December Branch Practice 2019

It’s coming up to that time of the month where we all get to venture to a different tower to ring with ringers from around the branch. December sees us head to St Giles, Reading. This feels like it is almost becoming tradition, and with a slightly later start (10.30), there will be mince pies, tea and coffee available from 10am at the back of the church! So why not head down early, grab a hot drink and mince pie to help you warm up for a good old ring?

Tilehurst wins striking competition – again!

The 2019 Reading Branch Striking Competition took place at St Mary, Purley-on-Thames (six bells – 8-1-27), on Saturday, 14th September. There were six entries, representing five of Reading Branch’s 23 towers (St Giles-in-Reading entered two teams).
The Tilehurst team came first, beating the St Giles 2 team by two points. Many congratulations to Tilehurst, who also won in 2016, 2017 and 2018!
Caversham came third, beating Pangbourne by one point. St Giles 1 came fifth, three points ahead of Mortimer.

Jo Druce, conductor of the Tilehurst team, was presented with the Topper Trophy by Judge Steve Smith.

It was good to see four young ringers in the competition. Congratulations to Tom Sherwood, who rang the tenor in the winning team, to Jennifer Ellis, who rang for St Giles 2, to Daniel Page, who rang for Caversham, and to Joseph Barrett, who rang for St Giles 1.
St Mary, Purley, was a lovely setting for the competition, and the weather was perfect for sitting in the sunshine, while the church bells rang out. Many thanks to the Purley band, who served morning coffee with a splendid selection of delicious cakes and biscuits.
See below for photos of the six teams, their score, the position in which they rang, and some of the comments by Judge Steve Smith – who was thanked by Branch Chairman Giles Winter. St Giles 1 rang Call Changes, and the other five teams rang doubles.

Tilehurst band
1stwith 16 faults: Tilehurst team: l to r: 1 D Giles Winter, 2 Joanna E Knight, 3 JoanneP Druce (C)–with mascot, 4 Colin R Cairns, 5 Colin G Newman, 6 Thomas R Sherwood. . “Very nice ringing, a few early clips and a crunch around row 36.” They were the first team to ring.
St Giles 2
2ndwith 18 faults: St Giles 2, l to r: 1 Sarah Barrett, 2 Jennifer Ellis, 3 Peter Bennett, 4 Helen Bennett, 5 Steve Bennett(C), 6 Chris Barrett. “First-class ringing from an experienced band. Some general small clips. They rang more slowly than most of the other bands.” Last team to ring.
3rd, with 26 faults: Caversham, l to r: 1 Doug Beaumont, 2 Jenny Page, 3 Gill Hopkinson, 4 Daniel Page, 5 James Champion (C), 6 Roger Hopkinson. “Good ringing with many clean rows. Some clashes around half way”. They were the fourth team to ring.
4th, with 27 faults: Pangbourne, l to r: 1 Susan Norbury, 2 Richard Carpenter, 3 Ann Gardiner, 4 John Harland, 5 Michael Palfrey (C), 6 Leonard Palfrey. “A few nervy clashes at the beginning, then really pulled itself together. Good second half” They were the fifth team to ring.
St Giles 1
5th, with 44 faults: St Giles 1, l to r: 1 Joyce Vernon (C), 2 Toni Smith, 3 Colin Blayney, 4 Joseph Barrett, 5 Keith Vernon, 6 Chris Philips. “Good overall effort although there were quite a few faults.” They were the second team to ring.
6th, with 47 faults: Mortimer, l to r: 1 Jackie McGee, 2 Linda Finney, 3 Elaine Perkins (C), 4 Janet Carless, 5 Peter MacNaughtan, 6 Andrew Slater. “They rang more slowly than any other team, and the slow pace made things harder for them.” They were the third team to ring.

St Mary and St Giles win ODG 8-Bell competition

The St Mary and St Giles team won a hard-fought ODG 8-bell striking competition on Monday 6th May.

It was fantastic to see two teams from the Reading Branch taking part, as well as having representation from the branch in the ODG Youth team.

The winning team with the trophy. L-R: John Wells, June Saint, Stephen Rossiter, June Wells, Daniel Page, Steve Bennett, Jenny Page, Tim Hayward

A full report to follow at


Reading Branch AGM details announced

As we approach the end of the year, thoughts turn with huge excitement to the Branch AGM!

I am delighted to say that Henley have agreed to host us this year so the meeting will be held in the beautiful Chantry House, the only Grade I listed building in Henley.

The meeting will be held on Saturday 9th February 2019 from 10.00 – 11.00 (coffee and biscuits available from 9.30) and will be followed by our branch practice from 11.00 – 12.30. The agenda is attached and papers will be circulated by the end of January next year.

In advance of the meeting, please note the following points:-

  1. All officers will stand down at the meeting and those willing to stand again are listed below. Please send nominations for any of the posts to me.
  2. I would be most grateful if you could let me know who will be your tower correspondent for next year with contact details so that I can supply these to Heather Browning by 31st January 2019 in time for publication of the 2019 Annual Report.
  3. Would you please let me have any AOB in advance of the meeting.

Officer Posts

Chairman – Giles Winter willing to stand again
Secretary – Pam Williams-Jones standing down due to planned extensive absences next year
Treasurer – Keith Vernon willing to stand again
Ringing Masters – Robert Partridge and Colin Newman willing to stand again
Web Master – Tim Haywood willing to stand again
Youth Officer – Daniel Page willing to stand again
Branch Representatives – James Champion and Keith Vernon both willing to stand again
Newsletter Editor – Diana McClure willing to stand again
Independent Examiners – Helen Bennett and Joan Bennett willing to stand again

With many thanks and best wishes for Christmas and the New Year,



Reading wins 2018 ODG 10-bell contest

The Reading branch team won the Oxford Diocesan Guild (ODG) 10-bell competition on Saturday 24 November 2018.  It took place at St Nicholas (10 bells, 21-2-1), Newbury.  Four other branch teams (from a total of 15 ODG branches) took part.  They were:  Old North Berks (ONB) and East Berks and South Bucks (EBSB), who tied in second place, Newbury, who came fourth, and Banbury, who came fifth.

The competition judges were John and Hilda Ridley, and the faults for each team were as follows:

Reading 17,     EBSB 30,    ONB 30,     Newbury 46,     Banbury 92

So, a  resounding  win for Reading!  Many congratulations to the team:

Team photo
Clockwise, r to l: June Saint 1, June D Wells 2, John Manley 3, Thomas R Sherwood 4, E John Wells 5, Robert Partridge 6, Joanna E Knight 7, James Champion 8, Colin Newman (C) 9, Douglas J Beaumont 10. Photo by Bobbie May

The judges said that Reading had the slowest pull-off of the day but quickly settled into some very good ringing – slightly slower than the rest of the teams but very consistent and a pleasure to listen to.  They rang Plain Bob and Little Bob Royal.

The Reading team had representatives from four towers:  Caversham, Reading (St Mary & St Laurence), Shiplake and Tilehurst.  Special congratulations to Tom Sherwood, aged 15, who was ringing in the 10-bell competition for the first time.    The last time Reading won, in 2016, his sister Anna was in the team.  In 2017 Reading was disqualified because of a miscall – but the judges were complimentary about the ringing.