If you are new to the Branch, or new to ringing, this page will give you a better idea of what the Branch provides for you, and how you can take part. See also the full list of all services that the Branch provides for its members .
The Branch organises regular practices throughout the year. They are intended to help members develop their ringing, especially any aspects that they are unable to develop within their own towers. The practices also allow you to get to know your fellow members who ring at other towers.
Weekend practices are held on the 3rd Saturday of each month (except February, which is the AGM with service ringing beforehand). Mostly they last an hour and a half. The April and October practices are normally held after the striking competition, and the November practice is held either before or after the Branch Committee meeting. Practice times vary, with some on Saturday morning, some on Saturday afternoon and some on Saturday evening. Members also receive a small diary card supplied via their tower secretary. For full details of date, time and place see Diary .
Most months the Branch also runs a daytime practice for those who are either retired or work flexible hours. They are normally on the first or second Tuesday afternoon of the month. These practices are subject to demand, and are not held if too few people are available to attend. Members receive an e-mail invitation to each, and are asked to say whether they expect to be present. These practices also appear in the diary, initially marked as Provisional, and then either Confirmed or Cancelled, so you can always check their status. See Diary .
Practices are run by either the Ringing Master or Deputy Ringing Master , who are always willing to receive special requests, either before or during a practice. They will also give advice if asked.
For details of all practices, see Diary . Back to list of services provided
Most years the Branch organises a day outing to somewhere outside the immediate area, but within around an hour's travelling, with a different area being chosen each time. The outings include ringing at five or six different towers, providing variety in the bells rung, the architecture of the churches, and the scenery and local interest of the villages or towns visited. The picture is Oxted, taken on the 2007 outing.
Lunch is taken together at a suitable inn, and there may be time to stop for coffees or ice cream between towers.
Transport is normally by car, and members are encouraged to share, which is more enjoyable as well as being less costly and more sustainable. The organiser will be happy to put anyone with no transport, or with a part empty car, in touch with each other.
You can find details of some past outings here. For the date of the next outing, see Diary. Back to list of services provided
In a striking competition, teams compete with each other to see which can ring the best. Most ringing societies run one or more striking competition a year. Sonning Deanery Branch runs two: for 6-bell ringing in the spring and for 8-bell ringing in the autumn. Teams can choose what method to ring (or just to ring call changes or Rounds) and the performance is judged solely on the striking, ie the evenness of the rhythm. Entering a team in a competition can provide an additional spur for a band to improve its striking ability, which should feed through to the quality of its other performances. Individual ringers who take part are challenged to perform as well as they can, and they can also enjoy social contact with the other teams, as well as listening to good ringing, not to mention the refreshments. Each competition has a trophy (see pictures) which the winning team holds the trophy until the next competition. Teams placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd receive a certificate.
See the rules for 6-bell & 8-bell competition rules. For details of this year's competitions, see Diary. Back to list of services provided
The 'week' runs from the first Saturday in November until the following Sunday, so it includes 9 days, and always includes Remembrance Day. The aim is to ring as many quarter peals as possible, in as many of the Branch towers as possible. Bands that have enough ringers able to ring a quarter peal are encouraged to arrange their own. Bands that do not have enough to ring a quarter peal in their tower unaided are encouraged to ask for help from other ringers within the Branch. Some members often organise several quarter peals in different towers during the week. The number of quarter peals rung varies from year to year. It has not yet reached the record set in 1980, the Branch's Centenary year, when there were quarters in every Branch tower.
For details of this year's quarter peal week, see Diary. Back to list of services provided
Some meetings are necessary to ensure the smooth running of the Branch, and to involve its members in major decisions. The officers meet periodically, but this doesn't normally involve ordinary members.
AGM – All members are invited to the AGM in February, at which all the main officers report to members on their respective areas of responsibility, major decisions are put to the members for approval, and members elect the following year's officers. This is the meeting at which most new members are elected, though they can be elected at other times of the year. The normal sequence is: Ringing - A short service - Tea - Meeting - More ringing (if wanted). The meeting is at a different tower each year.
Branch Committee – The Committee meeting is in November, and its role is to smooth the way for the business at the AGM. The 'committee' is not a fixed set of people – it includes the officers and a representative from each tower. So it is representative, but still small enough to discuss things in depth, and clarify the issues ahead of the AGM. Mostly the meeting handles routine things like the programme for the coming year, a review of how the funds are doing, any concerns raised by the officers or by tower representatives, and any business from the Guild (of which we are a branch). The meeting might give actions to some of the officers, for example to obtain more information before the AGM.
For details of this year's meetings, see Diary. Back to list of services provided
The items bellow are currently (March 2016) held by the bookstall
|1 day ringing courses & maintenance courses||£0.20|
|1 per learner (6 for £5 to buy = 84p each)||£0.84|
|43ers 60th Anniversary by Stan Scott||£5.00|
|A Dictionary of Campanology||£3.00|
|A handbook of composition||£5.50|
|A schedule of regular maintenance||£2.50|
|Beginners Plain Bob||£1.00|
|Bell Club Pack||£5.00|
|Bells and Bellringing (Shire)||£7.99|
|Bob calling for beginners||£0.50|
|Central Council handbook||£2.00|
|Central Council rules||£2.00|
|Change ringing on handbells||£2.50|
|Collection of plain Minor methods||£3.00|
|Conducting & Coursing Order||£2.95|
|Contents of Guild library||£1.00|
|Doubles & Minor for beginners||£2.50|
|Easy Stages mini-leaflets (Grandsire Doubles)||£0.20|
|Easy Stages mini-leaflets (Plain Bob Doubles)||£0.20|
|Follow on book (6 for £5 to buy = 83.33p each)||£0.85|
|Getting It Right||£4.00|
|Guidelines to a DIY project||£1.00|
|Index to compositions RW 1941/ 92||£3.00|
|Judging striking competitions||£0.70|
|Learning change ringing on handbells||£0.50|
|New Ringer's Book (John Harrison)||£10.00|
|Peal compositions 1986||£3.00|
|Personal Progress Card||£0.20|
|Plain Bob Minor L B Minor D B Minor P B Major||£0.50|
|Plain Hunting & Plain Bob Doubles||£0.50|
|Plain methods in place notation||£3.00|
|Proof of plain Bob Major||£0.50|
|Raising & lowering||£3.75|
|Raising & lowering in peal||£2.00|
|Simulators & teaching||£1.00|
|Spliced Minor Collection||£5.50|
|Teaching from rounds to Bob Doubles||£1.50|
|The bell adviser||£1.50|
|Tower captains handbook||£2.00|
|Tower and Bells Handbook (Frost)||£17.95|
|Training directory 1995||£0.50|
|Treble Bob Major variations||£1.50|
|Treble dodging minor methods||£3.00|
|Triples & Major for beginners||£2.50|
If you require any of the above, contact the Bookstall Holder. Other publications are available from Central Council Publications. See also the ringing bibliography. Back to list of services provided
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|© Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers (Sonning Deanery Branch) 2012|