Learning The Ropes: Contribution Award

Runner Up: Wendy Archibald

Wendy has made extraordinary progress both at local tower level and then at Association level in the short time she has been involved with ringing.

She was put in touch with Barnes (SW London, at the very northern end of the Surrey Association and close to several Middlesex towers) after hearing about the Ringing Remembers recruitment campaign on the radio. She came for a visit and training followed almost immediately in August 2018. She was on school holiday from her job as a Deputy Head Teacher, so we were able to offer several lessons each week. From the start she was hugely enthusiastic, loved the learning process and made every effort to perfect her handling as quickly as possible.

Wendy had rung 8 quarter peals on the tenor or treble and had been working towards ringing inside to method just as Covid hit in March 2020, halting all expected progress in the tower. Undaunted by this, she quickly took part in all learning opportunities offered online, both by joining ringing groups for both tower and hand bells and by attending theory and other courses offered by the Surrey and Middlesex Associations. She put in a huge amount of time with individual learning at home and was determined that the time away from the tower should not delay her progress. As a result, she came out of the lockdowns with confidence and with the feeling that the online learning had given her additional understanding of method ringing, as well as an opportunity to network with ringers outside her own tower and area. She had never rung handbells before lockdown and this too gave her additional understanding of method ringing. Once tower ringing resumed, she was immediately able to ring inside to quarters of Grandsire and Plain Bob Doubles. To date (by the end of 2022) she has rung one peal and 53 quarter peals on tower bells as well as 6 handbell quarters (4 on Ringing Room).

As a teacher, Wendy appreciated the goals and targets set by the ART LtR scheme and was always enjoyed working towards the next level. She was open to advice as to where she could best gain additional experience and has always been prepared to travel to other towers where the practice was at an appropriate level for her stage of learning. Her gregarious character made it easy for her to get to know other ringers and to fit in easily.

Wendy has always taken advice from her tutors and other experienced ringers seriously. Apart from local training opportunities, Wendy has been motivated to attend residential courses and has been on both the Bradfield Course and the North West Ringing Course. She is also keen to support less advanced ringers by attending practices as a helper.

From the start Wendy became an active member of our band, always willing to accept responsibility. She helped with administration (taking minutes at our AGM etc), helped run the church coffee shop when it was the turn of the bellringers and assisted with organising outings.

She was also anxious to learn about ringing in the local area and was happy to travel to other towers. As soon as she became sufficiently competent, she became a regular supporter of the Sunday service ringing at Chiswick after our own ringing and will do the same for other towers if the timing permits.

As a member of the Surrey Association, Wendy took a keen interest in its activities and accepted the invitation to become a ‘trainee’ member, and then shortly after a full member, of the Northern District Committee. This led to her being invited to join the Association’s Training Committee where her suggestions as someone who had recently learned to ring are proving extremely valuable. I am sure she will take further responsibility at Association level in the future.

Before long it became apparent that her administrative skills would make her perfect Tower Captain material, and she accepted the role of Deputy Captain in Barnes for a year in 2021 to prepare her to take over as Captain in February 2022 (on the day she rang her first peal!) with support for ringing training from others.

Not only has she fulfilled the role of Tower Captain with ease, undertaking the administrative side with huge efficiency and enthusiasm, but this has also spurred her on to progress her own ringing skills as quickly as possible. Alongside her responsibilities of running the tower, she has achieved LtR Level 5, rung a further 31 quarter peals, including inside to Cambridge Minor and treble to Cambridge Major. As well as organising the local Saturday ‘improvers’ practice and liaising for Service ringing, she assumed the additional responsibility for arranging ringers for our weekly quarter peal attempt, which ranges from doubles to spliced surprise, drawing in ringers and conductors from the wider area. She has been undaunted in taking advice and learning from others how to run the higher-level practice following the quarter peal which is frequently attended by ringers with many decades more experience!

I believe Wendy has immersed herself not just in the bellringing itself, but has become involved in, and contributed to, all the wider aspects of ‘the exercise’ in an extremely short time and will be a great asset locally and on a wider scale in the future. I believe she would be a worthy recipient of an ART Award.

Sponsored by the Ancient Society of College Youths


Winner: Darren Swancott

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

Nominated by: Trisha Hawkins