There has a great deal of media coverage nationwide about the ‘Ring for the King’ initiative over the last few weeks. Here in Kent, I responded to an e-mail query on Wednesday 15th February from BBC Radio Kent following up the story and asking about the possibility of doing something on the breakfast show at about 8:30am the following morning.
Sometimes, it is possible to make things happen very quickly and this was one of those moments. Some hasty calls and messages suggested that not only would this be possible but it would be possible to include some ringing as well so I responded in the affirmative and arrangements were finalised. There were to be 2 slots, one just after 8:30am and the second after 9:30am. In the intervening time, the reporter could be introduced to basic handling ( backstrokes and possibly handstrokes) and they could report back on this training.
On the Thursday morning, 7 ringers, 2 learners and the vicar turned up just after 8.00am at St Mary Magdalene, Gillingham to meet Jo Burn, a reporter from BBC Radio Kent. She outlined what she hoped to do and we agreed on the content for each slot as well recording a further piece for broadcast later in the day. All in all, I think that this was a very worthwhile piece of publicity and Jo, through her interviews and commentary, helped to put a very positive aspect on ringing in general as well as a realistic view on starting now to ring for the coronation.
It was wonderful to see around 30 young ringers from all 6 Districts at Stansted on the 18th February for the KYR Striking Competition. For some, this was the first ever competition that they had taken part in. The standard of ringing was good and the judges had a difficult decision to make over the eventual winning team. Congratulations go to the Rochester District, who were declared the winners with a score of 91%. Well done to all those involved!
On the subject of competitions, we discussed the proposed call-change competition at the General Committee meeting last Saturday. Thank you to all Districts for your input in this. It seems that many of your discussions were very similar to those we had when we discussed this at the committee in November. However, we have reached a decision on this competition.
The members at the committee meeting all felt that the competition should go ahead but with fewer entry requirements. This means teams of ringers can be drawn from members of your own district or other districts. However, there will be a limit on the number of teams. The rules will be amended to reflect these changes and published in due course, after which entries will be invited.
In order to make things a little easier this year, the competition will be held either at or near the host tower for the method competition on the same day. The method competition will take place in the morning and the call-change competition will take place in the afternoon.
We will hold the competition as a trial this year but with a view to making it a regular event. Hopefully it will be an enjoyable addition to our annual programme of events.
Whilst thinking about Association events, the Association AGM will be held at Wrotham in the Maidstone District on Monday 10th April. The service will be at 12:00 and the meeting will take place in the early afternoon. Sue Bassett, our Honorary General Secretary, is wanting to stand down from her role so we are hoping that somebody will be happy to stand for this post at the meeting. Should you be interested, please contact Sue or myself if you wish to find out more about what the position entails. More details will follow very soon.
Those who are aware of the National Churches Trust website (https://www.nationalchurchestrust.org/) may have seen a new page appear about ringing on their website. A few months ago I was looking through the site and noticed that there was a feature about organs but nothing there about bells. After mentioning this to the Trust, they asked me to put something together with them. It is very difficult to explain ringing and its heritage in about 700 words but I think that the images and audio links help to build a snapshot of what ringing is about.
Finally, could I urge those of you who subscribe to the Ringing World (or who are lapsed/potential subscribers) to take part in an online survey about the future of this publication, providing feedback to help the Ringing World plan its future direction. The survey will take about 15-20 minutes to complete and is found here: https://www.questionpro.com/a/TakeSurvey?tt=hrFTpPwYTdQECHrPeIW9eQ%3D%3D