The Nottingham University Society of Change Ringers (NUSCR) Tower (All Saints) is a short distance from the city centre, where there are also two city centre towers (St Mary’s and St Peter’s) that are run by NUSCR alumni and attended by current students.
This year the Society has been heavily involved with St Peter’s, supporting them at their practice nights and Sunday service ringing, as the society tower is currently unringable and the student practice has been held at St Peter’s.
The society practice every Tuesday, teaching around 3 new people to ring a year. They head to the pub afterwards and are often joined by NUSCR alumni. Socials and other events and outings are held regularly throughout the term, such as a Freshers Tour outing, Summer Tour, handbells and non-ringing events like crazy golf.
Since 1958, NUSCR have had consistent attendance and are very close with the alumni. They currently have around 20 students after a few good years of recruitment. Despite not having their own society tower this year they have maintained a very high attendance on a practice night, this number normally being 15-20 and is supported by recent graduates. While also holding practice nights at St Peter’s this year they have begun fundraising and working at All Saints to get the bells ringing again. They have been very lucky to have help from alumni, some of whom have a link with Taylor’s bell foundry who have helped with the work: it has been a very educational and interesting experience for current students to see and help with this process.
Many current students also ring regularly at Beeston, a nearby ring of 10 with a simulator, and this link has been an opportunity to set up extra practices for learners. There has also been the chance to ring for weddings with an entirely student band which is beneficial to the community and the church but also has provided many of the ringers with new experience.
This year has been really tough for NUSCR after All Saints bells became unringable in April, but despite this they have continued to recruit new members as well as keep the retainment rate high and most importantly, keep having fun!
The NUSCR continue to have a stall at the Fresher’s Fair each year, and this year they have continued to recruit good numbers of students.
They are very proud of how the society has worked together this year to complete the work at All Saints. This work has included: a thorough clean of the belfry and the ringing chamber; deconstruction of a rotted ceiling; the erection of scaffolding upon the bell frame; construction of a new sound proofing ceiling. This has all been down to the volunteer hours put in by alumni and current students alike, the total number of volunteer hours now being above 550.
In the fundraising efforts this year, they created a Fundraising secretary position on the committee, which has led to the organisation of some amazing events for ringers and non-ringers alike. These have included a NUSCR Ceilidh, a Silent Auction and a £5 challenge: local ringers, ringers from other Universities such as York, local people from Beeston as well as non-ringing friends and families all came along to support. The ceilidh and the auction raised over £1000 each, as well as proving to be fun activities for students and locals alike.
Other activities throughout the year have included a Summer Tour, which saw about 20 NUSCR and 3 BUSCR students heading down to Oxford for a few days; this is a highlight of the year for all. There has also been a Halloween social, Freshers tour and many more activities.
The link with the Beeston ringers has proved very constructive this year as regular learners’ practices on the simulator have been arranged. There are plans to continue these, as well as to set up a new practice where current students can practice teaching other people to ring. This year there has also been a conducting course held on the simulator at Beeston that several current students attended.
NUSCR are active on Facebook both on a NUSCR Current page as well as a ‘NUSCR Global’ group where they continue to connect with alumni and keep everyone updated on the progress of the tower work. This is important as many of these alumni have donated money or given volunteer hours to help to get to where the project is now!
NUSCR have also continued to ring peals and quarter peals this year, with 3 students scoring their first quarter for NUSCR. One of the current students and 7 NUSCR alumni have also recently rung 9 quarter peals in a day.
This year all students have continued to progress their ringing, be it method wise, handling or conducting. They have continued to grow as a group, and are continually amazed by the hard work and love that everyone puts into this society and welcoming new members to their family.
Once the NUSCR are back ringing at All Saints’ again, there will be a brand-new ringing chamber and the hope is to continue to expand and improve the Society. They hope to have more advanced technology both in the ringing room and the belfry to aid the teaching and understanding of ringing.
The plan to set up a teaching group both for learners and those wishing to learn how to teach will hopefully be implemented in the New Year.
There is also a plan to implement a screen with a live feed into the church for when there is wedding ringing and a screen that shows into the belfry to enable new ringers to be able to see what is happening upstairs.
Cambridge University Guild of Change Ringers