News and articles 2015

Ringing at Walsoken and Terrington St Clement for St George's Day

Walsoken ringers rang at All Saints to celebrate St. George's Day, 23rd April, by ringing ‘Tittums’ and ‘Walsoken Surprise.’

The ringers at Terrington St Clement featured in the autumn issue of the quarterly magazine 'This England'. The article to accompany the photo said:

'The ringing of church bells is the very essence of Englishness, and right across England on St. George's Day, in the most majestic city cathedral and the most humble village church, dedicated volunteers were making sure that peals of joy greeted our national day. One such group could be found at Terrington St. Clement in Norfolk. (Left to Right) Barry Mallet, Anne Waddelow, Peter Bird (Captain), Julie Lister, Paul Scase and Jane Mallet. Thanks go to Mike Lister for the information and the photograph.'

Walsoken ringers. From left to right: Christine Newman, Lee Newman, David Poore, Janice Dyke, Jeanette Cox and Barry Woodhouse.
Photo of the ingers at Terrington St Clement in 'This England'

Ringing for the 70th Anniversary of VE Day, 8/9th May

Four towers from the Wisbech District rang to celebrate the anniversary: Fincham rang on Friday afternoon, around the two minute silence. Shouldham (in the video ), Walsoken, Emneth and Methwold rang on Saturday and Wisbech were rung by a non-local band

How to run a successful tower - seminar report

The Ely DA seminar 'How to Run a Successful Tower' was held at Swaffham Bulbeck on 30th May 2015.

This is a personal perspective by participant Bob Cox, Walsoken, Wisbech

Successful towers are needed for bell ringing to have a sustainable future. We need to consider “what does ‘Successful’ mean?” for a tower. ‘Successful’ means different things to different people in differing situations which is a serious hurdle to overcome. Ringing institutions such as ITTS, ART, CCCBR and The Ringing World all try to embrace this issue by regularising their approaches towards their standards which many people baulk at for a variety of reasons. The rationale I use in this brief report will, of course, be my own as taken from my understanding of our group discussions kindly led by Mark Regan. Mark is the ringing master at Worcester Cathedral and the DAC advisor for Worcester. I would also like to thank Phil Bailey, Lesley Boyle and their support teams for providing a well run training event. Read the full report here.

Young ringers at St Wendreda's, March

On Saturday 18th April the local young ringers group joined in St Wendreda's church (with six bells) for a ringing session. Many learners new to ringing (me included) also came and despite sometimes catching the sally wrong – and sometimes missing entirely – everyone had fun and many very impressive rounds, peals and call changes were rung and even the adults struggled to keep up with some of us!

Upstairs in the bell tower it was surprisingly crowded with young ringers (I had no idea that there were so many young people involved). We started by letting the newer ringers practice on their own and some of the more experienced ones get used to the bells. Then we did simple rounds and call changes for ringers like me with a few adults filling in. Once we had finished that some of the more skilled young ringers began on more complicated method ringing.

Whilst people a lot more skilled than me were ringing, some of the newer ringers and I went to see how a bell worked, by playing with a contraption that looked suspiciously like a bike wheel on some pipes (mainly because that's what it was). It was attached to a tiny sally and rope so that as you 'rang' it you could see the 'bell' on the wheel swing and learn how it all worked on a much smaller scale.

After all the ringing on the large bells was done, we had a go on some of the handbells, which were nowhere near as simple as you might think: you had to swing them quite sharply to make any sound at all, and once you got going and could make a noise, you had to do it with a bell in each hand and four other bells in the same pattern that the large bells do. I really enjoyed playing on them and it was a skill I never thought I'd try to learn.

Emily Adams

Young ringers at St Wendreda's, March

Stretham - one person's experience

Have you been to Stretham yet? More specifically, have you made use of the excellent Ringing Education Centre housed at Stretham church? Ringers throughout the Ely Diocesan Association are very lucky to have such a facility for their use, so I hope I can persuade you to make the Wisbech District ringers a regular feature of the visitors' book.

For those who haven't seen a set-up like Stretham before, the bells are linked to the computer so that they can be rung without a sound escaping from the church to disturb the neighbourhood. The sound you hear comes from the computer, so it's easier to hear your own bell. With help from Barbara Le Gallez, who runs the Centre, you are ready to go!

Instructor and pupil at the Stretham REC

However, I've learnt from my own experience today that ‘instructor and pupil’ is best for ‘learners’; that more than two at a time would mean a lot of hanging around; and that it’s not really a ‘one-off’, you need to be prepared to start at the bottom and work up. Don’t go there with the idea that you can hone your Stedman Triples, or indeed, Bob Doubles, straight off. You need to get used to the computer and the steady, even pace, which may be quite unlike ringing in your own tower. (There have to be two of you, in case Barbara is unable to stay, in order to comply with insurance and health and safety requirements.)

I wanted to iron out handling faults in a calmer and less busy arena than a regular practice and I found it was in my best interests to start with rounds and plain hunt to doubles. Abel, the ringing program, provides visual clues, but it was much easier to listen to the bell without trying to follow a screen. I was really pleased to practise ringing the tenor behind to six, eight and ten bells without anything to guide me except my ears - a skill I'm always being exhorted to practise - and delighted to achieve at least partial success. I am very glad I went to see what it was all about and I hope to go again in the near future. Thanks to Barbara and to Anne, who very kindly came along to help me as well, I had a thoroughly enjoyable two hours of ringing time and hope to put the lessons to good use..

To find out more and check availability, contact the Administrator (see for details). Don't leave it until everyone in the EDA is vying for time!

Pam Wakeling, 13/08/2015

Tower maintenance course in the Wisbech District

A successful tower maintenance course was held at Watlington on Saturday 19th September. Tom Ridgman went through what he would inspect on a tower inspection and demonstrated this with a trip to the bell chamber at Watlington Church. Brian Hullah gave some basic lessons in short splicing, which the participants tried with varying success. There were nearly a dozen people on the course, including the two churchwardens from Watlington, and people came from Landbeach, March, Gaywood, Shouldham and Watlington. Thanks to Tom, Brian and the churchwardens at Watlington.

The photo shows Tom and the Watlington bells - click on the photo to see a larger version.

Pam Wakeling

Sid Drew, RIP

I am sorry to report that Sid Drew of Denver died in April 2015. Here is an item about Sid written by Tony Stacey, a fellow Denver ringer, for the Denver church newsletter, and a photo of Sid and Mildred.

It is sad to have to say goodbye to Sid Drew. The church was his life for more years than most members of the congregation can remember and the support he gave to successive rectors cannot be measured. He has been a long term member of the PCC and served as churchwarden with distinction. So much so that the Archdeacon at the time, John Beer, appointed him Churchwarden Emeritus, a title of which Sid was rightly proud. Sid’s efforts at training bellringers and keeping the bells of St Mary’s ringing were reflected in the comments by the bellfounder who inspected them recently and declared them as neat a set of bells in a small tower as he had seen.

Sid and Mildred formed a team which was the backbone of church life with Sid’s forthright, honest comments at meetings backed by Mildred’s prodigious memory and secretarial skills. We knew we could always turn to Sid for his wealth of knowledge about the church and village. Sid loved singing and was a founder member of the Denver Singers which gave so much pleasure to many organisations in the surrounding area.

Sid was a very practical Christian and despite the fact that he has had to take more of a back seat for the past year or two as old age has crept up, he will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him.