performances when you are not the organiser. So performances have started appearing where there is a donation of just £1 because I have paid for myself.

People have started to ask me how long I have got left in the Presidential seat – “I bet you’re counting down the days”. The answer is four and a bit months but no, I am not counting down the days at all, although I do have something to do next! There is lots to do irrespective of who succeeds me, not least working on the revised strategic plan for the Council to support the Ringing 2030 initiative. A call for nominations for both President and Deputy President will go out in the CC meeting notices – I am offering to stay helping to complete anything I have started, and also continue the role Mark Regan started, which is looking after our major strategic relationships (the Church, Historic England, CCT, etc). Having just earned the “Top contributor” badge in the CCCBR Facebook group I hope I will retain such an interest!

Simon Linford
President CCCBR

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