Learning the Ropes Achievers' Awards

The following ringers were nominated for one or more of the Learning the Ropes achievers' awards. Click on a name to find out more about them and their achievements.

Sam Bolingbroke Sam Kellaway
Andrew Booth Thomas Monks
Bob Deeley
Rosie Storrar
Mark Heritage Neil Toussaint
Rose Horton Anne Toussaint
Bronwen Laugharne Albert Williams

2017 ART Awards

» Inspired - then why not apply for an award this year?

Learning the Ropes Plus

Young Conductor of the Year

Winner - Rose Horton
Highly Commended - Thomas Monks

Outstanding Progress

Winner - Thomas Monks
Highly Commended - Rose Horton

Learning the Ropes Level 5

Achiever of the Year

Winners - Rose Horton & Thomas Monks

Sam Bolingbroke

Sam Bolingbroke nearly didn’t learn to ring at all. It was the Easter before he started University and he came to me and told me he wanted to learn to ring at Shirenewton. We already had a tower full of ringers many of whom were quite early learners and I didn’t really think it was worth the effort just to lose him in a few months. My husband had other ideas, he said, “If you teach him to handle a bell he will be much further forwards when he gets to Uni”. So I started to teach Sam. He was a quick learner and was keen and helpful!

That summer he came on all our youth group events [Kids.Ring.Out] and rang first rounds and then call changes and Plain Hunt. Before he went to Uni he rang his first quarter on the Tenor covering to four Doubles methods (http://bb.ringingworld.co.uk/view.php?id=414687). The Learning the Ropes scheme was not up and running at the time and he was not entered on to it.

At Uni he developed his ringing further and was ringing Bob Minor within the year (http://bb.ringingworld.co.uk/view.php?id=898153) and rang his first quarter of Cambridge Minor on 11th October 2011 at St Peter Nottingham (http://bb.ringingworld.co.uk/view.php?id=963814). He then went on to ring Plain Bob Major at Newport Cathedral on 16th September 2012 (http://bb.ringingworld.co.uk/view.php?id=880482) followed by Grandsire Triples at Caldicot on November 2012 (http://bb.ringingworld.co.uk/view.php?id=879212). Following another few quarters of Grandsire Triples Sam moved on to ringing Cambridge Surprise Major on 23rd March 2014 at Newport Cathedral (http://bb.ringingworld.co.uk/view.php?id=875732).

Since starting to ring he has rung a total of 33 quarter peals.

When he left Uni he came home to the L&M DACBR and started to ring at other towers.

During his second year at Uni I received a call from Sam he said “I have just been asked to run a local tower, you know one of those ones where they have been learning Bob Doubles for twenty five years and they can’t ring it yet. Have you got any advice?” I quickly signed him up for an ART Teacher Training Course – Teaching Elementary Change Ringing. He later followed this with an ART Teacher Training course – Teaching Bell Handling. He quickly became a competent teacher and on his return from Uni became a great asset to Shirenewton Tower.

Sam has continued to progress his ringing, now ringing Yorkshire Surprise Major, Superlative to name two. He also rings Spliced Surprise Minor and is working towards 14 methods.

Sam now contributes greatly to teaching in various towers in the locality and has recently started to mentor other ringers following ART Teaching Courses. In his home tower he runs a simulator practice each week for our early ringers and helps with the teaching at our main practice. He is proactive in taking our ringers to other practices and branch practices and makes a point of putting himself out to assist their progress.

I am confident that one day he will make an extremely competent tower captain.

Andrew Booth

Andrew Booth was thirteen in October and completed Learning the Ropes Level 5 on 16th December 2015.

Andrew learnt to ring at St James’ Bermondsey and has always come along to watch his father ringing on Sundays. It is difficult to be precise about when he started learning, but it was definitely sometime in spring 2011 when he was eight.

Being that young he was not able to stay to the whole practice, and there were other much older beginners in the band, so it has taken time to work his way up the levels, but progress has accelerated as he has grown older.

Although he now goes to boarding school and cannot come to the Bermondsey practice in term time, he does attend the practice at Farnham, near his school most weeks under the watchful eyes of Mark Place and Jonathan Hetherington, who are teachers at his school.

Despite being at a disadvantage compared with the older new ringers in the tower, Andrew has made good progress as well as being a regular and useful member of the Sunday Service band, ringing each Sunday at Bermondsey and Rotherhithe.

Andrew has now rung a total of 14 quarter peals, more than the minimum required to complete Level 5. These include Bob Triples inside and a quarter of Doubles which he jointly conducted with four other ringers (Andrew conducted 4 of the extents). Andrew is keen to conduct and often conducts a touch of Bob Doubles or some call changes on Sunday mornings.

One of Andrew’s ambitions is to conduct a full quarter peal and he would have achieved that in October 2015 when
he conducted one which came to grief about two thirds of the way through. A busy diary is the only reason why this attempt has not yet been rearranged.

Andrew has also learnt to ring the treble to treble bob minor and this is another quarter on his wish list. He has also purchased his own copy of ‘Diagrams’ with his pocket money and has been quietly learning Cambridge Minor inside a lead at a time. We would prefer that he learns some simpler methods first, but it does show how determined he can be at times.

Andrew attended the Surrey Association Training Day at Bletchingley in November when he joined a group of young ringers in preparation for entering a Surrey band in the 2016 Ringing World Youth ringing competition. He plans to attend the monthly practices between now and June.

Andrew helped the St James’ Primary School young ringers to ring for their leaver’s service at the beginning of July and being the youngest member of our band (the next youngest is about twice his age) he provides a useful role model for other young ringers to join our band. Andrew has also helped with several of our tower open days, and with recruitment events using the Charmborough Ring, being a very useful ambassador for ringing.

Bob Deeley

Bob started to learn to ring at Marsworth in July 2013, aged 59. He had done some ringing in his teens but once he had learned to handle a bell, was just left to ring the tenor while the rest of the team rang methods. Unsurprisingly, after a while he gave up. Due to damage to his right wrist (avascular necrosis), Bob realised that he would now have to ring “left handed”, whilst also adapting to a slightly altered ringing style to accommodate the limited movement in his wrist. It was clear on teaching him that he had remembered little, if anything, of how to handle a bell (no doubt compounded by the change of hands).

His LtR achievements are as follows:

  • Level 1: 16th August 2013
  • Level 2: 28th November 2013
  • Level 3: 1st March 2014
  • Level 4 (Doubles): 24th August 2014
  • Level 5 (Minor): 4th November 2014

Since achieving LtR Level 5, Bob has been following the LtR+ curriculum. He has now rung quarter peals on inside bells in 11 Doubles methods, 7 Doubles variations, 4 Plain Minor methods (with a 5th failing 2 minutes before the end) and 1 Treble Bob Minor method.

He occasionally attends practices elsewhere on 8 bells. He can plain hunt the treble to triples and major methods, and tenor behind to triples methods.

This year, Bob has also started teaching bell ringing. He attended the Module 1 course at Marsworth on 13th June 2015 and almost immediately afterwards started to teach a new ringer (Keith Carrington). He completed the module on 26th August 2015, with Keith having achieved his LtR Level 1 Certificate.

Bob then attended the Module 2 course at Marsworth on 5th September 2015. To date he has run two practice workshops, one for call changes and one for plain hunt. I would expect him to complete the module during Spring 2016.

Whilst Bob is very unlikely to become a peal ringer due to the physical limitation of his wrist, he has become a very good all-round ringer. He regularly attends our practices and is rarely absent from service ringing, both at Marsworth and Mentmore. Indeed, he frequently supports practices and service ringing at other towers in the locality where he also attends various Church services.

Bob also regularly goes on outings to other towers, both for general ringing and quarter peals. His first quarter peal was in late 2013. Since then, he has rung 54 quarter peals in 2014 and 79 at the time of writing in 2015.

Bob learns methods very thoroughly, not just the blue line and treble passing positions, etc, but likes to understand the structure of methods and how the various bells interact with each other.

Bob also takes a keen interest in belfry maintenance. He assisted with the strengthening work on the bell frame at Eaton Bray in early 2015, particularly repairing tools and making small parts which would otherwise have needed to be done at Loughborough, thereby saving considerable wasted time. He also helped with realigning one of the bells in its pit, not just with the work but even supplying the chain hoist!

I also feel Bob helps to dispel the myth that it is only younger ringers that make quick progress!

Mark Heritage

Mark Heritage, started to learn at Tiverton, St Peter in August 2013.

  • LTR levels achieved: 1. Oct '13, 2. Mar '14, 3. Sept '14, 4. June '15, 5. Nov '15.
  • Nearly 30 QPs rung to date.
  • Significant QPs: 1st June '14, 1st on treble Sept '14, 1st inside to P.B.Ds June '15, 1st inside to P.B. Minor Sept '15, 1st inside to St Simon's D Nov '15.
  • 1st Peal: Dec '15, treble to 7 x Plain Minor methods.

After attending a 3 day taster Mark realised that he would need more practice than simply one night a week and took it upon himself to attend other practices in the area 2-3 nights per week. He took charge of his own learning and progress using the LtR Logbook and was very determined to ensure that his current learning was fully mastered and embedded before moving on. These are the critical factors that have led to his success.

Mark has started to take an active role in his home tower and Branch within little more than a year of starting to ring:

  • Oct '14, elected programme Secretary, NE Branch of the Guild of Devonshire Ringers
    Co-ordinates arrangements for Annual Branch Programme. This involves booking some events, preparing an on-line calendar & sending monthly email reminders and updates to all members of the Branch. In 2016 there will be nearly 70 branch events over the course of the year, so this is a substantial task.
  • Nov '14, elected Vice-Captain Tiverton St Peter
    Mark has supported a busy Tower Captain who has Branch, Guild & National roles. He contributed ideas from the outset and deputised for the Captain in his absence.
  • Nov '15, elected Tower Captain Tiverton St Peter
    Tiverton St Peter is an 8 bell tower with tyre muffles on the front 6 & a simulator. Mark now plans & runs both a main practice on open bells & a learners’ muffled bell practice each week. St Peter's is designated as a 'Branch Practice Tower' so attracts ringers from other towers wanting additional practice on 6 & 8 bells. The Captain has to accommodate such ringers in addition to running a busy practice for his own ringers.

Having completed LTR level 5 Mark is now starting to explore methods beyond P.B. such as the St Simon's group. He has just received a LTR+ Achievement Logbook. He also plans to tackle Grandsire Doubles and Triples in the coming year, along with making a start on treble-dodge hunting and treble–bob methods.

Rose Horton

Rose learned to ring at Smethwick and Harborne in Birmingham in June 2012. Initially she was taught by her mother Janet (see below), but on returning to ringing was subsequently taught and mentored by Clare McArdle, but not exclusively. The ringing network in Birmingham is such that Rose has been encouraged and helped to develop by a wide range
of local ringers.

Rose’s ringing achievements since 2012

  • 107 quarter peals, ranging from Doubles to Surprise Royal.
  • 5 peals, including: Grandsire Triples; Plain Bob Royal and Cambridge Surprise Major.
  • 11 quarter peals as conductor – range: Doubles, Mixed Doubles and Minor.
  • 50 quarter peals in one year (2014)
  • LTR 5, 2013
  • 10 LTR+ awards ranging from Plain Minor to ringing a peal on 10 bells and including
  • conducting first quarter peal

On Saturday 22nd June 2013, Rose Horton was one of two young ringers, at Harborne in Birmingham, who made history. They were the first people to complete the Learning the Ropes scheme to Level 5 with the “minor approach”. In addition they both started from first principals at Level 1. What is perhaps more remarkable is that this was achieved in just one
year. A fantastic achievement. In the 2 years since this milestone, Rose has gone on to achieve much much more.

Rose started ringing in June 2012, just after the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. She is from a ringing family and her older sister Rebekah and younger brother Tom are both ringers too. When she was 9, Rose had had a go at learning to ring, but gave up quite early on and stolidly resisted any entreaty to try again once she was a bit older. Things change
though. Rose had always kept up the social links with local ringers and enjoyed days out, holidays and all the usual social events. As she was about to start 6th form, and thinking about university and leaving home, a realisation dawned on her that turning up at a new local tower and asking if she could go on holiday with them and help out with ringers’ teas could
be seen as eccentric, to say the least. And so it was that Rose came back to the fold. After a few handling lessons she hit the ground running and her progress was rapid.

It quickly became apparent that Rose had quite a competitive streak. One of the first targets she set herself was to overtake younger brother Tom on the LTR scheme, which she did after about 10 months. And so it continued, Rose constantly set herself targets, throughout the LTR scheme and into the LTR+ scheme: conducting a quarter peal (she has now conducted 11); ringing a peal (she has rung 5); ringing Surprise Major (she rings most of the Standard 8, and has learned other non standard methods for quarter peals); ringing on higher numbers (quarters of, Grandsire and Stedman Caters, Cambridge Royal and a peal of Plain Bob Royal); getting on the list of people who rang 50 quarter peals in a year (achieved in 2014).

Of course, these things don’t just happen, they require organising. Rose has a talent for that too. Her first steps into organising were to arrange 2 quarter peals for young ringers (under 20) in the area, one of Plain Bob Doubles and one of Plain Bob Triples. She took on the task of making all the arrangements, including booking the towers and sending the performances up for publication. When she set her target of 50 quarter peals in a year (which, incidentally, she did not decide upon until May 2014, having rung about 5 quarter peals that year), she realised that some effort would have to be made to achieve it. She amassed a small cohort of willing volunteers and set about arranging 4 quarter peal days, with different methods and different towers (just to keep us interested) to boost her totals. In addition she made it known
to local quarter peal organisers that they need only say the word and she would be there.

As outlined above, many people have helped Rose along the way to becoming such an accomplished ringer. But most of the credit must go to Rose herself. She is highly motivated to succeed, but recognises fully that ringing is about teamwork. She embodies the principle of “the more you put in, the more you get out”.

Rose is not a selfish ringer, far from it. Throughout her amazing journey, she has always been the most willing helper at training events and latterly regular Saturday morning Birmingham School of Bell Ringing sessions, and has continued to be helpful in whatever capacity is required: stewarding towers on open days; catering at social events; being part of
the local youth ringing; sending quarter peals up to Bellboard; conducting touches at practice nights. In short, she is pretty much everything a Tower Captain could wish for.

Now that she has gone to university, those of us she left behind all have to do a bit more to fill the gaps. The Welsh Colleges Association, on the other hand, is in clover. Rose is the first active undergraduate they have had for years and takes full part in all of their activities. She has even taken on the role of one of their Catering Officers and is custodian of Puff, the association mascot.

Rose has great potential to go far. Her amenable and pleasant nature mean that she fits in well in any group of ringers, be it young ringers; training for ringers of all ages; advanced ringing; ringing outings; peal bands or quarter peal bands. She is willing and able to take on roles of responsibility and has shown a flair for organisation. I have no doubt she will make a very good officer, either at a local tower or for an association. One thing she hasn’t done yet - she certainly hasn’t reached her potential as a ringer, there is plenty more to come there.

Sam Kellaway

Sam Kellaway started ringing at Shirenewton (6 bells) in the L&MDACBR at the age of 10 yrs during Holy Week in 2013. With an intensive teaching regime he quickly became competent at handling, raising and lowering and controlling a bell. He passed his Learning the Ropes - Level 1 – Bell Handling in 3 weeks.

Once he could ring rounds he would ask his Grandmother (herself a rounds and call changes ringer who had lapsed from ringing) to ferry him all over the locality to ring at local practices and services in local country churches. He quickly got to the stage where he was introducing local ringers to new skills. For example he (aged 11) taught ringers at other towers how to ring Mexican Wave.(Mexican Wave is a form of Kaleidoscope ringing included in Learning the Ropes - Level 2).

Sam rang his first quarter peal while he was still 10 years old, the treble to Grandsire Doubles at his home tower of Shirenewton. Once he had developed the rope sight to hunt the treble to methods he started to learn Plain Bob Doubles and to hunt the treble on 6 and 7bells.

Sam started attending the Monmouth Branch of the L&MDACBR monthly practices, a monthly eight bell practice and a second local tower where it is regular to ring spliced surprise Minor. His learning curve began to accelerate and he has rung four quarter peals, all firsts for him in the last 5 months.

Sunday, 12 July 2015 Newport (Cathedral Church of St Woolos), Newport, Treble to 1260 Plain Bob Minor

Thursday, 23 July 2015Mathern (St Tewdric), Monmouthshire1260 Bob Doubles inside

Friday, 16 October 2015Shirenewton (St Thomas a Becket), Monmouthshire1260 Grandsire Doubles inside

Thursday, 17 December 2015Mathern (St Tewdric), Monmouthshire1260 Plain Bob Minor inside

Thus completing his Level 5 – Learning the Ropes on the 17th December 2015 at the age of 12 years.

Sam, although only 12 years old, is already making a significant contribution to local ringing. He has, for over a year, attended services where rounds and call changes are rung and called the changes for them. He can now call 120 Plain Bob Doubles so can call a touch at a tower where there is no conductor. His striking and his sense of rhythm are sufficiently good that he is beginning to get asked to ring in quarter peals at local towers (for Christmas Services etc.).

Not only does he support towers which ring less than at his home tower Shirenewton but he also actively seeks out opportunities to develop his own ringing. (I just feel sorry for his long suffering Grandmother who has the task of driving him here and there at frequent intervals). Sam is also an active participant in the local youth ringing group Kids.Ring.Out.

Sam is a good-natured boy, who works hard and is always and polite. He is keen to learn. He is a very visual learner with a basic understanding of how Plain Bob works. After ringing his quarter peal of Plain Bob Minor, for example he was able to look at the Blue Line for Little Bob Minor and ring it immediately. Likewise, when Treble Bob Hunt was being explained he responded, “I think it would be easier for me to understand it if you just showed me the line!”. This understanding coupled with a good ropesight and his keenness to learn new things leads me, as his primary teacher, to believe that he is destined to go on learning fast. I have no doubt that he is going to make a genuine difference to ringing in our locality where many towers are willing to be assisted by a young boy! I also have no doubt that given good opportunities he will develop his ringing and his calling/conducting potential significantly as he gets older.

Thomas Monks

LtR+ ringing progress

Thomas Monks was in the first cohort of bellringers to be taught at All Saints’ Marsworth in Buckinghamshire under the Learning the Ropes scheme. This followed three ringers at the tower taking part in the Module 1 course in June 2013. Thomas was the first learner for one of the teachers, and he began his bell handling lessons in July 2013, aged 12. He was an enthusiastic and committed learner from the very start, attending at least two practices a week and in September 2013, was awarded his level 1. He was pleased to ring for Harvest Festival for his first Sunday Service ringing. Following this, he quickly progressed onto call changes and plain hunting and was awarded level 2 in November 2013. He rang his first quarter peal (treble to bob doubles) in December 2013, only 5 months after beginning learning to ring. This was a very special occasion for him as he was able to ring with both his mother and grandmother. The following month Thomas was keen to complete his level 3, so he travelled to a tower with a light ring of six so that he could ring the tenor to a quarter peal of doubles. His level 3 was awarded in February 2014.

Inspired by his quarter peals to date, Thomas was by now ringing quarter peals at every opportunity, and progressed to ringing methods inside. He made a teaching aid for Bob Doubles during this time (a piece of wood with lots of nails in it so coloured pieces of wool can be wound along to show the blue line) and this has been used by many learners at his tower since. He also made a wooden box for himself and other shorter learners to stand on! In June 2014, less than 11 months after beginning learning to ring, he rang his first quarter peal inside and was proud to achieve his level 4 award. Thomas then progressed to minor method ringing and rang inside to a quarter peal of Bob Minor in October 2014, completing his level 5 after 15 months of ringing, aged just 13. In March 2015 Thomas was awarded his LtR+ Doubles ringing and has since progressed to other doubles methods and more minor methods such as Kent Treble Bob, Single Court, Single Oxford, Double Oxford, St Clements and most recently touches of Cambridge. He has enjoyed ringing spliced minor touches and also enjoys conducting, frequently calling touches at practice nights, including a spliced touch of St Simons and St Martins doubles.

Service ringing and striking competitions

Thomas is a regular Sunday Service ringer at Marsworth and has also rung for other special events at his tower such as the biennial flower festival, celebrations for the Queen becoming the longest reigning monarch and for weddings. He has taken part in several striking competitions, being part of the winning team in the Luton District Striking Competition in April 2015 (ringing for Eaton Bray) and also representing the under 19s winning the Melville Cup at Elstow in September 2014.

Ringing outings

Since Thomas’ first ringing outing in November 2013 (an outing arranged especially for the new learners at Marsworth), he has really relished the challenge of ringing at other towers around the country. He has enjoyed many outings, including to Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Worcester, Oxford, Towcester, Cambridge and London – the highlight for him probably being a 12 bell outing to London with other young ringers. Despite Thomas’ home tower having just 6 bells, he regularly seeks opportunities to ring on higher numbers and can competently ring inside to plain major methods and plain hunt on 12. He keeps a record of all the towers he rings at (in his Dove which his great grandparents gave him as a christening present and on a spreadsheet) – over 70 already. He even went to ring for Sunday service at Cromer this year whilst on holiday there!

First Peal

Thomas’ eyes lit up when the prospect of ringing a peal as part of the First Peals 2015 scheme to mark the 300th Anniversary of the first recorded true peal was mentioned to him earlier this year. He jumped at the chance and scored his first peal at the first attempt on 2nd May 2015, ringing the treble to mixed minor methods on the bells at Flitton in Bedfordshire. This was a day before his 14th birthday, and the peal was extremely well struck and progressed without a hitch. Thomas celebrated with other young Bedfordshire ringers afterwards, some of whom had also scored their first peal that day. He is now very keen to ring more peals!

Young Ringers and Ringing World National Youth Contest

Thomas joined the Bedfordshire Association of bellringers in 2014 and began attending the monthly Young Ringers practices which he enjoys tremendously. He was delighted to be picked as one of the reserves for the Ringing World National Youth Contest Bedfordshire Team in July 2014, only a year after beginning learning to ring. He accompanied the squad to Worcester, where he enjoyed a day ringing at various towers in the city (including on the 12 bells at the Cathedral) and was thrilled that the Bedfordshire team were awarded the trophy for the 2nd time. In 2015, he was picked to ring in the Beds RWNYC team and again thrived on the whole experience, this time in Oxford. He was absolutely over the moon that his team were once again awarded first place and proudly displayed the trophy in his bedroom for some time! He has enjoyed the social aspects of ringing with other young people and is hoping to attend a short ringing holiday to the Tulloch Ringing Centre with some of them next summer.

A family tradition and quarter peal conductor

Thomas is extremely proud to be the fifth generation of bellringers in his family and likes nothing more than to ring with his immediate and extended family. He rang a quarter peal with his mum, uncle, aunt and grandparents to celebrate his great aunt’s 80th birthday and he also rang for his great grandmother’s funeral in 2014 at the church where his great grandfather used to ring. He was very touched to inherit his great grandfathers peal cards and ringing books, some of which date back to the 19th century. In October this year another chance arose to ring a quarter peal with his family, and Thomas decided it would be the perfect opportunity to conduct his first quarter peal of doubles – he called a 1260 of Bob Doubles. This was his second quarter peal as conductor, the first being a quarter peal of minimus a few weeks earlier. Maintaining and promoting the tradition of change ringing in his family is something that Thomas feels strongly about. He enjoys following the ringing activities of others in his family and has recently been encouraging and supporting his younger sister who has started to ring this year.

Quarter Peals

Whilst browsing through the Ringing World last year, Thomas spotted the list of people who had rung 50 or more quarter peals in 2014, and he decided he wanted to be on that list the following year. So once 2015 was underway, he set about ringing quarter peals at every opportunity, including being a very reliable treble ringer to the A-Z of plain minor methods with members of his own and other local towers. He has also rung the treble to a quarter peal of spliced Cambridge, Little and Plain Bob which kept him on his toes, as well as many inside. Thomas enjoys the challenge of learning new methods – he recently rang a quarter peal of a doubles variation Carol Doubles which he learned especially to ring for a Christmas carol service. In 2015 he has achieved his goal and rung 52 quarter peals and 1 peal, and has a lifetime total of 83 quarter peals and 1 peal.

I feel Thomas should be considered for these awards as he has made both a consistent contribution to his home tower and also in the wider ringing community. He has taken up a wide range of opportunities to develop his own ringing progress as well as to support others. He has been fortunate to have several local ringers (some of whom are ART accredited) who have inspired and encouraged Thomas, often ringing with him to enable him to achieve his goals, and taking him out to ring at other towers. Thomas is very happy to help less experienced ringers at his tower, supporting them by attending practices virtually every week, sometimes twice a week, and ringing at workshops (such as foundation skills, bob minor) designed to further the progress of other newer ringers. Thomas would one day like to teach others to ring, having thoroughly enjoyed the experience he has had through LtR, and also aspires to ring more peals. He also wishes to widen his ringing repertoire on 8, 10 and 12 bells and hopes to learn more plain and surprise minor methods in the near future.

Thomas has achieved all of this whilst juggling being a busy teenager, having recently starting his GCSEs and also being an active competitive swimmer five times a week – however he still makes time to make the most of every ringing opportunity he can. He thrives on the challenge of ringing, learning new methods, being part of a band, striving for good striking as well as finding bellringing a satisfying, sociable and fun activity.

Rosie Storrar

Rosie is a young mum with a one year old son and she also works in London for the Scouting Association. This means that she gets home quite late,has very little spare time to practice but she supports Sunday service ringing and comes to practice evenings whenever possible. Rosie had originally learned to ring as a child in Dorset, but this was mainly rounds and call changes.She could not raise or lower a bell, but had tried plain hunt a couple of times many years ago (and forgotten it). After getting married, moving to Marsworth and giving birth to her son,she heard our bells ringing and contacted us requesting to join the local band. We were delighted to meet her and immediately offered to enrol her on the LtR programme which we use in our tower. She began coming on the 19th April 2014.

Returning to ringing after such a long break meant we had a couple of style issues to work on, including teaching Rosie to ring up and down- something she had been quite nervous about. This was accomplished quite quickly in two individual sessions with a tied bell and Rosie soon adjusted to our bells which are much lighter than the tower where she learned. After that, we were astonished at Rosie's progress- she had only rung call changes before, but is a natural method ringer. We only had to show her the diagram for plain hunt once and explain the principle and she was able to do it spot on from the first attempt. likewise we emailed her a picture of plain bob doubles and she was able to ring plain courses (and then touches) perfectly within a couple of weeks. She passed her LtR L2 in July, her L3 in October, her L4 in November and completed her LS the following March (which would have been much sooner but we had difficulty arranging her quarter peals to fit around childcare commitments). All this progress in less than a year since returning to ringing happened despite Rosie only attending the occasional practice and studying methods at home when looking after her baby prevented her from coming to the tower. She uses methodology app to learn. We taught Rosie Treble Bob hunting in about 5 minutes, she got it right first time and proceeded to ring the treble to a well struck QP of Kent minor the following weekend. When Rosie is able to attend a practice, we show her the diagram of whichever method we are ringing, she looks at it for a few minutes and is usually able to ring it perfectly at a first attempt. This is not only doubles methods, but plain and treble dodging minor. Due to her childcare and work commitments, Rosie has not rung quarters in various methods, but is an extremely able ringer. She rings on Sundays and is always happy to turn up and help out whenever we run a special practice for learners, as well as for practices which benefit her personally. I was delighted to spot a quarter peal on bellboard this August - when Rosie was visiting her parents back in Dorset.She had obviously gone along to her local tower and ended up ringing in an 'all ladies' quarter peal of plain bob doubles to celebrate the centenary of the WI. It was wonderful to read the footnote that her mum was also in the band (ringing the treble) and that this was their first quarter peal together.

I have no doubt that Rosie is able to evolve into an exceptional ringer. She may not have accomplished lots of recorded ringing performances due to looking after her baby. and working such long hours but I would have absolute confidence that if we needed a ringer for a quarter peal of a doubles or plain minor method that Rosie had never rung, that she would learn it and be solid in the method without the need for much practice. On a significant Scouting Anniversary this year, I (half jokingly) said to Rosie that we should have rung a quarter peal of Baden Powell Treble Bob minor- and showed her the diagram on my phone. She glanced at it and said 'I could learn that'.....

I expect that as her son gets older and she has the time to come to the tower more, she will achieve great things with her ringing. We will support her all we can with developing her ringing.

Anne Toussaint

Anne Tousssaint joined the Ledbury bellringers in August 2011.She had learned to handle a bell in a call-changes band as a teenager, but then managed to avoid ringing for several decades. Having returned to ringing she was determined to make up for lost time and regularly attended 3 or more practices per week in the Ledbury area. She has a splendid facility to learn methods and obviously completes a lot of theory work at home.

Having mastered ringing simple methods quickly during 2012 Anne quickly moved into ringing touches and then quarter peals (first quarter in May 2013). Since then she has rung 39 quarter peals and a peal in more than a dozen different towers.She has extended her repertoire of methods considerably by asking for and accepting advice from her tutors about what to learn and then seeking out practices where she can try them.She regularly rings several plain minor and three surprise minor methods, doubles variations and Stedman Triples and hopes to extend into Major during next year.

Anne has taken over the role of secretary in her home tower and has taken a very active role in publicising ringing to the local community, having involved local radio and the local press in alerting the town to any ringing for special occasions.

It is particularly pleasing that many of her recent quarter peals have been in a supporting role for newer learners ringing their first ones, as she is now considered one of our most reliable ringers with very few method mistakes.She is also most helpful to learners by being able to stand by someone and give just the right amount of help quickly and kindly. In this she has the making of a teacher and I will be considering suggesting that she trains as a teacher next year.

She is probably going to be elected onto the committee of her district of the Hereford Diocesan Guild at the next AGM.

Neil Toussaint

Neil Toussaint of St Michaels and All Angels, Ledbury started ringing on 1 January 2012 together with Anne his wife, having been enticed to learn to ring when guests at a wedding at Ledbury Church. Neil learnt as part of a group of new ringers being taught by a group of Ledbury District Ringers who had been on ART Module 1 and 2 courses during 2011 and 2012. Initially the training was a 1½ hrs session each evening for a week followed by a 1½ hr session once a week on tied bells and a simulator.

Neil quickly moved on to ringing open on his home tower of Ledbury, frequently visiting other towers in the district for extra practice. Neil's work often takes him away from home, instead of this slowing down any progress by missing practices; Neil started visiting other towers wherever his work had taken him in the country including Dorset, Liverpool and London.

Neil has recently achieved LtR level 5 and is progressing at a rapid rate through LtR+ with a total of 46 quarter peals, 5 peals and 2 special length touches recorded on Bell Board to date.

Neil started in 2012 as a completely new ringer;he steadily progressed through call changes and plain hunt, ringing his first quarter in December of that year having been asked to step in at ½hr notice to cover for mixed doubles prior to a Christingle Service.Neil rang a further 6 quarters in 2013 including first on treble to doubles and treble to minor. Learning Bob Doubles was going well and in March 2014 he rang his first quarter inside, followed two weeks later by a quarter inside to Bob Minor. In August of 2014 Neil rang his first peal on the tenor to doubles, at Eastnor. Neil achieved his first quarter on 8 in November 2014, covering to Grandsire Triples in his home tower, Ledbury with a 22cwt tenor.

2015 has seen Neil progress further with ringing 33 quarter peals throughout the year, including his first inside on 8 to Grandsire Triples. Recently Neil was involved in a peal attempt at Leominster ringing the tenor with the bells half muffled for Remembrance, which would have been his first on 10 unfortunately due to 2 bells swapping over it didn't come round at the end. Neil has now achieved his first quarter on 10, covering to Grandsire Caters at Malvern Link.

Neil is keen to support all District activities and is often found up in towers helping with maintenance, fitting muffles and clapper ties for our regular monthly practices. Neil had realised during his training how important extended practices/quarters are to enable ringers to progress and so took on the role of District Extended Practice/Quarter Organiser and has organised at least 30 such events throughout the Ledbury District encouraging and enabling other newer learners to gain their first quarter peals. Additionally this year Neil has taken on role of steeple keeper at Ledbury tower.

Neil has not only learnt and rung a lot over the last 4 years but he has given back so much to the towers of our District and surrounding area. His commitment and enthusiasm encourages others to progress and his support to ringing through the district has kept our bells ringing for events/practices where otherwise the bells may have fallen silent

Neil's progress to date and the rate at which he is achieving different goals is testament to his continued to commitment to ringing. He continues to put his name forward for quarter peal and peal attempts.

I n 2016 the Ledbury District are planning on ringing a quarter peal in all 8 towers in the District in one day. Neil has put his name down to ring in every tower, with a hope that he will achieve 8 quarter peals in one day on a mixture of 6 bells, 8 bells and one on 10 bells at Colwall.

I am proud to have helped with Neil's teaching, he is a pleasure to ring with and a brilliant support to me as tower captain at Ledbury. I wish Neil every success in his future ringing ventures and with this award.

Albert Williams

Albert learned to ring as part of the Warwick school group in 2012 aged 11. His local tower had little change ringing experience so almost all his change ringing practice was as part of the group – a couple of goes with others at the after school club. His competence was such that he soon overtook others and became more of a helper than a learner.

Almost all his change ringing has been his quarter peals and these have been rung almost completely without error.His first opportunity to ring any changes on eight was in June 2015 when he trebled to 1260 Grandsire Triples – rung exceptionally well and with no opportunity to practice! He has rung 10 quarter peals including treble to TB minor. In 2015 he rang his first peal – Bob Minor inside. His ability to grasp methods is superb – on one occasion he was given Stedman Doubles to look at whilst sitting out and then proceeded to ring a course immediately afterwards – without difficulty.

Albert needs little coaching to achieve and his ability to pick up methods is excellent. Unfortunately due to where he lives there are no opportunities to advance,and he is also a keen an competent sportsman and had a great deal of study to achieve so he has no opportunity to advance or practice anything at his level this stage.


Clare McArdle Collects Young Conductor of the Year Certificate for Rose Horton


Highly Commended Young Conductor of the Year - Thomas Monks


Thomas Monks receives his LtR+ Outstanding Progress Award


Highly Commended Outstanding Progress Award - Bob Deeley


Highly Commended Outstanding Progress Award - Sam Bolingbrooke


Learning the Ropes Level 5 Achiever of the Year - Thomas Monks & Rose Horton (represented by Claire McArdle)