My words this month are a little later than usual due to the Association AGM taking place today, the 10th April. The meeting took place at St George, Wrotham, preceded by an EGM which was arranged to allow the Association to change the wording of two of the Bell Restoration Fund rules and by doing so, we have made it easier for other organisations to support the BRF if they choose.
At the meeting itself, the majority of the committee were re-elected, we welcome Tom Winter to the committee as the new PRO while Alexander Runting, Stephanie Runting and I become Central Council Representatives along with Caroline Stockmann and Phillip Barnes. It is fantastic to have two new members on the Committee, especially as they are both younger members of the Association.
Unfortunately, there were no forthcoming nominations for the post of General Secretary but Sue Bassett very kindly agreed to remain in post for one more year. I really would like to urge you all to help to find a new General Secretary for 2024. I know that we are all volunteers and many have busy working lives and are unable to devote any further additional time to help on the Association’s committee but there may be somebody that you know of (and ringing ability is not one of the criteria used to choose the Secretary!).
Plans for the Festival of Ringing and Association 8-Bell Competition are making good progress, the venue will be Lympne in the Ashford District and there will be other towers available for ringing on the day. We will be holding a committee meeting at the end of April and I hope that I can let you have further details of this and of the 6 bell competitions soon after that.
Ringing-wise, we have a busy few weeks ahead of us. The King’s coronation on the 6th May means that we will be ringing at some point over that weekend. I am being asked if I know any more about this and unfortunately I don’t. We do believe that the service will be at 11:00 on the 6th May but are still awaiting final confirmation of the timings and whether there are any requested ringing times.
I mentioned it in a previous ‘Words from the Chair’ but the 14th May has been designated ‘Bell Sunday’ and hopefully we can also rise to this and find ways in which we can further promote ringing within our churches that day. This is intended to become an annual event.
A few weeks ago, I headed over to the Canterbury District to judge their Call Change Competition. It was very encouraging to see that 9 teams had entered. This included some who had never participated in a Competition before as well as some ‘old hands’. I would like to congratulate the District on their enthusiasm and support of this event, although it was a very chilly day to be sitting outside judging, the welcome was especially warm. Well done too to the Northbourne band on providing their first Ringer’s Tea!
On the subject of competitions, the Kent Young Ringers ventured into Surrey on the 1st April to take part in SEECON, the South East England Striking Contest. Unfortunately, just before the competition one of the team sprained their ankle really badly and was unable to stand for any long period of time. Fortunately, we did have a reserve but they had not had a chance to practice with the rest of the team. Essex retained the trophy with an exceptional piece of ringing and a score of 93%. Sussex came second with 86%. The next three teams were each separated by 1%, Surrey on 82%, Berks and Bucks on 81% and Kent on 80%. Bringing up the rear were Hertfordshire and the Winchester and Portsmouth Guild. The comments made by Paul and Kate Flavell of the Surrey Association about our performance were very positive and the team should be congratulated on this performance which was the first time that they had all rung together, especially our last minute stand-in,
More congratulations, this time to the winners of an ART award. ART, or the Association of Ringing Teachers, is an organisation which is promoting the teaching and development of ringing. Those of you who do Instagram as well as those here on Facebook may have seen the posts by the Weald of Kent Bell Ringers, Frittenden Bell Ringers, Benenden Bell Ringers, Cranbrook Bell Ringers and Staplehurst Bell Ringers. These are all curated by Richard Steele who, along with Rebecca Steele, were awarded the Len Roberts Award for the Promotion of Ringing. This is an award made to a person or people who are making a significant contribution to promoting ringing in their local area. Please do take a look at their work here on Facebook if you haven’t already done so.
On the subject of ART, we are able to lay on an ART M1 course on the 13th May. This course is aimed at those who are wanting to teach others how to ring and introduces the ART techniques following a series of small steps to train somebody to ring a bell from scratch. It is a very worthwhile course even for those who have already perhaps taught people how to ring. The course will be in the Rochester District and more details will appear on the KCACR website very soon.