A surprise present

Last November Tim Hine, our contact in North Staffs, heard the following through ART

Good evening Tim. My husband has shown an interest in bell ringing and I wondered if there was a course that I could enrol him on as a Christmas present and would be interested to know where, when and how much? Many thanks – Rebecca.

Tim continues the story. 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. What did Alex think? Read on …

My wife had long heard my wish to start, but I had never investigated how to. Then, without notice last Christmas 2016, I received a plain envelope as a gift. On opening it, I found an invitation from David Simpson at St. Michael’s, Stone, to make contact and discuss my desire to learn. My wife found bell ringers in the area from the internet. I called David and we discussed my previous experience, which was just chiming at Holy Michael’s, Aston by Stone and my understanding of bell ringing was nil.

Alex had a private lesson. He was much appreciative of the senior ringers’ free time. As Alex went through the stages of learning David noted that he was keenly interested in the bells: for example Alex did the “tying off” the clapper himself. After some visits Alex was finally OK to take both strokes, and join the regular evenings.

Well I must say that ringing is quite complicated, but achievable with practice and the considerable help. At first, I took a rope as the sole ringer, again with a member close by. Finally, when David felt I was ready, I joined supervised, in rounds. Later I was just watched over and then I was ‘left’ alone. In June I rang Call Changes (when the bell sequence is changed) which I understand on paper, but find to hard execute.

I had thought that ringing was quite simple and just a matter of pulling the rope. My experience has proved to be very much more than that. Not only is it understanding the art of bell ringing, but it is a great social event, with a great set of members and also a brain teaser in following the correct sequence of bells. Recently I attended a Call Change evening at St. Peter’s, Caverswall, which proved the social side and offered a session with different bells.

If you are not sure if you should start, then please take my experience as advice and do start. Remember nothing ventured nothing gained. It is great!

Tim Hine, North Staffs

What's next?

» Return to the recruitment and retention home page