ODG Quiz 27th March

In the absence of ringing, here is a chance to get together and challenge ourselves. The Abingdon quizmaster has already organised other online quizzes. Full details are here. This event has proved to be very popular and is unfortunately oversubscribed, so no further applications can be accepted.

ODG Six-Bell and Ten-Bell Competition Certificates

The striking competition certificates are normally presented at the Guild AGM later in May. However, now the AGM is to be held as a “virtual” affair, it becomes impossible to do the presentation. Until such time as the lock-down is eased and we can meet again, here are the certificates for all to see and the successful teams to celebrate.




Young Ringers February half-term outing 2020

Young Ringers visit Newbury Branch

Wednesday 19th February.

Any young ringers from the ODG who can handle a bell safely by themselves will be welcome. Parents, ringing teachers and more experienced ringers are welcome too.
Donations of £5.00 per young ringer will be collected.
Please let us know if you are coming and any special dietary considerations.
Please complete and bring a 2020 permission form if not already provided.

13:00 St Mary, Speen (tbc) (6, 12-2-12, RG14 1SA) ring and walk to Shaw
14:15 St Mary, Shaw (6, 7-01-12) ring and walk to Central Newbury
15:15 Church Hall, St Nicolas Newbury (10, 1-2-21, RG14 7WH)
Refreshments, ringing
16:30 Event ends

Contact: training-officer@onb.odg.org.uk

Young Ringers February HT poster

Child Registration Form 2020

2020 Leap Year Sponsored Ringing

The Oxford Diocesan Bell Fund AGM celebrated its 45th anniversary in September 2019.

Since its inception it has been able to assist bell restoration in the Diocese by granting over £400,000 to more than 200 projects. Better still because it is a capital fund, all the money that has been raised is still invested and the grants have been paid from interest and dividends generated by the capital,

Every year there are activities, which generate new money for which the Trustees are very grateful as only by increasing the capital can the Fund keep pace with rising costs, We are keen to ensure the 2020 Leap Year Sponsored Ringing Event, is a resounding success.

First organised in 1979 when Branches were encouraged to organise a sponsored Peal or Quarter Peal and donate the money raised to the Bell Fund. A special Shield was provided by Bill Butler and inscribed by Ted Gosling for presentation to the Branch raising the largest amount of money. Bicester Branch won, raising over £231. We don’t expect peals and quarters (but by all means ring them if you like), any ringing can be sponsored, so presents a great opportunity to involve all levels and abilities and to introduce new members to the work of the Bell Fund.

In 2020 the Sponsored Ringing “Week” will be the 22nd to 29th February, The Shield will be presented to the Branch raising the greatest amount per head of membership. Sponsorship money can be Gift Aided to benefit from recovery of Income Tax.

Sponsor forms are both attached below, and available from the Secretary – Katie Lane (email kt.catchmole@googlemail.com)

Ringing Sponsorship Form 2020

Bell Fund Sponsored Ringing

Young Ringers New Year outing to Horspath

Old North Berks Branch of the ODG

For the Christmas school holiday outing we visited a light six, Horspath, just outside Oxford. And seventeen school-aged ringers came! They represented seven branches of the ODG, mostly fairly local but some coming from as far as Bloxham, Tilehurst, Faringdon and Clanfield. They were aged between ten and eighteen years old. Almost all the ringing was just by the young ringers, with lots of rounds and call changes, but also some Grandsire, Plain Bob, Stedman and Kent.

The young ringers said how much they liked the Christmas Cribs displayed in the church, (and the mince pies left over from Christmas Day).

And to recognise the season we had a party in the nearby Horspath Hub! We started with some party food kindly provided by Daphne, then played party games and rang carols on handbells. It was good to see the young ringers enjoying each others’ company.

The next young ringers outing will be at half term, on Wednesday 19th February, in the Newbury Branch. Put the date in your diary!

ODG Ten-Bell Course Shrivenham 2nd November 2019

Saturday 2nd November at Shrivenham saw an enthusiastic gathering of ringers from across the region. The event was the ODG Ten-Bell Course and the focus was Grandsire Caters.

Whilst the rain lashed down outside, the ringers were dry and warm and full of excitement for the achievements to come. I was there as honorary tenor ringer but in the usual VOWH spirit of learning and development I was encouraged to ring the treble – partial success was gained for me and the other ringers who were able to keep steady whilst the treble was elsewhere!!

The students had ample opportunity to ring with expert support and by lunch time had all improved their practice.

An excellent lunch was provided at the Prince of Wales which allowed for ringers refuelling and to have a critique of the morning’s achievements.
The afternoon’s activity was to include 4 quarter peals – two at Longcot and two at Shrivenham. The first Shrivenham group successfully got their ten bell Grandsire Caters (Pictured) with firsts for a few of us – including me being my first Quarter on 10.

Despite Gallant efforts the other three quarters were lost: one in the last minute! Nonetheless the objective of improved ringing skill on ten bell methods and lots of fun was achieved.

The other quarters rang were:
Shrivenham 1= Grandsire Caters – Got
Shrivenahm 2 = Grandsire Caters
Longcot 1 = Plain & Little plus St Clements
Longcot 2 = Cambridge Surprise Minor.

ODG Course band after successfully ringing a quarter of Grandsire Caters
ODG Course band after successfully ringing a quarter of Grandsire Caters

Thank you to Tony and others for organising and supporting such a successful fun day.

Towers and Belfry Committee Checkendon Maintenance Course 2019

It was a lovely sunny blue sky day in the South Oxfordshire village of Checkendon when a group of keen belfry maintenance personnel met up in the grounds of St Peter and St Paul. Carrying timber wheels, bells, clappers and headstocks, along with tool bags and overalls – it can only mean one thing… – the day had arrived for the much awaited Towers and Belfry Maintenance day! For me it was my first time at such an event and as a newly appointed apprentice steeple keeper of Shrivenham and Longcot Towers, I was keen to learn!

Church of St Peter and St Paul
The venue – Church of St Peter and St Paul

After introductory coffee/tea and biscuits and a welcome from Anthony Williamson – T&B Secretary, the day started with a few words of thanks and encouragement from Katie Lane; Guild Master.

Tony Crabtree then provided an introduction of the day, followed by Len Palfrey who gave an interesting presentation and facilitated discussion regarding health and safety essentials within a church tower. This included undertaking and documenting risk assessments and showing what a belfry maintenance persons tool kit should consist of – top of the list being a decent head torch! We then broke off into groups where we had lively and enthusiastic discussion about issues in our own towers and some useful suggestion to remedy certain issues.

Tony Crabtree and Len Palfrey leading the theory session
Tony Crabtree and Len Palfrey leading the theory session

Next we took to the ringing chamber to get a feel of the bells we were going to assess. Raising the bells, ringing, then lowering gave us the chance to assess for any odd struckness, flighty rope drops, sound problems etc. After this we split up into two groups – one group looking at the wheels, ropes and bell gear brought into the church and the other group went into the belfry. The group entering the belfry seemed much larger in numbers and I did wonder if we were going for a record of how many people we could safely house within a belfry. We entered the belfry armed with our assessment sheets which guided us through the standard maintenance of a tower bell, focusing on all the vital components such as headstock, bearings, clapper, stay, slider, wheel, pulleys and of course, the bell frame. We had opportunity to witness a bell being rung whilst tied and understand the moving parts. During the belfry inspection we managed to put our assessment documents to good use and identified a few issues such as a few loose clappers, and a wearing rope which were duly reported. Tony Crabtree had also spotted some odd struckness on the 4th and using the “Twiddle Pins” demonstrated how to improve this.

Tony Crabtree explaining the use of the “Twiddle Pin” to correct odd struckness.
Tony Crabtree explaining the use of the “Twiddle Pin” to correct odd struckness.
Examining a Headstock
Examining a Headstock

I really enjoyed the day and have since joined the T&B committee. The useful balance of theory and practical application provided for me an insight to the mechanisms of ringing and an understanding of how a bell works. This, combined with how it feels and rings and then linked with guided assessment provides much more depth and the ability to sort out issues which can improve the experience for the ringer and reduce risks of parts falling off or breaking and the associated damage. We all left with new knowledge and some useful course materials and a maintenance schedule.

Time for a ring!
Time for a ring!

O.D.G. Ten-Bell Competition and General Committee Meeting 2019

This year’s events took place in Sonning Deanery beginning with a morning competition at Warfield. We welcomed back Louise Booth from Bermondsey and Docklands Ringing Centre who officiated at our 6-Bell final last month and, to assist her, she brought her dad, Peter Joyce from Gravesend, Kent.
Louise set down their modus operandi for judging striking competitions and added that the bells were a good choice for a striking competition on account of their falseness. They both enjoyed the musical test piece, 269 Grandsire Caters, especially the music of the back bells. Six teams took part, Oxford City Branch having had to cancel through lack of numbers.

Placed Branch Rang Comments Peal Speed Faults
1st Reading 1st Very consistent ringing. The back and front bells rang very well together. Leading was consistent with no method faults. 3.05 29
5th Newbury 2nd No method errors. The ringing got better as it went along. There were some anxious moments but they were soon rectified. There was some variation in speed. 3.08 102
2nd EBSB 3rd Plenty of potential. Strangely, the ringing was better in the middle of the row. A few inconsistencies. A good rhythm was established with occasional gaps. 3.04 40
4th ONB 4th The last two leads were really good. Mostly good ringing but some rushing on the front bells. It was good while the back bells were on the front and they recovered well from a trip. 3.08 85
3rd Sonning Deanery 5th There was a bit of a trip near the end. Reasonable ringing and some of it very good. There were inconsistencies of speed between the front and back bells. 3.04 69
6th Banbury 6th Last two leads were very good. If only the rest had been the same! Some bells were trying to beat the rhythm and there were hesitations. Could this have been attributed to the slower ringing speed? 3.17 103


People made a Herculean effort to attend in atrocious weather conditions, especially those from the North of the Guild. Unfortunately, the Ted Peett trophy couldn’t be presented as it seems to have been lost! Instead, young Jack Page, conductor of the Reading band was congratulated by the judges. You might have heard more about him in the Birmingham area! The judges were thanked warmly by Deputy Master, Tony Crabtree, as were the Warfield ringers for their arrangements and a splendid lunch.

Reading band
Reading Team R-L from front, clockwise: Treble,June A Saint, 2. Jack E. Page (2), 3. John Manley. 4. Joanna E. Knight 5. Thomas R. Sherwood 6. James M. Champion 7. Colin R. Cairns 8. D. Giles Winter 9. Douglas J. Beaumont 10. Colin G. Newman
EBSB team
EBSB Team r-L from front, clockwise: Treble, Patricia M. Newton, 2. Ann Davies 3. Angela M. Darvill 4. Matthew R. Johnson 5. Kenneth J. Darvill 6. John C. Davidge 7. George Whiteside 8. Charles M.S.Botting 9. Robert H. Newton (c) 10. Martin J. Whitaker
Sonning Team
Sonning Team R-L clockwise from the front: Treble, Lavinia Sullivan 2. Jane A. Mellor 3. Stephen C. Wells 4. Nigel A.L. Mellor (c) 5. Janet E. Menhinick 6. Jon P. Tutcher 7. John A. Harrison 8. David Sullivan 9. Simon C. Farrar 10. Anthony W. Gordon
Old North Berks team
Old North Berks Team R-L from front clockwise:
Treble, Priscilla Morris 2. Gillian Loyd 3. Mary Friskney 4. Josie Irving 5. Sarah Barnes 6. Richard Loyd 7. Tim Pett 8. Christopher Tuckett 9. Stuart Gibson 10. Malcolm Fairbairn
Newbury Team
Newbury Team R-Lfrom the front, clockwise:
Treble, Imogen Sculthorp 2. John Kape 3. Mark D. Backhouse 4. Andrew Clark-Maxwell 5. Rachel A. Backhouse 6. Mike J. Winterbourne 7. Richard J. Marshall 8. Mark D. Robins (c) 9. J. Martin Rice 10. David F. Thorpe
Banbury Team
Banbury Team R-Lfrom front, clockwise
Treble, Zoe Lee 2. Lionel Smith 3. Liz Smith 4. Alison Varney 5. Sue Burchell 6. Charlotte Holmes 7. Alan Griffin 8. Chris Holmes 9. Graham Clifton (c) 10. Robert Reeves.
Reading Team win
In the absence of the Ted Pett trophy, the judges, Louise Booth and Peter Joyce shake hands with the conductor, Jack Page.

Committee Meeting and Bell Fund Extraordinary Meeting.

This meeting, held in the Ark at Sonning Church, was called to discuss the future of the two Guild bell funds and to amalgamate them while satisfying the rules of the Charities Commission. This idea has been a bone of contention within the membership almost since the Capital Bell Fund was established in the ’70s by the late Henry Lawrenson et al. Brian Gatward, Vice President of the Guild and for many years its treasurer, gave us a history of the Restoration Fund, which was established in 1926 mostly in memory of dead ringers from WWI and, for some, this has always had some sentimental attachment. Tim Pett seconded the motion that the two funds should be amalgamated and this time, for the first time ever, there were no detractors.
Groups were formed to discuss how we can gain better methods of communication within the Guild and with other ringers and the general public. These ideas were shared with the membership and will be taken forward by the Master, Katie Lane and the rest of her team. They also have plans to make better uses of the General Committee and to reduce its numbers to make debate more efficient.
The Sonning ringers put on a fantastic and imaginative tea and were thanked for it, once again by the Deputy Master.