Cambridge District

of the Ely Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers


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Learning To Ring newsletter

District Events

The District's monthly practice in July is on Saturday 13 July with ringing 14:30-15:30 at Meldreth(8) (not Melbourn), followed by refreshments and ringing 16:00-17:00 at Thriplow(6). We had previously planed to ring at Melbourn but have moved to Meldreth because Melbourn's bells are currently under repair.

As with the event at Harston earlier in the year, this practice is particularly intended to support new ringers and new members of the Association. So, if you are new to ringing or recently elected do come along; if you have new ringers or new members in your tower please encourage them to come and come yourselves. Of course we also need lots of existing ringers to come along to provide stable bands for others to ring in. All in all this should be a fun social occasion and include some enjoyable ringing.
The next Cambridge District 6 to 8 Bell Practice is on Saturday 27 July (not 20th), 10:30 to 12:30 at Meldreth. Open to all ringers that would like to ring on 8 bells, whether you normally ring on 5, 6 or 8 bells (or more). We will ring anything from rounds and call-changes, through Grandsire Triples to Cambridge Major, depending upon the needs and wishes of those present (and the capabilities of the rest of the band). All welcome.

Future monthly events

also Keep Surprise Alive (1st Saturdays) and Training events at St Clements (3nd & 4th Saturdays)


As part of the celebration of the 300th Anniversary of the founding of the Society of Cambridge Youths, they will be making a debut appearance at the Cambridge Folk Festival, 25-28 July. Using the Charmborough Ring and Handbells they will give visitors an experience of ringing on tower bells, a chance to have a go themselves and to participate in handbell workshops.

The Association holds 12-bell practices at Great St Mary's(12) whenever there's a 5th Saturday in the month. This next happens on 29 June from 18:30-20:00. These are great opportunities to try ringing on 12 bells if you don't already, or to expand your abilities if you do. Everyone will at least get to ring rounds or call changes. Depending on the abilities of those present these practices will also involve opportunities to ring method, including Grandsire, Cambridge and Stedman.

The District's 2024 inter-tower 6 bell striking competition took place at Stapleford on Saturday 11 May. The judge was Kit Kilgour.

5 teams entered, 3 representing towers (Great St Mary's, Little Shelford, and St Clement's), and 2 scratch bands (one consisting of committee members, and one named "Northern Lights"). The results were: 5th: St Clement's (a band containing 3 learners two of whom had never rung at a different tower before); 4th "Northern Lights"; 3rd Little Shelford; 2nd the Committee scratch band; 1st Great St Mary's. Tom Ridgeman awarded the President's Award (for the team that has made the most progress) to St Clement's, and the Ivan Ludbrook trophy to Dave Richards on behalf of the winning Great St Mary's band.

The program for the 2024 Gipson Trophy events has been published.

As last year, teams from Cherry Hinton, Great Shelford, Linton, and Little Shelford/Meldreth/Melbourn are taking part. The aims of this is simple - it is a friendly get together between participating towers in the Cambridge District on a designated practice night culminating in a friendly head-to-head striking competition. The idea is that it allows bands who normally struggle to ring advanced methods to come together and pool their resources, meet each other and socialise, get the opportunity to have a go at a striking event, give an impartial judge the chance to listen to two pieces of ringing and make constructive comments afterwards. Although sometimes described as a competition, it should be seen as a bit of fun, exactly how John Gipson would want it to be regarded, but it does bring bands together for their mutual benefit.

The St Clement's ringers, with help from the District, have started a regular email newsletter for anyone who wants to improve their ringing or is helping others to do so. There are no geographical boundaries or membership requirements. Please consider signing up yourself and encourage others to do so. Events are open to everyone unless stated otherwise ('young ringers' activities are for those aged 18 or under, and generally require signed consent forms on first attendance). Please submit short articles and to promote your own events - email

The 2024 Cambridge Annual District Meeting was held on Saturday 13 January 2024 at Cherry Hinton with ringing beforehand at Fulbourn.

The existing District officers and committee were re-elected unchanged, but the President Tom Ridgman encouraged anyone interested in shadowing committee members with a view to taking on any of the roles text year to make themselves known to members of the committee. About 25 new members of the Association were elected and welcomed by the President, and long-service certificates were presented to members who were elected 10 and 25 years ago.

An outline Program of events for 2024 which will be developed further by the committee was presented - remember that the Cambridge district normally holds events of the second Saturday of every month. The President presented the Gipson Trophy for 2023 to the joint winners – Cherry Hinton and the combined Little Shelford/Meldreth & Melbourn band.

Phil (a recent past-president of the District) and Sam Gorman offer local towers bell rope repair and refurbishment from their "Station Cottage Ropewalk". Services include general rope and sally repairs and new tailends machine spliced or supplied for hand splicing. Reconditioned ropes are also available from a second hand rope bank. Prices usually just reflect the cost of materials used. Contact Phil at for more details.

All ringing towers in the Cambridge District now have a nominated Committee Contact who will liaise between the tower and the committee and who can provide a first point of contact for towers who want help or advice with anything the District or Association can provide. You can find a list of contacts alongside the list of district officers.

The Society of Cambridge Youths are celebrating their foundation 300 years ago in 1724 and the tercentenary of the first peal by the Society, rung at Great St Mary's, Cambridge on 5th November 1725. The first proposal for a diocesan association was made by the gentleman bellfounder Gervas Holmes in 1882. Although by then better known as a member of the Cambridge University Guild, his membership of the Cambridge Youths began while he was a student in 1856. The founding meeting of the Association was held at Cambridge in 1897 and presided over by the vicar of Great St Mary's.

For the 300th Celebrations, the society has published the full towerbell peal records for the Cambridge Youths and Great St Mary's on BellBoard. To date there have been seven peals rung jointly for the Ely Diocesan Association and the Cambridge Youths. The first was in 1951 and the most recent in 1994. Four were at Great St Mary's, one at Little Shelford, and the other two at Shoreditch and St Mary, Redcliffe. The EDA itself has rung a further 51 peals at Great St Mary's. The first was in 1905, and the most recent was on the 4th January this year.

In order to recognise the past and present connections with the Ely Diocesan Association, the Society would be delighted if any members were able to attend the celebration dinner, which will be held in the Great Hall of Trinity College, Cambridge on Saturday 21st September 2024. We will be publishing details of further activities via the Cambridge Youths website. There is also a book, Foolish Youths and Substantial Rewards: a History of Ringing in Cambridge, available for pre-order through the Ringing World shop for delivery in September.

Are you handling a bell and wanting more time ringing together with other people? 'Ringing Together' for rounds and call changes is re-starting at St Clement's Cambridge. From 18th January, it will be every Thursday morning at 10.30am till 11.55am. No need to book, just come along. £5 a session.

Experienced ringers needed too to fill in please! (no charge for helpers). Spread the word!

We will continue to run district education session in 2024 at St Clement's in Cambridge on the third and fourth Saturdays of the month. The sessions will be geared towards the needs of whoever is there, but as a rough guide, third Saturdays will be geared towards those working towards ART LtR Level 2 accreditation, whilst fourth Saturdays will be geared towards those working towards their ART LtR Level 3 accreditation.

Booking isn't necessary, but it's always nice to have an idea of who is coming - drop me a line at if you're interested in coming along or want to check what's happening.

There is a suggested donation is £4 per ringer per session - there's a card machine at St Clement's if that's of help.

We are sorry to have to report the death of Jill Pratt from Fen Ditton in 2023. Jill came from a family with a long history of ringing at Fen Ditton - both her father and grandfather rang there, with her grandfather's name on the peal board under the tower - and was herself an excellent ringer. She was a dedicated member of the Fen Ditton band for many years until shoulder problems prevented her from ringing.

There was a service of celebration of her life at Fen Ditton at 12.30pm on Thursday 14th December 2023, after a family-only funeral at the crematorium, with half-muffled ringing beforehand and open ringing after.

Becca Glazier has created a very nice poster which we hope you might want to display in your tower - it shows the benefits of joining the EDA. And remember that new members can join at any monthly meeting. You can download the poster here.

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