of the Ely Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers
Entries are coming in for this year's Gipson Trophy. If your tower is thinking of entering a band (and I do recommend it), the deadline for entries is 20th February. The Gipson Trophy is a striking competition that takes the form of a league, with each team playing each other team twice during the year, once at home and once away. The matches take place as part of the home team's normal practice night and so are a great opportunity to meet other ringers and perhaps also ring things that wouldn't be possible at a normal practice. It's always good to take time to focus on listening and striking and this is intended to be a friendly way to do it. You can also join forces with a neighbouring tower, to create a joint team, if you couldn't otherwise enter. The rules are here. The organiser is Ann Seaman. If your tower would like to take part, please get in touch with , letting her know tower and contact details, practice night and times. If anyone at tower would be willing to act as a judge in the competition, please also send their name and contact details. And while I'm on the subject of striking competitions, it's never too early to start practising for the District striking competition, which will be held this year on the afternoon of Saturday 13th June.
February's District Meeting was held at Chesterton on Saturday 8th. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon, as the splendid sound of the bells rolled around the churchyard. All needs were catered for, from Surprise Minor via Original to Rounds and Call Changes, thanks to Stephen as Ringing Master.
The historic peal boards lining the walls of the ringing chamber inspired us to try Old Doubles, a variation of Plain Bob Doubles. This is Plain Bob, but using Singles rather than Bobs, as described by Richard Smith in a recent issue of the Ringing World, where he described part of the Blue Pathway.
Thanks to Chesterton for hosting us at short notice and to all of you who came.
John Loveless has sent advance warning of the book launch for his forthcoming
biography of George Pipe, which promises to be a fascinating read.
It will be held at St Mary le Tower church in Ipswich, at 3 pm on Saturday
May 30th, so put it in your diary now.
Martin Kitson, EDA Chairman, writes in his latest "Look To"
message, which he talked about at the ADM:
"Here's hoping everyone had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
I wonder if anyone has read a short story by Charles Dickens called "The Chimes". It's about a downtrodden, poor, elderly porter called Trotty Veck. He's a bit brainwashed by the papers, and some rich, pompous gentlemen, that poor people are wicked, and don't deserve to be alive at all. Part of his duties include maintaining the ring of bells in the local church. One New Year's Eve, he dreams that the bells have goblin spirits, and force him to jump off the tower. Then they lead him, as he is apparently dead, all over the place, seeing bad things, but suddenly he wakes up when the bells ring in the New Year. He then realizes that the bells actually have benign, kindly spirits which are his "friends". He also realizes that, even though he's poor, he's a decent, honest, "good guy" and it's the rich people who are in the wrong, not him.
The bells that we ring, I believe, kind of have "spirits" too and I also believe they almost make us into better persons. So, over the coming year, let us, as bellringers, carry the spirits of the bells in us and spread a bit of goodwill and cheer wherever we go. Who knows what 2020, or indeed, this, decade, holds for any of us, but with the spirits of the bells in us, we can face the future with some positive thinking!
Happy ringing in 2020."
It was great to see so many people at the Annual District Meeting
on Saturday 11th January. There was ringing at Sawston and Pampisford, with
the ringing masters at each tower doing a fantastic job, making sure everyone
got a ring. The local ringers laid on a delicious tea, including a choice
of no fewer than four varieties of soup. At the meeting, we welcomed a total
of 18 new members, most of whom were present, which was excellent. The District
officers remain unchanged and were thanked for their sterling work during
2019. The sole addition was Becca Glazier being elected to the Committee.
Barry Johnson spoke about the St
Clements project, which is currently awaiting the result of their application
for a faculty. Barry was also given a certificate marking his 50 years of
membership of the Association. Phil Gorman's tireless work in establishing
a new band at Brinkley was recognised with a certificate too - many thanks
to him. Subscriptions for 2020 are now due (£10 for adults, £5
for Juniors); please contact the Treasurer,
The New Year has been welcomed in style at Trumpington, with their traditional date touches, with this year's methods being Superlative and Bristol. Also, at Great St Mary's, a touch of 108 changes was rung, reflecting the Japanese tradition of joya-no-kane, where temple bells are tolled 108 times. This YouTube video shows an impressive bell-ringing technique, albeit only for two blows. This was filmed at Chion-in temple, where the bell weighs in at 74 tons.
There's another very impressive first peal to report, again involving the ringing of Surprise Major inside. Alessandra Learmount rang Yorkshire at Histon on Saturday 21st December. Congratulations to her.
Thanks to all who made the District Carol Service a success again this year. Generously hosted by the Brinkley ringers on Saturday 14th December, with the talented Ringers' Choir singing, it was a great evening. Those present will be unlikely to forget the excitement and danger created by the sermon - and those who weren't there are now wondering just what it involved! I'm afraid we didn't quite do justice to the huge pile of mince pies, but it was good to ring with members of the new band.
Following on from the news of the proposed new teaching centre at St Clement's in Cambridge, Judith has proposed the excellent suggestion that the treble could be given in memory of Felicity Webster. Felicity was a much-loved ringer in the District and former District Secretary, who sadly died, much too young, in 2016. Fliss was always enthusiastic and encouraging about all aspects of ringing, both practical and social, and I'm sure she would have been keen to support this project herself. Please donate through the St Clements website, but make sure that any donations are clearly annotated as being in memory of Fliss.
If you are already thinking about your plans and targets for 2020, have a look at the Ringing World's latest Pathways scheme. There are three routes exploring a variety of methods (and variations) - blue, red and yellow. The idea is partly to encourage ringers to try something a bit different and you can record your progress by a (free) subscription on BellBoard. Do let us know if there's anything in particular that you'd like to see included at our District practices.
A project to create a new teaching centre in Cambridge has been launched. The light ring of six will be installed at St Clement's church, with new training facilities, aimed at creating a centre that can act as a feeder to other towers and provide a boost to ringing across the Association. Their target is to raise £250,000, some from grants but mainly from members of the Association, the Cambridge University Guild and the Society of Cambridge Youths. This should be enough to pay for the bells, the building work, teaching aids and running costs for the first year, including the salary of a part-time manager. Donations of all sizes are welcome. For more information, see the project website.
Martin Kitson, Chairman of the Association, writes to remind all tower captains
need to complete the Ely Diocesan C0, C1 and C2 Safeguarding
modules. C0 and C1 can be done on-line, while C2 is delivered in person.
There is a C2 Safeguarding module being held on 24th February in Cambridge.
Martin emphasises that it's an easy module, with no test at the end, and simple
Ely DA branded clothing is now available. Expertees of Huntingdon have set up a web shop for Ely DA garments, embroidered with the logo of the Association. Under the logo there is space for the name of your tower or District. At present, the available garments are: T-shirt, polo shirt, sweatshirt and fleece jacket with sleeves or sleeveless, all in a range of colours.
Geoff Perryman does a fantastic job, single-handedly coordinating the Practice Night Support scheme, but his band of helpers is dwindling, which means that he can't cater for all the requests that he has from towers for help. So, please get in touch with if you can help, as your assistance is greatly appreciated by the towers. Even if you can only ring plain hunt, you can still make a difference, enabling bands to ring things that they otherwise wouldn't have enough people to so.
Alessandra Learmount - Histon, 21st December 2019
Robert Turner - First Grandsire - Meldreth,
John Willders - First on 8 - Trumpington, 26th January
Thomas Green - First on 8 (Yorkshire inside) - Trumpington, 19th January
Caroline Louth - First Major - Meldreth, 5th January 2020
Jason Burnet - First on 12 - London (St Sepulchure), 21st December 2019
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