District secretary's reports


2015

There have been nine 'ordinary' meetings this year, with an average attendance of just over 15. This includes at least one, and sometimes two, ringers from Ely District who come to join us on a regular basis. When you consider that I regularly send out at least fifty reminders to towers and to individuals, this is disappointing. Are the tower correspondents passing on the information?

The outing in June was better supported, but still only 19 people attended, including three learners who enjoyed it so much that they now come regularly to District monthly meetings.  It was a well-organised outing which started at Cromer, taking in Wells next the Sea, Sculthorpe and East Rudham and the weather favoured us as well. It was most enjoyable and thanks to Prue Lester for doing the hard work of organising the towers. 

The District Striking competition at Denver in September was again a disappointing turnout, after the high attendance of the previous year, with only three towers entering. March were worthy winners of the method section, narrowly beating Shouldham, and Methwold retained the novices' crown. Anne's scratch band from several towers took part at short notice and will have gained from the experience. I hope this year's competition will have more support. Many thanks to Alan and Marj Winter, who judged with humour and understanding.

The ringers' carol service in December took place at Upwell and was most enjoyable. We were made very welcome by the vicar, a former ringer, and Julia had arranged excellent refreshments for us. The organist even complimented the ringers on the quality of the singing!

A successful course on tower maintenance and rope splicing was held at Watlington in the autumn and following from that there are further ringing courses planned. If you want to do something, say so and help will probably be available. I've tried to bring the benefits of the Stretham ringing centre to your notice and I hope some people will make use of it, as I have.

Once again, I’ve tried to use email to keep in touch with members and their towers. I know that sending the tower captain a reminder of meetings, or a copy of the annual programme, does not guarantee that every member of the band receives the information, so please let me have your email address for regular updates if you want to know what is going on. The programme for 2016 is interesting, with a range of towers, so please try to support it. Practice nights and times are listed on the  EDA website, so it’s important that you keep your details up to date. Some towers ring in the afternoon during the winter months, so it's quite important to know this. You can kill two birds with one stone by emailing me and I’ll pass the details on to the webmaster. If you can't ring something at your tower, try joining another tower for their practice. One more ringer may well make all the difference for them and it may invigorate your own practice!

Annual Reports: In spite of several requests, few people have responded to my request for up-to-date information re the Annual Report and whether your tower wants a printed copy. I still have some that were not collected this year. There is an online copy available, so if you would rather have that, please let me know.

This report is slightly less optimistic than last year's, but I hope 2016 brings a vigorous Wisbech District to engage with the opportunities to improve our ringing and encourage others to join us and take up the hobby we all enjoy. If we don't use it, we'll lose it.
Pam Wakeling

2014

I’d like to thank those who have helped me during my first year as District Secretary, particularly the previous Secretary and the Ringing Master. I’ve enjoyed It immensely and met a great many ringers.

Support for the monthly meetings has remained steady and is slightly up on last year, bolstered by friends from outside the district who come to ring with us.

Two highlights of the year were the annual outing, ably organised by Prue Lester, and the District Striking Competition with nearly fifty ringers in seven teams. The winners of the striking competition were Shouldham in the method section and Methwold in the novices, but all the teams made a tremendous contribution to the success of the event. It was good to see so many ringers: the other teams were March, Upwell and a band which included Watlington and Walsoken. Some changes to the rules were agreed as a result of our experience this year and I’ve already heard of another team which is planning to enter for the first time in many years. Not every tower can produce six ringers, so it’s an excellent opportunity to work with other towers.

We also had a successful Ringers’ carol service at Shouldham , taken by the Rural Dean of Fincham and Feltwell, the Revd. Barbara Burton.  Refreshments provided by Shouldham church, the President’s tower, were gratefully received after an afternoon of ringing. Excellent Christmas cake!! 

This year I’ve tried to use email to keep in touch with members and their towers. I have mostly tower captains and incumbents on my list, but also individuals, especially in the east of the district. I’m not naïve enough to think that sending the tower captain a reminder of meetings, or a copy of the annual programme, will automatically reach every member of the band,  so please let me have your email address for regular updates if you want to know what is going on.

The programme for 2015 is interesting, with a range of towers, so please try to support it. Ringing in this district isn’t easy, as opportunities are limited and far apart, but if we support each other and visit other towers to practise what we can’t do at home, we can hope for improvement.  Practice nights are listed on the  EDA website, so it’s important that you keep your details up to date. You can kill two birds with one stone by emailing me and I’ll pass the details on to the webmaster.

Pam Wakeling

2013

We started the year with the Annual District Meeting in January at Downham Market.  Thanks to all who helped with the teas. 22 members attended and 1 new member was signed up. 

During the year our monthly meetings took us around the district with ringing at different towers.

The summer outing, organised by Prue Lester. Took us around the Spalding area. 

Hockwold was the host tower for the district striking competition, teams from Methwold, Shouldham & Wisbech took part. Methwold won the novice section & Shouldham won the methods.

The last event for the year was the carol service at Downham Market, after a change of venue. 16 members turned up to ring and enjoyed tea & cake after the service, thanks to Pam, Andrew & Edward.

Thanks to everyone for their hospitality, loan of bells to ring and patience in teaching those who need help.

This is my last report as secretary, thanks to all who have supported me over the last 5 years and good luck to the new secretary.

Pauline O’Neill

2012

A better year for Wisbech District with ringers getting involved in monthly meetings.

Six towers rang for the Queen’s diamond jubilee; Clenchwarton on 5th June a peal of spliced doubles; Denver on 5th June a quarter peal; Terrington St Clement on 3rd June; Upwell on 30th May a quarter peal of bob doubles; Wisbech St Mary on 4th June a quarter peal of Reverse Canterbury; Watlington on 4th June called changes.

16 members went on the outing in June to west Norfolk. Let us hope 2013 will continue with the rise in interest.

Pauline O’Neill


2011

We started the year with our Annual District meeting at Downham Market, 29 members attended, thank you Downham for the use of your bells and the tea.

Monthly meeting attendances varied from nine to twenty-four. The district striking competition was poorly supported with only two towers putting up a team for each level plus a scratch team. The time of the competition was altered to suit all but the towers which requested the change were not there. The outing was cancelled due to lack of support and only nine members attended the Carol Service.

A disappointing year in terms of support and enthusiasm from members, lets hope 2012 will see some improvement.
Pauline O'Neill


2010

We started the year with the Annual District Meeting in January at Wisbech St Peter. Thanks to all who helped with the teas. Thirty members attended and one new member were signed up.

During the year our monthly meetings took us around the district with ringing at different towers.The summer outing, organised by Brian Hullah, took us around Rutland.

Wiggenhall St Mary Magdalen was the host tower for the district striking competition, a disappointing turn out, this turned out to be the busiest day for weddings in the district.

The last event for the year was the carol service at Wisbech St Peter, despite the frost and snow, sixteen members turned up to ring and enjoyed tea and mince pies after the service.Thanks to everyone for their hospitality, loan of bells to ring and patience in teaching those who need help.
Pauline O’Neill

2009

We started the year again with the Annual District Meeting in January at Downham Market. Thanks to Eric & his “ladies” for the tea. 38 members attended and nine new members were signed up.

During the year our monthly meetings took us around the district with ringing at different towers.

The summer outing, organised by Doreen Bainbridge, took us around the Ely District and included a visit to the Ely fayre. We recorded a ring at each tower for Ely 900 and managed to include everyone, even the learners, in this.

Fincham was the host tower for the district striking competition, well done to everyone, remember it is the taking part that matters, unless you happen to be the winners !

Average attendance at the monthly meetings was eighteen, slightly up on last year, but still room for more ringers to socialise and improve their skills.

The last event for the year was the carol service at Wisbech St Mary, our deepest snow for years prevented all but local ringers from attending. Eight hardy souls rang until 4:00pm, the service was lead by Matthew and Brian played the organ. We then went across the road to Church House where we enjoyed home made soup, rolls, cakes and nibbles, thanks to David & Annie.

Thanks to everyone for their hospitality, loan of bells to ring and patience in teaching those who need help.
Pauline O’Neill

2008

We started the year with the Annual District Meeting in January at Downham Market. 32 members attended and there was ringing prior to the meeting.

During the year our monthly meetings took us around the district with ringing at many different towers. Average attendance at the monthly meetings was a disappointing fourteen. In 2009 we have planned the meetings to spread more evenly around the area to try and encourage more ringers to socialise and improve their skills.

The summer outing, organised by Terry Greenacre, took us to Alford in Lincolnshire calling at several village towers on the way back, this included a surprise ring for a wedding!

Shouldham was the host tower for the district striking competition, well done to those taking part, but disappointing that only four towers entered teams.

Thanks to everyone for their hospitality, loan of bells to ring and patience in teaching those who need help.

Pauline O'Neill

2007

George Herbert’s poem ‘Prayer’ speaks of “church bells heard beyond the stars”. Well, as far as we know, that’s something we have yet to achieve, but Wisbech District’s bells were ringing out from most of our twenty-eight towers during the year, for practices and monthly meetings. We travelled from Terrington St Clement in the North, South to Denver for the Striking Competition, West to Newton and East to Fincham enjoying some good ringing and some excellent ringers’ teas!

We ventured across the River Great Ouse in April for a meeting at St Margaret’s, King’s Lynn and again in June for a day’s ringing at five Norfolk towers including Cromer and Northrepps. Attendance at meetings averaged nineteen, an increase from last year, helped often by visitors from other districts and Associations whose help we much appreciate. It would be good to see some new names signing in our Meeting book - we know there are members out there who don’t often appear at District events and we’d be pleased to meet them.

Monthly practices started in the autumn at Terrington St Clement, providing useful eight bell experience for our mostly six bell ringers. Shouldham’s six bells have undergone long-awaited restoration and returned to the tower in late January 2008. We look forward also to welcoming the Association to Terrington St Clement on 5 May for the 2008 Annual General Meeting.Thanks as ever to our caterers, fund-raisers, tower captains and clergy for their support during the year.
Jennifer Watts