Jo Elliott’s home tower is St Mary’s, Great Baddow, Essex.
Jo initiated a recruitment plan to obtain new ringers for the Ringing Remembers campaign. She prepared articles for the village magazine and also for the Essex Chronicle. Little did she know what a resounding success this would be. She managed to recruit a total of 17. All except one have continued ringing and are progressing their training and enjoyment of ringing church bells.
Jo’s recruitment campaign was started in February 2018 and continues until the present day. A total of 21 new ringers have been recruited, with only one dropping out due to work commitments. Ages range from 12 to 82 years old!Owing to the high numbers, Jo enlisted the help of nearby ART trainers Mike Worboys, David Hengeli and Richard Wilson. Training of the new recruits takes place several times per week, at Great Baddow and other local churches, or on the newly acquired simulator at St Andrew’s, Sandon. Without their help Jo would have been unable to retain the recruits. Other local churches took some of the recruits (Sandon, Springfield and Galleywood). Sandon in particular had so few ringers that experienced ringers would come from other towers for practice nights and special occasion ringing to allow the tower to continue ringing. Now Sandon has 10 new able ringers in a 6-bell tower.
Through her hard work, Jo has achieved resounding success in recruiting and retaining so many new ringers for Great Baddow and other local towers, without which the number of ringers in the area would be greatly reduced. With the enthusiasm she has passed onto new members it is hoped they will be ringing for many years to come. Hopefully one day, inspired by Jo, others may go on to recruit and teach many more to keep church bell ringing alive in towns and villages across the UK.
Jo works hard for the local ringing community as District Secretary, yet she also gave more of her time to recruit and retain more ringers. Her ideas and attention to detail have been such a success and benefit for the SE District.
Jo arranged many special training days/half days to assist with training to ensure all the ringers progressed their skills and thus to ensure retention.These additional training days were fun and informative, and as well as being beneficial to learning, also gave the opportunity to ring at other towers. Jo put in a lot of hard work to arrange convenient days, the towers, the trainers and lunches. As a result of these, the recruits have become firm friends who now meet socially as well as at practices.
As evidence that Jo’s hard work to ensure progress and retention has paid off, all the Ringing Remembers recruits were able to ring successfully for the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day. Then in May 2019 two teams of new recruits (Great Baddow and Sandon) were entered into the Change Ringing striking competition in which they managed to obtain 2nd and 3rd places respectively.
Whilst the newest recruits are aiming to achieve their Level 1, the majority of the recruits have already obtained their Level 2, and one has gained Level 3. Two of the new recruits have already successfully rung Quarter Peals. All new recruits are working to gain their next level of Learning the Ropes. With the acquisition of the simulator at Sandon they will now continue to be able to promote church bell ringing and hope to gain even more ringers for the area.