The nights are certainly drawing in and finally it feels as if we have said goodbye to summer as the temperature plummeted significantly over the weekend. I have mixed feelings about this – it does mean that I now need to bring a coat to ringing (and remember to take it with me when I have finished) but it also means that it is more comfortable to ring for longer periods of time. Many of you will know that I ring quite a few quarters and I do find it harder to concentrate on my ringing in the warmer weather. I daresay that I’ll be complaining about the cold weather and not being able to grip the rope properly by January!
The last few weeks have been very busy in the ringing calendar. We are now well into the ADM season with each District holding its meeting to elect or re-elect District officers. I have been having a few conversations with people recently, both in Kent and in other Associations and am finding that it is harder to find volunteers to take on these sort of roles.
It is a fact of life that people today seem to have less time on their hands and many also do not feel that they are suitably qualified or experienced to take on the roles available. This does create a potential long-term problem when a District officer does wish to stand down and can result in positions being left unfilled. This is not a problem that is unique to Kent but it is an issue that needs to be addressed in some way in order that ringing associations can continue to function.
Towards the end of September, the Canterbury District hosted the 6-bell competitions at Monkton. The method ringing competition took place in the morning and four Districts were each able to muster a team to enter. Problems with getting judges meant that I had to judge the competition and I spent a very enjoyable morning sitting in the churchyard enjoying the sound of good ringing interspersed with birdsong. The results were close, but the Sturry team had a slight edge over Hadlow and were declared the winners.
In the afternoon, we held the first ever call-change competition. It was great to have four more teams entering. I also had to judge this contest and had an equally enjoyable afternoon in the churchyard listening to the ringing. Again, the results were close but Cowden, the team that had travelled the furthest, pipped a Rochester District team to the post and took first place. Jo Horton, of Sturry, has very kindly donated the Horton Trophy for this competition and was able to present it to the first ever winning team of the KCACR Call-Change Competition.
One of the joys of ringing is it is an all-age activity and I was really pleased that the Kent Young Ringers were able to put a team together for this competition.
We recently circulated a code of conduct which has been published by the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers to District secretaries. This has caused a little discussion in some towers as to why we need it. Many organisations, including those with a large volunteer base also have similar codes of conduct. They do so in order that it is clear what the expectations are of the behaviour of all those who belong to that organisation.
A tower is a small organisation. Yes, the ringers in the tower may well be a very close-knit groups and socialise very well together however there may be a time when a new member of the tower or a visitor comes into the tower and is not aware of the expectations. Having such a code of conduct ensures that they are aware of these sort of expectations and know they should abide by them.
I can hear some of you spluttering out your mouthful of tea and saying, “Surely this is common sense!” Yes it is. Unfortunately the world is changing and I feel that common sense now seems to be lacking in some people which is why many organisations and companies need to ensure that they publicly display their expectations of behaviour. This code of conduct is something that I have already seen put up in some towers but of course it is up to each tower to decide whether or not they want to use it. For those who have not yet seen a copy of this, it is available here: https://cccbr.org.uk/bellringing/code-for-ringing/
Val Cooper, who handles the orders for Association clothing, has ordered a small stock of the KCACR enamel badges that we used to have. They will cost £3.50 each including postage. There are discounts available on orders of 2 or more badges, Should you wish to order a badge, Val’s contact details are in the handbook.
Finally, just another reminder of the Association Evensong at Rochester Cathedral on Sunday November 19th. The service will start at 3,15pm and all members are invited to attend.