Stoke St Milborough simulator available for booking

Throughout July and August 2024, the ringing simulator and training bells at Stoke St Milborough, near Ludlow, are available to book any Wednesday or Thursday evening from 7pm to 9pm. (Other times are theoretically possible by prior arrangement.)

Stoke St Milborough simulatorYou can book in for individual practice, where you ring the tied Treble to any method alongside virtual ringers or you can come as a group and ring together with up to all eight of the bells tied. Early stage learners can use our Matthew Higby training bells to perfect handling.

​In this way, you can ring on real bells without being heard outside the church – ideal for ringers trying to challenge themselves with methods that push them beyond their comfort zone. (If it keeps firing out, at least you know you’re disturbing nobody!) We have recorded the sound of our own bells, so the amplified sound within the ringing room is pretty authentic. Tied-bell quarter peals are also possible, of course – it’s up to you how you use the set-up…

Stoke St Milborough simulatorMartin and/or Ashley can be available to offer any help and guidance, and if you want any extra ringers to help make up a band, we can try to get that organised too.

There is no charge to use the simulator, but donations to the bell fund are, of course, greatly appreciated. Last but not least, we can open up the Village Hall bar if you want a quick drink before you head back home. What could possibly be a better incentive?!

Stoke St Milborough simulatorFurther details are on our website https://www.stmilburga.co.uk/using-our-simulator-and-teaching-set-up.html and here is our exact location https://w3w.co/octopus.published.offer

To make an initial inquiry or book in, please email milburgaringers@gmail.com or just make contact through the website.

Stoke St Milborough simulator​We look forward to hearing from you!

Martin Scott & Ashley Smith

Stoke St Milborough

The Hereford Guild Appoints a New Vice-President

The Hereford Diocesan Guild made a rare appointment at its AGM on May 9th by electing Valerie M Roberts, of Much Wenlock, as its Vice-President.  She joins a very select group of four ringers who have held this position within the past 50 years, namely Arthur W Davis, Wilfrid F Moreton MBE, George T Cousins and Michael V Powell JP.

Valerie was taught to ring at Much Wenlock in 1952 by her father, Harry Edge, and she has retained her close involvement with that tower ever since.  Harry was in the band for her first peal, at Stokesay, Shropshire, on May 9th, 1959.  Thereafter she progressed rapidly and soon demonstrated her organisational abilities by taking Guild office, the first of many, as Bridgnorth District Secretary in 1962.

At the age of 23 she became the first lady, also the youngest person ever, to be elected Master of the Guild from 1968 to 1970, a post she held for a second time from 1993 to 1995.  In between, she was one of the first trustees of the Guild Bell Restoration Fund when it was founded in 1976.  She was elected a Freeman of the Guild in 1982 and from 2000 to 2004 was the Bridgnorth District’s Education Officer.  In addition, she and Alec Osbaldiston led the sub-committee that organised the Guild’s highly successful annual ‘Thomas Cooper Trophy Striking Competition’.

Arguably her greatest service for the Guild, though, was as its Peal Recorder for ten years from 1970, during which time she meticulously wrote out, using a Rotring pen and stencil (not to mention masses of patience), more than 3,000 of its peals, which now fill ten of the ‘Viggers’ Record’ volumes that make up the Guild’s Peal Book.  The magnitude of the task becomes apparent when one hears Valerie declaring ruefully that it used to take her longer to write out some of the multi-Doubles peals than it had taken to ring them in the first place!  Given that it required at least an hour to write out even the simplest of peals, it was truly a heroic labour of love, for which the Guild has long been highly appreciative.

The rare honour of ‘The Order of St Ethelbert’ was bestowed upon Valerie at a service held in Hereford Cathedral in October 2017; it was awarded ‘for services rendered to bellringing and in recognition of loyal and distinguished service to the Church of God and to His people in the diocese’.  It is perhaps not generally known that the “young and virtuous” King Ethelbert of the East Angles, whose shrine is in the Cathedral to this day, was brutally murdered whilst on his way to King Offa of Mercia’s Palace at Marden, Hfds, in AD 794:  his demise at Sutton Walls is widely thought to have been at the instigation of Cynethryth, wife of Offa.

Much Wenlock bells are an Abraham Rudhall II back six with two Taylor trebles added in 1930.  They are a fine eight and popular with peal ringers, 61 peals having been rung on them since their augmentation;  Valerie has rung no less than 17 of her 74 peals on them.  But, after nearly 100 years of heavy use, the bells are now in need of some professional attention, and John Taylor & Co., of Loughborough are about to embark on a £25,000 restoration to bring them back into tip-top condition.  Unsurprisingly, Valerie is a leading light in the preparation of, and fund-raising for, this project; work is expected to be completed this summer with, it is hoped, financial support from the Hereford Diocesan Guild of Bellringers Bell Restoration Fund and other grant-awarding sources.

Val Roberts
Val Roberts

To all who know her, no meeting is ever boring when Valerie is present.  She holds strong, and always well-thought-out, views, about the Guild in particular, and ringing in general, and is never afraid to make them known!

It’s hard to imagine anyone more deserving of this latest honour than Valerie M Roberts (née Edge), so many thanks for all you’ve done, and a warm welcome to this new position you now have in your favourite Guild!

Neil Bennett

Guild Festival and AGM – report of the day

Presteign
Presteign

We had a very enjoyable Guild Festival and AGM, the whole day ran smoothly with beautiful weather to allow us all to appreciate the wonderful scenery in the Clifford and Kington District.  Morning ringing started at Presteigne with ringing ranging from rounds to Surprise Major.  At smaller towers those in charge kept the ringing running at a brisk pace, whilst those not ringing took the opportunity to catch up with each other outside.  Some opted for a pub lunch whilst others enjoyed their own packed lunch or picnic.

At Eardisland, Rosie Roberts took the service, and reminded us that, whatever we might be able to ring, we were all working together to be part of one band or body, and that each of us was of equal importance to that body.  The hymns were sung with enthusiasm, and all seemed to enjoy the service.

Tea in the parish hall was followed by the meeting.

Attendance throughout the day was good, with some ringers joining only for the ringing, others joined just for the service, tea and meeting. 52 members attended the meeting. A happy flow of people enjoyed whichever part of the day suited them best.  We hope to see you all again soon.

Some of the main outcomes of the meeting are as follows:

Alan Reade of Claverley was elected as a Guild Freeman, in recognition of his long-standing work for the Guild and particularly as the Tower Stewardship Advisor, a post that Alan has held since its creation back in 2010.

The Guild Officers for 2024 are:

    • Guild Master – Sue Robinson
    • Guild Secretary – Fran Watkins
    • Guild Treasurer – Mark Aston
    • Guild Education Officer – Jessica Pugh
    • Peal Recorder – Neil Bennett
    • Report Secretary – Neil Bragg
    • Master Elect – Kris Perruzza
    • Belfries Officer – Ashley Fortey
    • Public Engagement Officer – Nicky Aubrey
    • Tower Stewardship Advisor – Alan Reade
    • Webmaster – Nick Chapman
    • Events Committee Representative – Richard Bracher
    • Central Council Representatives – Anthony Ellis & Abigail Pugh
    • Clerical Representatives – Barney Bell, Anthony Ellis, Nicky Seabright
Our newly elected master, Sue Robinson

The Guild Subscription has increased to £10 for 2025, the reduced rate for under 18s remains unchanged.

The Centenary Shield was awarded to the Committee that had organised the Guild Competition Day in March.

Vice-President

Val Roberts
Val Roberts

Val Roberts was elected as a Vice-President in recognition and appreciation of the outstanding contribution she has made to the Guild. Val was the first lady Master of the Guild in 1968, and became Master again in 1993.  Val has also served as Peal Recorder for 10 years from 1970 and began the huge task of writing the Guild Peal Books.   As well as this, Val has remained a stalwart of the Bridgnorth District, and the Guild, throughout the years.  In typical fashion, when speaking to accept the nomination, Val offered continued help and advice to the Guild in her new role. This honorary post is an excellent recognition of all Val’s hard work, and we thank and congratulate her on this well-deserved achievement.

Fran Watkins (pictures: Nicky Aubrey)

 

Bell Restoration Fund AGM

The Bell Restoration Fund AGM will be held at 7:30pm on 14th June 2024 at the Forbury Chapel, Church St, Leominster HR6 8NQ.

As a reminder, the membership of the BRF comprises all current Ringing Members, Honorary Ringing Members and Freemen of the Guild, together with one representative from each affiliated church’s Parochial Church Council.  Members are entitled to attend, speak and vote at the Annual General Meeting.

More about the Bell Restoration Fund and its work can be found here.

Guild Festival and AGM 2024 – revised arrangements

This year’s Guild festival and AGM will bo held on Saturday 11th May 2024.

Please note the new arrangements below

There will be open ringing at the following towers en route to the AGM at Eardisland. Everyone who turns up will get an opportunity to ring at their level.

10:00 – 11:00 Presteigne, St Andrew

Number of Bells: 8
Tenor Weight: 13-2-21

Presteigne
11:00 – 1200 New Radnor, St Mary

Number of Bells: 6
Tenor Weight: 7-2-18

New Radnor
12:00 – 13:00 change of venue

Unfortunately Old Radnor is no longer available so instead we’ll go to …

Kington, St Mary

Number of Bells: 6
Tenor Weight: 11-0-23

Kington
13:00 – 14:00 Lyonshall, St Michael & All Angels

Number of Bells: 6
Tenor Weight: 11-0-0

Lyonshall
14:00 – 15:00 Pembridge, St Mary The Virgin

Number of Bells: 5
Tenor Weight: 16-0-0

Pembridge
15:00 – 16:00 Eardisland, St Mary

Number of Bells: 8
Tenor Weight: 12-2-26

Eardisland

Ringing will be followed by a Service at 4pm, with Tea and the AGM from 4:45pm

 

Guild Competition Day 2024 – results!

We hope that the good news about the Guild Competition Day has spread far and wide! We had a really positive day, holding three competitions, but more importantly, we met together, made friends and celebrated ringing at all stages.

The results of the day were as follows:

Novice Challenge

      • Bronze was awarded to Kington A, Kington B and Coalbrookdale
      • Silver was awarded to Dorstone and Wellington
      • Gold was awarded to Hereford Cathedral

 

Wellington
Kington A&B

Call Change Competition – The Osbaldiston Shield

        • 1st Hereford
        • 2nd Bridgnorth
        • 3rd Bromyard 
Hereford

Method Competition – The Thomas Cooper Trophy

      • 1st Church Stretton B
      • =2nd Clifford & Kington
      • =2nd Church Stretton A
      • 4th Ledbury
      • 5th Hereford
Church Stretton B

The atmosphere was warm and friendly, we were very pleased to welcome ringers who were not taking part, and non-ringers to the occasion, it was great to see non-ringers stood outside listening to the ringing as intently as the ringers who were competing. We estimate there may have been around 100 people in the church at some points, and the wonderful refreshments kept flowing all afternoon.

Wombel

Thanks are due to all who helped to make the day a success, especially Gareth Jones , Master of the Shropshire Association, who acted as judge and undertook the mammoth task of judging 14 teams, and whose judging and comments reflected the positive and encouraging atmosphere we were aiming for; John Clayton, tower captain of Kington, and all the ringers and helpers whose hospitality made the day; Dan Jones who ran a handbell workshop, it was great to hear the ringing in the church; and to Ledbury District, and Frank Seabright in particular for the loan and transport of the Wombel which created such interest during the day. Most importantly, thank you to all the teams who took part – you were fantastic!

We received some lovely comments after the event, and would like to share some of them with you:

‘I really enjoyed taking part in the competition…top marks for creating such a lovely afternoon of ringing fun.’

‘Thank you for putting on such a great day on Saturday! It was wonderful to walk into the church and find it full!’

‘We all thoroughly enjoyed it and were very pleased with ourselves afterwards. We all benefitted immensely from the experience, and are keen to return next year!’

‘It was excellent. So much enthusiasm amongst the newer ringers.’

‘Really enjoyed the day. A chance to catch up with other ringers and a new tower grab! It was great to feel part of the ringing community.’

Any stress of competing seems to have been quickly dispelled as the genuine happy smiles on the face of bands leaving the tower were a joy to see!

Let’s build on this positive day, it would be great to see you all again, and meet even more ringers we don’t yet know at the Guild AGM.

Guild Quarter Peal Festival

Have you ever rung a Quarter Peal before?

Would you like to try?

We would like to encourage ringers new and old to take up the challenge to ring a quarter (or maybe more!) for the Guild Quarter Peal Festival.

Maybe you would like to have a shot at your first quarter or try out that method you’ve been learning.

A whole fortnight of Quarter Peal ringing will be taking place …

August 10th – 25th

For more information or to get involved email Nicky Aubrey at peo@hdgb.org

 

The Osbaldiston Shield

We are very pleased to announce that we have a new trophy for the Guild Call Change Competition.  At the request of the Striking Competition Committee the new trophy has been designed and made by Lynn Scales and we are very happy with the result.

Alec Osbaldiston
Alec Osbaldiston

Lynn made the very fitting suggestion that the trophy be named the Osbaldiston Shield in recognition of the many years of the service that Alec Osbaldiston gave as a member of the Thomas Cooper Striking Competition Committee.  Alec joined the committee in the mid-seventies, becoming Secretary in 1985, and served in this role until 2018.  The Striking Competitions held during Alec’s tenure were always meticulously organised and ran without (any noticeable) hitch.

Alec’s family have been approached and they are delighted and touched that the shield will be dedicated to his memory.

We would love there to be a good number of challengers for this new trophy, so please consider entering a band.

The Call Change competition will be held at Kington on Saturday 9th March.  All district secretaries have details and details can also be found  here.

Entries should be submitted by 2nd March.

Everyone is most welcome to come along to Kington on Saturday 9th March to enjoy listening to the ringing, to meet friends old and new, and to take part in the other activities in the church during the afternoon.

Guild Competition Day

The 2024 Thomas Cooper Striking Competition is taking place as part of the Guild Competition Day on Saturday 9th March at Kington. We are hoping, after the cancellation of last year’s event, that the new date in the spring will prove more popular and we are trying to do something new with the event.

You can  download the rules for the event which I hope will be self-explanatory. There are some changes to the requirements for the competition, following your feedback. Firstly, the test piece for the method ringing section will now be 120 changes of any doubles method. For the call change section, the ‘two year rule’ has been relaxed to three years.

As in 2019, the last time the competition was held, there will be a method ringing and a call change section to the competition. This year, we are going to add a third element to the event, which will be a Novice Rounds Challenge. This will be open to individual towers or cluster bands to enter, and constructive feedback will be given positively and in an encouraging manner! Please see the rules for further information.

The aim of the Novice Rounds Challenge is to encourage new ringers to develop their engagement with the Guild and to aspire to good striking. It is hoped that the Challenge will encourage networking and sharing good practice amongst developing bands, learners and teachers of ringing.

Throughout the afternoon, tea, coffee and cake/biscuits will be available in the church and we are arranging various stalls and activities to be available while ringing takes place. There are toilet facilities in the church. Access to the tower is via an external stone staircase and the bells are an easy-going, clear ring of six with little odd-struckness.

I look forward to receiving entries by Saturday 2nd March 2024 please.

If you have any questions, please do get in touch.

Best wishes,

Tim Hollinghurst (email timhollinghurst@hotmail.com)
On behalf of the Committee (Fran Watkins, Nicky Aubrey and Tim Hollinghurst)