Words from the chair
Well, we are now well into Advent and many towers will be thinking about additional ringing arrangements for Christmas, perhaps a Carol Service or for a Christmas Eve Service. I am often asked by non-ringers if I am busy practising the ringing for Christmas. I sometimes wonder if they don’t realise that we practise our ringing all the year round and don’t just ring for Christmas. As a positive point, it seems that the public are more aware of what we do at Christmas, but it does suggest that we do need to consider ways in which we can make the them aware that bellringing is not just a Christmas activity and we carry out our ringing duties, practices and perhaps some additional ringing for pleasure throughout the year.
One way in which the Association can help with this is through our publicity material. As well as four display panels, we now possess a camera and screen so that livre footage of bells ringing in the tower can be broadcast in the church. Some members may recall seeing this at Goudhurst in June. We are also, hopefully, going to acquire our own a mobile mini-ring and I hope to give further details of this soon. Having rung on this mini-ring, I can say that it will be a fantastic resource for the Association and will do a great deal for publicising ringing at different events.
We had a General Committee meeting on the final weekend of November. It was good to be able to welcome some new faces, and my thanks go to those committee members who stood down at their Annual District Meetings for their support and involvement with the General Committee. Several matters were up for discussion and doubtlessly you will be notified through other channels too of some dates for your dairy but for those whose diary fills up quickly, here are the dates of some Association events in 2023:
Monday 10th April, AGM in the Maidstone District (venue TBC).
Saturday 17th June, Association 8-Bell Striking Competition in the Ashford District (venue TBC). The test pieces will be 2 courses of St Clement’s College Bob Major (Wrong, Home, Wrong, Home).
Saturday 30th September, Association 6-Bell Striking Competition in the Canterbury District (venue TBC).
We are also hoping to have another Association Evensong and Service of Remembrance at Rochester Cathedral in October or November. This year’s service was not as well attended as in 2021 but I am aware that several ringers have commented that, because of the date, it clashes with special services in their own church. We are currently investigation whether Rochester Cathedral could offer us an alternative Sunday.
In my last ‘Words from the Chair’, I commented on the response to the 6-bell competitions this year and said that it would be discussed by the General Committee and we would report back. As you can see from the dates above, the Committee agreed on the striking competition, where it is hoped that each District will be able to field one team, usually the winner of the District Striking Competition, to compete in the Association 6-Bell Striking Competition.
However, there was a lot of discussion about what to do about the Association Call-Change Competition. It was originally conceived by my predecessor, Phil Barnes, as another way to promote good ringing for all abilities of ringers and I am keen to get this off the ground.
At the Committee meeting, there were two differing opinions, the first being that this competition should be aimed more towards the less experienced ringers, perhaps including those who have not been ringing for more than a few years or who have not rung a peal. However, for some these criteria are arbitrary as a peal ringer may have just covered on the tenor to one peal. The other suggestion was to make this open to all, but how should we do this? Districts? Individual towers? Some committee members felt that this may make this a more elite competition and would therefore not attract some ringers to take part. Perhaps one way forward is to have two categories? The General Committee are interested in your views on this so District Representatives have been asked to raise this at your January meetings to get some feedback on this. If you are unable to attend that meeting but wish to offer an opinion, please contact me.
Finally, I would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas!