Very busy practice night with the two new learners no longer being our newest. Sean and Jack are now competent ringers of rounds and Sean can now ring down in peal too. Further new learners are now progressing fast as both tackled ringing both strokes together with some confidence. Despite ringing lots of rounds and some call changes, It was very profitable evening and its been a long time since we have had nine local ringers in the tower. If you fancy joining our growing band of learners do come along and join us.
Our learners Sean and Jack both passed a learning milestone this evening as they managed to ring a bell on their own in basic rounds. Their handling is good and they are quite competent on their own. It is good to get some new fresh ringers who will soon be able to swell our numbers on a Sunday morning.
Lent is always a quiet period as some towers actually used to stop ringing altogether. Often these days this is only the case if their practice night happens to fall on a Lenten meeting but bellringers observe the no ringing rule in Holy Week. Still not found out why but from Psalm Sunday to Easter Day there should not be any ringing at all.
We have are looking forward to the summer months and the lighter nights which are already making the arrival to practice nights more welcoming.
As ever we always are on the look out for new recruits so if you fancy a go come and see us.
Why bell ringing? That question has been asked by both family and friends and my answer is “I’ve always wanted to”. I then go onto explain that as far back as I can remember I have lived within the sound of church bells ringing out on a Sunday morning or a practice night listening fascinated to the sound of the changing pitch and tone of the bells, so maybe it might be me trying to recapture those halcyon days of my childhood back in the 50’s and 60’s.
Fast forward forty years. I had moved away from London to the peaceful village of Nether Whitacre and on certain Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings I could hear the bells from St Giles. I mentioned my memories of childhood to my wife who said “why don’t you give it a try? My friend Helen is a ringer I’ll have a word with her”. Date and time were arranged and on a very cold January night I attended my first practice night. I drove away after that practice night knowing that I was hooked and kicking myself for not taking up the hobby earlier in my life.
I progressed gradually and after six months I asked if I could ring at a special service and was given a few minutes ringing rounds, my first public appearance and a great boost to my confidence. I now ring at most morning services, weddings at St Giles and if asked, other local churches.
I find it both challenging and a fascinating hobby with always something new to learn and in my case forget and re-learn ( I’ll put that down to my age) but that doesn’t matter the main reason is to have fun and enjoy, and when I do get it right its very satisfying.
It all started with a visit to the French Market in Coleshill on a bright but very cold day last April. The tower at the church was open and on our way back down we paused in the belfry and chatted to the bellringers, and quite fancied having a go at bell ringing. We are local so decided to learn at St Giles. We were made very welcome by the lovely ringers and have really enjoyed learning to ring. I am a very slow student; Isabella is much better than me, but nobody seems to mind, and it is great fun. We are so hooked that we often go to St Cuthberts at Shustoke on Tuesday nights as well as St Giles on Thursday evenings. I am not at all musical, but you don't have to be. I now know that there is a great community on bell ringers across most of the country; and when we went up to Stirling a few weeks ago Quentin, the Tower Captain, put us in touch with the bell ringers and we rang in the church there, which was lovely. But as well as being great fun, what I absolutely love is the knowledge that the bells we are ringing are hundreds of years old, and that for the last three of four hundred years people have been ringing out the same bells across the landscape, making the same sounds. To me, that is amazing.
It seems it does pay to advertise as we had two people come and join us tonight wanting to try their hand at the ancient art of bellringing having seen the ringers at Coleshill church and reading about what we do. Certainly the learners did well tonight and have promised to return. So if you want to join them or to take up something new this summer, come and see what we do one Thursday evening.
After the excitement in the village over the Diamond Jubilee the ringers ended up being rather depleted with a number of the band on holiday and away. There was not actually enough of us to ring so we were unable to actually ring to celebrate the event. We do plan to ring on the opening of the Olympics as all church bells have been asked to ring at various points connected with the torch relay and the opening ceremony.
Lea Marston bells have once again been in action being rung for both the United Service at the beginning of June and for a wedding later on. They continue to ring nicely and the clean environment is much better to ring in as we no longer get dust and other undesirable dirt dropped on our head!
We have a new recruit who has now been learning for a couple of months now and is just getting to grips with ringing a bell in rounds. Emily has done well but needs a lot more practice yet but is also stirring John into action as she is fast catching him up! As usual if you fancy a new hobby or are curious as to what happens come and visit us on a Thursday practice night from 8pm.
St Giles Bellringers
The trials and tribulations of a small village bellringing band.