ART Award Presentations on the Isle of Wight

It was a wonderful evening! The Birmingham School of Ringing had invited local ringers to a grand social evening at their "Stately home" accommodation, North Court, Shorwell at the end of their week long visit to The Isle of Wight.Brighstone leaders, Steve and Beccy Noyes, had supported Clare McArdle's group in a number of ways and a great working relationship and camaraderie had developed.

It was a great opportunity for a presentation evening of ART awards as there were three winners present; Rose Horton (Learning the Ropes Level 5 Achiever of the Year and Learning the Ropes + Young Conductor of the Year), The Birmingham School of Ringing (Innovation in Recruitment or Retention) and St. Mary's Brighstone who won the Sarah Beacham Youth Group Award.

It was a privilege for everyone to meet up with Stephanie Warboys, a Past Master of The Ancient Society of College Youths, representing The Association of Ringing Teachers. Stephanie presented all of the certificates.

Viv Nobbs, Immediate Past Master of the "W and P" Guild said "I'm absolutely delighted that Steve and Beccy and their band at Brighstone have been recognised in this way. Steve and Beccy have been unsung heroes in ringing for many years and are a true inspiration to us all. The ART awards are a wonderful and encouraging initiative. I'm delighted that a number of our Guild towers have applied within the Youth Group section with several successes. Brighstone, winners, Elizabeth College, Guernsey were "Highly Commended" and a joint entry from St. Swithun's Senior Girls' School and Winchester College were "Nominated".

St. Mary's, Brighstone now sees 12 regular Sunday service ringers and are planning to augment from 6 to 8 - to give the Island an easy going and available ring (with simulator) for training and gaining more experience.

The band had decided to offer Taster Sessions to the local Church Aided Primary School as the traditional recruitment channels (pew sheets and local media) were not proving successful. The aim was to include, but not exclusively target, the school pupils. It was felt that there was a good response; four 9-10 year olds attending the school were committed to learn to ring. A significant and very positive development came when the youngsters asked if they might ring for the monthly school service.

Steve and Beccy Noyes who run the practices said "We ring from upstairs with a glass screen looking down into the nave, with the ringers clearly on show. This proved to be a great Recruiting Sergeant, as the youngsters could show off to all their friends! Our numbers of pupils soon increased to 15 and we ran out of practice time on our usual night. We purchased a simulator and arranged a regular second practice evening each week with the simulator, we were considering our neighbours."

Brighstone soon had enough youngsters to ring all of the six bells for the school services. They have made up half of the Vectis Youth teams in recent National Young Ringers' Competitions and are active members of the local band, including quarter peal ringing. The need to integrate the new ringers with the existing band was considered paramount.

The Brighstone ringing coaches recognised that retention of ringers is a challenge. Using progress cards, based on the Sherbourne Teaching Aids but starting at a much more basic level, was found to be very effective in maintaining interest.

Features that impressed the judges in the Brighstone submission were "Flexibility and responsiveness to the specific development needs of the different age groups and clear planning to address retention".


Viv Nobbs

W &P Immediate Past Master and Public Relations Officer