Branch News

<< 2016 << 2017

Contents

Barn Dance and Supper (Saturday 11th November)

The Old North Berks Branch is holding a Barn Dance and Supper on Saturday th November in Harwell Village Hall at 7pm. Please also remember to bring your own alcohol if you would like some!

Tickets £12 per person, available from Gill Loyd
Telephone: 01235 850459 or email: email or you can forward your cheques to me at:
Dornie Lodge, Bessels Lea, Blewbury, OX11 9NW
as soon as possible and I will send tickets to you.

Please can I have replies by Saturday, 4th November latest!

The last time we attempted to hold a barn dance, it had to be cancelled through lack of interest and we lost the deposit we paid to the band. We would like this not to happen again, so please encourage your tower members to attend and bring their families and friends with them.

Coffee Morning in Didcot, Saturday 21 October 2017

The Bellringers of All Saints’ Didcot are very sorry to say that one of our ringers, Dr Helen Walker, died peacefully in her sleep on Tuesday 19th September following a short illness. A church friend was by her side at the time.

She was very much a part of the church and bellringing family at All Saints' Didcot for many years. She has been a member of the guild for at least 15 years and has attended branch outings in the past.

We will be holding a coffee morning on 21st October (10am to 12noon) in her memory with all funds raised going to Macmillan. Please come along and support us (see poster for full details).

Young Ringers ring in Witney, Wednesday 25 October 2017

Please come to our ringing outing on the Wednesday of half term!

Any young ringers who can handle a bell safely by themselves will be welcome. Parents and more experienced ringers are welcome too.

Donations of £5.00 per young ringer will be collected.

Please let us know if you are coming. Please bring a completed permission form if not recently provided.

Susan Read
ONB Training Officer
Tel: (01235) 529 779
Mob: 07903 011 813 & 07941 580 468
Email email

October Committee Meeting (Sunday 1st October)

There will be an Old North Berks Branch Committee Meeting at 7.30pm on Sunday, 1st October. This will be held at:

Dornie Lodge, Bessels Lea, Blewbury.

Each tower in the Branch is invited to send one of their members to represent them at this meeting.

Click the links below for the agenda for the meeting and also the minutes of the last committee meeting.

Young Ringer's outing

We are holding a Young Ringers outing to St Giles, Oxford on Tuesday 5th September from 2.00 – 4.00 pm. We have been invited to ring handbells for the interest of visitors to the church during the famous St Giles Fair.

We will ring the tower bells first, then enjoy the refreshments provided by the church followed by a quiz around the interior of the church and ringing some tunes, doing some lapping, and perhaps some plain hunt on the handbells.

Young people who can handle a bell safely on their own are most welcome. Also any adults who wish to come are welcome too on the understanding that the event is primarily for the younger ringers.

It would be very helpful if you could let me know soon if you would like to come. Please arrange to complete and bring a permission form for those under 18 years old if you haven't previously provided one to us (form attached).

Donations of £5.00 per young ringer will be collected.

Susan Read
ONB Training Officer
Tel: (01235) 529 779
Mob: 07903 011 813 & 07941 580 468
Email email

Branch Outing & BBQ

Click for the BBQ poster (pdf)

09.30-10.30 Royal Wootton Bassett St Bartholomew & All Saints (8) (19-1-0) SN4 7BB
11.00-12.00 Wroughton St John Bapt. & St Helen (6) (20-1-17) GF T SN4 9JS
12.00-13.25 LUNCH The White Hart, Wroughton SN4 9JX
14.00-14.45 Liddington All Saints (6) (8-2-10) SN4 0HB
15.00-16.00 Wanborough St Andrew (8) (18-2-23) T SN4 0BZ
16.15-16.45 TEA Lambourn Church RG17 8XX
16.45-17.30 Lambourn St Michael and All Angels (8) (29-2-0) T RG17 8XX

Young Ringer's outing

We have again organised an outing for young ringers, this time for the week after Easter. The date has changed since I announced it on our previous outing and I hope that will not cause any problems to you. It will now be on Wednesday 19th April 2017, 13:30 – 16:30

Any young ringers who can handle a bell safely by themselves will be welcome. (Parents and more experienced ringers are welcome too.) Donations of £5.00 per young ringer will be collected.

Please let us know if you are coming. Please arrange to complete and bring a permission form for those under 18 years old if you haven't previously provided one to us (form attached).

Susan and Brian Read
Tel: (01235) 529 779
Mob: 07903 011 813 & 07941 580 468
Email email

BBC Music Day

BBC Music Day is returning for its third year on Thursday 15 June 2017, celebrating music’s ability to unite communities across generations, and this year bell-ringers have been asked to play an even bigger role.

The sound of bells, with their power to bring communities and generations together, was a feature of last year’s BBC Music Day, with over 200 bellringing groups taking part.

Summer Beginner's Ringing course

Much more information now available in this document (pdf).

There will be a six week course for beginners in the Wallingford area starting on Monday May 29th. Please email email for more information (scripts must be enabled to activate the email link).

Mini outing & Lunch (26th April)

A change from the usual!

Mini outing starting at 10.00am to Shellingford, Longcot and Faringdon (tbc) followed by lunch at the King and Queen, Longcot.

For details, please contact email (scripts must be enabled to activate the email link).

Young Ringer's Easter outing

We have again organised an outing for young ringers, this time for the week after Easter. The date has changed since I announced it on our previous outing and I hope that will not cause any problems to you. It will now be on Wednesday 19th April 2017, 13:30 – 16:30

Any young ringers who can handle a bell safely by themselves will be welcome. (Parents and more experienced ringers are welcome too.) Donations of £5.00 per young ringer will be collected.

Please make sure all young ringers wear/bring suitable footwear and clothes for the outdoors and the weather expected that day!

Please let us know if you are coming. Please arrange to complete and bring a permission form for those under 18 years old if you haven't previously provided one to us (form attached).

Susan and Brian Read
Tel: (01235) 529 779
Mob: 07903 011 813 & 07941 580 468
Email email

Easter Young Ringer's course

There will be a course for new Young Ringers each weekday morning during the Easter holidays (starting on Monday 10th May, excluding the Bank Holidays) at St Helen's Church in Abingdon.

Please see the poster and/or email email for more information (scripts must be enabled to activate the email link).

ONB Branch AGM

The ONB Branch 6-bell striking competition and AGM took place on Saturday 18th March at Cumnor.

Next year’s AGM will be held on Saturday, 17th March 2018.

6-Bell Striking Competition

Jon and Kay Chamberlain of Faringdon judged the competition and gave the results (the team names link to a photo):

1st Wallingford (29 faults)
2nd = Blewbury (62 faults)
= Abingdon S (62 faults)
4th Abingdon C (82 faults)
5th = Harwell (120 faults)
= Abingdon Y (120 faults)

The new trophy was presented after the results were announced and the Wallingford ringers were invited to represent the Branch in the Guild 6-bell striking competition on Saturday, 1st October.

Abingdon wins ART Award

The Abingdon Society of Bell Ringers won a national award at the Association of Ringing Teachers (ART) Conference for their work with young bell ringers.

Certificate and Young Ringers

There is a nice report in the Oxford Mail on the web (in three different colours) at:

Full details of the Abingdon application for the Award are on web link the ART web site.

ART Award report by Susan Read

The Sarah Beacham Youth Group Award is offered by the Association of Ringing Teachers (ART) for outstanding work with groups of young ringers. I applied on behalf of the Abingdon Society of Bell Ringers. In our application I explained the background of the Society and various aspects of our work with young people:

Firstly how we recruit young people and train them with daily ringing lessons (“intensive training”) over a week or two in the school holidays . We have held nine such courses between 2013 and 2016 and taught 18 young people and seven adults on those courses. Having a full simulator in our tower means we can tie all the bells and produce the sound of the bells using a computer. We turn off the two bells we are using to teach handling and use the remaining eight bells to hold a practice for our other young ringers whilst the intensive training is going on. It is a bit chaotic but good humoured and helps the new young people to become assimilated into the group better than if they were taught on their own.

Secondly I explained how we have organised outings for all the young ringers in the area in each school holiday since 2012. We make sure that every outing involves not only some ringing but also a social activity of some sort, so that all the young ringers get to know each other, whatever stage their ringing has reached. It has resulted in a far stronger group of friends and young ringers in our branch than in any other area of the Oxford Diocesan Guild.

Thirdly the encouragement for many of our better ringers to attend ART courses to learn how to be teachers of ringing themselves, so that when we run intensive ringing training we have a number of trained teachers available. Two of our teachers including me are fully qualified teachers, and four others are part qualified. Some are able to help on daytime courses such as those for our young ringers and others who are of working age are more useful for evening courses such as that planned for summer 2017.

Additionally to the tower bell ringing we do, we run a tune ringing team which starts each October and practices carols for the Christmas season after which we disband until the following October. We invite all our young ringers to join the handbell team, and most do. With our silver waistcoats and rhythmical performances, we provide a public face for the tower bell ringers which is welcomed in carol services and old people’s homes around the town.

A measure of our success may be seen in the ODG band for the Ringing World National Youth Contest. Abingdon young ringers have taken part in the ODG team for the last four years. In 2016 we made up half of the team that came joint second!

The efforts of the Abingdon Society of Bell Ringers mean that we are now seen as a beacon of how to work with young ringers in the Oxford Diocesan Guild. Our branch is seen as a “hot spot” of young ringers. We are proud to be recognised by the ART for our work.

Milton church closed (March - June)

Milton church is closed for four months for repair to the floor and the installation of kitchen and toilet facilities. There will be no Sunday service ringing or visiting bands allowed during this period. Practice nights will continue and everyone should use the entrance door at the foot of the tower.

Minutes of the February Committee Meeting

Young Ringer's Treasure Hunt & Magic Show.

Report

On a cold dull afternoon in February, fourteen young ringers, nine adults and two younger brothers converged on Brightwell to ring the recently renovated bells. The ringing mostly consisted of rounds and call changes, but there was some plain hunt too. And while the tower bells were being rung, we also rang rounds and plain hunt on handbells in the church room. Much amusement was had over the instruction that before each hand stroke lead there should be not only a gap, but a loud sniff from all those ringing the handbells!

To ensure that our magician could arrive and set himself up in comparative privacy, the young ringers were arranged in teams for a treasure hunt: A sheet of questions about the village of Brightwell was given to each team together with a time limit and the promise that cake and soft drinks would await them on their return.

The teams returned and hopefully knew a little more about Brightwell as a result of the quiz. After the promised cake and soft drinks, provided by Daphne, everyone took seats at the rear of the church and Mike Green delivered a fascinating magic show including an intriguing card trick, colour-changing silk handkerchiefs, a rope that appeared to reassemble itself despite being cut with scissors, and an attempt to sever my hand with a small guillotine! Truly amazing and very enjoyable!

  • Susan Read
  • New Striking Competition Trophy.

    Certainly in recent times, and if a hazy memory of my teenage years in the North Berks Branch serves me well, I think I can confidently say that there has never been a trophy for the winning tower team in our 6-bell striking competition. Following the stressful wait to hear the judges’ feedback and scoring, and the general applause for the victorious team, there has always been an awkward sense of anti-climax when there is no trophy to award.

    To put matters right, we now have a splendid unique trophy that the branch can award to the winning team. One of the Blewbury ringers, Nick Thomson has a machine workshop, and with the help of Dick Street has machined us the wheel and clapper trophy from brass, and mounted it on an oak plinth (see photo). The clapper and wheel represent the mechanical variables for mastering good striking, whilst the all-important human ringer at the end of the rope is the other variable!

    Happy ringers at brunch

    Our grateful thanks go to Nick and Dick for making us this lasting trophy for future ONB striking competitions. Abingdon team were the 2016 winners and at the New Year’s Day ringing event were retrospectively presented with the trophy (see photo). Will they retain the trophy in 2017? We will soon know!

    - Richard Loyd

    Happy ringers at brunch

    Radley One-Day Course, 2017.

    These courses have been running for a number of years and are designed for learners of all ages and levels of competence. No need to feel nervous about coming as you will be with others at a similar level. We aim to improve your confidence as well as your ringing with friendly support and tuition.

    Please see the course poster (pdf) for more information...

    Association of Ringing Teachers Conference, 2017.

    Please circulate the attached poster through the branch. It would be good for members to be aware of the ART conference and all the workshops available, especially as it will be in Hampshire in 2017, easily accessible for most of our members.

    Sadly the main day of the conference clashes with the ODG Spring General Committee Meeting, but some of the workshops are being held on the Friday and the Sunday.

    Booking for the conference starts on 1st January, but you may wish to put it in your diary now...

    Guild Ten Bell Training Day.

    Saturday 4th February, 2017, 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM at St Michael and All Angels, Aston Clinton.

    For Guild Members who would like to develop their 10 bell ringing skills. Methods will include Cambridge and Yorkshire Surprise Royal.

    See the poster (pdf) for more information...

    New Year’s Ringing & Refreshments.

    Ring for the New Year at St Helen's in Abingdon: 10:30am - 12:30pm.

    The format of the morning is very relaxed. The tower is open for general ringing (10:30 am - 12.00 noon), and refreshments and other entertainments will take place in the church for the whole time, including a chance to try tune and/or change ringing on handbells.

    Refreshments will consist of home-made soups, bacon rolls, sandwiches and cakes, plus tea, coffee and soft drinks.

    Happy ringers at brunch
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