Cambridge District

of the Ely Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers


Full Association Calendar


This year's Ely DA Annual General Meeting will take place online on Saturday 8th May from 2.00pm to 4.00pm. Zoom details and most AGM papers will be available nearer the time, but one thing that will be discussed at the AGM is a proposal by the Association General Committee that Tom Ridgman should become an Honorary Membership of the Ely DA. This proposal will be voted on by the AGM.

Our monthly District Ringing Room session for April is this Saturday (10th April) from 5.30pm to 6.30pm. We have changed the timing to avoid a clash with the Ely DA handbell sessions in the morning. We'll be using this Zoom link.

The district webinar on Thursday 8 April at 7.30pm will welcome Neil Thomas who will be talking about ringing and photography. Neil ran his own horticultural nursery, but left it to join Whitechapel as a bell-hanger and then latterly continuing with Matthew Higby & Co. Having come from a line of photographers, Neil received his first camera in 1981 and has had the privilege to travel the world for work, taking his camera along for the ride. If you'd like to attend, please register here.

The Ely DA Recruitment and Training Subcommittee have put together a Roadmap to Ringing Recovery to help Ely DA Towers understand what they can do and ring, based on the four stages that the Government have provided for coming out of Lockdown. There is likely to be several changes before we finally get back to unrestricted ringing in the towers, but Version 1 of the roadmap is available on the Ely DA website.

Future webinars will include Ben White-Horne talking about Wheatley, the ringing assistant for Ringing Room, on 22nd April, and Chris Pickford talking about bell-founding history on 6th May.

I'm very sorry to have to report that Alan Kennedy of Great Shelford sadly died on Friday 5th March. He was a well-known character around Stapleford and the Shelfords and will be greatly missed.

We are very sad to report the death of Ian Grant who died peacefully at home on 10th February. His ringing career spanned more than fifty years, for many of these he was Ringing Master at Fulbourn.

The third issue of the Survival and Recovery Newsheet is out now - see here. Find out what's happening now and some ideas for the future.

Lesley Boyle, Alban Forster and Dee Smith are running a series of beginner sessions over Zoom on behalf of the Ely DA for anyone interested in learning to ring handbells. These are on the first and third Saturdays of the month at 10:15am and the next session is on Saturday 20th February. Further details are in an email recently sent to the District mailing list.

Handbell Manager (mentioned below in an item about eBells) is now also available on Macos.

Just over the District border into Hertfordshire, but you may be interested to hear that Royston bells have returned to the town. Following the devastating fire in December 2018, the bells were cracked and had to be recast at Taylor's of Loughborough. You can hear the sound of the recast bells here and reports of their return can be seen on the BBC or Royston Crow websites.

Here's the next instalment in my photographic survey of the towers of the District. Following on from the "Beating the Bounds" ride at the end of last year, I was aiming to visit all the remaining ringable towers, as well as taking photos of any other towers I passed. I also grabbed the chance to get day-time photos of the final three towers of the previous ride - and I've slipped in another repeated tower (from a different angle) to try to catch you out. Can you identify all the towers? As before, they are in the order I visited them, but aren't all from the usual side, and don't all have ringable bells...

The second issue of the Survival and Recovery Newsheet is out now - see here. This has been jointly produced by the the Association of Ringing Teachers (ART) and the Central Council. Its mission is to inform and share good ideas, seeing how ringers are staying in contact with fellow ringers and maintaining their interest in ringing. This edition also includes some ideas from Australia and America. The first issue was here.

The Annual District Meeting took place online on Saturday 9th January, using Zoom, following a Ringing Room session. We were glad to be able to elect two new ringers to the District - Martin and Alyce (Thriplow). Long service certificates were announced for Ian Griffith and Anand Pillai (25 years each) and for Alan Winter (50 years!). A special certificate was also given to Dave Richards, in recognition of all his work this year, especially in organising and facilitating the webinar series. Shirley made the beautiful stained glass bell panel (pictured left) for him. Posy Marriage and Peter Hinton were also thanked for thier work as Secretary and Webmaster, respectively, as they stepped down. The meeting elected Catriona Agg as Secretary and Jon Warbrick as Webmaster, to replace them. Greg Pearce and Jenny Goodwin also stepped down as members of the Committe, and Louisa Egan was elected. It was announced that subscriptions for 2021 have been suspended, but if members would still like to donate to the Association Bell Fund, that would be greatly appreciated. An update was also given on the St Clement's Project, encouraging members to donate to the fund, particularly for the treble bell, in memory of much-loved former District Secretary, Felicity Webster (see below). Thanks to Stephen Burr for running the meeting.

The latest article in our Lockdown Learning series looks at drawing Graphs to explore methods and touches. Previous items in the series include Lead Head types, Odd and Even rows, Work above and below the treble, Calling Simple Touches, Music, Three-Bell Ringing, Original, Reading Touches, Place Notation and Blue Lines, Handbell Ringing and more.

The most recent Central Council guidance (15th January) on Coronavirus and ringing is here. Under the present lockdown, we are required to stay at home unless we have a reasonable excuse. Based on this, the guidance is not to go out to ring at all. Although public worship has not been suspended under the latest restrictions, many churches have opted to move to online services anyway, to reduce the potential spread of the virus.

I'm glad to see that the Trumpington tradition of ringing a date touch on the first day of each year has been able to continue, albeit in somewhat different circumstances to normal. Sam and Phil rang 2021 Plain Bob Minimus. If they want a wider variety of methods, there are plenty here - and that's before today's batch of 81 new Hybrid methods from Kington and Presteigne.

I'm very sorry to pass on news of the death of Professor David Newland. As well as being a ringer at Ickleton and Duxford, David was Head of the Engineering Department at Cambridge University from 1996 to 2002, as well as being a Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University from 1999 to 2003. He also had a great interest in butterflies and moths, writing "Discover Butterflies in Britain" and "Britain's Day-flying Moths". A quarter peal on handbells was rung in his memory near the Engineering Department on Thursday 24th December.

The latest "Chairman's Chat" from EDA Chairman, Martin Kitson, starts: "I don't think any of us who rung in the New Year on January 1st this year could have had any idea of what it would bring. It has been truly an "annus horribilis"; probably the worst year we, as bellringers, have faced since the days of the early 1940s. But, you know, despite the problems, despite the uncertainties, frustrations and deprivations of these dark days, folks, we're coming through. Slowly, but surely, we're getting there." The full text is here.

Geoff Perryman has a collection of copies of the Ringing World, more or less complete, from August 1992 to December 2018. They are free to anyone who can collect them from him. If you are interested, please get in touch with (C. 207790).

Congratulations to Cambridge ringer Jonathan Shanklin, who has had a glacier in Antarctica named after him, in recognition of his work as a meteorologist at the British Antarctic Survey. He was a member of the BAS team that discovered the Antarctic Ozone Hole in 1985. Carol Pudsey, former District Treasurer, who rang at Bourn, is also honoured for her work as a marine geologist at the BAS, by the naming of Pudsey Bay. For more information see the BBC News page, which includes a picture of Jonathan and the official announcement from the Antarctic Place-names Committee.

If you enjoyed Mark Davies' webinar, in which he talked about his Methodoku puzzles, the book "Methodoku Mayhem" is available from the Ringing World shop. John Loveless's new biography of George Pipe (1935-2020), featured in the previous webinar, is also available here. Links to these and previous webinars are here.

These very smart-looking dummy handbells are now available from Following the sale of the last of the ActionXL motion controllers, these new 3D-printed controllers have been developed, to mimic the motion of real handbell-ringing, rather than pressing keys on a computer. They are designed to plug into the USB socket of a computer, for use with Handbell Stadium or, through Handbell Manager (Windows, MacOS), with Abel, Beltower, Ringing Room, or Muster. You might also be interested to see that Learning the Ropes also has a learning scheme for change-ringing on handbells.

Helen Johnson is selling hand-made face coverings, with all the money going to the St Clements project. See her shop on Etsy.

I'm very glad to pass on the news from Barry Johnson that a faculty for the St Clement's project has now been granted. The aim is to install a ring of six bells in the tower in Cambridge, to create a ringing centre, with electronic teaching aids and displays to introduce visitors to bell-ringing. Fund-raising is now beginning in earnest and it is hoped that the treble bell can be funded in memory of former District Secretary, Felicity Webster. Details of how to donate are here; if you wish your contribution to go towards Fliss's bell, please make that clear when you donate. And don't forget that Gift Aid can increase the value of your donation.


Quarter Peals

Becca Glazier - First away from cover - Ringing Room, 23rd January

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