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Barrow Bells - Tower News Archive 2017

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2017 News Archive
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December 2017


Christmas Day

Christmas morning service we manage to get all 8 bell ringing for service.

Christmas Day Service Ringers  Lucy

Wishing everyone a HAPPY CHRISTMAS and good health and comfort in 2018.


Ringing for Crib Service

Christmas eve celebrations in the tower, with Local ringers and family, plus Owen and Martin from Dalton

Crib service ringing - Geoff, Cameron, Ken, Clarissa, Owen, Phil, Martin, Andy  Sue and Alison - our little helpers  Geoff and Ken

Geoff and Jo enjoying a drink - Fruit juice punch goes doen a treat  Phil and Cameron tuck in

Jo tries something a little bit stronger  Andy having his cake and eating it


NW Evening Mail Carol Service

All 8 bells ringing for NWEM Carol service, with help from Phoebe, AlanD, and Owen to boost our other ringers Jo, Sue, AlanJ, Ray, Andrew, Cameron and Jason

Andy, Sue, Phoebe, AlanJ, Ray, Owen, AlanD  Phoebe, AlanJ, Ray, Owen, Cameron, AlanD

Cameron and Phoebe pleased at quarter peal success

Owen, Jason, Cameron, AlanD, Andy (suitably attired)  Andy, Jo, AlanJ, AlanD


Quarter peal and service ringing for Choral Evensong

Pleased to announce and congratulate Cameron for his successful quarter peal on an inside bell on just the second attempt.

That is his second successful quarter peal (the first being on the treble), and his rapid progress shows promise to overtake his dad and become a much more accomplished and competent ringer. Conductor is proud father and Godfather.

It was great to welcome Dennis Ellisdon back to St James for the quarter, and Phoebe as solid as a rock on the treble.

Lancashire Association of Change Ringers
St James the Great, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria
Sunday, 3 December 2017 in 46 mins (12-0-24 in F)
1260 Plain Bob Minor
1Phoebe Gibbard-Thompson
2Clarissa J. E. Caroe
3Cameron J Pollock
4Dennis Ellisdon
5Andrew Painter
6J Andrew Pollock (C)
Rung for Advent Choral Evensong
First Quarter Peal on an inside bell - 3
Celebrating 60th anniversary of first lesson to ring, in the same tower - 4

Composition 540 + 720, H then (W, sW, W, sW, H) x 5>

Ringing World BellBoard: https://bb.ringingworld.co.uk/view.php?id=1201299

Cameron and Phoebe pleased at quarter peal success

November 2017


Scouts Visit Tower

The 11th Barrow Scouts from Beaconhill came to visit the tower, and were shown handbells by Keith Newby who introduced the scouts to change ringing downstairs in the church, and were also given a tour of the tower climbing over 11 spiral steps to the old belfry to watch the bells being rung beneath their feet, and then have a go at ringing the bells themselves in the ringing room. Even some of the leader had a go, including Louise Nixon (a member of the tower) who demonstrated she could still ring after her elbow injury.

Thanks to all our ringers who supported the visit and deominstrated the bells and offered such a warm welcome

11th Barrow Scouts visit St James tower.

Simulator Workshop - St. Annes Parish Church

A simulator workshop (see notice on LACR website) was held at St Anne's Parish Church in mid November.

This newly installed (2017) bellringing training facility was being used to explore the opportunities it offered to individuals (learners) and for training officers. There was a tangible 'buzz' of excitement and interest, and a hive of activity from several independent training sessions taking place at the same time.

The tower is quite large and had sufficient space in one corner to have a 'dumb bell' that could be rung even as all the other bells are rung. This had a set of headphones for the learner, a computer and a large computer monitor.

There was another simulator setup to practice handbells, but I wanted to focus on tower bells, so left this for another opportunity in the future

rope and bike inner tube clapper tie

Two other bells had been tied with a very effective rope and bicycle inner-tube arrangement (see photo) with one rope loop attaching to the flight of the clapper, and the inner tube being secured over the crown staple, and the other rope loop being pulled using the stretch of the rubber inner-tube to hook over the clapper flight from the opposite side. Quick and simple to fit and remove.

The new version of ABEL was being used, which has a relatively new interface with video animated ringers instead of the old circle of rope images that just flipped from being a tail end to a sally. The new animations showed a pretty fluid action which could be used for practice with ropesight. Historically I have found that ringing with ABEL was restricted to 'listening' practice, and this was great while you are roughly in the right place but was very hard to recover once you got too far out of place, and more often than not had to start again.

With the new ABEL, initially I found myself reverting to listening mode (that I was familiar with) for plain hunt, but then I started to try use the ropesight with the simulator - which began poorly because it was less familiar, but improved with practice. Before the end of the session I was using the ropesight to ring St Clements reasonably well, which is more advanced method ringing than anything else I had done using a simulator before.

The new interface also has additional real-time visual clues to your performance that helps you to improve as you ring. Each animated ringer displayed on screen has a bar above them with their bell number. The slot for you works best I found if disabled the animation for my ringer (was distracting otherwise), but importantly instead of bell number at the top, it has a colour coded bar. If you ring within narrow tolerance (essentially spot on) you get complete bar in green, if ring early then just the left half of the bar is coloured in shades going from green to amber to red depending on how far out of place you are ringing early. Similarly the right hand side of the bar is coloured if you ring late in same colour coding.

At the end of the practice piece, ABEL presents an overall score out of 10 (best I did was 8.8, worst about 5.2!), and allows you to review the striking to see if there is any pattern such as always slightly late on backstrokes, or handstroke gap is not enough. However the simple score out of 10 became a challenge to have another go to improve striking and get a better score... almost like a computer game with a rope instead of a Kinnect controller! If it makes me excited to have another go at my age, I can see it will have appeal for younger more competitive and computer savvy ringers.

Overall the workshop was very helpful, informative, challenging, fascinating, and simply great fun! Highly recommended, and it was made clear that they are keen to offer sessions to use their simulator as a resource for any ringers

For more information about ABEL please visit www.abelsim.co.uk

Simulator Workshop

The simulator can also be used to allow all bells to be rung tied to have a 'silent practice' for residents and passers-by outside the church, but audible inside the ringing room using audio speakers. In this way it is possible to have extended teaching and ringing sessions for whole range of ringing from basic handling practice to full practice with rounds & calls, plain hunt, method, touches etc. without disturbing the neighbourhood and so avoid any potential complaints.

Since the workshop the Barrow simulator has been updated to the latest software, and we have successfully set up with a projector to project larger image of the animated ringers and make it even easier to develop ropesight and improve striking. If anyone would like to come along to Barrow by arrangement to have a go and try out this setup, I would be pleased to accommodate. I am sure I will be organising a simulator workshop for our branch in the near future


Branch Ringing Meeting at Barrow

The Furness & South Lakeland Branch of the LACR held their monthly meeting at St James. There was an opportunity to have a longer ringing session by using the branch simulator for and additional 45 minutes before the normal ringing session on open bells. Jeg from Millom kindly wrote a summary of the afternoon which was published in the branch newsletter:

On Saturday 11th November 15 ringers attended the monthly ringing meeting held at St James the Great, in Barrow in Furness. They were from Barrow (7), Dalton (1), Kendal (1), Millom (2) and Ulverston (4). Our normal Ringing Master apologised as unable to attend due to a family illness, so the Barrow Tower Captain stood in.

The afternoon was in three parts. Firstly, was the use of the Simulator, whereby the clappers of six bells had been tied and a sensor attached to each bell wheel. This meant that when the bell was rung in the usual manner, a note was heard via a computer instead of hearing the clapper’s sound. This allowed the ringing of the bells without anyone outside hearing anything. This was the first time some of us had used this system and the simulation allowed us to improve our rounds and call changes. At the end of this, a ringer from Millom was forced, yes forced, to have a go at ringing a bell to a plain course of plain hunt on 6 where the computer sounded the five other bells and the ringer had to fill the gap on every one of the 12 changes with perfect timing. Needless to say, he did not excel at this and his excuse that the computer speed was set at 24 changes a minute was not entertained. Readers who would like to explore this type of ringing practice are referred to www.abelsim.co.uk

An influx of more experienced ringers enabled us to ring Plain Bob Minor (plain course and a touch), Little Bob Minor (twice), Steadman Doubles, Grandsire Triples and Little Bob Major (almost!). In addition, there was much plain hunt and call changes on 8 and several ‘firsts’ were scored. A well-known ringing musician was serenading us from downstairs on her cornet and strains of ‘Silent Night’ were heard in the ringing chamber when some of the striking was not going too well.

A sumptuous spread had been prepared by Ros (Holme), Sue, Jo, Ken, Ian, Alan, Andrew (Smith), and Andy which included gluten free and much home baking. Several trips to the groaning food table were observed from everyone and we were fortunate to be aided in our task by two guests; the vice chair of Barrow Borough's Executive Committee who is also the Chairman of NULEAF (Nuclear Industry Advisory Forum), and Louise Sutherland from the Lottery Heritage Fund who was visiting St James’s but unfortunately without her cheque book. These two visitors contributed to much non-ringing discussion which meant that many kept enjoying the spread and did not leave until 17:40!

Group photo of visitors to St Jamers for branch meeting
Louise Sutherland (second from left) of the Heritage Lottery Fund is welcomed to the tower and is given a demo, and tour.
[L-R] Alan Dewar, Louise Sutherland, Margaret Taylor, Jeg, Owen Osmotherley, Cameron, Penny Blackwell, Dave Salisbury, Ian Taylor, and Ken Parkinson

Ian Wyers provides a remembrance themed plate of food  Great spread of cakes!  Bendan Sweeney (left) joins Jo (right), Clarissa (centre) and from Millom Jeg and Penny, all help out with food profusion.  Alan Dewar, Owen Osmotherley, Margaret & Ian Taylor, and Cameron tuck into the ringers tea.

The Branch gives thanks to Andy Pollock for Mastering the afternoon, the Vicar, Fr Jack Knill-Jones, and to the churchwardens John Simpson and Brenda Pearce (who came and put on heating in Carey Room) for the use of their bells. The next monthly Branch meeting will be on Saturday December 9th at St Michael’s Church Hawkshead.

October 2017


Funeral Service ringing for Eric Pearce

We rang the Church bells before and after the funeral service for Eric Clarke Pearce who passed away peacefully at Furness General Hospital, on 23rd September, 2017. He was a gentleman, and someone who quietly got on and made things happen without any fuss and without expecting any recognition. He was an easy person to get on with, friendly and interested in you but a quiet and relatively private person himself. We were very fond of Eric and will miss him dearly, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, and especially Brenda his beloved wife and Churchwarden at St James.

Brenda and Eric Pearce on Sunday 9th March after the re-dedication of the church bells.

September 2017


Safeguarding course at Workington

Jo Sweeney and Andy Pollock drove to workington for a safeguarding course by the Carlisle diocese tailored for bellringing - particularly for those involved in teaching bellringing (but anyone who has connection/responsibility for ringing and vulnerable persons at a belltower in the diocese.

Regrettably we arrived 10 minutes late after a long drive, and were unable to gain entry into the church (locked out). The course was apparently a success, and a rerun has been promised in the South of the county sometime

August 2017


Funeral Service ringing for June Parkinson

We rang the bells to remember the life of June Parkinson who passed away on 17th August at the age of 73. She had a bright and cheerful nature with a disarming smile and infectious sense of humour that brightened up the day for everyone around her. Our thoughts are with all her family and especially her devoted husband Ken who is a bellringer at St James. She always loved to hear the bells and we hope they brought some comfort today. We will all miss her but we are grateful that we had the privilege of knowing her and giving us happy memories. God bless June.

Ken and June Parkinson
Ken & June Parkinson at tower meal in 2015

July 2017


140th Anniversary Peal for the bells of St James

A peal was rung to celebrate and mark the 140th anniversary of the bells, with ringers from Barrow, Broughton, Hawkshead, Whittington, Heptonstall, and Cambridge.

A peal of 5040 Stedman Triples in 3 hours and 3 minutes
Composition: F H Dexter (No.2)
1Alison L Brooke
2Mandy L C Bartlett
3Clarissa J E Caroe
4Ann S Thompson
5Anne E Pettifor
6Simon D Woof
7Patrick L H Brooke(C)
8J Andrew Pollock
Rung to mark the 140th anniversary of the bells (25th July 1877), and to welcome Isaac Sidney Marchbank, grandson of 1 and 7 (born 18th July 2017)
First peal of Stedman - 2

Peal Details Online: Ringing World BellBoard


Branch 6-Bell Striking Competition

Barrow entered two teams into the striking competition, the A team consisting of 3 members of the tower and 3 regular visitors to the Barrow practice, ringing two plain courses of Plain Bob Minor, and the B team (dubbed the re-B-el team as not all ringers were members of the LACR through choice or not being elected yet, and so would not be eligible to be ranked) was an all Barrow tower team, and was announced as a 'scratch' team.

The A-team had an early mistake which led to further faults, and so it was called round and re-attempted. Unfortunately the false start was the undoing of our team this year, but this was partly due to a lack of practice as a team beforehand. The attempt after the false start was much better and a good standard, with notable performances by Sue managing very well on the treble and Cameron similarly accomplished on the 3rd. Roll-on 2018 when we can show what we are capable of, with even more progress over the next 12 months.

The B-Team had Jo on treble, Sue on 2nd, Jason and Cameron on the 3rd and 4th respectively, Andy Pollock on the 5th, and Ken on tenor. Ringing rounds and call changes, congratulations to all the team for ringing exceptionally well, and special recognition to Jason who had not even led before the evening and managed one brief practice before the main piece where he coped admirably.

It is very clear that we have made real progress together over the last 2 years since the restoration of the bells. Well done all!

June 2017


Wedding Ringing

All 8 bells at St James were rung for the marriage of Adam Ritch and Anya Graham.



Call was sent out to take part in BBC Music Day by central council (CCCBR) and passed on by association...
"BBC Music Day is returning for its third year on Thursday 15 June 2017, celebrating music’s ability to unite communities across generations, and this year bell-ringers have been asked to play an even bigger role."

We set up for a cross-generational band for a quarter peal with range of ages covering over 55 years between youngest and oldest. There were ringers in teenage years, 20's, 50's, 60's and 70's.

The ringing was extremely good, and our youngest ringer was attempting first quarter peal on a working 'inside' method bell for plain bob minor. Unfortunately, as we were about to begin the final course, having rung for almost 45 minutes with barely a hesitation or mistake, there was a mix up and within a further lead where the next to last call was to be called, we had lost the quarter with just a few minutes ringing remaining.

This was a great shame as the everyone's ringing deserved to get the quarter peal, but there will always be another opportunity to try... we will have to arrange the next attempt soon.

At least the people of Hindpool and within earshot of the church were treated to some fine ringing, including Adam Ritch and Anya Graham who were having their rehearsal for their wedding at the weekend.


MEANDYRING #8: Hawkshead - Langdale (Chapel Stile)

The branch monthly meeting was scheduled for Holy Trinity church in Chapel Stile in Langdale so we arranged to meet up at Hawkshead for an early ring and see whether the weather would allow us to go for a walk in-between. Below is a brief account and a reduced selection of thumbnail phots from the day... more can be seen in the Google photo album, and also in Jo Sweeney's photo blog.

The weather does not look very promising, but we meet up at 9am at Hawkshead. Clarissa joined us earlier than she originally expected

Raining in Hawkshead
Torrential rain in Hawkshead
wet road, grammar school and church
List of special 'musical' call change
List of special 'musical' call change.
John Gummer describes Hawkshead call changes...
the 'big bang' of call changes.
We give it a go, with varying success, but good fun.
Ken with tenor rope, and Clarissa sits on banister beside him
Clarissa perches on stair banister ready
to guide Ken while he covers on the tenor
Group photo of our small band of 6 ringers in the ringing room at Hawkshead
Group photo in the ringing room in Hawkshead
Linda (Ulverston), Jo, Andy, Sue, Clarissa, and Ken... John Gunner (Hawkshead) behind the lens.
Jo admires cakes in Poppi Red café
Too wet to walk... plan B springs into action - Jo Sweeney's cake radar works a treat!
Church Beck is running fast beside the Ruskin Museum in Coniston
Church Beck is running fast beside the Ruskin Museum in Coniston
Exhibits of art by Ruskin in the museum
Example of meticulous recording and artwork by Ruskin displayed in the museum in Coniston
Musical exhibits in the Ruskin museum
Three of Ruskin's own handbells!
Holy Trinity church in Chapel Stile, Langdale
Holy Trinity church in Chapel Stile, Langdale
Jo Sweeney and Sue Fryer
Jo and Sue - Barrow pixies keeping out of mischief.
Jeg brings down clapper of tenor bell from belfry
Jeg Gray recovers the clapper from the tenor that sheared
at top of its shank during ringing and fell onto floor of belfry
View of bells in Langdale belfry
The bells in the belfry at Holy Trinity church in Chapel Stile, Langdale


Wedding Ringing

All 8 bells at St James were rung for the marriage of Melanie Graham and Darren Reid.

May 2017


MEANDYRING #7: Orton - PendragonCastle - KirkbyStephen

The branch monthly meeting was scheduled for Kirkby Stephen so we siezed the opportunity to visit Orton and go for a gentle potter along the River Eden beforehand. Below is a brief account and a reduced selection of thumbnail phots from the day... more can be seen on Flickr photostream, and also in Jo Sweeney's photo blog.

A great start to the day - worth the early start to get to Orton before 9am - after browsing the farmers market and succumbing to temptation to buy fresh sourdough bread, ginger sticky toffee pudding and tiramisu cheescake (pity there was no cheese stall), Andy Pollock & sons, Jo Sweeney, and Sue Fryer visited kennedy's fine chocolates (expensive but worth savouring) and enjoyed a large hot chocolate in the shop café
Hot chocolate (not the group) at Orton - Kennedy's Fine Chocolates cafe
Hot chocolate (not the group) at Orton - Kennedy's Fine Chocolates cafe - Sue, Cameron & Jason

Arrive in ringing room at All Saints church in Orton
Jason, Cameron, Jo, Sue, (Andy takes photo) arrive first
for open ringing at All Saints church in Orton.
Lovely musical ring of 8, and easy to ring.
Mallerstang Edge with Pendragon Castle
View of Mallerstang Edge in background, with
Pendragon Castle behind us now as we set off on walk
along the River Eden.
Close-up zoom of Pendragon Castle
Close-up zoom of Pendragon Castle
Hamlet at Shoregill
Hamlet at Shoregill
Sue and Jo wander down a green lane
Sue and Jo wander down a green lane
Mallerstang Church at Outhgill
Mallerstang Church at Outhgill, rebuilt through the
benevolance of Lady Anne Clifford in 1663
Coffee walnut cake at the Pink Geranium cafe
Jo goes for the coffee and walnut cake...
and has eaten half before I get my camera out!
Lads about to tuck into warm chocolate orange cake with cream
Cameron and Jason about to tuck into warm
chocolate orange cake with cream! ... yum!
Photo inside the parish church of Kirkby Stephen
The rather grand parish church at Kirkby Stephen
has another glass fronted mezzanine ringing room.
Jo Sweeney wearing her Jazz Bellringer T-shirt
Jo Sweeney covering to Grandsire Triples...
despite her T shirt she did not go wrong or improvise!
Group photo in Kirkby Stephen ringing room
Our merry band of ringers lined up in height order...almost!
Andy Pollock, Sue Fryer, Cameron & Jason Pollock, Jo Sweeney.
Bluebells in Kirkby Stephen churchyard
Bluebells in Kirkby Stephen churchyard

April 2017


Tower Training Day and Meal

A sandwich course! Two sessions of ringing training for our learners (including visitors) sandwiched a very enjoyable and relaxed meal at the King Alfred on Walney Island.

The first session was rung on the 6 bell branch simulator, the first time it had been used for a full silent practice (normally just used for individual bell-handling tuition before practice night). The simulator worked exceptionally well and allowed us to have more ringing in the day with less disturbance for the local residents surrounding the church. The bell handling and sound for the learners is a satisfactory compromise, but it would be important to finish off the day without the simulator (the bells rung open) to ring the bells for real.

Morning session ringers for tower training day
Back Row: Ken Parkinson, Cameron Pollock, Ian Taylor, Alan Jones, Alan Dewar, Keith & Anne Hackney
Front Row (standing mostly): Clarissa Caroe, Andy Pollock, Beryl Jefferson; Front Row (kneeling): Jo Sweeney, Andrew Smith.

Each learner had at least one target to work on learning, and each learner took turns to try their learning objective with the support of the helpers, including our own experienced ringers Clarissa and Andy, and fantastic support from Ian Taylor and Alan Dewar (ringers at Ulverston), and Keith and Anne Hackney (ring all over the branch!). Good progress was made but the afternoon session promised to consolidate and make further prohgress.

Lunch was an integral part of the day (no surprise to anyone who knows Andy!) and having chopped and changed venue a few times we eventually stuck with Jo Sweene's suggestion of the King Alfred. A large round table could accommodate everyone who stayed on for lunch, and Andrew Smith eventually found his way to join us. The food was yummy, and plenty of it

Beryl, Keith, Anne, Jo
Jo, AlanJ, AlanD, and Cameron

It was just as well we had an extended period to eat and digest lunch without rushing.... I don't think I could have moved after my burger...

We were joined by Owen Osmotherley and Jacqueline Preston for the afternoon session, and with their help we completed a very successful day.

Thanks to everyone! for sacrificing time to help and support the learning on the day, and the learners from Barrow and Ulverston for working hard and striving to make progress. Good progress was made, and a lot of fun was had along the way. A thoroughly enjoyable day, and one that will strengthen the ringing in the area.


St George's day - quarter peal

The back 6 bells at St James were rung for a quarter peal (well over 1000 changes) to celebrate St George's day and 'Ringing for England'. The quarter peal took about 49 minutes to ring and was Camerons first ever quarter peal, and he rang the treble impeccably. Congratulations Cameron - an achievement very well done!

Image of Ringing for England campaign

Lancashire Association of Change Ringers
St James the Great, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria
Sunday, 23 April 2017 in 49 mins (12-0-24)
1260 Plain Bob Minor
1Cameron Pollock
2Clarissa J. E. Caroe
3Ann S Thompson
4Anne Hackney
5Keith Hackney
6J Andrew Pollock (C)
First Quarter Peal - 1
For St George's day and "Ringing for England" celebration.

Composition 540 + 720, H then (W, sW, W, sW, H) x 5>

Ringing World BellBoard: https://bb.ringingworld.co.uk/view.php?id=1170017

Quarter peal band for St George's day
Quarter Peal band for St George's day: Keith(5), Anne(4), Clarissa(2), Ann(3), Cameron(1), Andy(6)

February 2017


Pancakes and Praise!

All 8 bells were rung for the special 'Believe in Barrow' service welcoming, participating and sharing with people from all across Barrow including Anglican, Methodist, Salvation Army etc. The service ended with over 200 pancakes and lots ofg different toppings.


CDGCBR Training Day

Four intrepid adventurers from Barrow set off early for a day of ringing in Carlisle Diocesan Guild as part of their training day, driving over a frosty and slippy Corney Fell to meet at Hensingham at 9.30am to register, and elect new members (5 ringers from Barrow were duly elected to join two existing members from our tower), and then work out transport and set off to respective towers.

Iwan was a learner in the learning ropesight group in which Andy was a helper. Clarissa helped in one of the two groups dedicated to new ringers gaining experience of changing place - concentrating on speed, bell control and striking. Cameron was in the more advanced group looking at first methods and touches of these methods.

Morning and afternoon sessions gave plenty of opportunity to try out and consolidate what what was learnt. There was just enough helpers for the helpers to grab a break occasionally, but Clarissa and Andy rang almost every ring (and were tired but satisfied they had contributed to the success of the day).

St James, Whitehaven
St James, Whitehaven
Stained Glass Window of arms ringing bell rope and bell - St James, Whitehaven
Stained Glass Window
St John, Hensingham
St John, Hensingham

Cameron practiced touches of plain bob doubles (which his first attempt was only at practice the wednesday before the training course) at Cleator Moor, and Arlecdon. At Whitehaven and Hensingham, Iwan trebled to various methods (including touches to mix up the order he passed the bells) including Plain Bob, Grandsire, St Simons and St Clements.

Lunch was pre-booked at nearly pubs, and was an opportunity to have a rest and enjoy good food and company.

All the ringers - tutors, helpers and students seemed to have a good time, and everyone finished the day with the rewarding feeling that real progress had been made!

Group 2 end of day photo at Hensingham
Group 2 end of day photo at Hensingham

January 2017

Saturday28Visiting Ringers - Whickham Ringers Reunion Trip.

Barrow welcomed a group of bell-ringers on a ringing tour of Furness and South Lakeland (Barrow, Broughton, Dalton, Ulverston and Flookburgh). Unfortunately the weather was dismal with fine misty rain and a chilly breeze, but the bells would hopefully make up for the conditions outside.

About 8 ringers arrived early and were ushered inside out of the rain, followed about five minutes later by a further group armed with hot drinks and cakes for breakfast! A good plan I thought.

They patiently waited for the chimes to strike 9am and then rang the bells up nicely in peal.

Ringing included rounds, Stedman, and Pudsey plus others, and they were clearly enjoying themselves. Some took advantage of the opportunity to climb further up the tower to the old belfry to see and hear the bells ringing below their feet!

Whickham ringers on their reunion tour of Furness and South Lakeland bell-towers
Photograph courtesy of Helen Rubery

After 45 minutes ringing the group prepared to set off to Broughton by catching the next train to Foxfield. As they departed, some of the ringers recalled the difficult and average sounding bells from before the restoration, and commented on how good the bells sounded now, and what a good job had been done with the tuning of the bells. We were espescially pleased to know they enjoyed the bells.


Tenor tolls for Holocaust Memorial Day

A single bell was rung half-muffled from 7pm for approx. 18 minutes on the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz death camp. Setting the tenor bell very briefly on each stroke meant the toll was slow and a poingnant reminder to all those in earshot of the church that we must not forget this and other genocides.

Holocaust Memorial Day aims to ensure we do not forget all the victims and people affected by genocides such as the Holocaust and Nazi Persecution, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur and to ensure we continue to learn the lessons from the past to create a safer, and better future.

The church was also open until 7.30pm for anyone from the local or wider community to come and say a private prayer or sit in quiet contemplation.


HLF Stakeholder Meeting

Andy Pollock attended a stakeholder meeting chaired by Heritage Lottery Fund development officer Maya Sharma with the new head of region Nathan Lee, kindly hosted by Signal Films at their offices in Cookes Studios on Abbey Road.

It was a very interesting meeting with lots of very enthusiastic representatives of different historic and natural heritage sites and resources. There were lots of constructive discussions about what there was to offer and how we could try and spread the word to local residents and visitors.

Later in the day Maya Sharma was able to visit the tower to see the magnificent results of the HLF funded project to restore the bells. She managed to reach the ringing room with the aid of the handrail but declined a visit to see the bells close up from old or new belfry. She learned about the bells, the restoration, how we ring the bells, and even had a go herself. Heritage and traditional skills in a modern context!

Maya Sharma (HLF development officer) meets the bellringers
Maya Sharma (HLF development officer) meets the bellringers, learns about the restoration project and tries her hand at ringing!

MEANDYRING #6 - Hampsfell walk for Cartmel branch ringing meeting

There was no early ring organised, but when the weather looked promising, a walk was arranged to coincide with the branch ringing meeting at Cartmel. Eight people - ringers and family went for a gentle and short walk up Hampsfell, a hill behind Grange-over-Sands with great views over Cartmel and to the Lakeland fells.

View NE toward the Howgill fells
View NE toward the Howgill fells
View from Hampsfell summit limestone pavement to Coniston fells
View from Hampsfell summit limestone pavement to Coniston fells
Heading for the 'hospice' at the summit of Hampsfell
Heading for the 'hospice' at the summit of Hampsfell
Using gadget on top of hospice to line up fells and landmarks based on their bearing
Using gadget on top of hospice to line up fells and landmarks based on their bearing

Click here for history and facts about Hampsfell Hospice

Ringers on top of Hampsfell Hospice
Ringers on top of Hampsfell Hospice
Inside Hampsfell Hospice
Inside Hampsfell Hospice
Group photo at summit with Lakeland fells in background
Group photo at summit with Lakeland fells in background
Coniston fells and Langdale with Field broughton village in foreground
Coniston and Langdale fells with Field broughton village in foreground
Iwan prepares to jump Just made it ;)
Iwan prepares and jumps over puddle
Cartmel awaits
Cartmel Priory nestled in the valley below waiting for us
to finish the walk and visit to ring the bells
Heading back down
Heading back down, with view over bay and Heysham power station.
Silhouette of Jason by cairn near end of walk
Silhouette of Jason by cairn near end of walk
Iwan pleased to be taller than everyone else Ringer access through medieval walls of Cartmel priory
Iwan pleased to be taller than everyone else / Ringer access through medieval walls of priory.
Looking back from Carmel priory ramparts to Hampsfell
Looking back from Carmel priory ramparts to Hampsfell
Access to the ringing chamber takes us all along the transept roof
Access to the ringing chamber takes us all along the transept roof
Belfry (with louvres) is rotated 45 degrees from ringing room
Belfry is rotated 45 degrees from ringing room
Ringing the 6 bells - Iwan trebles to touch of Grandsire doubles inside the characterful Cartmel Priory ringing room
Ringing the 6 bells - Iwan trebles to touch of Grandsire doubles
inside the characterful Cartmel Priory ringing room

Click here for Jo Sweeney's "Bellringers' Walk up Hampsfell" photo-blog

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