Firstly, may I wish you all a very Happy New Year even though we are now through the first full week of January 2023. It is quite nice to get back to the normality of day-to-day life after the Christmas season and, of course, many feel that a new year gives a new start. The New Year is a time of reflection as we look back on the previous year and a time for considering events and aspirations in the future.
Some of you may have aspirations in ringing and may not be aware that there are training courses available for ringers. Two of these are in a reasonable striking distance from Kent, the Essex Association run a course in April (https://eacr.org.uk/education/course.html )and the Bradfield Ringing Course (http://bradfield-ringing-course.org.uk/home.php ), based in Berkshire, runs in August. Further afield are courses in Hereford (http://www.herefordringingcourse.org.uk ), which also runs in April and, if you are really happy to travel, there the North West Ringing Course (https://nwringingcourse.uk ) in August which is based in Preston, Lancashire.
All of these courses offer opportunities for ringers at many different levels to focus on an area that they wish to develop, whether it be ringing Doubles methods such as Plain Bob or Grandsire, working on methods in the Triples or Major repertoire or developing more advanced skills such as conducting. These courses are very popular so it is worth registering with them very soon if you are interested in taking part.
Ringing has featured quite a bit in the media over the last few weeks. There have been some very positive features about ringing and about recruitment and I am hopeful that this will pay off in the long term. I think that the Coronation has given us another focus for recruitment. There is already a great deal of publicity about this, the ‘Ring For The King’ training opportunity seems to have taken off nationwide and it is still possible to get new recruits ringing by the beginning of May to take part in this national celebration.
In my Words from the Chair in June, I mentioned in passing about making the ringers know to the Church Wardens and perhaps showing them what goes on in the tower by inviting them to a ringing session. It is not easy explaining ringing to non-ringers, and the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers has recently published a useful leaflet about ringing. It is a guide intended for clergy, PCCs and Safeguarding Advisers which explains a little bit about what we do, how we organize ourselves and advice on the safeguarding requirements for ringers. It may be worth printing off a copy for your incumbent or Church Wardens or emailing them a link to it. The leaflet can be found here: https://cccbr.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/From-Practice-to-Perfect-a-short-guide-for-clergy-PCCs-and-Safeguarding-Advisors.pdf
There was another interesting snippet on the Central Council Website that I noticed, but it does need to be acted on quickly. Jazz trumpet player Chris Hodgkins is developing a project inspired by John Betjeman’s poem, ‘Summoned By Bells’, whereby he is proposing to tour different churches to perform music both inspired by the bells and involving the local ringers. More details can be found here https://cccbr.org.uk/2022/12/12/summoned-by-bells/ but expressions of interest must be received by 16th January.
Hopefully you have all seen an email regarding your annual subscription to the KCACR. As you probably are aware, this is now all done online via the KCACR website. You should have received an email with details of your membership so just click on the link in the message. Should you be having any problems, then your District Secretary or Treasurer should be able to help.
Finally, our AGM in April is on the distant horizon and I am sorry to say that Sue Bassett, our very efficient and organized Honorary General Secretary is hoping to stand down from this post this year. As this is the case, if you know of somebody who may be interested in taking on this role, or if you are interested in taking it on yourself, please contact me for further information.