Nottingham District Report 2016

This year we were very pleased to have welcomed 13 new members to the District, taking total membership to 159, overall a small increase over 2015. In recognition of his many years of service in several roles at District and Guild level, Honorary Life Membership was conferred on Peter Hawcock of St Mary’s, Nottingham within the year – our congratulations and thanks go to Peter.

Unfortunately, we have to report that two ringers within our District have passed away this year: Robert (Bob) Metcalfe who rang at St Mary’s in Nottingham and within the South Notts District, died on 27 August; and William (Bill) Titmuss of Trowell died aged 75 on 31 August.

Regular ringing in towers across the District has seen a slight increase over last year. With assistance from nearby towers, Stapleford has managed to increase its number of practices and is now, again, ringing for Sunday service, albeit, once a month. Sadly Lenton, having recently become ringable again, has a problem with the timbers in the tower floors and ringing has once again been suspended. The remaining towers continue with their existing routines of ringing, with slightly increased frequency at one or two. Eight of our bands are teaching new and returning ringers, which gives a positive outlook for the future. Of note is Bulwell’s new intake of six, who all came in as a result of the Heritage Open Day advertising.

Quarter Peals have been popular this year with eight members ringing their first and several others achieving personal milestones. The now regular monthly Saturday afternoon attempts at Basford have given the opportunity for ringers to ring something they cannot normally do in their own tower; we are looking to continue this in 2017 – thanks go to the organisers and to those supporting this initiative. Across the district, 146 quarter peals (including handbell quarters) have been rung, many for services. These have helped to stretch and improve ringing across the District.

There were 23 District events held, with 93 District members attending at least one event, an increase from last year. These have been aided by 23 ringers from elsewhere in the Guild and 15 from further afield.

Most events have been very well attended with an average attendance of 18 and peak attendance of over 30 at some meetings. On the downside, a Surprise Minor practice was cancelled on the night due to lack of ringers and the Teapot meeting had only six present. The events organised over the year were of many different forms, with the aim of catering for different ringers. They included events held on Saturday afternoons, practices in the daytime on weekdays, surprise minor practices, striking competitions and visits to tower practice nights. Events organised outside of the District included a very enjoyable evening’s ringing at the recently rehung bells at Ilkeston and outings to the Willoughby/Barrow area and around Polesworth were well attended (but very wet at Polesworth Abbey). Two “young ringers” events were planned but the District did not have the numbers for these to go ahead without supplementing with other members – the District Officers welcome the decision taken at the Guild Half Yearly meeting to look at doing something in this area at Guild level.

Ringing has ranged from rounds and call changes to Surprise Maximus. It is hoped that everyone has rung something they like when attending meetings and it has been heartening to see so much support provided each time we have met.

The Crawford Cup heat, at West Bridgford, attracted eight teams from seven towers. Bramcote took the call change title while All Saints’ and St Peter’s went through to join the Beeston team in the final. Well done to all those who took part, particularly those for whom it was their first competition ringing. All three District bands rang well in the final, with Beeston retaining the cup once more.

The District arranged an ITTS level 1 course for new and established tutors from across the Guild and beyond. The course was held at Attenborough with the attendees having a full, informative and enjoyable day, hearing about and practising the skill of teaching bell handling

The District enjoyed hosting the Guild Half Yearly meeting in November and had positive feedback from the activities, ringing at Beeston and evening social. The demonstrations of teaching on the “Wombel” erected in the church and the simulator attached to the bells provoked much discussion and it feels like this could be a something to pursue in the future.

Although the above presents a generally rosy picture of ringing within the District, the District Committee feel that, perhaps, too many events were organised within the year leading to the organisers and supporters being spread too thin at times. The Committee will remember this when looking at the calendar for 2017, and would encourage input from the District’s members as to what events they feel are most beneficial for them and their tower.

Thanks must go to a number of people that made all of the events happen: to all the churches and clergy for their support; to the members of the Committee for their organisation; to the members and ringers from further afield for making the events worthwhile; and to all those engaged in assisting with teaching and the development of ringers within the District’s towers.

Nottingham District Committee