RINGING ROUND DEVON is the quarterly newsletter of The Guild of Devonshire Ringers, and is circulated free to all affiliated towers. Any individual members who wish to subscribe should contact Lester Yeo. The cost is £2.50 for four issues (cheques made payable to Guild of Devonshire Ringers). RRD is also available on line on the Guild's website at http://www.exeter.ac.uk/gdr/, which holds back issues.
Any comments and inaccuracies in articles contained in this newsletter are the responsibility of the individual contributors, and the opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the Guild.
Items for inclusion may be sent by email to email@example.com .
The December 2006 version of Interchange, a newsletter for all ringers in Devon, is available here.
A wonderful achievement in 1906
Peal band members: Back row (l to r): Pauline Champion, Reg McKenzie, Mike Mears, John Hill, Ian Avery, Rob Franklin. Front row (l to r): Ian Smith, Ann Smith, Paul Pascoe, Wendy Campbell, Matt Hilling, Lester Yeo, Ian Campbell. Missing from photograph: Bill Ford, John Foster, Mark Pring
The observant visitor may have noticed identical framed posters hanging in the Devon belfries of Clyst Honiton, Broadclyst, Sowton, Thorverton and Heavitree; they record that in 1906 a peal of Stedman Triples was rung on five consecutive days at the above towers by the Exeter Cycling Club, the services of the Revd F E Robinson being secured as conductor to assist as many people as possible to realise their first peal in the principle. During the week one first peal was scored and ten firsts of Stedman. This was a very fine achievement by any standards, given that the only transport was by bicycle and that the peals were rung after a day's work. The Bell News of the day reports that the original intention was to use some of the city towers, but there were problems because of illness in the neighbourhood so the Club secretary, Frank Davey, had to look further afield. This necessitated a late start for the peals, the men did not return home until midnight, and they then had to face an early start at work the following morning.
Around the turn of the millennium, there was idle pub chit-chat along the lines of 'We ought to mark the centenary in 2006' and this gradually evolved to 'Let's go for it!' Early in 2004 feelers were put out and towers duly booked for the exact date on which the original peal had been rung. Each modern day ringer taking part was to adopt a persona and ring the same bells as his or her counterpart from 1906. After some discussion about costume to be worn - loads of jokes about growing big side-whiskers and wearing stiff collars and hob-nailed boots - it was agreed that we would relax the rules and put our creature comforts first, including use of the internal combustion engine for transport.
Our first challenge was to find someone to represent the Revd Robinson and conduct all five peals. This would be something of a burden on one person's shoulders, but the natural choice was Michael Mears, the Guild's leading conductor. Lester made the initial overtures but quickly came back with a firm no. 'Mike doesn't really feel he's the best person for this', he reported, 'we'll have to look further afield. It's a shame, but we would be repeating history quite nicely since FER came from outside the county.' 'But Mike has done such a lot for peal ringing in Devon', I argued, 'I don't want to consider anyone else for the job. Leave this to me and I'll see if I can talk him round.' Well, it was just a case of waiting to catch Mike in a mellow mood and apply a bit of feminine pressure . . . and we had our conductor. Or maybe he was more scared of me than of Lester!
Gradually the bands were pieced together. Although there were forty ropes potentially available, only sixteen ringers were required since at least two-thirds of the band rang more two or more peals. Invitations were issued and accepted with alacrity. Summer drew to a close and final reminders were sent out.
Sunday 8th October dawned wet and wild, which was a shame since it was dedication day for the newly augmented twelve at Withycombe Raleigh. Most of the peal band therefore attended the service and the ensuing bun fight in the church hall for their fill of sustaining cups of tea and cake before assembling at Sowton to commence the five-day challenge. Now, ringing at Sowton is entertaining at the best of times; the bells are loud, the trebles have an alarming tendency to slip wheel and the rope circle is cosy, to put it mildly, with plenty of opportunity for chasing one's rope all around the tower. Nevertheless we set to with determination and were two courses from the end when disaster struck, a sally was missed and could not be recovered, and the peal slipped through our fingers.
This was a terrible blow; the very first attempt lost. A silent and dejected band melted away into the night. The next evening we regrouped in a surprisingly upbeat mood to enjoy three hours of positive and confident ringing on the fine bells at Broadclyst, to be followed on subsequent days with successes at Clyst Honiton, Heavitree (the best of the week and the first sub-three hour peal on these excellent bells) and Thorverton.
We were pleased with our successes but deeply disappointed about our lost peal; the band was game to try again to complete the series, and fortunately permission was forthcoming for a further attempt to be made. It was another wet day when the band reassembled at Sowton; nerves were in evidence and a miscall after twenty minutes did nothing to ease the tension. A quick debate followed. Mike was willing to give it another shot and we were off into changes again with studied concentration. A little over two and a half hours later, the familiar sounds of being 'almost there' were heard and we ran thankfully into rounds.
It is interesting to compare the time taken for the peals, and to note how much slower our counterparts in 1906 rang. For those who like trivia, the 1906 peals were rung in a total of 15 hours 59 minutes, and the 2006 peals in 14 hours 22 minutes, a saving of 1 hour 37 minutes.
Quarter peal members: L to r: Mark Pring, Rob Franklin, Martin Mansley, Lesley Tucker, Sue Sawyer, Andrew Digby, Matt Hilling, Graham Tucker
At about the same time as the peals were in the planning stage, Graham Tucker had the idea of putting more emphasis on the mode of transport and ringing five quarter peals of Stedman Triples in one day, using just eight ringers. On Saturday 7th October the band dusted down their bicycles and completed a circuit of about 20 miles, starting at Heavitree and progressing to Sowton, Clyst Honiton, Broadclyst and Thorverton. I understand from members of the band that it was a tiring, but most enjoyable day!
Luppitt: Jim Crabb's 90th birthday
Jim Crabb celebrated his ninetieth birthday on 28 November by attending a very special ringing practice at St Mary's Church, Luppitt. He was joined by family and friends and fellow ringers. After the practice, pink champagne was served followed by a surprise party at Calhayes Farm.
Jim began ringing in 1928 at the age of 12 years.
He was elected a member of the Guild of Devonshire ringers on January 30th 1932 and was awarded the certificate of competence on 8 March 1932. He has rung the bells regularly for 78 years apart from a break during the Second World War when belfries throughout the land were silent.
He has taught, helped and encouraged many bellringers over those 78 years and has held the position of belfry captain at Luppitt for 2 five year periods. He has rung at many weddings and celebrations including notable anniversaries and world events.
There have been many highlights during Jim's bellringing years - too many to list but here are a few.
He was involved in the installation of two new bells in the belfry at St Mary's, Luppitt.
On 4 March 1975, Jim's brother, Fred, was enthroned as Bishop of Canada. A touch of Grandsire Triples was rung at St Mary's, Luppitt - the village in which Fred, Jim and their siblings were born.
On 19 November 1991, Jim rang with the team at Luppitt on the eight bells to celebrate the release of Terry Waite from Beirut where he had been kept hostage in appalling conditions for almost five years.
Jim rang with the Honiton ringers on 30 March 1995 to celebrate his and Eileen's (his now late wife's) Golden Wedding Anniversary.
On 13 July 1996, Jim rang in a striking competition with the Honiton ringers when Honiton won.
On 30 January 1998 with the Feniton ringers Jim rang a quarter peal of 1320 changes of Dedworth Doubles. This was to celebrate seventy years of ringing at the age of 81.
Jim continues to enjoy practices at local belfries, teaching and still learning himself. On Sundays he rings at St Paul's, Honiton where a quarter peal of Plain Bob was rung on 29 November in honour of his birthday.
Exeter Branch consolidated their position as currently the most able branch in the Guild, by providing winners for all three competitions on Saturday 21sth October. Only two teams entered the six-bell competition for the J P Fidler cup, held at the deceptively challenging bells at Clyst St George, but unfortunately Tavistock had to withdraw after ringing their test piece because they 'borrowed' a ringer when one of their own band was delayed in traffic. Guild master Laurie Palmer placed the two teams thus:
1st: Exeter St Mark - 3.5 faults
2nd: Tavistock - 9 faults
Also that morning, five teams containing one or more novice ringers competed for a silver plate in memory of John Longridge, at Poltimore. John's son Tom, together with fellow bath ringer Michael Day, placed the teams as follows:
1st: Exeter St Mark (conducted by Matthew Hilling) - 17 faults
2nd: Exeter St Mark (conducted by John Martin) - 18.5 faults
3rd: Exeter St David - 39.75 faults
4th: Exeter Colleges Guild - 60 faults
Silverton did not complete the test piece of 180 changes of Plain Hunting.
It was especially pleasant to see Sue Longridge and Sam at the results in the afternoon (and in the pub at lunchtime).
Finally at Broadclyst, the Preb John Andrews trophy was awarded to one of the Exeter branch teams in the 8-bell inter-branch competition. Charles Pipe-Wolferston was welcomed back, together with Suzanne Withers, to judge the competition in which, this year, bands had the choice between a plain course of Yorkshire and a tricky (and somewhat unmusical) touch of Bob Major:
1st: Exeter Branch (ringing Yorkshire S Major) - 48.5 faults
2nd: Exeter Branch (ringing Plain Bob Major) - 61.5 faults
3rd: North East Branch (ringing Yorkshire S Major) - 62 faults
4th: South West Branch (ringing Plain Bob Major) - 75.5 faults
East Devon Branch Striking competition
This year the Striking competition was held in the lovely setting of Kilmington. Bands from all over the east Devon Branch came to enjoy the lovely setting and of course have a ring and a chat. The Branch would like to thank Martin Mansley for judging the seven teams that entered. Also congratulations for Sidmouth A who won the Edward Summers Memorial Trophy.
Mid Devon Branch: outing to Cornwall
The Mid Devon branch held their annual outing on 30th September, taking in St Germans, Antony, Morval, Liskeard, and back into Devon for Plymouth : St Budeaux. Ringing ranged from call changes to London Minor and Stedman Triples, with plenty of time and a relaxed pace. During the day we encountered a variety of bells and ropes, some of the latter being rather long, and some sticking to our hands where old tape was coming away! At Morval we were unexpectedly served coffee, and at Liskeard we were joined by a passing ringer who hailed from the town but had never rung there before. The choice of a pub right by the church at St Budeaux would have been excellent.... if it hadn't become derelict some time ago! The pub stop was hastily rearranged to Ashburton on the way home, where thirsts were quenched and bowls of hot chips put to good use. Thanks to Tim King for a good day out.
The Troyte Ringing Centre is an integral part of the Mission Community based in Bampton, and its surrounding villages. The aim of the Ringing centre within this context is to increase the number of ringers within the Deaneries of Cullompton and Tiverton, particularly in those towers which are not yet affiliated to the Guild. John Kape, one of our two joint ringing masters, discovered that there were a number of people wishing to learnm to ring at Uplowman, but there was no-one available to teach them.
John arranged for this group of six ladies, three in their teens and three a little older, together with the Uplowman tower captain, to come to Bampton to see what learning to ring on our practice bell and simulator involved. Although this was supposed only to be an introductory session, they were all keen to start ringing and by the end of the session they had all received their first individual lesson.
During the following weeks in groups of two or three, a times convenient to them, training continued until each, with one possible exception, was capable of ringing rounds and ringing down in a controlled manner. The training programme culminated with an afternoon of open ringing at Huntsham with the active support of some of our keener ringers from within the North East Branch. In true ringing fashion, the afternoon ended with a super picnic in Huntsham churchyard.
So Uplowman now has six more ringers, a fact much appreciated by their parochial Church Council and tower captain, who sent us thank-you letters and a donation to our Ringing centre Funds. In turn we wrote back emphasising the need for a regular weekly practice and the benefits of participating in the activities of the North East Branch. In the years to come, we shall see to what extent our efforts have resulted in greater Branch activity. We are very keen to train people to ring, regardless of their home tower. See our website www.troyteringingcentre.org.uk for further details.
East Devon firsts
I was prompted by the contribution from Exeter, to advise you that the East Devon Branch are also doing monthly quarter peals 'for those who would benefit from ringing them'. These have included:
Farway. 29 April 2006. 1260 Plain Bob Doubles: 1. Sue Tucker, 2. Donald Salter, 3. Anne Bailey, 4. Richard Coley, 5. Derek Ballard (C), 6. Alan Tucker
First quarter for both for Sue & Alan Tucker
Buckerell. 27 May 2006.1260 Plain Bob Doubles: 1. Debbie Barrows, 2. Donald Salter, 3. Anne Bailey, 4. Richard Coley, 5. Derek Ballard (C), 6. Bruce Odlin.
First quarter for Debbie Barrows, and first on tenor for Bruce Odlin.
Feniton. 1 July 2006. 1260 Plain Bob Doubles: 1. Ben Scott, 2. Donald Salter, 3. Anne Bailey, 4. Paddy Priscott, 5. Derek Ballard (C), 6. Mary Bolton
First quarter for both Ben Scott and Mary Bolton
Following a failed attempt on 12. August (with a slightly different band), we succeeded with:
Farway. 16 September 2006 1260 Plain Bob Doubles: 1. Hannah Barrows, 2. Donald Salter, 3. Laurie Palmer, 4. Roger Tucker, 5. Derek Ballard (C), 6. Michael Ellis
First quarter for Hannah Barrows, Roger Tucker and Mike Ellis.
We also attempted on 10th November what might have been the 1st QP of Surprise Minor for over 30 years with an exclusively East Devon band, but we plan to try again in January. Failed attempts are also a useful contribution towards training in the Branch.
The Church of Agios Andreas in Torquay is unique as it is the only Eastern Orthodox Church in the world to have bells rung full circle. This is of course because it is the former Anglican parish church of St Saviour, Torre, and consequently it is a fascinating mix of traditional English architecture and fittings, with the iconostasis and decoration associated with the eastern Christian rite. Its current priest is an Englishman who knows a little about bell ringing, and he was very willing for the Guild to erect a display about bell ringing, when the church held an open day in September. Many visitors came to explore the church, including some of the former parishioners from its Anglican days, and a quarter peal was rung in the morning. The former tower captain, Keith Fursdon, rang the treble, and the Revd John Lee, who had been a member of the local band came and had a ring.
Torquay, Devon (St. Saviour, Tor Mohun). 9 September 2006, 1296 Cambridge Surprise Minor. 1 Keith Fursdon, 2 Rowena Mansley, 3 Helen Mansley, 4 Chris Barnes, 5 Lester Yeo, 6 Martin Mansley(C)
Rung during the church Open Day.
The ringer of the treble was Tower Captain here until the closure of the church in 1972. The building is now used by the Greek Orthodox community and very rarely open to the public.
The Exeter Branch held a "Skittles and Steam" evening on 2nd September. Normally this event takes place at the Royal Oak in Exminster where I can drive my Foster traction engine "Grace" to the pub from home. Sadly the Royal Oak has placed an oversized Sky Sports screen in the skittle alley and there happened to be a big match that night so going there was not really an option. Instead we chose the White Hart at Woodbury where we were welcomed by the landlord David Hayman - I think he was intrigued to know what a number of bellringers were going to do with a steam engine in his car park!
Moving the venue to Woodbury meant that I had to put Grace on a trailer to get her there. To save time I lit the fire at home and this was the cause of some astonished faces as I drove along the road with a steam engine behind with smoke billowing out of the chimney. Once or twice I stopped to add some more coal but it did mean that I arrived at the White Hart with steam pressure showing on the gauge. We then spent an hour or so giving rides through the village much to the amusement of the local takeaway and when the branch chairman and the ringing master turned up straight from a peal at Walsall, Staffs they too joined in the fun. Of course the penalty they paid for being late was that they had to drive Grace themselves! A quick lesson as to what lever did what and they both enjoyed themselves as they took turns round the village. Ian was heard to remark that he was used to power steering as he headed towards a stone wall.
As Grace was loaded back onto the trailer the skittles commenced with the two teams being fairly evenly matched. After one match we had a break for some food. Not the usual processed sausages and sandwiches but a choice of chicken curry and lasagne followed by two sweets. Not only was this tasty but there was plenty of it too. The skittles then resumed and the evening ended with a game of killer. Top scorer of the evening was Jimmy Kerslake and there was also a prize for the lowest score which went to Jimmy's other half, Louise Ward.
A very pleasant and enjoyable evening that was a bit different and one that the branch hopes to repeat next year.
The congregation of St. Gregory's, Dawlish held a Church Open Day on Saturday 16th September to raise awareness amongst church members of all the varied church activities, and to outreach into the community. Ringing played a significant part in the day. A quarter peal on Plain Bob Minor was rung to start the day, this being the first of minor for Stella Craven (Lynne's Mum on a visit from Cheshire.) For the rest of the morning the tower was open to all, to watch a bell being rung, see the bells themselves, have a go at backstroke, chime a bell which was down, and go to the top of the tower for the view. In the afternoon the tradition of call changes was demonstrated and explained, to complement the method ringing of the morning. There was constant interest throughout the day, and several of the Guild/Association 'Church Bell Ringing' leaflets were given out. Two people expressed a strong interest in learning, which was a bonus, as it hadn't been a recruitment exercise.
The following morning after service ringing a cake featuring a bell and stripy sallies was shared round. This was to celebrate 25 years to the day since Lynne Hughes first started to ring; with gratitude for all the friendships made and good times had along the way, in Cheshire, Durham, Hampshire and now Devon. Fiona Rock Evans revealed that the same anniversary for her occurs a month later, though she's not sure of the exact date! Maybe there's a chance of another cake though?
Wendy Campbell writes, I have announced my intention to stand down as General Secretary at the AGM in June 2007, so a volunteer to take over this vital post is sought. Anyone who has ever taken on the secretarial role for a group or organisation will know that it can be demanding but also very rewarding. I can honestly say that it has been a pleasure and a privilege to hold the reins in my hands for the past ten years. The duties of the Guild Secretary are varied and all-embracing, but can be summed up quite simply:
And if that seems too flippant, here is a list suggested to me by Lester when I took office! I have made modifications to reflect the changes in electronic communication which have taken place in that time.
If anyone wishes to find out more, I will be very happy to answer questions, as will Lester.
Report Editor Vacancy
I have been the report editor since 1993 and for almost all of that period I have also done the typesetting, using QuarkXpress on an Apple Mac. The files are then passed to John Foster at Brightsea Press, where we received a first class service and a professional product. Currently I also deal with all the advertising material within the report, but there is no reason why an additional volunteer should not undertake this. Here is a brief outline of my schedule:
December Write to all current advertisers, inviting them to renew. Contact all branch secretaries, reminding them to submit a) their branch calendars for following year and b) updated branch details for annual report.
January In the weeks following General Committee meeting on 3rd Saturday, collate officers' reports, Guild accounts, peals and quarter peals, all branch material.
January/February/March Typeset annual report and proof-read. Sort out queries with branch secretaries and other officers.
March/April Send for printing. Collect and distribute to branch secretaries. Send copies to advertisers together with an invoice.
Anyone wishing to know more with a view to taking on this interesting and rewarding post should make themselves known. It is not a prerequisite that the editor should also be able to do the typesetting!
By ringing and calling a peal of Cambridge Royal at Thorverton on 17 November, Brian Mountjoy became the fifth native Devonian to ring a thousand peals - and the other four were all in the band. Also ringing was one of the ringers in his first peal, when he rang the tenor to Grandsire Triples at Tawstock almost forty years ago. Brian learnt to ring at Bideford in the 1960s, and soon began learning method ringing with the North Devon ringers. For the last thirty years Brian has been in exile across the border in Somerset, but regularly returns home, and remains very much part of the Devon ringing scene.
Guild of Devonshire Ringers THORVERTON, Devon, St Thomas of Canterbury Friday 17 November 2006 in 2hours 48minutes 5040 Cambridge S Royal Comp: WE Critchley 1 Brian V Mountjoy (c) 2 Mervyn C Way 3 Lester J Yeo 4 Jill M Hansford 5 Michael C Hansford 6 Robert DS Brown 7 Ian W Avery 8 Peter L Bill 9 Paul J Pascoe 10 Michael EC Mears 1000th peal and 350th as cond -1 800th peal - 8 750th for the Guild - 3
Exeter St Mark Augmentation Project
The final chapter of the St Mark's augmentation project closed, when the bells were dedicated by the Bishop of Crediton in a special service on Sunday 29 October. About 75 people attended, including many ringers from across the south west, and quite a few members of the parish.
The service was led by our own Vicar, Simon Croft, and all the local ringers took part. Tower Captain Matthew Hilling provided a brief synopsis of how the project came about and some of the fun and troubled encountered on the way to completion. Other members of the band read the intercessions, whilst Guild President Lester Yeo and one of our most loyal supporters Roger King read the lessons. Andrew Nicholson of Nicholson Engineering was present to pass a symbol of the bells to the Bishop marking the completion of their work and handing the bells into the care of the church. This was in turn passed through the church wardens, the Vicar and finally to the tower captain.
The old eight bells were rung before the service to a touch of Plain Bob Triples by: Oliver Tucker, Kate Tucker, Sue Sturdy, Lesley Tucker, Rob Franklin, John Langabeer, Derek Hawkins, Graham Tucker.
During the service the full ten bells were rung immediately after they were dedicated. Rounds on ten were rung by the Sunday service band: Wendy Campbell, Kate Tucker, Oliver Tucker, Mo Hawkins, Sue Sturdy, Janet Coles, Rob Franklin, Derek Hawkins, Graham Tucker, John Langabeer.
Immediately after the service, a three course touch of Grandsire Caters was rung by: Matthew Hilling, Pauline Champion, Peter Bill, Lesley Tucker, Richard Shere, Andrew Digby, Roger King, Ian Campbell, Andrew Nicholson, Reg McKenzie. (Photo below)
After the service a super spread was provided by the local ringers in the church hall. Sandwiches, cakes and cups of tea were much appreciated by all, and gave an opportunity for much mingling and reminiscing of the past couple of years.
Congratulations to Cathy Civill for successfully completing her first peal, which was also Sue Sturdy's first of Yorkshire. Sue had rung her first of major (Cambridge) also at Pinhoe back in September, which was rung to welcome the new incumbent, while another peal was being rung at Broadclyst.
Other recent peals worthy of note include Lee Avery's first inside (Grandsire Triples at Newton St Cyres in October), a peal at North Tawton rung to mark Mervyn Way's 50th anniversary of ringing there, and a peal at Buckland-in-the Moor on the day of Pickles Pascoe's 90th birthday.
At the annual meeting of the Branch, held at Hemyock, three of the learners from Tiverton had their chance to grab their first tower away from home. Michael Caller, Mike Heard and Diana Bowstead all started learning in January, and are now ringing plain hunting. At the business meeting, they were all elected to membership of the Guild, and Tony Trigg retired as Branch Chairman, to be replaced by Leslie Boyce (see photo).
Another Exeter Branch event was the annual bonfire and fireworks evening on November 4th, held as usual at the home of Graham and Lesley Tucker. So often in this country fireworks parties are the victims of inclement weather but this year it was a perfect evening with not only our own fireworks but others from surrounding areas lighting up the star studded sky. After the pyrotechnics (and no jeans were set alight this year) we all retired to "Byways Kitchen" were Lesley tirelessly fed us with some very welcome hot food. An excellent evening with a good fire, good firework display, good food, good company and a good time was had by all. Thank you Graham and Lesley for letting us invade once again.
Withycombe Raleigh: dedication
The former Bishop of St Helena, James Johnson, was the preacher at the dedication service for the new bells at Withycombe Raleigh on 8 October, at which blessed the new installation after Prayer Book Evensong. One of the lessons was read by local ringer Helen Hitchens, and the bells were rung immediately after the service to a touch of Stedman Cinques by the Cathedral Society.
After only nine months of fund raising, the new trebles for Crediton were cast At Whitechapel on October 27th. Christine and John Clarke, and Ed Rossmiller have given the two bells, and were present when the bells were cast. It is hoped that the bells and their fittings will be delivered to Crediton early in January, ready to be hung in the middle of the month. Crediton Rector Nigel Guthrie will bless the two bells at the Parish Communion on Sunday 14th January. The recasting of the old unmusical eight into one of the finest rings of ten in the country, and now their augmentation to twelve, has been the biggest bell restoration in the South West of England, with a total cost of over £150 thousand.
The Fred Edwards competition was held in Uffculme on Saturday 18th November. Three teams took part and rang the test piece called Queens Changes. After ringing, the teams retired to The Ostler for a substantial buffet and the results declared by the judge, Alan Spear. Uffculme were first, winning the Fred Edwards Shield, despite last minute changes to their team due to the sudden illness of Rod Moffat. St Peter's, Tiverton, second and Silverton third. We wish Rod and Mike Hilson, both of Uffculme, our best wishes and return to full health.
Saturday 25th November saw the Troyte Ringing Centre in action at Bampton with a day's training on Listening Skills. Seven members of the Branch took part, under the guidance of Mike Hatchett, with lunch provided by Pat. The next training event, Plain Bob Minor, is at Huntsham on 2nd December.
A busy month for the NE Branch concluded with the Annual Branch Dinner on Saturday 25th November. This year, held at 'The Quarryman's Rest' in Bampton saw 33 members, partners and friends enjoying good food, pleasant company and entertainment to round off a jolly occasion. Our thanks to Mike for arranging the venue and Martin, Pat, David and Les for the 'entertainment'.
On November 18th on a glorious sunny afternoon, the Exeter Branch held their Annual General Meeting. This was held at Exminster and it was nice that an Association tower was chosen for a Guild event. The ringing commenced at 3pm followed by a service taken by the local incumbent Revd John Williams with the organ being played by Jock Smith. Michael Cannon read the Old Testament lesson from Exodus which is one of only two passages in the Bible that mentions bells, and Becca Rickard read the New Testament lesson. John Williams gave an interesting sermon which started with a real groaner when he asked the question "Why do cows have bells?" The answer of course is because their horns don't work!!
The service was followed by an excellent tea provided by Lesley Phillips-Cannon with contributions from other ringers and after that the serious part of the afternoon, that of the business meeting, took place. Reports were received from the chairman, the secretary, the treasurer and the ringing master and events and ideas for 2007 were discussed. The Branch officers were elected as follows:- Chairman - Ian Campbell , Secretary - Rebecca Rickard , Treasurer - Lesley Tucker. Ringing Master - Andrew Digby, Asst. Ringing Master - Matthew Hilling, Publicity Officer - Michael Cannon, Gen. Committee Rep - Matthew Hilling. These posts are the same as the current year but with Matthew and Andrew swapping roles. All contact details can be found in the annual report or on the back of the Branch programme. Elected to membership of the Guild were Christine and John Clarke (Crediton), Roger Burt, Lucy Harrison-Prentice and Pita Burt (Newton St Cyres).
It was disappointing that attendance figures were in the low twenties when there are so many members in the branch. Surely a few more could have made the effort to attend and keep the spirit and enthusiasm of the branch alive. The meeting closed just after 5 pm and some of the leftovers from the tea were then enjoyed by those who attended the Cathedral practice later that evening.
The Mid Devon Branch AGM was held on 25th November, starting with ringing at Wolborough, then Kingskerswell. The service will be remembered for a highly unusual hymn which had been written by the local organist, and which was sung to the tune of 'When a knight won his spurs'. One of the verses went:
"Praise and thanks to our God for our customs withal,
Goosy Fairs and Ten Tors and Tom Cobley and all!
Navy Days, Pilgrim Fathers, Drake, Raleigh's domain.
Praise and glorify God, and proclaim his good name."
Five new members joined the Guild : Graham Potts, Susan Horton and Colin Horton, all from Stokeinteignhead, Tony Kirton from Babbacombe and Jason Dowling from Teignmouth. Josh Tratt from Kingskerswell was presented with a well-deserved Guild Certificate, and Dawlish were awarded the Edden Clapper Trophy for progress in change ringing. There was only one change on the committee: Lynette Costello replaced Peter Clements as treasurer and Peter was thanked for his five years of service. The evening finished with more ringing up the tower, while down in the hall several people had their first go at plain hunt on handbells.
Please note that Josephine Chown has taken over as Tower Captain at Feniton.
According to the Express and Echo, the future of Monkton church has been decided - it is to be turned into offices, as the diocese believes the conversion is the best way to preserve the architectural future of the building.
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