On Wednesday 30th April John Steere, Harry Andrews and Jo Maddick ran a bell ringing workshop for the Devonport Police cadets. The cadets are normally involved in all sorts of useful activities such as test purchasing of alcohol, promoting crime prevention to residents and being a visual presence in community. They were aged 13-18 and have volunteered with Stoke Damerel church before, so the workshop was a great opportunity for them to find out what happened in the tower and what bell ringing was all about. We began the workshop with introductions, safety, the back stroke, the hand stroke and so on. We had a useful model on hand to demonstrate how the rope worked with the wheel and gave the ringer control. Then splitting the cadets into groups of two and three John took them up to the bells and talked about the different components. Putting the model in action we rang one of the bells and they were able to see the whole process. They finished up enthusiastic and covered in dust! We explained how we rang 'patterns' without trying to baffle them and their leader Tracie Robinson asked us 'which one was the wedding one!?' They all had a go at ringing the back stroke on the tenor and enjoyed the challenge. As the training session came to an end it was conveniently held before the regular Wednesday practice and the Stoke ringers arrived and were able to give a rendition of bob minor.
We got great feedback and thanks following the workshop. It was a great way to promote bell ringing and give young people a snap shot of what it's about.