The ringers at Epsom Common have kept meeting in one way or another since the beginning of the first lockdown. Initially it was on Zoom using makeshift ‘bells’ before RingingRoom was launched, at which point we all had to get to grips with juggling multiple windows on PC, Mac or iPad. When we were then allowed to meet outside under the Rule of Six, we started ringing handbells in the grounds of the church and then before services once they had restarted in-person. A further lockdown saw us revert to RingingRoom and then back to handbells once again.
An initial relaxation of the rules was insufficient to allow a return to the tower (none of our ropes are more than 2m away from any other) but in May, restrictions were lifted sufficiently to allow us to ring four (alternate) bells for both practice and service, under CCCBR guidelines. We ran a Google spreadsheet to ensure that everyone got a fair share of the ringing.
This week we are relaxing still further, but with great care given the current large surge in cases. We will be ringing six bells, plus we will allow for one additional ‘improver’ per session, who may need additional help returning to ringing after a long break. We will still be mandating masks and sanitizer, and will keep any changing of bells to a minimum.