Cambridge District

of the Ely Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers

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The annual District 6-bell striking competition will be returning on Saturday 11th June after a two year hiatus. It will take place at Harston, with the draw at 10.30. Please put this date in your diaries, and start to plan your test pieces! A reminder will be sent out closer to the time with full details, at which point it will be helpful to get an idea of how many teams are going to enter, so please have a think about whether your tower will be able to arrange a team. As usual, scratch bands will be organised on the day to make sure that everybody has the opportunity to take part.

In April a peal was rung at Great St Mary's in memory of H.F. 'Stuart' Brown, past Master of the Society of Cambridge Youths and Cambridge District Ringing Master in the 1960s, who died in March 2020 at the beginning of lock down. Details of the peal can be found on BellBoard.

Revised Central Council information about ringing for HM Queen's Jubilee has been published. There's also information about official events during the entire weekend on the Royal Family website.

Good weather at the weekend encouraged Stephen to tackle one of the longer runs in his quest to run to all the towers in the district. His sixth run covered 72.5km/45miles, visiting 12 towers in 9 hours and 45 minutes. See if you can identify the towers he visited from Stephen's photographs.

Remember that you can donate some money to encourage Stephen and to raise funds for the project to establish a ringing centre at St Clement's Church in Cambridge by following the 'Donation' instructions on the running page. If you do donate then please let us know so we can update the running total.

A change to the Association rules that would abolish Association peal fees or reduced them to £0 will be presented to the Association AGM on Saturday 21st May. Here are further details of the proposal.

The 6 bells for St Clements church in Cambridge are expected to be delivered at the end of the second week in May and will be installed in the following weeks. More details of what's happening, including how to donate to the work, can be found on the St Clement's project web site

All District towers should have received an invitation to participate in the Gipson Trophy competition this year. This friendly striking competition was started in 1994 to foster better links between towers, to provide the opportunity for ringers to visit other towers and to enhance the host tower's practice night with the potential for more advanced methods to be rung. Participating teams have one home and one away match against each of the other teams. Scoring is based on 2 points for a 'win', and 1 point for a 'draw'.

This contest is one of the things that really sets the Cambridge District apart, and it would be great to get it running again after the recent break. So please speak to your tower captain and encourage them to enter a team! If your tower would like to enter a team for this year (probably running from May to December) please contact Ann Seaman.

The Association ringing master, Alban Forster, is proposing to start association 10-bell practices at St. Neots on the 5th Friday of the month. These practices are for anyone wanting to ring on 10, so all abilities welcome.

The first one will be on Friday 29th April. The rest in the year are:
  • 29th July
  • 30th September
  • 30th December (if there are enough around)
Alban is also planning to arrange the odd Saturday 10-bell practice as Fridays might not suit everyone.

The Ely DA's AGM is on Saturday 21st May, hosted by the Wisbech district. Everyone is very welcome to attend, so please put the date in your diary. There will be general ringing in various towers from 2.00pm. A service 4.30pm at St Peter & St Paul, Wisbech, will be followed by tea, the AGM, and further ringing at St Peter & St Paul.

The inter-district 8 bell striking competition takes place on the same day from 2.00pm at Terrington St Clement. The District Ringing Master will be organising a band for this, so please get in touch with him if you're keen to take part (RingingMaster@CambridgeRinging.info).

We are very sorry to have to report that Stuart Abercrombie died on 4th March. He was Tower Captain at Sawston for many years and joint District Ringing Master from 1986 to 1989. He had been ill for some time and had been in hospital for many weeks but came home just before his death. There will be a private cremation on Wednesday March 16th 2022 at 9.30 am and his family hope that people who knew him will think of them on that day, with happy memories of Stuart and of friendship and shared interests. Several quarter peals have been rung in his memory and there will probably be more.

For the time being there will be ringing on the lovely 18cwt 8 at Ickleton on the first Monday of every month, with ringing at Duxford soon restarting on other Mondays.

During the lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 when ringing wasn't possible, the District's Education Officer, Dave Richards, organised a series of on-line webinars on subjects ranging from composition to bell founding, and from building robots to ladies' peals. Most were recorded and can be found on the District YouTube channel and there a list of the recordings, together in some cases with links to the slides and other material.

The District ADM took place over Zoom on Saturday 8th January. The entire committee were re-elected with Tom Ridgman joining the committee as District Bell Advisor. Louisa and Andy Egan also joined the committee. Three new ringing members were elected.
Geoff Perryman has stepped down from running the 'Perrypeople' scheme as Practice Night Support Officer after 18 years and the meeting expressed its gratitude for his hard work. There was considerable support for continuing the scheme but currently no volunteers for doing so. The role of Practice Night Support Officer remains vacant and the committee will consider how best to revive the scheme.

Marina Warner runs a regular Keep Surprise Alive practice at Harston, normally 10:30-12:00 on the first Saturday of the month. This friendly practice concentrates on Surprise Minor methods with a list of methods announced in advance so people can looks at them before coming. Contact Marina for details.

Many members of the District will remember Felicity Webster who sadly died in 2016. If so, you might be interested in a Quarter Peal recently rung in her memory by members of her family and friends.

We are sorry to have to report the death of both Brian Pratt, former Tower Captain at Chesterton, and David Webber, former Tower Captain at Cherry Hinton. There's a little bit about their contribution to the Cambridge District in Martin Kitson's Chaiman's Chat for November 2021 and we expect that obituaries will appear in the annual report.

The District now has an Instagram account, @cambridgedistrictbellringers which we will use to distribute news and announcements alongside our existing Email list and Facebook group.
The District also has a YouTube channel which at the moment mainly contains recordings from the seminar series run during recent lockdowns.
Please feel free to subscribe/follow any of these to keep up with what's happening (the Email list and the Facebook group are only available to members of the District, but the Instagram account and YouTube channel are public).

We are sorry to have to report that Richard Howard of Toft has passed away. Richard was born in the same hour as Prince Phillip and had been hoping to reach his 100 birthday - sadly he fell 3 weeks short. Richard was the prime mover in getting the Toft bells restored and augmented from 3 to 6 and raising a band to ring them. He was possibly our oldest member.

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...

Safeguarding - It is important to ensure that written or verbal permission has been given by parents/carers before photographs which include children are submitted for publication to this website.


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