ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

SATURDAY 22nd FEBRUARY 2014

ST HELEN’S BENSON (8)

The AGM will take place on Saturday 22th February 2014 at St Helen Benson. Ringing at 3pm will be followed by a service at 4pm. Tea and meeting will follow, the meeting not starting before 5pm.

AGENDA

 

If you would like a Tea at the AGM, please contact Maureen Bosley (email: bosleymt@gmail.com) or Amy Herlihy (phone: 01865 400 864) by the 20th February.

 St Helen’s Benson: History of the Bells

The first church in Benson was almost certainly a wooden building erected during the Saxon period and of which there are no traces. It is quite likely that this church was founded by St Birinus, Bishop of Wessex. The earliest recognisable feature in the present church is a late 12th century window which has been re-set in the east wall of the south aisle. It probably belonged to a church with only a nave and chancel. Aisles were then added in the 13th century.

In more recent times the church became famous because of the clock which has two X1s on its face. During the Second World War, the traitor Lord Haw Haw, broadcasting from Germany, announced that an RAF station near a church with two elevens on its clock would be bombed. RAF Benson was indeed bombed but the damage was only slight.

The first indication of bells is in the 1553 inventory which includes 4 bells in the steeple. It seems clear from records however that by 1727 there were six bells in the tower although we have no information on this tower or of the bells. A decision was made in 1765 to replace the tower with the original intention of replacing the six bells. However it seems that funds were short (nothing changes!) and it was not until 1781 that the new tower was finally completed. At the same time it was agreed that timber on church land should be felled and sold in order to raise sufficient funds to purchase eight new bells to be installed in the tower.

Thomas Janaway of Chelsea was contracted to cast the bells and these were installed anti-clockwise in a timber frame constructed by Edward Simmons. The cost of the bells was £163.15.0

Two of the bells were subsequently recast, the 2nd in 1852 by C & G Mears and the third in 1922 by Mears & Stainbank. In 1971 a new floor was installed in the tower to create a choir vestry and the ringing chamber was moved onto the new floor. In 1993 the tower captain, Stan Day, died and in his memory the seventh and eight were rehung with all new fittings and at the same time part of the frame which was found to be rotten was reinforced with steel.

During the years that followed the bells were becoming increasingly difficult to ring and this was especially noticeable when we had an influx of learners. We therefore started fund raising to refurbish the bells and rehang them clockwise in a new cast iron frame mounted on steel beams. English Heritage gave permission to replace the oak frame on condition that we obtained a full archaeological survey. We were also only allowed to tune the two recast bells. The work was carried out by Whites of Appleton and the bells were re-dedicated in 2009. Everyone was very pleased with the results and it is wonderful to hear visiting ringers complementing us on the bells.

TREASURERS REPORT

SOUTH OXON BRANCH OF ODG

RECEIPTS & PAYMENTS FOR YEAR ENDING 31st DECEMBER 2013

Receipts

Brought Forward

 31/12/2012

Subscriptions

100 Club

Donations

Interest on Deposit

Total Income

£

1982.03

1120.00

830.00

23.00

1.15

1974.15

3956.18

Payments

Guild Subscriptions

Guild Bell Fund

Bell Restoration Fund

100 Club prizes

Newsletter Printing

Tower Fees

Judges/Organist (AGM) Honoraria

Website Domain Licence

3 Yr. Website Hosting Fee

Postage

Total Expenses

Balance Carried forward

31/12/2013

£

725.00

257.50

257.50

405.00

104.06

20.00

22.99

12.56

107.64

9.30

1921.55

2034.63

3956.18

BALANCE SHEET

AS AT 31st DECEMBER 2013

Balance brought forward 1.1.2013

Receipts

Payments

Balance carried forward 31.12.2013

Current Account Balance

Deposit Account Balance

Cash

1982.03

1974.15

   (1921.55)

2034.63

854.13

1144.33

36.17

2034.63

Prepared by  Maureen Bosley                 Audited by F D Norman

Date  8th January 2014  Date 13th January 2014

In 2013, the Branch had 145 members, of whom 140 paid subscriptions and 5 were honorary members who do not pay subscriptions. The subscription for the year was £8.

83 members supported the 100 Club in 2013 and £207.50 each was raised for the ODGCB Restoration Fund and the Oxford Diocesan Bell Fund.

In addition, the Branch donated £50 from our surplus for the year to each of these funds, in accordance with the resolution passed at the AGM in 2013.

Fees for Branch practices outside the Branch were paid for out of Branch funds – in accordance with the resolution passed at the 2010 AGM.

The Branch Income for 2013 was £1974.15, whilst the expenditure for 2013 was £1921.55, giving a surplus of £52.60.

On behalf of the Branch I should like to thank Margaret Coombe for running the 100 Club and Frank Norman for auditing the accounts. Their help and support is greatly appreciated.

100 Club                                                                       Margaret Coombe

South Oxon Branch of ODG 100 Club 2013

Receipts

Subscriptions

£

830

830

Payments

1st Prizes 1x £20 (Jan)

11x £23 (Feb – Dec)

2nd Prizes 11x £10 (Jan– Nov)

£12 (Dec)

3rd Prize   1 x £10 (Dec)

Total Prizes

Transfers to ODGCBR Restoration Fund

Oxford Diocesan Bell Fund

Surplus c/f to Prize Fund

£

£20

£253

£110

£12

£10

£405

£207.50

£207.50

£10

£830

 

The membership was increased slightly on last year, mainly due to Marsh Baldon joining us. We allocated income to ODGCB and Oxford Diocesan Bell Fund. The prize money was as follows:

2013

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

1st Prize

Warborough Tower

J & J Chequin

Annette Booker

Margaret Coombe

Robert Newton

Daniel Rogers

Richard Barnett

Warborough Tower

Sue Dyke

Gt. Milton Tower

Liz Rhodes

Ruth Webb

2nd Prize

Arthur White

Paul Smith

Chris Rogers

Judy Kidman

Ken Webb

Judy Kidman

Sue Dyke

Sue Dyke

Sue Dyke

Richard Parker

Mike Francis

Kay Bartholomew

3rd Prize

Hilarie Rogers

Total

30.00

33.00

33.00

33.00

33.00

33.00

33.00

33.00

33.00

33.00

33.00

45.00

405.00

Secretary’s Report                                      by Amy Herlihy

It has been a fairly quiet few months, with no Autumn Meeting or outing.  I do know that the twinning program has meant that ringers are indeed visiting other towers for ringing and socializing. The Drayton St Leonard team were out and about in November when they represented Oxfordshire in the Four Shires Competition on 16th November where they travelled to Worcestershire and rang against a team from each of Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, and were delighted to come out a close second.

There has been sad news in December. Cyril Lawrence died on Wednesday 4th December. On 19th December, a quarter peal of Grandsire Doubles was rung following the service of thanksgiving for Cyril’s life. Grandsire was Cyril's favourite method and the band was made up of those who had rung regularly with him. After the quarter, the quarter band and the Brightwell Baldwin shared a toast to Cyril.

25 Years Ago

The AGM was held in the Ewelme Village Hall on the 29th April 1989. The minutes note that the branch Chairman, Eric Harmsworth had recently died and a minute of silence was held for Eric and for Lily Arnott.  The Guild was represented at the meeting by Deputy Master, Anne Carpenter and there were 32 people in attendance. Eight new members were elected and there was a discussion about what day of the month to old branch meetings and practices to avoid Bank holidays.  Kay Tuckwell and helpers were thanked for the excellent tea

Election of New Members – Reminder

If you want to nominate a new member, please give Amy Herlihy the names of the ringers 2 weeks prior to the AGM.

Distinguished Membership

Should you wish to nominate a branch member for Distinguished Membership please contact the branch secretary. This award is given to a member of at least 30 years who is considered to have given meritorious service to the Guild or Branch.  Details can be found here: http://odg.org.uk/pdf/dm_nomination_form_2014.pdf

Branch Representatives Report                                      by John White

Guild Committee met in March and November, and the Guild AGM took place in May.

The Master, Robert Newton, gave notice that he won’t be standing for re-election in 2014. There is still a vacancy for a Public Relations Officer an important role, and we are all encouraged to look for suitable people in our own branches.

The Guild voted £1000 to the Ringing Foundation to help fund administrative support. Guild finances are healthy and as has become customary, £750 each was voted to the Restoration Fund and the Bell Fund. £200 was donated to the Ringing World.

The subcommittees continue to work in the background – the Education subcommittee arranging courses and other training; the Towers and Belfries subcommittee offering advice to towers and inspecting installations; and the Finance and General Purposes subcommittee keeping business moving. A small group is looking at ways to help with a proposed ring of bells in Kimberley Cathedral, which is in our link Diocese in South Africa.  This is in the preliminary stages.

There was no change to the Guild subscription (£8) or the peal fees (50p per participant).

Following concern about a case of a learner who suffered injury whilst under tuition within the Guild, it was pointed out that the Guild Personal Accident Insurance does not provide public liability cover, i.e. it does not cover the teacher if a person under instruction sought damages for injury in the event of an accident. (Note: anyone who has any doubts or concerns about the scope of the Guild’s insurance cover is advised to contact the General Treasurer).

From the Ringing Master                                                       by Hilarie Rogers

During 2013 we ran three extra sessions at Shabbington to give their ringers some concentrated practice. We also provided leadership and help to the new band at Marsh Baldon.

As last year, much of our training was undertaken as part of the regular practices which included

Branch Practices took place most months, including a higher-numbers practice on the 12 at High Wycombe, which gave the opportunity to ring methods on 10 and 12.

The Tower Twinning has continued to be popular and enjoyable, and has encouraged some towers to have joint practises afterwards. 2 more towers joined in the Autumn, making 8 in all. Perhaps some other towers might consider joining in - 3 times a year you will be asked to invite another tower to your practice night and respond to an invitation from them.

Do ask if there is anything we can help you with, or if you would like a concentrated session on something particular.

TOWER NEWS

Aston Rowant          by Robert Newton

We had a very enjoyable half day outing to a couple of towers in the Chiltern Branch and one ‘over the border’ in Hertfordshire at the beginning of November. The morning will long remain in the memory because at one church with a ground floor ring, there was a rehearsal of ‘Oliver’ at the front of the nave whilst we rang at the back. Amazingly, neither group seemed to affect the other. The other unforgettable aspect was the length of time it took the pub to produce our food at lunchtime. We must make a mental note that it is not always beneficial to pre-order.

A few days later we failed miserably in our attempt for a quarter peal to mark the 300th anniversary of Fabian Stedman. Stedman Doubles can be very tricky stuff! However we did manage a good quarter of Grandsire at the end of the month to celebrate Paul Smith’s retirement. Congratulations Paul!

Our twinning practices with Little Milton were both enjoyable and beneficial, and we look forward to ringing with Shabbington. We understand that it is possible to get to each other’s towers without resorting to amphibious vehicles.

As usual, Christmas was a busy time for ringing- both tower and hand bells- and support for this was particularly good. We are also delighted that all six bells are rung on the majority of Sundays. Wendy has now recovered sufficiently to ring regularly but sadly, Shirley is still not well enough to join us.

We are looking forward to hosting the Branch Striking Competition and would like to assure anyone who has not visited us lately that the rope guides have made our bells much less ‘scary’ than was formerly the case. Hope to see you there!

Benson Tower                              by John Tchighianoff

Saturday 16th November was the day of the funeral of Dr Anne Millar.

Dr Anne together with her late husband had been GPs in Benson for several years and she made a huge contribution to village life. She set up the village summer play scheme, helped to establish the day centre and served on the parish council. She was a regular member of the church and played violin in the church orchestra for many years. She was an expert gardener and was very knowledgeable about all things horticultural. She was also very supportive of the project to rehang the bells in 2009

Two of us tolled the tenor bell for about half an hour before the service and then we rang all eight bells half muffled immediately after the interment. This day was also the tercentenary of the burial of Fabian Stedman so we included a plain course of Stedman Doubles to end our ringing.

Although we do not often ring at funerals we did ring after the funeral of Bridget Jones who was a well-known figure in the village and whose daughter Gwen had been a ringer here some years ago.

We were all saddened by the death of Cyril Lawrence who together with Olive had been a regular ringer for many years at Benson. Several of us attended his funeral at Brightwell Baldwin and a Quarter of Grandsire Triples was rung in his memory at Benson on 21st December.

Our two latest recruits, Isobel and Laura, first rang for service on Christmas Day and are being proposed for election to the Guild at the branch AGM.

New Year’s Eve was the usual good excuse for a party, following which eight ringers together with their partners adjourned to the tower where the tenor was rung twelve times to coincide with Big Ben on the radio followed by about ten minutes of call changes. This was followed by further celebrations in the ringing chamber.

Chalgrove                                                 by Andrew Davis

Good progress has been made at Chalgrove, practice nights are very busy; Minor, including Little Bob and Kent is regularly rung. A favourite is Little Bob and Plain Bob spliced together, with Geoff keeping us in order. Margaret has rung a quarter inside to Bob Doubles, next will be Grandsire following her day at the Steeple Aston training course.

Sadly we have lost our younger ringers as GCSE's and A levels beckon, a shame but inevitable with the level of homework and revision needed.

Over Christmas we were able to provide a full team for each service at Chalgrove and Berrick Salome, logistical planning often meant slipping out of a service to jump in a waiting car. All of this rushing around was not helped by the flooding on the Berrick road meaning a detour out of Chalgrove. 

The second Tuesday of the month practice at Berrick Salome has stopped for the Winter, it really isn't worth trying to heat the ringing chamber, we'll commence again in the Spring. Meanwhile Wendy and her team come to our practice as often as possible.

We continue twinning with other towers, I can recommend taking part as it is a very sociable occasion and a chance to have assistance with learning. It has led to close ties with Little Milton where a number of our team attend their practice nights and assist with additional events when needed.

 

Chinnor                      by Malcolm Barker

Although the recent departure of Caroline Kinchin-Smith was a great loss to the tower, thanks to the stolid support of the remaining 7 regular ringers, we've been able to keep the show on the road.   Friday practice has continued to be lively and enjoyable (often with the support of visitors), and Sunday ringing relying on our local band has been possible more often than not.

Chinnor has recently joined the tower-twinning scheme, and started with a very successful pairing with Shabbington and their anticlockwise ring.   Both home and way fixtures provided great experience and learning opportunities, and there are good signs the partnership can continue.  We look forward to our next pairing with Drayton SL, which is already booked.

Our standard and range of our ringing continues to improve, with touches of Bob Doubles on the horizon.  It often needs only 1 additional experienced method ringer to open up the possibilities, and move us forwards.  I'm hopeful that with the support of visitors to Chinnor, and our ringers' experience in other towers, that we can establish ringing of touches within this year.

Of course 7 is a marginal number of ringers, and we intend to try another round of recruitment very soon.

Dorchester                           by David Parker

When I look back, I am reminded that we have been quite active in our tower in the last few months, not only with the regular seasonal ringing for Christmas and the New Year but also with less routine activities.  For example, in October we ‘spring cleaned’ the tower.  What’s unusual about that? You all say.  Well, we do not get round to it as often as we should.  Perhaps one reason is that the average age of the four volunteers (one of whom was a past ringer) was 72, and we do not have as much energy as we used to!  We had a reason to do it, which was that the Rector was holding a Gift Day and she wanted us to contribute to the success of the day by conducting guided tours of the tower.  We thought that sweeping the place clean might impress visitors sufficiently to make them give generously towards the Abbey’s expenses.  Whether it worked, I do not know, but our visitors seemed very interested to learn about bell ringing!

While cleaning the belfry, I noticed that there was an ominous crack in the number 4 stay, so that too was put right before our visitors came.  We are grateful to Peter Burridge for supplying us with two new stays in finest ash – while ash is still available – which we have in reserve (not wishing to be pessimistic)

For some time, as some of you who have rung at Dorchester will know, the tail ends of our ropes were wearing out fast.  We feared the worst, i.e. having to purchase a set of new ropes, but a brief word with Robert Newton proved invaluable as he suggested we simply replaced the tail ends at £40 + VAT per rope instead of having to pay perhaps £140 for each whole new rope.  We had a lot of fun taking down the ropes, taking them over to Whites to have their new tail ends spliced, and replacing the ropes in the belfry.  Thank you Mark (of Whites) for reminding us to mark the ropes where they leave the bell wheels before taking down the ropes!  Nearly every time we were able to hang the sally at the right height first time.  Another thing I learned from Mark was that 25 years or so ago, when our bell ropes were last replaced, it had become customary to use flax, instead of hemp, for the tail ends.  Flax does not wear as well as hemp, and does not feel so nice, probably because it becomes caked with grime with the passage of time!  Whites did a good job with the splicing – much better than we could have achieved by ourselves – and we have quickly adapted to the different ‘feel’ of the ropes.

Winding the clock and flying the flag are jobs that I think parishioners probably take for granted. However, if it were not for the ringers, these things might not happen!  For many years we have been fortunate in having Chris do these jobs, and  he is now mightily encouraged to have Gillian share the clock winding with him, each of them taking a month at a time.

I would describe our ringing as steady.  Isabel, Christian, Nick Jenkins and Mandy, our latest treasures, are gaining in confidence and learning the basics of method ringing.  Their progress is dependent on good attendance by our senior ringers to ‘ring round’ them, but because we all seem to be involved with other attractions in this village, we cannot always muster a full band.  That said, I am extremely grateful to the help and loyalty given by our longstanding ringers, and it is really good to have Klaas back after a period of ill health.  I am sorry we have not got round to twinning with another tower – something that I think would actually lead to rapid progress in our ringers’  method ringing – but I keep hoping!  Meanwhile, if any of you experienced ringers can spare the time to come and join us on Tuesday evenings at 7.30, you are most welcome.  Ideally, telephone me first on 01865 340402, or Gillian on 01865 340925.

Drayton St Leonard                                    by Hilarie Rogers

After Harvest, we resumed ringing all six bells and having put chairs and cushions inside the tower, we can have a cosy practice which is warm. If we are all present, there can be 10 or 11 of us, and we still fit!

We were pleased to welcome our new vicar at the start of November, and bravely asked if we could ring the bells at Dorchester Abbey, without help, for his licensing service. We also included 4 of the new ringers from Marsh Baldon, as we share the same vicar. It was a lovely experience for all of us, despite the ropes being very short following the fitting of new tail ends!

We rang for all of the Christmas services, and in early December rang a quarter peal in thanksgiving for the life of Nelson Mandela. We had intended it to be half-muffled, but had fun and games with the muffles (“difficult-fit”) so rang it open instead.

 

We have continued to enjoy our Twinning – especially the challenge posed by having 20 ringers at practice night as happened when Benson came. We made it more difficult by breaking a rope half-way through!

 

We were very pleased to represent the branch in the Guild 6-bell competition in October, held in the Chiltern Branch. For the first time in many years, there were enough teams to warrant heats and we were drawn to ring first in the heat at Little Missenden. We then had a long wait for the result – and were delighted and perhaps a little shocked to win the heat, especially as the bells weren’t easy to ring or strike. We then went straight on to Monks Risborough for the final, where we were drawn to ring last (!) so had a long wait. Again the bells weren’t easy, and we were well pleased to finish 4th of the 6 teams.

Largely as a result of that we were invited to represent Oxfordshire in the Four Shires Competition for the third year running (the other teams were from Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire). This year it was in Worcestershire, at Harvington, and we were very happy to be placed a close second behind the local team.

Ewelme                  by Mary Wells

Many bell ringers will be familiar with the problems faced trying to prevent wedding guests from wandering through the bell tower during ringing.

On the 11th May this year Ewelme church was hosting its first wedding of the year and it was rumoured that it was going to be a big one. Predictably as we arrived in dribs and drabs 30 minutes after the appointed start time the bride had only just entered the church. This meant a long time trying to keep quiet! There had been some speculation prior to the event as to whether any members of the royal family might be in attendance. There were various red heads and a couple of bald patches but my hopes were quickly crushed when they turned to see what all the clattering about was at the back. Finally the signing of the register arrived and the chosen guests walked up the aisle. As they were returning to their seats, much to our amazement, we spotted KATE and WILL sneaking back into their pew!! I was thoroughly satisfied with this sighting and overwhelmed with excitement.

Miraculously 7 ringers had been found to ring our six bells so I was delegated the role of calling changes and preventing guests from venturing into the danger zone. Various people came and ooohed and ahhhed at us and I was sub-consciously aware of a male voice behind me proclaiming ‘Oh the Bell Ringers!’ which was promptly and predictably followed by ‘Can we get through here?’. My immediate reaction was a very loud, very blunt ‘NO’ and I shot my arm out to my right to bar them access. It wasn’t until then that I turned to check the pushy guest had got the message. 3cm away from my face was His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge closely followed by a very pregnant Kate. On seeing my shocked face Kate immediately burst into fits of laughter and Will, finally getting the hint, swivelled Kate around saying ‘Oh we will go a different way!’. In that moment I had saved the lives of two future kings, both Prince William and the then unborn baby George! RESULT. The calling of the changes after this was very slow as I turned and gaped at Will and Kate; since their planned escape route failed they were now trapped by the heavy stream of guests leaving the church and had ample leisure to enjoy our bells from a safe distance.

Great Haseley                                    by Hilarie Rogers

We continue to ring on Monday evenings, and 2 or 3 ringers from Marsh Baldon join us most weeks and are making excellent progress. There are also ringers from Benson, Aston Rowant, Little Milton and Drayton St Leonard – and we have had visitors from Cuddesdon and Henley!

Although there are no local ringers, we are still able to ring on the first Sunday of the month for service and also when there is a Benefice Service. We also managed to find a band for the services over Christmas.

Work has continued albeit slowly in the belfry, and we are now working on the sound control on the final window.

Great Milton                                                                   by Pat Cox

It seems rather miserable to say that not much has happened that is really newsworthy - but it's true!

We have been going through a quiet phase - we have practised regularly, have rung for the School Christmas service, and for Nine Lessons and Carols, and now we are in the New Year. We have had our AGM and are all ready for a rumbustious 2014 - hopefully!

Little Milton                                                       by Jane Willis

Just two interesting events to report in this edition!  First was a broken stay on the 4 – having never witnessed this event before, it was shocking to see how swiftly the rope disappeared through the tiny hole in the ceiling……and certainly reinforced my fear of getting a rope caught around my wrist.  A big well done to the ringer involved who got straight back on his horse so to say, and rang another bell immediately, whilst nursing scorched fingers!

The second event was a celebration of Burns Night, incorporating our annual meeting, hosted by Raymond Fergusson.  Officers remain the same – and ringing targets remain the same, having been brought forward each year from 2000.  We enjoyed scrumptious Gleneagles Pate, very tasty haggis, lovely puds and fabulous Scottish cheese whilst answering quiz questions about Scotland, its football teams and its history.  All in all a great evening.

We had a very enjoyable tower visit to South Stoke in November – lovely bells and beautiful church - and hope that their ringers will visit us soon.  We hosted the Branch Practice in December, and are looking forward to meeting up with ringers at tower twinning sessions over the next few months.

Marsh Baldon                               by Catherine Mason

It is two years this month since a new band was formed at Marsh Baldon with eight complete novices being launched into the art of bell ringing by John White and Hilarie Rogers.  Faithful commitment by the instructors, the students and a willing band of regular helpers at practices has resulted in a band of happy ringers who can now ring all five of the bells in the Marsh Baldon tower together (with instructors standing by) with varying degrees of confidence but all with great enthusiasm.

We have four ringers elected as members of the Guild, and another awaiting election.  We have one band member, Kirsty, who rang her first quarter peal last summer. 

Our Saturday morning practices continue weekly with two hours of instruction from John and Hilarie, punctuated by a coffee/tea break, where a considerable quantity of biscuits is consumed to fortify the large group of ringers, instructors and helpers from other towers.  The first half hour is given over to individual practice for one or two members of the band on a single bell, and for the rest of the time John and Hilarie make sure that each member of the band is able to practise ringing something that builds up their ringing expertise and stretches them a little further.

We ring for a Sunday service once a month when instructors/helpers are able to be with us. We rang for all the Christmas services. We particularly enjoyed ringing at Dorchester, along with ringers from Drayton St Leonard, for the Licensing service for our new vicar, Paul Cawthorne, on 6th November.

We enjoyed our tower twinning with Chalgrove in the Autumn, and look forward to our twinning with Little Milton this Spring.

We greatly value and appreciate the commitment and encouragement of our instructors and their helpers.

Shabbington                                   by Caroline Lewis

We have managed to meet up for practise nights this winter, which has not been easy with the Shabby Floods. Some ringers have had to take the longer route through Long Crendon which brought to our attention there is no signpost to Shabbington!!   How strange!!  For future reference take the left turn at the Angel Pub. We all continue to make good progress with lots of help and support from Gordon and Chris, many thanks to you both Congratulations to David Child who rang his first Quarter on Sunday, 17th November 2014.

Our very young ringers are making really good progress, and are now able to ring rounds, many thanks to all who come along on Saturday afternoons to help, it’s very much appreciated.

Thame                                   by Rosalie Gibson

Since the last newsletter which seems only a short while ago ( do we need two a year?) we have enjoyed the respite of ringing for weddings, some 30+ although 2014 looks as if it will be as busy as 2013 but  at least this doesn’t start for a few weeks yet. The Autumn was relatively quiet with just normal service ringing and practices. Stephen is now running practice nights and numbers have been quite favourable. We did have a visit from one of the local cub packs in October and they seemed to enjoy coming to watch the ringing and looking at the bells.

This year we decided to hold a Bell ringers Christmas meal at a local pub, which was well attended and enjoyed by all who came.

Our next marathon of ringing came with Christmas and started with ringing for the service of Nine lessons and Carols on the evening of 22nd December.

On Christmas Eve we rang for the two Christingle services held in the afternoon at which some 1100 people attended, then in the evening we rang for the Midnight Service and on Christmas Day rang at 7.30.a.m. and again at 9.30.a.m. for the Christmas Day services. (5 times in 19 hours!)

Our one remaining learner, Jan Vincent, from the four that started out earlier last year has now progressed well and we are pleased that we will be able to propose her for membership at the A.G.M.

Warborough                                                                                   by Sue Dyke

Following on from the last report we have carried on our taster sessions for the local school children during the autumn term which again proved to be well received by the children and the school.  We finished the sessions with the 3 children ringing (with help) for the School Carol Service just before they broke up for Christmas.  This was the highlight of the training and many of the parents joined us in the tower to watch their offspring ring the bells.  The children were given a certificate and a small Christmas present which they much appreciated.  We are now taking a break over the winter and may start again next term.

Whether we have attracted any new bell ringers remains to be seen! 

We finished off our wedding ringing for 2013 on the Saturday after Christmas (with the usual help from Alf) at a lovely candlelit service.

We have continued ringing most Sundays for service despite the cold, as the heater keeps tripping out and now one of the light fittings seems to be faulty, so it is also rather dark!  Hopefully, these problems will be fixed this week.