After completing Learning the Ropes Level 5 last year, I was lucky enough to be invited to a ringing masterclass in Birmingham on 18th September 2016.Organised by Stephanie Warboys and the Birmingham School of Ringing, this was an opportunity for us to ring with a group of experienced ringers to try something we may not normally get the opportunity to do at our home towers.
After starting the day with some listening practice (harder than it appeared!), we moved on to ring at three towers in Birmingham city centre:St. Philip’s Cathedral, St. Paul’s in the Jewellery Quarter, and St. Martin’s in the Bullring.Each participant was paired with a tutor who helped us to work towards our own individual goals throughout the day, as well as providing helpful hints and tips.Everyone was given numerous opportunities for method ringing, as well as opportunities for rounds, call changes and plain hunt on 10, 12 and 16 for those interested.
Before coming I had been nervous about what standard of ringing would be expected, as it had been many months since we had all completed Level 5, and I had been revising hard on the train to Birmingham.As it turned out I needn’t have worried, as everyone was very welcoming and the whole experience was personalised to allow us to work on whatever we identified.
My personal highlight was ringing call changes on 12 bells at St. Philip’s Cathedral.Not only was this the first time I had ever rung on more than 6 bells, the sound of those particular bells was simply magnificent.It reminded me that whilst bell ringing is an interesting, sociable and mentally stretching hobby, it is also worship – something which is easily forgotten in the day to day bustle of life.
My personal achievement was learning Stedman Doubles, and going on to also ring Stedman Triples, something which I had not anticipated doing at the start of the day.This shows I think how much can be achieved when given the opportunity to ring with such an experienced band and focus on something of your own choosing.I was also offered a number of tips to help improve my ringing technique, which I will be practicing now.
Overall, this was a fantastic day put together with a great deal of thought which I feel lucky to have been part of.It has given me the opportunity to try new things, the confidence to try ringing at different towers, and an appetite to ring on more than 6 bells.It was also great to meet other ringers, and to feel part of a wider group.The number of young people amongst both participants and tutors was extremely encouraging for the future of ringing.
The day was clearly only possible due to the time and efforts of a very large number of people (far larger than the number of participants), including organisers, tutors and other experienced ringers who supported throughout the day, so thank you to everyone!
Rosie Storrar, All Saints Marsworth (Buckinghamshire)