Online ringing did not take off at Banstead, but our small band held together via a weekly Zoom chat instead of a practice night and we were pleased to keep in touch this way with a couple of ringers who had moved away and are sorely missed. From last summer, whenever we could, we rang up to four bells as social distancing and band members’ Tier restrictions allowed, and when open services resumed this year any ringers who had booked for the service anyway made sure something sounded out for the service. Two band members were ‘furloughed’ for a while, as not being completely self-sufficient to include raising and lowering.
From May 18th we worked out that we could safely ring our front six. We rang five for a couple of Sundays to gently re-introduce the above two ringers, having given them a 1:1 handling session during the previous week. We re-started practice nights on 2 June. Having only six regular ringers very conveniently meant that noone was excluded.
From 19 July, as a spacious GF ring with a double-vaccinated band, we agreed with our church authorities that we could ring without facecoverings on practice night, subject to sensible procedures – we have doors open on both sides of the church and come out of the tower area between touches. We continue to wear facecoverings for service ringing, as that is what our congregation has been asked to do.
We have progressed back to Plain Hunt on 6 and short touches of Grandsire Doubles. We have rung for the first of several wedding bookings – for the rest of this year we are offering a six-bell ‘package’ to wedding couples at a reduced cost. We look forward to one or two regular visitors from pre-Covid times being able to join us when convenient, and to teaching a new recruit who was just about to start as the pandemic hit and has continued to wait patiently.
26 July 2021