My words are a little later than usual this month having been enjoying a few days holiday in the Provence region of France. There, like here, the sound of bells still formed part of the soundscape: the chiming of church bells drifting across the landscape on a Sunday morning and clock bells marking the passage of time in the towns and villages that I visited. However, my nearest change-ringing tower at Vernet-les-Bains was well over 250 miles away so it was a ringing free holiday.
Whilst August is often a time where towers can find it hard to maintain a ringing commitment due to it being the holiday season, there are a few events on the horizon which I do want to remind you about.
On the 30th September we will be holding our 6-bell competitions to be held at Monkton on the Canterbury District.. I have already mentioned these but I am keen to drum up the support for both of the contests that day.
In the morning, we will be holding the 6-Bell Striking Competition, in which one tower from each District is invited to compete. Usually, the tower is selected at the District striking competitions earlier in the year, but Districts may nominate a tower to come forward for the contest if this is easier. This is a method ringing competition and each band should ring 240 changes of a doubles or minor method. The draw for this competition will be at 9:45am.
In the afternoon, the new 6-Bell Call Change Competition is taking place. This is a slightly more open format although each band needs to be made up of members of the Association and a ringer may not ring for more than one team, However, bands do not need to be from one tower or even one District. For this year, the piece of ringing needs to comprise of 10 minutes of call-changes on 6 bells with at least 5 bells changing position but there is no set piece to ring. A maximum of 10 teams will be able to take part in this and entries need to be received by me before 30th August. The draw for this competition will be at 2.00pm.
There will be refreshments available that day at the church; tea, coffee, squash etc. plus cakes, biscuits and maybe sausage rolls in the morning, in exchange for a donation. Throughout the afternoon, a full ringers’ tea will be provided priced at £5. There won’t be a formal lunch, but there are a number of decent pubs in the area, with Monkton’s recommendation being the Bell Inn at St Nicholas at Wade (or bring your own picnic). As with the 8-bell competition, please do come along to have a listen even if you are not taking part.
In addition to these competitions, September also sees the Essex Trophy Competition which the KCACR have been invited to take part in. This competition started in 1979 as part of the Essex Association of Change Ringers centenary celebrations. Teams from ringing associations in the South-East are invited to take part every year, and the competition is hosted by a different association each year. This year, Essex are hosting the competition at Walthamstow on September 9th and the test piece is Grandsire Caters.
September also sees the annual meeting of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (CCCBR) at Ipswich. The CCCBR is the representative body for ringers and represents 65 affiliated societies, guilds or associations (including the KCACR) covering the British Isles, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA, South Africa and its aims are to give guidance to these affiliates to help them to further the practice, heritage and appreciation of bell ringing as an enjoyable mental and physical exercise and a unique performing art.
Finally, I would just like to mention what is becoming an annual event at Rochester Cathedral. On Sunday November 19th there will be an Evensong to which all members are invited, During this service, we will remember members if the Association as well as celebrate our work within the Association. The service starts at 3:15pm and all members are invited to attend.