President’s Blog #80

When I was in the choir at All Saints’ Sedgley I spent many a sermon reading the Ten Commandments that were on the walls either side of the altar. I was pretty sure I’d be OK with most of them, at least those I could understand. It has got me thinking about what the Ten Commandments for a Ringing Master or Tower Captain would be? Maybe not commandments as such – let’s got for pledges. “I will try to “ rather than “thou shalt not.” One for starters came to me on the way home from a recent peal: “There’s no point telling me to try harder when you should know I’m already trying my hardest. I think there just needs to be more empathy in ringing.” Point taken. I’ve opened up a discussion on the Ringing Forums to build the list, and another to discuss empathy.

Incidentally, one of the first articles I ever wrote for The Ringing World was called “Think before you shout”, about why shouting was not necessarily the best way of improving the performance of your fellow ringers. The first time I went to St Anne’s Alderney there was a copy of it on the ringing room wall, presumably aimed at someone!

A report of the National Call Change Competition will be in next week’s Ringing World, written as I was travelling to London to take part in Birmingham’s preparations for the 12 Bell contest later this month. This really is competition season, with the Devon Major Final next week, the Youth Contest on 8 July, and others trying to take advantage of nice summer Saturdays. I have actually been throwing around an idea for another competition for call change ringing, but this time based on teams in regions competing with bands made up of ringers who have only been ringing a certain amount of time. For instance, it might be that half the band needs to have learned within the last three years and only one band member can have more than 10 years’ experience. It could be national by having regional competitions on the same day, linked via social media. Thoughts welcome.

The Stewardship & Management Workgroup has launched the final part in its trilogy of online publications. Belfry Projects  is a comprehensive resource covering all aspects of bell projects from scoping and consulting, fund raising, through to the finished project. As with their previous works, ‘Belfry Upkeep’ and ‘Running a Tower’, Belfry Projects represents a lot of work by a small number of people who should be commended for their efforts.

The Volunteering & Leadership Workgroup has started work on a ‘Towards Decent Striking’ project, starting with an information gathering exercise to see what resources exist to help ringers and bands focus on striking and improve it. Competition call change ringing definitely helps! We have already had highlighted the Whiting Society’s extensive resources in this area. How effective can a one day listening course really be? Does it just serve to show who can and who can’t. At the other end of the scale the Whiting Society’s “Come on! Listen to it!” expects many hours of self study. Who would do that? Please send thoughts, resources to Mike Hopkins-Till

Another V&L team is about to pilot a Ringing Survey. This will be the most comprehensive survey attempted since that of the Ringing Trends committee. It will use the latest surveying tools (QuestionPro as used for the Ringing World survey) and is intended not only to give us an overall picture against which to measure progress towards Ringing 2030, but also provide local areas with information that can inform local decision making and focus. As such it is going to piloted by three districts or small associations to see how easy it is to get ringers to complete it, and how useful the output is.

This is probably the last time I am going to mention Ring for the King (except a lot of discussions in the development of the new Council strategy seem to start with “what we learned from Ring for the King…” and it’s just to say that Vicki Chapman has assembled the various bits of TV coverage into one YouTube playlist. If you search for Central Council YouTube you’ll find the playlists and there is one called Publicity Coverage.

Those of you who are wondering when the much heralded Mobile Belfry 2.0 is going to make an appearance, particularly those who contributed, can take some comfort from the fact that we are still working on it, but waiting for the trailer manufacturer to come back with their proposal. Overall bookings for mobile belfries have been much reduced this year, presumably because after Ring for the King (oops there I go again) there is less demand for recruitment initiatives.

The Historical & Archive Workgroup is working on a project which is sure to be of interest to many ringers, and that is a peal board database. You see peal boards in odd places from time to time, e.g. pubs, – they are not necessarily in ringing chambers, and in fact at St Martin’s Birmingham, a couple were placed at the base of the tower specifically to generate wider interest in ringing heritage. Hopefully this project will be able to involve lots of ringers in recording all the peal boards they find and then getting them linked into various databases we have.

If you are interested in the history of your own tower, are you aware of the existence of the Felstead database? Without naming names, I remember when the Felstead database resided in the downstairs bathroom of a Felstead steward thus providing interesting diversion while contemplating the meaning of life. Now those indexed cards benefit from the power of a database, and most recently benefit from the attention of Richard Pullin, who has agreed to become our new Felstead Steward. His role is to maintain and enhance the database which I am sure he will do with enthusiasm.

Simon Linford
President CCCBR

Send to a friend