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!

Applications open for the 2020 ART Awards

On behalf of ART

The ART Awards continue to grow every year – with over £3,000 in prize money waiting to be won. Now is your chance to apply for the 2020 ART Awards!

The teaching awards are open to everyone – not just ART Members or those using ‘Learning the Ropes’ scheme – the aim is to encourage and recognise the people and groups leading best practice and innovation in the teaching and development of ringing. The individual ringing awards are open to those who have completed one of the Learning the Ropes programmes (on tower or hand bells) or participated in the Learning the Ropes Plus scheme.

Click here to find out more and to apply –  www.ringingteachers.org/recognition/awards

ART Awards 2020

Prizes will be awarded in the following categories:

The Sarah Beacham Youth Group Award

Prize of £400 – sponsored by the Sarah Beacham Memorial Trust

The Sarah Beacham School Group Award

Prize of £400 – sponsored by the Sarah Beacham Memorial Trust

The ART Award for Excellence in the Use of Technology in Teaching

Prize of £500 – sponsored by John Taylor & Co.

The ART Award for Excellence in Recruitment or Retention

Prize of £400 – sponsored by AbelSim

The ART Award for a University Society that has made a Significant Contribution to Promoting Ringing to Younger People

Prize of £500 – sponsored by CCCBR

The ART Award for Inspiring Leadership in Ringing

Prize of £400 – sponsored by Talent Innovations

The ART Learning the Ropes Individual Achievement Awards

Two prizes of £250 – sponsored by the Ancient Society of College Youths
Five highly commended prizes of £25 each

Worried about applying?

The judges aren’t looking for the most professional application; what they are looking for is ideas, commitment and results. So if you’re looking at new ways of recruiting it’s not just the idea, but the number of people you recruited and whether they stayed. Easy ways to show that – number retained a year or two later, new recruits coming in (success breeds success), quarter peals, striking competition results, practice attendance, or ringing progress (LtR Levels) … and don’t forget photos and quotes. There’s no magic formula; think why what you’re doing has been successful and put it down on paper. Please don’t be modest!

What are we looking for?

Hopefully having convinced you that the ART Awards might be relevant to you or a ringer or group you know, what are the common themes that appear in previous years’ winning applications?

  • Having a vision or passion and making it happen: however big or small, making things happen is what leadership is all about, even if you don’t call it that.
  • Trying out new things: some of which work and some of which don’t. If we don’t move with the times ringing will not flourish, so tell us about the risks you took – what you tried or did differently
  • Getting young people ringing: over-turning all those misconceptions that exist about children seeing ringing as “uncool” and giving up at the first hurdle.

If you recognise and identify with any of these themes, why not consider applying for yourself or a ringer or group you know? There will be an ART Award that’s right for your application….and if you applied and didn’t win last year, how about applying again, now you’ve got another year under your belt – Lerryn School did that last year and they won!

How do I enter?

Further information and application forms are available at  www.ringingteachers.org/recognition/awards The closing date for applications is 31 December 2019 – so now is the time to make sure that those doing great work don’t miss out!

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