Experience days or gifts

How about advertising an experience day to people as an unusual Christmas or birthday gift? Or offer one in an auction of promises? It’s a novel way to publicise your teaching, raise awareness of ringing and potentially recruit some new ringers. Here’s a sample poster to show the kind of thing you could advertise.

From feedback ART receives, the teachers who have agreed to cater for this request have often found that offering an "introduction to bell ringing" day can be a very good way of recruiting a new ringer, either for their own tower or somewhere else nearby in the local area.

Over recent years, ART has received quite a few enquiries from people asking whether it’s possible to buy a "Church bell ringing experience" day package for a friend or family member. Just before Christmas and Valentine’s day, ART receives a flurry of these enquiries. We have even been approached for a corporate team building day where everyone tries their hand at church bell ringing.

Some teachers have expressed concern that this is not something we should encourage as the person isn’t seriously looking for ringing lessons, otherwise they would have just approached their local tower. However, most of us have a bucket list of things that we’ve always wanted to try, but we just don’t make the time for ourselves amid a busy schedule … but if a close friend arranged a gift of a whole day doing that activity, we’d be delighted!

A successful experience

  • The person requesting the ‘experience day’ for their friend usually expects to pay or make a good donation to the Church or Bell Fund.
  • A positive experience in the tower can help someone achieve a long held ambition to ring a Church bell, and once they’ve been given a warm welcome to ringing, they very often get the bug and want to keep at it.
  • If teachers enrol them on the Learning the Ropes programme and start ticking off bell handling achievements in the blue progress books, the ringer is likely to feel motivated to keep coming back to complete their Level 1.
  • They sometimes bring another friend with them to watch (usually the person who contacted ART in the first place) and they end up having a go too.
  • Even if the person doesn’t take up ringing as a long term hobby, they and their friend will both leave with a positive impression, better informed, and happy!

Some amazing PR

Here’s an email from one happy lady who had a recent bell ringing experience day. At the end of a day ringing on the simulator she received a certificate of attendance as a souvenir.

I would like to personally thank you for your time, kindness, help and support last Friday. I was extremely excited to ring the bell (which I am sure you noticed) and you helped me achieve a life long dream which I will never forget. My words can honestly not express enough how grateful I am to you. I hope we cross paths again one day. Thank you again for such an amazing time.

I wanted to ask whether it would be possible to give my husband a short introductory lesson in bell ringing. He’s a professional musician and loves bells and I thought it might be a nice idea to give him an experience of ringing for himself for his birthday. Is this something you could do?


A Surprise Present

On responding, I found that Rebecca was hoping this could be a surprise. What should we say? Well in North Staffs our reaction to such things tends to be “Good, a chance to recruit”. We’ve had some experience of towers offering lessons in promises auctions and thought we should give this a try. The nearest tower was Stone, where David Simpson is Tower Captain. We agreed that David would offer a lesson in return for a donation to the bell fund. David got in touch and within not many weeks, Alex had received his surprise, done his sample lesson and taken up ringing.

Tim Hine


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