An Active Guild – an informal blog of July 2019 Exec Meeting

The Guild undertakes a lot of training work, which includes helping ringing tutors to develop their teaching abilities, but also running courses on belfry maintenance and some hands-on courses like Raising and Lowering practice.

Mike Bale, our training officer, is putting together detailed guidance on how to teach bell handling, based on the scheme that he has been using successfully for many years. He issued a draft to the committee and asked for feedback. He emphasised that this guidance is intended to support trainers who have already attended a recognised course.

Districts have also been busy with organising their own events. One particularly notable event was the Farnham District outing to the new ring at Ypres, where two quarter peals were scored. Another was the Leatherhead District visit to the Cathedral, which was attended by 48 people and had been enjoyed by all. The Farnham District plans a ‘Ringing Ramble’ to five towers along the Thames Path in August.

The Young Ringers Group continues to be very active, but David Pearson is now finding it difficult to make time to run the Group. If anyone is interested in running the Group, then the Guild Master, Jackie Roberts, would be glad to hear from them.

We learned that the National 12-Bell Contest is to be hosted by the Cathedral on 26th June 2021. This is a Cathedral Ringers’ event rather than a Guild event, but up to 1,000 people attended this year’s contest in Exeter, so it is a huge undertaking which will need a great deal of volunteer support. Chris Rogers, Ringing Master at the Cathedral, asked anyone interested to note the date in their diaries.

‘Ringing Remembers’ badges have been distributed to 130 participants across the Guild.

There was further discussion of the proposals for improving the go of the Guildford Holy Trinity bells. Brian Shacklady, speaking as a ringer at the tower, said that they had a great fondness for their bells, but that they had an increasing tendency to rise and drop unpredictably during ringing, which made them particularly difficult for learners. Malcolm Loveday, the DAC bells adviser, would be visiting soon to give his advice. The committee felt that the final decision should rest with the local people.

The second bell at Wonersh had needed an urgent repair to a sheared bearing screw, for which Nicholson’s charged about £660. The committee agreed to give a grant for about half the cost, i.e. £310. Bids for grants from three other towers are expected in the near future.

The website has been updated to take into account changes in ringing times, email contacts and so on. However, very little information on bell restoration work had been provided. This is a pity as very often we need no more than some interesting photos and a few words. The pull-up stands are in regular use and will need to be renewed in due course.

The Westley Group, which took over some of the Whitechapel staff and assets when that closed, has now cast around 50 bells and could be considered a viable alternative to Taylor’s. They aim to preserve the tradition of Whitechapel and are proposing to re-start hand-bell making at the Whitechapel site.