Learning The Ropes: Contribution Award

Runner Up: Tilly Cooper

When Tilly started lessons with me in November 2014 she commented that she probably wouldn’t manage to learn as her coordination wasn’t very good. She has proved herself wrong.

She progressed steadily: passing LtR Level 1 in May 2015; Level 2 in January 2016; Level 3 in November 2018; Level 4 in March 2018; and Level 5 in November 2022. The gap in ringing being due to the Covid Outbreak. From the time she was able to handle a bell she has been very self-motivated to progress against the odds as experienced method ringers are few and far between in our area. Our local band is now able to ring plain courses of Plain Bob Doubles, partly due to Tilly being part of the band, and is progressing to touches. Tilly has been a regular Sunday service ringer at all four of the churches in our group and supports ringing for other occasions as well.

In order to develop her ringing, Tilly took herself off to other practices (she is currently going ringing four nights a week, including to an 8-bell tower; and regularly doing a 30+ mile round trip), joined a local group (SAGOR) which rings at two different towers once a month, joined the Ladies Guild, and attended both the Bradfield and Hereford Ringing Courses.

She gives back in many ways. In Tilly 2022 was a helper at the Bradfield Ringing Course, she has taken on being Tower Correspondent for Barford St Martin; and was part of the team fundraising for the restoration for those bells which was completed in 2021. She is currently Ringing Master for the Southern District of the Ladies Guild and has been actively organising Training Courses and Quarter peals for the members as well as recruiting new members. She ably runs local ringing practices when asked to and has assembled a band of people to ring Quarter Peals, which she organises on a monthly basis with a focus on giving them opportunities as well as herself. Her attendance at four practices a week is both to improve her ringing, and to give others opportunities now that she is a strong member of a method band, or a steady treble or tenor. She actively seeks out advice, support and feedback to improve her ringing and has followed suggestions made (‘keep your backstrokes in’ being one of them!) She will even be pushed out of her comfort zone fairly readily if she trusts the person who has suggested it. You will note that she completed LtR Level 4 before she completed Level 3. She has used a variety of people as teachers and mentors, and to date she has rung 23 quarter peals of doubles or minor.

She does her homework and sets herself goals and these include helping other people to reach goals too.

I am proud of Tilly because her progression has largely been down to her own drive and hard work. Having started to learn in her mid 50’s, she is her own success. She is keen to give back where she can and was delighted to be able to be a helper on the Bradfield Ringing course this year, a mark to her of her own progress and a desire to help others progress too.

Sponsored by the Ancient Society of College Youths

Winner: Darren Swancott

Runners Up: Wendy Archibald, Tilly Cooper, Katie Havenhand and Cathy Neyland

Nominated by: Vicki Rowse