Ringing prior to Funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh

This notice was added to the Central Council website on 12th April:

What the Church is expecting is tolling of a single bell during the hour before the funeral, which starts with a minute’s silence at 3pm on Saturday. You don’t need to toll for the full hour, just during the hour, e.g. up to 3pm. Half muffled preferred, but a single bell tolling slowly whether half muffled, fully muffled, or even unmuffled, will have the desired effect.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

We are saddened by the news that Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, died on 9th April aged 99. He had been dedicated to Her Majesty the Queen and the many interests for which he was Patron. His legacy of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme has benefited bell ringing through service and activities for young people.

Guidance for ringing for the Duke of Edinburgh

The Cabinet Office has declared 8 days of official mourning, during which time any other ringing should be half-muffled and in accordance with current Covid-19 restrictions. Half-muffled tolling or chiming of a single bell is recommended on the day of the funeral. There is no special dispensation of current ringing guidance on Sunday.

Message of Condolence

The following has been included in the online Book of Condolence on the Royal website:

The Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers send their condolences to her Majesty the Queen and members of the Royal Family on the death of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. When restrictions are lifted our bells will ring in thanksgiving for his remarkable life and work within the United Kingdom and Commonwealth.

Covid-19 Latest and post-Covid Recovery

This page is in 3 parts – Current Restrictions, Roadmap to Ringing Resumption and Ringing Survival & Recovery.

Current Restrictions

Lockdown 3.0 has suspended the Tiers-based guidance and replaced it with a mandatory requirement to Stay at Home ‘unless you have a reasonable excuse.’ The Central Council’s guidance is to adhere to that principle and not go out to ring.

The ringing of a single bell or Ellacombe chime (or bells in the case of a ringing household) as part of an act of worship is not prohibited, and if you think it is important enough for a bell or bells to be heard in your community, and you can do it without putting yourselves or others at risk, then that is your decision to make.

CCCBR update: https://cccbr.org.uk/coronavirus/

Roadmap to Ringing Resumption

On Monday 22 February, the UK Government published a roadmap for exiting lockdown over the coming months, detailing how and when restrictions will be eased if everything goes to plan. It is a welcome and cautious framework for a return to normality. The roadmap provides us with an opportunity for ringing to return over the coming months.

While there is still detail to be studied, and every chance of change, all indications are that ringing in England at least will come out of lockdown as follows:

Stage 1 – 29 March
Rule of six outdoors will benefit handbell ringing (up to 15 for young people)

Stage 2 – no earlier than 12 April
Young ringers groups possible following the ‘out of school settings’ guidance (expect social distancing restrictions)

Stage 3 – no earlier than 17 May
Rule of six indoors enables ringing subject to social distancing rules to be confirmed (could still be 2m). On 12th March a new paper was included by CCCBR covering vaccination and virus transmission: https://cccbr.org.uk/coronavirus/vaccination-and-virus-transmission-in-towers/

Stage 4 – no earlier than 21 June
All legal restrictions removed
(it remains to be seen whether facemasks will still be suggested or mandated – that is not absolutely clear yet)

During any of these stages, ringers may still be cautious as not all ringers will be vaccinated, particularly young people. There is still risk of transmission and infection for us to be aware of; vaccination is not a passport. An article will be published in next week’s Ringing World with updated analysis of transmission in ringing chambers and the benefits of ventilation. This will just be for guidance though to be interpreted in accordance with local circumstances – the law will be the primary driver for what ringing is possible.

This is the clearest we can be at the moment based on the information available, and after discussion with the Church of England Recovery Group on 26th February. It is a roadmap, with more detail to be considered as we move forward. We appreciate ringers are all now starting to plan ringing events from late June onwards, and being asked whether bells will be available for weddings, etc. The main word of caution is that the Government is at pains to stress that these dates are the earliest possible, so commitments made for shortly after those deadlines should be made with that in mind.

Post-Covid Ringing Survival & Recovery

On the subject of Survival and Recovery during Covid and post-Covid, we have received issues of a newsletter which has been published by the Central Council and the Association of Ringing Teachers . You can download issue 1 here, issue 2 here and issue 3 here. There is also a document produced by Matt Lawrence available – Top Tips for Survival and Recovery.

There is also a Toolbox on the same subject –


Latest Publications

The three latest editions of Odd Bob are on the website, including this autumn’s copy (issue 103). See this page.

On the subject of Survival and Recovery during Covid and post-Covid, we have received issues of a newsletter which has been published by the Central Council and the Association of Ringing Teachers . You can download issue 1 here and issue 2 here. There is also a document produced by Matt Lawrence available – Top Tips for Survival and Recovery.



Farewell to Bishop Colin

Sunday 4 October was a grey and very wet afternoon made so much more enjoyable by the sound of four bells being rung by South Oxon Branch ringers for the farewell service for Bishop Colin Fletcher, Bishop of Dorchester. We are grateful for his support for bells and ringing in the Diocese of Oxford.

Dorchester Ringers
Dorchester Ringers
Dorchester Abbey
Dorchester Abbey
Dorchester Ringers
Dorchester Ringers

ODG Celebrates the 2019 10 bell

It was a damp, grey September evening, not so very different from the 10 Bell Striking Competition day in November 2019, when we were at last able to present the certificates to the winning bands.

Then we were still permitted to meet outside in groups of fewer than 30 and Stuart’s garden and capacious carport provided the ideal venue, despite his home not being included on Dove so that one or two ringers got, just a little bit, off course and had to be guided in.

However, once assembled, there were smiles all round as all the ringers in the winning Reading Branch band, and a good representation from EBSB and Sonning Deanery enjoyed a socially distanced evening together with pizza, chocolate brownies and beer.

Just for a short while it felt comfortingly like normal and it was such a pleasure to see familiar life-sized faces (and bodies)!

A special thank you to Stuart and Naomi Gibson for their hospitality, food beer and sanitising station!

Colin Newman , Reading Branch team organiser
Colin Newman , Reading Branch team organiser

Remembering Courage

75 years on, in the midst of the pandemic, some ODG ringers were able to mark the courage of the heroic soldiers, sailors and airmen who witnessed so much cruelty and death in Burma.

Several years after my father had died, I turned on the television and caught a few seconds grainy film of marching British soldiers, rifles, shorts, water bottles, slouch hats; the young man at the front was unmistakably my father, smiling and waving at the camera, at me…..and then he was gone.

He would never talk about his experiences, he never permitted me to watch ‘Bridge Over the River Kwai’ all he would say was that too many of his Sapper friends died there.

So, now that there is a little limited ringing permitted, I felt compelled to acknowledge his courage and asked Long Crendon Tower Captain, Andrew Haseldine, if there was a possibility that we could ring for VJ Day. The vicar was consulted, and careful preparations were made so that we complied with Covid 19 guidance. We are fortunate, the ringing room is large and airy, we have more than one family group and so we were able to ring eight bells for 15 minutes.

For many, VE Day was the most significant acknowledgement that War was over; for me and Kay Bartholomew whose father also served in Burma, VJ day was momentous.

Joseph Conan Snow – Bombay Sapper and Miner

Sydney Mumford – Oxford and Buckinghamshire Regiment

Long Crendon band - VJ Day
The Long Crendon band

The picture shows the Long Crendon band, suitably attired for the event. It was hot and stuffy ringing but worth the effort to be appreciated by the village:

Thank you all very much for jumping through the various ‘hoops’ and ringing this morning. What a joy to hear the bells again after such a long time. You don’t realise how much you take things like bells for granted, until suddenly, they are not there. The horrible eerie silence at 10.00hrs each Sunday, the silent Thursday evenings …… Here’s hoping ringing is back again, not just for VJ Day.


News from the Bicester Branch – August 2020

Although there’s not too much news these days, it’s good to hear what’s been going on around the branches. Here is a summary of what’s been going on in the Biscester Branch.

Saturday, 15 August 2020

Islip (St Nicholas), Oxfordshire


Saturday, 15 August 2020

Kirtlington (St Mary the Virgin), Oxfordshire

75 Tolling

Saturday, 15 August 2020

Weston on the Green (Blessed Virgin Mary), Oxfordshire


The improvement works at Weston on the Green are fairly complete, the new ropes are in and the new carpet is down.

Meantime at Stratton Audley they are hoping to ring three bells at each of two weddings coming up in September.