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Established January 17 1881

Welcome to the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers



LATEST NEWS and EVENTS for 2016 :

Guild 6-Bell Final at Penn

Since only nine teams applied there was no need for heats for this event. In the end a further two teams withdrew, leaving us with a short afternoon, extra teas and a drive home in the daylight. All good stuff!

The judges were David Phillipson from Olney and Doug Hird from Newport Pagnell. They commented on the very high standard of ringing of all the teams but, unfortunately, Aylesbury team was disqualified for ringing only 120 changes instead of the required 240.

The whole afternoon was run most efficiently by Penn ringers and other members of the EBSB Branch, which included the ushering, time-keeping and, of course, a very moreish tea. The results were given in the hall opposite the church which you accessed by risking life and limb crossing the road.

The results are tabled below with the judges' comments:

Ringing order Team Branch Judges' comments Faults Position
1 HungerfordNewbury Slowest ringing of the teams. Faults from the tenor at handstroke and backstroke. Occasional open backstroke leads. No clashes or direct hits. 2nd half was better than the first. Ringing time 9:31414
2 High Wycombe EBSB A few direct hits during the practice rounds of test piece. A bit rushed. 1 direct hit during the test piece. Some open backstroke leads. Very good ringing. Ringing time 8:50222
3BloxhamBanbury Practice too fast for the tenor. Problem with syncopation throughout. Not much clashing or direct hits. Clashes were well recovered. Good ringing. Ringing time 8:55986
4Wokingham All SaintsSonning Deanery Practice rounds became settled. Test piece rounds were very good. Some rushed leads. Tenor more in touch with other bells. Some syncopation. 2nd half better than 1st half. Ringing time 8:54855
5TilehurstReading Quickest ringing of the day. Very good rounds First 60 changes a bit choppy but settled. Good speed. Occasional slow handstroke lead. Ringing time 8:43 353
6 Drayton St Leonard South Oxon 2nd slowest ringing of the day. A few problems in the practice. Good slow, deliberate rounds at start of the test piece. Good tenor. Nice piece of ringing. Very good and enjoyable. Ringing time 9:25 17 1
7AylesburyCentral Bucks Failed to complete the test piece as they stopped after 120 changes instead of 240.

Alan Marchbank, Deputy Master and chief organizer of the day, thanked everyone for coming and gave a small token of thanks to the judges. He added that the tenor ringer in the Bloxham team had been ringing for only 7 months and this gave rise to a round of applause from the competitors.

Thank you, Alan, for organizing a very enjoyable and well-oiled day. Bobbie May (with judges' comments from Alan Marchbank).

National Youth Contest

Congratulations to the band of ODG young ringers, who achieved “A” grades in both the qualifying and final rounds of the RWNYC on 2nd July and were placed second in the method ringing category. Full results.

O.D.G. Ringing Day and 8-Bell Competition

The early May Bank Holiday must have been a triumph for the Bell Fund if early intelligence is to be trusted. One of the stewards collected £90 from two towers, albeit one selling day tickets, and a four bell tower at that, which seemed to be doing brisk business. Despite dire warnings to the contrary many towers started ahead of schedule, in the main, those in isolated rural spots. The heavenly beginning to the day was, however, masked with cloud and even some quite heavy showers later on, though, thankfully, the entrance to the competition tower, Chieveley, was inside the church and not through an outside door!

Stanford Dingley (4) seemed to be a great attraction with its four ropes in a straight line, the treble not being everyone's choice of bell with its lack of handstroke pull! The new ring at Great Shefford, now a beautiful anti-clockwise 6, drew people in having for so long been unringable. I baulked at the next tower since Great Shefford had been something of a free-for-all and not wishing to end up with the tenor at East Garston, or any of them if I'm honest, left for the competition venue, despite its being the home tower or one of our revered Past Masters, Cyril Jenkyn. Our young ringers, ODG Youth Band, appeared in time to ring in the competition, by the skin of their teeth and then dashed off to do some more tower grabbing! I admire their energy.

For some, the main business of the day was the eight-bell change-ringing competition, the test piece this year being Little Bob. Judges were Alan Shepherd, assisted by John Harrison: generally the bells were difficult and everyone had trouble though most of the ringing was good.

Ringing order Band Placing Faults Judges' Comments
1High Wycombe3rd20The ringing sounded uneasy and didn't settle but there were several good patches.
2Tilehurst7th34Rounds good but lost the rhythm going into changes and never really settled. Second half better than the first.
3St Aldate's Oxford5th28Settled down well and was going well until the fire-up. It recovered but didn't really settle down again.
4Newbury Branch2nd18Good rounds but unsettled going into changes. Second half better than first.
5Banbury Branch6th29Consistent but not confident. Lots of rushed leads. Second half not as good as the first half.
6ODG Youth Team8th44Band obviously not comfortable with the method. The result would have been much better without the faults from method mistakes. The last few leads settled down well.
7 EBSB Branch1st14Confident ringing. The last few leads were very good.
8North Bucks4th23Good ringing except for the crunch at the half-way single. It didn't really settle afterwards.

Alan Marchbank, Deputy Master, thanked everyone who took part; Richard Marshall, who was in charge of the ordering of the day, the Incumbent who allowed the bells to be rung, Rosemary Evans for marshalling the troops and getting the teams through with maximum efficiency, the branch caterers who provided excellent sustenance, the teams for taking part, the Judges for giving up their day and the stewards for opening the towers and contributing to the smooth running of the day.

Bobbie May

EBSB Band
The Winning EBSB Band
Guild AGM
The AGM of the Guild will be held on Saturday 21st May 2016 at 2pm at Faringdon Church, Barber Rooms.

Please can members of the guild indicate their intention to attend the meeting to , Guild Steward, by Saturday 14th May either by email or telephone (01844 352926).

This is so that we can be sure we have a quorum. If you are unable to do so in advance, you will still be welcome to attend.

The events planned for the day, including booking details for lunch and activities along with the papers for the AGM can be found here.

Oxford Diocesan Bell Fund Sponsored Ringing Week

The 2016 Leap Year Sponsored Ringing Event is almost upon us again!

The Sponsored Ringing ‘Week’ will be 20th to 29th February, The Shield will be presented to the Branch raising the greatest amount per head of membership.

It's a great opportunity for ringers of all abilities to have some fun and do a bit of extra ringing to generate sponsorship for the Bell Fund. It does not have to be quarter peals and peals, all sorts of ringing at all levels of ability qualify. And where appropriate Gift Aid can be applied to the sponsorship money making sponsorship even more valuable!

The Trustees appreciate the efforts if everyone who organises and rings in this event which is a key fund-raising activity for the Bell Fund.

Sponsorship forms are available to down load by following this link or can be supplied by the .

Ten Bell Striking Competition 2015

Each of Guild's competitions and meetings takes place on a 15-year rotation, the number of branches in the Guild. This time it was Sonning Deanery's turn with the light but challenging bells at Warfield. The judge was the ever-accommodating Mike Wigney from Barnes. Mike stood in at the last minute and was ideal. Not only did he judge it alone but he had a result within 7 minutes and with seven teams competing! The competition piece was 288 Little Bob Royal and all the teams finished, though few without the odd ‘splat’ as Mike would have said.

The results and comments are as follows:

TeamPositionFaultsComments
Reading113Good ringing with zero faults at the beginning with pretty good ringing throughout.
E.B.S.B.218Settled down at once. The first course was good but it deteriorated later on and eventually improved.
Central Bucks326Stretches of good ringing interspersed with bad stuff.
Vale of White Horse442The pull off was the best in the competition and then it really got going. Unfortunately, the speed varied between the beginning and the end of the rows.
Old North Berks545 Started unevenly and got much better. Unfortunately 15 faults were counted in the last 2 ½ leads after a method error.
Banbury651The rhythm was never quite even, though nearly there. Not always even throughout the row.
Sonning Deanery759Never settled down. A good pull-off but contained lumpy parts. The last course was the best.

Alan Marchbank, Deputy Master, who organized the day, had a long list of ‘thank-yous’ as the morning had progressed seamlessly. Local ringer, John Brownscombe and his wife Gisella, took care of the marshalling and Aidan Hopkins not only had the visitors' book to which he directed the ringers but a map of all the local hostelries, with the size of each showing whether you had to book or not! The locals, who are down to 5, were delighted to have heard all their bells rung well. Sue Sargeant and her team provided refreshments. Alan congratulated the Reading team for their twelfth win in the ten-bell competition since its inception. A good morning was had by all despite the inclement weather.

Bobbie May

8 Bell Striking Competition 2015

This years 8 Bell contest was hosted by the Central Bucks Branch, and Winslow was tower of choice for the 6 Teams to test their skills with 252 changes of Plain Bob Triples.

The weather was fine and ideal for consuming some excellent ringing on these quite challenging bells. All the bands were congratulated by Peter Blight, our Judge, for delivering some enjoyable, competent and confident ringing. Encouragingly there were no fire-outs!

EBSB rang first with a peal speed of 3:08. A very enjoyable and competent piece of ringing attracting 68 faults Next were Tilehurst. Peal speed 3:10, backstroke leads caused some issues but the ringing was improving all the time. 67 faults North Bucks rang third, peal speed 3:10. Very good ringing with trips coming in clusters then settling again. 63 faults. Banbury branch were next, ringing at a peal speed of 3:16 this was the slowest ringing. They had a &lquo;moment” and recovered well. 86 faults. Oxford City were 5th to ring. They seemed to disagree about the speed they wanted to ring at. Peal speed 3:14, 77 faults. High Wycombe were last to ring pushing the bells along at 3:06 peal speed. Excellent ringing. 46 faults.

So High Wycombe retain the Trophy, the 10th time they have won the 8 bell competition. North Bucks score their 2nd Second place, the first was at the inaugural competition in 1982 and Tilehurst record their 5th Third place.

We are grateful to the ringers and incumbent at Winslow for the use of the bells, to Brian and Paul who acted as Marshals and kept the competition flowing. We thank the Winslow ringers who provided an ample supply of delicious tea, sandwiches and cakes, and Peter Blight our judge.

Alan Marchbank

New discussion forum

At the Spring meeting of the Guild's General Committee, a new discussion slot was launched by the Master, Hilarie Rogers, to take advantage of an opportunity not just to transact the usual business but also to discuss matters that affect us all while members from all branches are in one place. It is planned to make this a regular feature of General Committee meetings from now on.

In Hilarie's words: “The things we need to consider as ringers at all levels – tower, Branch and Guild – include being relevant to those around us; attracting and retaining new ringers; making the best use of each practice; and following up people's reasons for leaving. As this General Committee meeting is one of the few occasions when people from all branches come together, I would like us to spend a little time sharing ideas.”

One person from each of the Guild's 15 branches was invited to consult members beforehand and to speak at the meeting for up to 2 minutes on these questions:

  1. What have towers in your branch done to attract ringers, and what has worked?
  2. People don't always stay – what have your towers found are the main reasons given for leaving?

A summary of the main answers is here.

Question 1 takes up more space than Question 2, but not because I flagged at the end! Rather, towers across the Guild have clearly tried a wide range of approaches to recruiting and retaining ringers, but the same reasons for giving up were mentioned time and again. Even for Question 1, some answers came up more than once, so several bullet points are "composites" based on more than one individual response.

James Champion, Hon. General Secretary.

10 Bell Striking Competition 2014 – Results

here are the headlines results of the 23 Guild 10 Bell Striking Competition, held on Saturday 22 November at Long Crendon.

1stCentral Bucks85%
2ndReading81%
3rdEBSB80%
4thOxford City79%
5thVale of the White Horse78%
6thOld North Berks77%
7thNewbury72%
8thBanbury70%

The test piece was 270 Grandsire Caters, picked out by Charles Botting which contained a number of "runs" to test the striking.

We are very grateful to our Judges Kate and Paul Flavell, this is the 4th time they have judged the 10 bell contest for us.Thanks you also to Andrew Haseldine and the Long Crendon ringers for making the arrangements for us to use their bells and for providing excellent refreshments.

Analysis of 23 competitions
firstsecondthird
Reading11111
EBSB9102
Central Bucks322
ONB11
VOWH4
Newbury1
North Bucks1

Note that the 1999 competition had only 2 entrants.

Alan Marchbank

ODG 6 Bell Striking Competition 2014 and 50th Annual Striking Competition Final

On the first real day of Autumn the annual competition was held this year in the Old North Berks branch. ‘Old’ because when the boundaries changed in 1974 the branch suddenly found itself transferred entirely to Oxfordshire and Berkshire got Slough. Who said life wasn't fair? Not wishing to lose its connections with Berkshire it decided to add ‘Old’ in a moment of nostalgia.

As there were 11 teams entering the heats were held at Cholsey and Brightwell-cum-Sotwell. Heat 1, Cholsey, was judged by Doug Hird and Nicki Kings from Newport Pagnell, the bands going through to the final being Caversham, Hanslope and Drayton St Leonard. Heat 2, Brightwell, was judged by Tony Crabtree and Joe Norton from Vale of the White Horse: the successful bands here were Wokingham All Saints, Thatcham and High Wycombe.

The six remaining teams in the competition assembled variously at Aston Tirrold church and Aston Tirrold church hall, which in the sunshine is a rural idyll and which, after dark, feels more like the last outpost of Empire, though the pub is lively enough. Someone said that Tim Henman lives here. That might explain a lot of things.

Aston Tirrold church bells are famous for several things; their loudness and their waywardness. They have also been silent for very many years. However, one noble gentleman, Christopher Hawker, decided to take them to task and, having made them reasonably ringable, began to teach a band. The locals were delighted that their bells were being rung again but, it turns out, they would have been even more delighted if they, the bells, could have been rung a little more nicely. The Old North Berks Branch, in its wisdom, decided that this was reason enough to have the finals at Aston Tirrold (!)

Even to experienced bands they turned out to be a bit of a handful, such bells as Geoff Dodd would have referred to as a ‘handy little six’. The judge, Mike Wigney from Chiswick, declared that they weren't easy bells and that the treble had been a challenge to all teams. The results were as follows: E. B. S. B, represented by High Wycombe, came first with 14 faults, Thatcham from Newbury Branch came 2nd with 15 faults and Wokingham All Saints (Sonning Deanery) and Drayton St Leonard (South Oxon) tied for third place with 19 faults. Hanslope and Caversham came 5th and 6th respectively. Special comment must be made that diminutive Daniel Page wrestled the terrible treble and came away unscathed and Bill Butler, it was claimed, from Thatcham who was congratulated on managing that same bell without incurring the judge's criticism.

MarkPlacingTowerBranchJudge's comments
14 1 High Wycombe E.B.S.B. Ringing Grandsire made a couple of clips & took a while to settle. After that the ringing was nice and smooth.
15 2 Thatcham Newbury Faster ringing than the other teams and the best treble ringing of the day. Interrupted by a dog!
19 3= Drayton St. Leonard S. Oxon Grandsire with 3 obs. The first 60 took a while to settle but each succeeding 60 was better than the previous.
19 3= Wokingham All Saints Sonning Deanery Ringing Grandsire. 1st to have a clear row. A few clips early on then improved
21 5 Hanslope North Bucks They managed to get the treble reasonably right all the way through but the general level of ringing didn't improve as it went along.
60 6 Caversham Reading A less-experienced band. Plain courses of Bob Doubles but well done to count them all! Bells proved very challenging to them.

After the adjudication Christopher Hawker hoped that the locals' dreams had been realized by the ringing of the bells by experienced teams!

The Ted Peett 6-bell trophy was presented to Patricia Newton of the High Wycombe team by the Judge, Mike Wigney.

Alan Marchbank, Guild Deputy Master and MC for the afternoon thanked all and sundry who made this happy occasion and 50th annual 6-bell competition so successful.

Guild Master's Blog

You may have noticed a new entry on the menu at the top of the guild web pages; blog which links to Hilarie's blog. This will grow over time chronicling some of her experiences upon assuming the mantle of Guild Master after the AGM in May.

Guild 8 Bell Competition News

In the Guild 8 Bell Competition on Bank Holiday Monday, 7 teams battled to take home the Trophy. Chris Povey and Richard Lewis-Skeath, were the judges and placed the teams as follows

Position Band Faults
1 High Wycombe 5.5
2 Oxford City Branch 5.75
3 St Mary with St Lawrence, Reading 7.5
4 Tilehurst 13.0
5 North Bucks Branch 17.5
6 Banbury Branch 23.5
7 Chiltern Branch 31.0

So once again a victory for High Wycombe, but by a narrow margin as Oxford City overcame the might of the Reading Band taking a very comfortable 2nd place!

Full report and Pictures will be in Odd Bob and the Comic in due course. Thanks to the Witney and Woodstock Branch for making it possible and for all the arrangements.

presentation of the trophy

Alan Marchbank

Odd Bob

The May 2013 issue of Odd Bob, the guild newsletter is now available for download.

2011 Young Ringer Awards

The results for the Award Scheme were announced at the Guild AGM in May. 2011 saw a record number participate in the scheme, with 10 registering at the start and 8 making submissions for assessment at the end of the year. The results were:

Gold awardJack Page (Caversham)
Gold awardMhairi Miller (Wokingham All Saints)
Silver awardOliver Rhodes (Winslow)
Silver awardElla Wiles (Caversham)
Bronze awardLaurence Organ-Jennings (Ducklington)
Bronze awardVictoria Tatham (Cumnor)
Bronze awardChris Vekony (Newbury)
Certificate of participation  Anna Murphy (Cumnor)

Jack Page was also awarded the trophy for the most impressive achievements during the year. The trophy was given some years ago by Ian and Meg Rodrick, ringers at Bodicote (Banbury) in memory of their daughter.

The Master presented certificates to those who were present at the AGM, and presented Jack with the trophy. For details of the Award Scheme (provisionally planned to run again from April 2013) see the education pages.




EBSB FUND RAISING

EBSB Fund Raising

A link to the EBSB fund raising website (http://www.bellfund.org.uk/) from our Guild website has been added. Please follow through our "links" page to learn about and support the project.

~ admin


EDUCATIONAL TRAINING AIDS

There are now a number of educational training leaflets available on the Guild website. These may be freely downloaded and used for your own personal education or as a teaching aid for new recruits


About the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers

The ODG is a territorial society representing bell ringers in the English counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, which together comprise the Diocese of Oxford.

The Diocese now covers the counties of Berkshire (118 churches), Buckinghamshire (152 churches), Oxfordshire (227 churches). A full list of each Branch and Towers in alphabetical order can be found in the History section.

There are Fifteen Branches within the Oxford Diocesan Guild - each Branch is represented on the Branch Map - each Branch maintains its own Branch website and the content of each Branch website is therefore not under the direct control of the Guild Officers.

Each Branch Secretary maintains the details of each tower and their respective contacts and as these can change they are not provided or maintained on the Guild website. However an A5 booklet listing all current tower correspondents and practice nights can be sent free as an email attachment (Adobe PDF document) from the .

The ODG has in excess of 2000 members, the highest total of any Society which is affiliated to the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers.

The ODG Rules (as amended in 2013) can be viewed and printed from this PDF.

The Site Map of the website may help you find what you are looking for or you may use the Search facilty.


Data Protection Act 1998
As members should expect, a record of their membership is maintained on a combination of paper and computer systems. These records are solely used for the administration of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers and for notification of future events to members. They are not made available to anyone for commercial purposes. If any member wishes to inspect the records held, please contact the Guild Secretary.

Further information on the Guild Policy on Data Protection can be found within the Documents section of this website.

Please note that the contact details provided on this website for the Guild Officers or tower correspondents should only be used for Guild related business or for arranging tower outings and no other purpose.

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