News from the Branch – September 2020

Returning to Ringing – Advice and Guidance from the Guild Secretary

The current round of Harvest Festivals has triggered the resumption of services at more churches and we have heard of more towers that have rung again. This will remind people that the church is there and remind them that the silence was only temporary! Some have rung handbells where the tower bells cannot be used.

The year is moving on, and the Ringing World shop at has seasonal items in stock https://www.ringingworld.co.uk/purchase/shop/calendar.html, hopefully including diaries by the time you read this. The Central Council guidance is updated every Friday at https://cccbr.org.uk/coronavirus/. The key metrics haven’t changed this week, but the Central Council has recently got extra skilled resource looking at the detail of the ringing environment in the hope of identifying and justifying further relaxations that the CofE will accept.  We must be grateful for CCCBR’s efforts on our behalf. You can play your part in this effort by keeping in touch with your local clergy and spreading the word about the benefits of ringing and the importance of restoring ringing to both ringers and the church as a whole.

Some are uncertain as to what can be rung that is safe, musical and hopefully enjoyable. This depends on the individual tower as well as the ringers. For instance 2, 4, 6 of a six sounds nice and bright whereas 1, 3, 5 of a six is mournful and may be suitable if you have an All Souls Service around 1st or 2nd November. If you are lucky to have a family group of three, you could try 1, 3, 4, 5 of an eight (think of Tchaikovsky’s piano concerto) or 2, 4, 5, 6 of a six. The mournful equivalent for an All Souls or Remembrance service is 1, 3, 4, 5 of a six. Any towers looking for advice on safe chiming, musical combinations or refresher sessions for safe ringing may contact depmaster@odg.org.uk

The three overriding requirements remain, namely:

  1. The local church wardens and clergy must have agreed
  2. Ringing in Church of England churches is on the condition that it is in accordance with the guidance at https://cccbr.org.uk/coronavirus/, and
  3. The tower must be well ventilated and must be inspected and risk assessed if the bells haven’t rung for a considerable time). Email tbchair@odg.org.uk   for more details

It would be good to hear back from towers with their experiences and how they are returning to ringing. Please send any stories to prworkinggroup@odg.org.uk

Katie, Ken, Stuart & Tony – Guild Officers

News from the Branch – August 2020

Here’s a summary of what’s been going on in the Bicester Branch in August.

Ringing Events

Saturday, 15 August 2020 Islip (St Nicholas), Oxfordshire Tolling
Saturday, 15 August 2020 Kirtlington (St Mary the Virgin), Oxfordshire 75 Tolling
Saturday, 15 August 2020 Weston on the Green (Blessed Virgin Mary), Oxfordshire Tolling

Activities

The improvement works at Weston on the Green are nearly complete; the new ropes are in and the new carpet is down.


In Stratton Audley they are hoping to ring three bells at each of two weddings coming up in September.



Ringing Room

Several groups of local ringers have been making good use of the online platform for virtual change ringing called Ringing Room, which is the ‘go-to’ application used by a huge number of ringing teams in the UK and across the world. It’s very enjoyable, is free to use and can be accessed at https://ringingroom.com/


Jon Mills of the Oxford Guild has written an interesting account of his journey to find and use Ringing Room – click here to read it.


Kirtlington, Bletchingdon and Weston-on-the-Green Ringing Room practices

Shortly after lockdown began, the ringers from Kirtlington, Bletchingdon and Weston towers transferred their practices to the Ringing Room website, creating a shared virtual tower for weekly practices and for virtual quarter peal attempts.

Our virtual practices are been well attended and we have seen great progress in the learning of methods by all regular attendees, many of whom have only started ringing in the past 2 – 3 years, with all having rung inside to plain courses of Grandsire and Plain Bob Doubles, and a number ringing observation to touches of Bob Doubles. The team has also been able to practice variations on Plain Hunt including Treble Bob Hunt.

With the temporary removal of the challenge of handling together with learning the  methods, our ringers have achieved a number of successful virtual quarter peals including first on covering tenor and first on treble. More virtual QPAs are planned.



Bicester Recruits gather at Abingdon

The first group handling session of the year was held on 4th January at St Helen’s Abingdon, attended by five learners from Weston, Wendlebury and Kirtlington plus Andrew gaining experience in teaching handling. Susan Read and her Abingdon team have most kindly offered to host training sessions at St Helens every Saturday morning until end March, so that we can offer training to a large number of recent recruits from Kirtlington, Weston and nearby. This was a really good session, with one or more teachers per student and five learning at the same time. I think the future of teaching handling looks quite like this. 

Christine and Andrew working together