Events Update May 2020

VE Day Anniversary & ODG Ringing Day

The government announced earlier this year that the May Day bank holiday in
2020 is to be moved from the Monday to the following Friday (8th May) to
bring it in line with the anniversary of VE Day. They and the Central
Council of Church Bell Ringers have asked for special ringing that day and
preferably at 7:00pm. Further details can be found at
https://cccbr.org.uk/2019/06/18/ve-day-75th-anniversary/

Our Ringing Day will also take place on that day in Vale of White Horse
Branch, ending early enough in the day for ringers to ring in their own
towers for the VE Anniversary celebrations.

Guild AGM & Eight Bell Competition

We are moving the eight-bell striking competition to the same day (and
location) as the Guild AGM. The Old North Berks Branch will host these
activities on Saturday 16th May. Our thought is to start the competition at
2:00pm and to follow it with the business meeting (c 4:15pm) with the
results of the competition announced during the meeting. The other
arrangements for the day will be announced later.

In recent years the Guild striking contests have been a good gathering of
members with plenty of socialising, whilst we have seen Branches that have
been hosting the AGM have faced challenges organising activities that
attract members to the AGM day. Hence the proposal is to combine the
eight-bell contest, which has previously been held on the early May Day bank
holiday, and the AGM.

Guild Calendar

The Guild calendar has been updated to show all the events in the coming 9 months. View it at http://odg.org.uk/diary/.

ODG Youth Team Wins National Competition

By Colin Newman

Following a year of preparation, on Friday 5th July 2019, 10 young members of the ODG set off for Liverpool to take part in the Ringing World National Youth Striking Competition (RWNYC) which took place on Saturday 6th. After meeting Sophie who came up by train having set out very early on the Saturday morning, the team headed for some general ringing at a couple of ‘interesting’ 8’s at Bootle and Walton, producing some ringing of a somewhat mixed quality. More through the quality and ‘ringability’ of the bells than anything else. Daniel’s angry face was quite a picture when he seemed to be having some difficulty with the 2nd at Walton.

The team’s designated slot at the beautiful 42cwt 12 at St Nicholas, Pier Head was immediately before lunch, after which everyone settled for a few hours of good practice on handbells and some good fun on the mini rung in the ground of St Nicholas. It would have to be said that it was hard for the smaller bells to compete with the sound of the grand tower bells emanating from the tower almost all of the day.

Having been drawn to ring 22nd out of 24 entrants, the team set off for St Francis Xavier (8 @ 16cwt) ready for their big moment at 4pm. Following an allowed 5 minutes of practice, the following band performed 168 Grandsire Triples as their test piece:

  1. Izzy Anderson-Besant (South Oxon)
  2. Daniel Page (Reading)
  3. Corey Gibson (Central Bucks)
  4. Ben Gladwyn (EBSB)
  5. Thomas Sherwood (Reading)
  6. Sophie Martin (Old North Berks)
  7. Dougie Vale (C) (North Bucks)
  8. Josh Ball (Old North Berks)

By the time everyone had returned to Pier Head, there was not long to wait for the results at 6pm. In the packed church, the tension within the team was high as we got down to the last two teams with the ODG yet to be named. A tension that was abruptly let loose as the second place team was announced, confirming that the ODG had indeed won.

They had done it, first place in the National Competition. The team collected their medals and the Whitechapel Trophy was duly handed to Dougie, which Sophie subsequently managed to drop on the floor, much to the hilarity of all present. This did not however detract from the visible delight at having been placed first in such a prestigious event.

Conductor Dougie Vale of North Bucks branch lifting the Whitechapel Trophy.

Judging comments – You rang steadily but in a controlled manner. You had a good sense of what you were doing as a team which kept you going through the odd inaccuracy.  The roll ups and downs were executed well. Pleasing. Well done.

Well done to a fantastic team.

Oxford Diocesan Guild 8 bell striking competition

Article and photos by Lindsay Powell

The Oxford Diocesan Guild 8 bell competition took place at St Mary the Virgin Great Brickhill, in the North Bucks branch on Monday 6th May. With a wonderful tea provided by the Great Brickhill WI, ringers were able to stroll between the village hall and the church, and listen to some very enjoyable ringing.

Four courses of Grandsire Triples was set as the test piece, and the competition was judged by Paul and Kate Flavell, who said the judging had been made difficult by the quality of the ringing.  Seven branches entered teams – two more than the previous year, and the ODG youth band joined in. Although they did not complete the test piece, they gave us all a lesson in ringing down in peal, and we wish them the very best for the youth competition later in the year.

Winning St MAry and St Giles team
St Mary & St Giles (Reading) team from left to right in ringing order (treble to tenor) 1. June A Saint, 2. June D Wells, 3. Jenny Page, 4. Tim Hayward, 5. Stephen Bennett, 6. Daniel J Page, 7. Stephen A Rossiter (c), 8. E John Wells

Reading St Mary and St Giles came first with a score of 85%, and the judges said that while the pace was fast, the little bells gave the big bells enough space, and they created a very good rhythm. High Wycombe came a close second, with 83%.  They made no method mistakes and the striking improved as the test piece went on.  Third were Central Bucks, with a score of 80%. There was only one method mistake and a very good recovery. In fourth place were Tilehurst with 78%, 5th place was tied between EBSB and Banbury on 75%, with North Bucks in 7th on 64%.

Stephen A Rossiter, the Reading team captain receiving the trophy from judges
Stephen A Rossiter, the Reading team captain receiving the trophy from judges Paul and Kate Flavell

Many thanks were offered to our hosts in the North Bucks Branch for the welcome, stewarding and the tea, and everyone had a very enjoyable afternoon. The judges presented the trophy to Stephen Rossiter, the Reading team captain.

Auction for bell-themed stained glass window

Some of you will already know about the commissioning of a new stained glass window with the theme of bells and bell ringing at Blewbury (Project Resound). Here is the link to the project on the village website: http://blewbury.co.uk/?s=Resound+
Our biggest fund raising event will be a promises auction, to be held at 7.00pm on 11th May in Blewbury Village Hall. This will be an exciting evening, starting with wine tasting and canapes. There are many outstanding and unique promises on offer and the auctioneer is very entertaining. Lot 10 is a fantastic opportunity for 6 people to visit Westminster Abbey and have an after hours personal tour of the bells and Abbey. Lot 1 is the chance for two to have a helicopter flight with our own Guild Treasurer, Stuart Gibson. There is something small or large for everybody and I have attached the list of promises for you all to see (please note that the Westminster Abbey experience has now been increased to 6 people).
The cost is £10 each, including wine tasting, canapes and cheese and biscuits, and everyone is welcome to come along with friends and family. Please can you forward this email around your tower members and to any non-ringing family or friends who might be interested.
Please let me me know as soon as possible if you would like to come along as tickets are selling fast! Please send an email to gillianloyd@gmail.com .
Thanks
Gill Loyd
Secretary ONB Branch

Young Ringers Fest!

Oxford, Saturday 13th April 2019

 

While the Old North Berks branch holds little outings for young ringers each school holiday, this time we decided to be more adventurous and organise a big day out especially for young ringers in the whole Guild.  Visiting Oxford was an ideal choice.

Young Ringers Fest 2019
Young Ringers Fest 2019

Nineteen young ringers from around the ODG and around thirty parents including some ringers met in Oxford on the chilly but sunny morning, ready to ring at seven towers in central Oxford.  Our first two towers were the light tens at St Thomas and St Mary Magdalen.  Ringing was good, ranging from rounds to plain hunt on nine to surprise major.

St Giles, just up the road had a steep stair ending with a ladder into a very crowded ringing room.  We rang plain bob and grandsire triples as well as rounds and call changes.

At lunch time we had a treat!  We provided our own packed lunches, but the Parish Room had lots to entertain us – firstly Daphne’s wonderful selection of cakes and scones and things to drink.  Then an excellent book stall with ART books that many of us hadn’t seen before.  Also there was the chance to ring plain hunt on handbells with some experts.  But perhaps best of all, Alan Griffin had brought along his dumbbell with a competition to ring it as the tenor behind to Grandsire Doubles and to get the best score for our striking!  Ten of the young ringers had a go.  (Some had two goes!)

There was a longer walk to the best bells of the day, Magdalen College where the gloomy ringing chamber is furnished with ancient leather covered sofas and some even older wooden pews.  We were nervous that the worthy members of the Oxford Society who had arranged all the towers for us would not approve of the standard of our ringing.  But they reassured us that we were fine and commented that they had heard much worse ringing from some of the other visiting bands who had come there!

Next there was the light eight at Lincoln College and the six at St Aldates where the prize giving was announced.  Josh and Jamie won the handsome big Easter Eggs for their top scores on Alan’s dumbbell.  All those who completed the quiz sheet received a smaller Easter Egg, and these seemed to disappear really quickly!

The last tower was Carfax at the central cross roads of Oxford.  Not all stayed to the end at 6.30 pm, but those who did enjoyed this fine, but challenging six.

Some of the comments on the day:

“I would like to thank you for the experience of ringing at new towers with new people.  I thoroughly enjoyed the day”;

“It improved my ringing and confidence about it”

“Thank you very much for arranging the whole trip and I will be sure to come along to anything else planned in the future.”

The new Volunteer & Leadership committee (V&LC) of the Central Council is keen to promote ringing for young people.  The ODG offered to hold this Ringing Festival in Oxford as a test of the concept for the V&LC.  We were pleased with how well it turned out and hope it encourages similar future ventures.

 

Susan Read

Abingdon, Oxfordshire

Details of ART Module 2F

What’s a Module 2F?

If your new recruit can safely ring a bell and is just starting to ring rounds then this course is for you.

In some ways this stage is the hardest part of learning to ring; the excitement and rapid progress associated with (semi)-mastering bell control has passed and time on the rope can be limited if the only practice is once a week with a mixed ability band.

This is where this course helps. It introduces lots of fun exercises to help your ringer develop the foundation skills for method ringing; fine bell control, listening and ropesight. There is plenty for your new ringer to practise and measure their progress against whilst stimulating (and sometimes testing) the rest of the band. For bands who don’t aspire to method ringing it gives lots of ideas for Service or wedding ringing which sound good whilst keeping the band interested.

 

The Birmingham School of Bell Ringing has shown that those who spend longer consolidating foundation skills before learning methods progress more quickly later on.

Saturday 31 August 2019

SMV, Longcot, SN7 7TL

Book your place on the course directly: www.smartringer.org/public/daycourses

Or contact Lesley Belcher for more details: lesleyjbelcher@gmail.com

ART Training Course (M2F) – ODG Poster

Ringing on the BBC

This is an article written by John Harrison for the Sonning Deanery Branch Newsletter (Spring 2019).

“It’s not often you are offered an opportunity to get ringing shown on TV, so you grab it with both hands. One of our ringers has a friend involved in Field Archery. (No, I didn’t know of it either – its a kind of blend between archery and orienteering.) It was featured in the sport slot on BBC Breakfast, and when the presenter heard about ringing he was keen to do a piece on that as well.

Some of you may wonder why ringing would appear in the ‘sport’ slot, but it fits very well with the widely used definition of sport as: ‘all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being, forming social relationships or obtaining results in competition at all levels’. Of course, ringing is much more than just a sport–notably as a form of music– which is why it is so special. But the more angles we can get covered to help raise public awareness the better. The presenter, Mike Bushell, is interested in exploring and presenting all forms of sport, and according to Wikipedia (look him up) he holds the world record for trying different sports–over 350 different ones.

On Monday 15th March we welcomed Mike and his cameraman Ian to our practice at All Saints Wokingham. They arrived in late afternoon for Mike to get some hands-on training beforehand, but Mike was delayed and Ian arrived early so we re-jigged the plan. Ian got shots of the outside the tower and the splendid view from the roof – in glorious sunshine– and he also took lots of shots inside, including showing the size of the bells. The altered plans meant that instead of the intended two hours of initial tuition, Mike only got about an hour. He was an enthusiastic learner– perhaps a bit too enthusiastic– and made pretty well average progress, ringing both strokes after a fashion by the end of the hour.

We then adjourned to The Ship (which in the late 1700s used to sponsor ringing competitions) and after a quick meal returned to the tower to join Ian and the other ringers assembling for the practice, at which we had a record turn out of over 20. Mike was filmed being taken through the teaching process and the rest of the time was spent filming typical exercises with the learners and various examples of normal ringing– from all angles: close up, wide shot, looking down from the clock room, viewed from the nave and looking in to the bells themselves.

A lot of the time was spent interviewing individual ringers, from our youngest recruits to long standing members, since the focus of Mike’s programmes is to capture not just ‘what’ is done, but why the participants do it and what makes them so keen.

BBC Breakfast has a total audience of 12 million. The sport item is shown four times between 6am & 10am, nominally at 6.40, 7.40, 8.40 & 9.40 though it can vary. It’s quite a short slot– 3 minutes – so it’s less of a documentary and more a stream of vignettes that give an impression of what the sport is like.”

A shortened clip of the segment can be found on BBC Breakfast’s Twitter page.