Site last updated 3 August 2020

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Welcome

The Shropshire Association covers the towers in the Salop Archdeaconry of the Lichfield Diocese, and is roughly the area north of the River Severn, from near Wolverhampton in the southeast to Selattyn in the northwest. The rest of Shropshire is in the Hereford Diocese.

If you would like to know more about bellringing click here www.cccbr.org.uk/bellringing/what-is-bell-ringing/.

If you like to learn to ring please contact our secretary [ ], or go along to a tower near you on a practice night.

Information about the towers in the Association, practice nights and Association events, and much else, can be found by following the links on the left or below.

Next Association events:

8 August - 8 bell Practice, 7:00pm to 8:30pm, using Zoom and Ringing Room
5 September - Introduction to Conducting, 7:00pm to 8:30pm, using Zoom and Ringing Room,

Beginners' Practice

Eleven ringers, including Edric from Somerset, took part in the Beginners’ Practice held using Zoom and RingingRoom. The ringing was directed by Matt Lawrence, and included Mexican Wave, Call Changes, Plain Hunt Doubles, Plain Bob Doubles, and an attempt at Grandsire Triples.

Thanks to Matt for organising the practice

The next Association practice will be an 8-bell practice on Saturday 8th August, from 7pm to 8:30pm. More details can be found below. Please contact Matt [ ] if you would like to participate.

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August Practices

August virtual practices

Please note that the link in the above graphic will not work. Use this link [ ] instead.

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Judy Fox

Some of you may have heard the sad news about Judy Fox from Shifnal, which has regrettably been front page news. What you may not know, however, is that Judy was one of our happy band of bell ringers at Newport, recruited from a tower open day in early 2019.

Judy was enthusiastic from the start and put in the hours to learn bell handling and rounds, so that she could go on to join us for Sunday Service ringing. Judy was always jolly and very much enjoyed all aspects of ringing, from practice night to visiting other towers and she was especially great fun at the Christmas meal, which will be remembered fondly.

Judy had lived in Shifnal for some time but had decided it was time for change. She had considered moving to Newport, as she liked the sense of community and thought it would be convenient. However, having secured a sale during lockdown, she had an offer accepted on a house in Finchfield near friends. Judy was very positive about this new chapter of her life and excited for its potential; she even spoke about the possibility of ringing at Albrighton.

The sad news of her death in June, which so tragically robbed Judy of this new start, came as a terrible shock to us all and sadly, the revelations of the ongoing investigation and events, has left little time for reflection. Though this tragic case is by no means closed, for us, Judy’s friendship was all too brief and she will be sadly and greatly missed.

Ian Baker
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Service Ringing at Oswestry Returns

Sunday morning services have now resumed at St Oswald’s, Oswestry, and the bell ringers are back as well. Hurrah! I would say that, wouldn’t I, but the truth is that the English style of change-ringing that we practise has been a part of our soundscape for hundreds of years. The ringing of the bells each Sunday and at times of national celebration and sorrow is as much a part of life as fish ‘n chips, cricket, warm beer – you name it.

Anyone who has visited this tower might be able to picture the ringing room. Having one person on every bell rope isn’t possible as some of them are too close together, so we rang just four bells last Sunday - two of the ringers were teenagers. We do have some from the same households and think that we can, in future, manage to ring up to six of the eight bells whilst still maintaining social distancing.

All of this is, of course, with the approval of the vicar and the PCC. We drew up a risk assessment – actually, more a 22 bullet-point list of do’s and don’ts. They’re all fairly straightforward, but we made it this detailed with the aim of giving readers confidence that we’d thought everything through.

We’ve been keeping in touch with each other in recent weeks by meeting for ‘virtual’ practices, using Ringing Room and Zoom simultaneously. Ringing has included rounds & call changes on 10 and Plain Bob Major (well, the first two leads went OK!). We’ve even been joined by a ringer in Connecticut, USA, for these sessions.

Peter Woollam
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YouTube Competition - June Winner, July Theme

The June competition was for the most unusual or interesting ringing video, and the June winner is Tim Handbell Robot by Tim Hart

The July competition is for the best striking on 8 bells or more.

The Central Council's competition for YouTube videos of ringing will run until Christmas 2020. Details can be found here https://cccbr.org.uk/youtube-competition/. The monthly winners will also be listed on that page.

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Central Council Guidance for Returning to Ringing - 11 July 2020

On 11 July 2020 the Central Council issued updated guidance on starting to ring again at churches in England. This guidance can be found here https://cccbr.org.uk/coronavirus/.

Ringing must only start again with the permission of the incumbent, and after safety and maintenance checks have been carried out.

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July Association Practice

On Saturday evening, twelve ringers from across the Association joined Matt Lawrence for a practice, using Zoom and Ringing Room. The ringing included Plain Bob Doubles, Minor and Triples and Grandsire Triples. The evening ended with a triumphant course of Plain Hunt on eleven. Some of the ringers had not used Ringing Room before. Thanks are due to Matt for leading the ringing so ably and making the evening such fun.

Vicki Sivess
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ChampingTM - a 20% Discount

Champing Offer

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Latest Guidance About Ringing

The following statement was issued by Simon Linford, President of the CCCBR, on Friday 3rd July 2020.

We had a further update from the Church of England Recovery Group last night that Public Health England (PHE) now wants to issue specific guidance about bell ringing but they will not be able to publish it until next week. They expect it to be based on what we have produced. Although the Church has published guidance, which we shared, they are understandably nervous about ringing this weekend in advance of PHE publication, especially if it gets into the press.

We had a conference call with Brendan McCarthy and Mark Betson of the Recovery Group this morning and whilst they stressed that anything published is guidance not instruction, they would really appreciate us waiting to restart ringing until after the PHE guidance is published. Given this is a new relationship that could be very important to us, we do not want to rock this boat for the sake of a week and some disappointment.

In the meantime, we have accumulated all of the questions we have received from ringers on the current guidance into a set of FAQs which we have publish on the [Central Council] website. This will include such things as why the guidance is still 2m rather than 1m, and whether family members can ring on adjacent bells. That can be found here: https://cccbr.org.uk/frequently-asked-questions-on-covid-19-guidance/

We are studying the Scottish, Welsh and Irish guidance but in all cases church opening appears to be on a slower timetable than the Church of England.

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June Quarterly Newsletter

The Newsletter can be read and downloaded here.

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Reopening of Churches - 4 July

The Church of England has published its guidance on opening church buildings from 4th July.

Can church bells be rung? Yes, provided that guidance agreed between the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers and the Church of England is followed.

Please ensure you have read the guidance at www.cccbr.org.uk/coronavirus/, and undertaken the ringing risk assessment at www.cccbr.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/1-CCCBR-SMWG-Ringing-risk-assessment-post-Covid-15-June-2020.pdf.

Ringing must only start again with the permission of the incumbent, and after safety and maintenance checks have been carried out.

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Returning To Service Ringing

An update on the ringing situation has been published at www.cccbr.org.uk/2020/06/25/returning-to-service-ringing/

Central Council Guidance Notes about safely returning to ringing can be found at www.cccbr.org.uk/coronavirus/

Ringing must only start again with the permission of the incumbent, and after safety and maintenance checks have been carried out.

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YouTube Competition - June

The Central Council's competition for YouTube videos of ringing will run until Christmas 2020. Details can be found here https://cccbr.org.uk/youtube-competition/. The monthly winners are also listed on that page.

The June competition is for the most unusual or interesting ringing video. There is plenty of scope here to bring interesting things to the attention of fellow ringers. It might be ringing at a particularly unusual tower, an amazing handbell performance, a talk on an aspect of ringing, or something that few will have seen.

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June Association Quiz

This was organised by Vicki Sivess, the Association’s Social Secretary, and made use of the Association’s Zoom subscription. Six teams participated, representing Atcham, Lilleshall, Newport, Oswestry, Shifnal, and Shrewsbury. Vicki set breakout rooms for each team so that they could confer about their answers, while Vicki was able to broadcast the questions to all the teams. The questions covered Science & Technology, Sport, Geography, Entertainment, Bellringing history, and History. Shifnal and Shrewsbury were the joint winners. Congratulations to them and to all who took part, and thanks to Vicki for organising this event.

The next Association event, due to take place on Saturday 13th June, is an Introduction to Virtual Ringing. Please Matt Lawrence if you would like to take part.

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Index of YouTube Videos

The Central Council has put together a list of training webinars and videos which have been recorded and posted on YouTube.

https://cccbr.org.uk/youtube-index/

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Zooming With SACBR

The Shropshire Association has taken out a subscription to the Zoom video conferencing app.
If your tower would like to use the app for a get-together please contact Matt Lawrence [] who will email you the necessary login details.

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Ringing And COVID-19 - The Risks

On 11 May the Central Council issued two further documents about ringing and COVID-19.

A summary of the current guidance from the Church of England and Central Council advice on reducing COVID-19 risk in towers and be found here

Dr Phillip Barnes and Dr Andrew Kelso have written a document about the risks of COVID-19 and ringing, and what we might do about them. This document can be found here.

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Some Notes on Using Zoom

Shaun Greenfield, the Association's PRO, has put together some useful information about how to use Zoom video calling.
Click here to view and download the PDF.

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Central Council Covid-19 Position Statement

On 5 May 2020 the Central Council Executive issued the following position statement regarding Covid-19 and ringing.

It is expected that the UK Government will announce plans for a gentle easing of the current lockdown on Sunday May 10th and ringers have already been asking if that means they may return to ringing as normal. The key consideration at all times must be the safety of individual ringers, others with whom they ring and those with whom they live or may come into contact.

We do not know what the Government will propose but it is clear that, as lockdown is gradually eased, the re-opening of sections of the economy will be a priority and major restrictions on the activities of all of us will remain in place for a significant period. Government and public health teams working with others will be maintaining a very close watch on new cases and hospitalization of people with COVID-19. Ways of tracking of where such patients have been and tracing of all of their contacts will be key. All of this will take time to put in place.

The Central Council’s guidance to ringers is that currently it is too early for any return to ringing and that the current suspension of all ringing of any kind should remain in place. This includes chiming of single bells and the use of Ellacombe chimes. We will be sharing this guidance with the Church of England and ringing societies and where possible with other bell owning organisations.

Over recent weeks Dr Phillip Barnes, a recently retired NHS Consultant and Medical Director as well as a member of the CC Executive, has been reviewing the emerging scientific and medical evidence about COVID-19 and what it means for the safety of ringing. The key issues which affect the safety of ringing are the physical environment of towers including access to ringing rooms, the space between ropes, how to maintain hand hygiene in towers and the numbers of people in a restricted space for a relatively long period of time. Even if churches reopen, the environment in towers is very different.

This evidence review is being published online this week via the Central Council website and an article will appear in next week’s edition of The Ringing World. Guidance on how it might be possible to restart ringing and what restrictions and precautions would be needed to do so are an integral part of this work.

The evidence and guidance will be reviewed formally at least monthly as well as in the light of any significant developments. We are all as keen as anyone to get back to ringing as soon as possible, but that must only occur when it is completely safe to do so.

SIMON LINFORD
Dr PHILLIP BARNES
For and on behalf of the CC Executive.
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YouTube Competition

The Ringing World of 1 May 2020 sees the launch of a competition for YouTube videos of ringing, that will run until Christmas 2020. Details can be found here https://cccbr.org.uk/youtube-competition/, where there is also a link to a YouTube video on how to make a YouTube ringing video!

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A Quiz With Bells

  1. This amateur sleuth had an appealing case to solve though it proved a death knell for one character.
    Who is the sleuth?
  2. What did the Stepney bells want to know?
  3. “Clash, clang, hammer, ding, dong, bell. Bell, dong, ding, hammer, clang, clash!”
    Who rejoiced to hear these bells?
  4. There are no weddings for these brides. They warn of danger from the sea.
    What is the title of the poem?
  5. Monday 30th May 1664. “ lay long, the bells ringing, it being holiday, and then up and all the day long in my study at home studying of shipmaking with great content till the evening…”
    Whose diary is this?
  6. Who prevented the curfew bell from ringing, and why, in this poem?
  7. “Ringing is an addiction from which few escape once they have ventured into the small fortress-like room beneath the bells, and the sally leaps to life against the palm of the hand like an animal. There begins a lifetime of concentration, of perfect striking and a co-ordination of body and mind so destructive to anxieties and worries that one wonders why campanology isn’t high on the therapy list”
    Which Suffolk village harbours these dedicated ringers?
  8. “Ring out the old, ring in the new,
    Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
    The year is going, let him go;
    Ring out the false, ring in the true.”
    What is the title of this poem and who does it commemorate?
  9. “In summertime on Bredon
    The bells they sound so clear;
    Round both the shires they ring them
    In steeples far and near,
    A happy noise to hear”
    Which shire is home to the lad listening to these bells?
  10. “They went and told the sexton, and the sexton tolled the bell”
    Who was the bell tolling for?

The answers to this quiz can be found here

Jad Bienek
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Practising At Home

One of the more recent innovations in ringing is the ability to learn and practise from home using computer software. Practise and learning at home is known to accelerate progress.

There are some great computer programmes that can be purchased and downloaded on-line (such as Abel, Virtual Belfry or Beltower), with which we can practise some of the methods we learn and develop our listening skills– all with a perfect band around us! Wouldn’t it be great if, when the time comes, we were able to get back to ringing better trained and informed than before?

There is a handy page of resources on the Association of Ringing Teachers website about practising on a simulator at home. This can be found by following this link.

There is also a number of Apps available for mobile phones and tablets. A couple of the most popular examples are:
Mobel - a ringing simulator for the Apple iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, is available from Apple's App Store. If you choose the tower bells option, Mobel displays pictures of sallies and tail ends, uses tower bell sound, and rings at tower bell speed.
Methodology - a simulator that works on Android phones and is free to download. In the ‘interactive mode’ your selected bell appears at the bottom of the screen. To ring the bell, tap the dark blue rectangle. This doesn’t do anything until you start to ring – then you will see feedback on your timing, the little bars indicating how early/late you are on each stroke. Of course, you will hear if your timing is out as well.

Matt Lawrence
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100+ Club Pause

I have decided to suspend the SACBR 100+ Club for the time being. I know many towers have not yet received this year’s application forms, together with their Annual Reports. However, even if you do have these, would you please NOT send any cheques and application forms until we are able to get back to our normal Association activities.

With best wishes to you all at this difficult time.

Gill Glover
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SACBR and Facebook

The Shropshire Association now has a Facebook page! Click on the Facebook icon at the top of this page, you don't need a Facebook account to read the page. To add items to the Facebook page, please email them to Shaun Greenfield [ ], SACBR's publicity officer.

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Safeguarding Guide from the Central Council

In The Ringing World of 13 September 2019 Chris Mew wrote a review of the current situation regarding ringers and Safeguarding. That article can be read and downloaded here.

The Stewardship and Management Workgroup of the Central Council has produced a document relating to Safeguarding for Bellringers. The document can be found here.

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Support Your Association with SACBR Clothing

We can now offer members a range of items embroidered with the SACBR logo. These are embroidered to order: contact Biff Patterson [ ] for details or to place an order.

COLOUR
The background colour for ‘corporate’ events is burgundy (as shown) but feel free to choose a different background for personal use. Check availability but navy or black are obvious options.

PRICES
Polo shirts, as worn by those manning the Lichfield Diocesan Mobile Belfry at Newport Show, £15. Biff has one lady-fit medium in stock. If you would normally buy small, this is for you.
Sweat shirts £17.50 Rugby shirts £25.
If you supply a garment it can be embroidered for a cost of £6.

SIZING – READ CAREFULLY PLEASE
The polo shirts are pure cotton, wash very well, BUT are skimpy. Biff suggests going up one or even two sizes on what you would normally select. Available in standard rectangular shape (men or unisex), quite long in the body; or lady-fit, which is shorter and more shaped. Choose from M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL.
Sweat shirts are only available unisex: S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL.
Rugby shirts are available in men’s or women’s: S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL.

SACBR Logo on maroon shirt LDMB at Newport Show

Photos by Biff Patterson, Edric Broom

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Books For Bellringers

Are you looking for some practical, written help for yourself or your tower but don’t know what is out there? If so, Books for Bellringers may be what you need. It is a small collection of books aimed mostly at beginners but with some material for those learning methods. Towers can borrow the collection for a period of up to two months so that everyone has a chance to see what they might find useful. Individuals or towers can order copies of the books using the details in the catalogue supplied.

If you would like to borrow the collection please contact me at: or telephone 01939 291014.

Jad Bienek
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Shropshire Young Ringers

Do you have young ringers at your tower?

We have started a youth group designed to get the young people ringing together and help them to progress.

There have been three practices so far, attended by six ringers from different towers across the Association area and we hope to have a regular monthly practice going forward.

The leader is ART (Association of Ringing Teachers) trained and DBS cleared and can offer instruction in bell handling through to ringing call changes, plain hunting, methods and striking.

The aim is to encourage the next generation of ringers and recruit more young people to the exercise.

Please email Matt Lawrence

Young ringers at Atcham

Young ringers at Atcham

Text by Gail Lawrence
Photo by Matt Lawrence
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Tower Access Guidance Notes

The Towers and Belfries Committee of the Central Council has produced some guidance notes on the various ways we access towers. The notes cover the condition of stairs and ladders; handholds; lighting; doorways and trap doors; and some potential hazards.

The notes can be found at, and downloaded from, https://cccbr.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/stairways.pdf

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Peal Opportunities

Would you like to ring a Peal? Andrew Gordon is offering to make arrangements and co-ordinate towers and ringers for Peal attempts. Please contact Andrew on 07973 398289.

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Quarterly Newsletter

In order to ensure that all ringers have the opportunity to read the quarterly Newsletter, and to help keep costs down, it would be helpful if the Newsletter could be delivered electronically. Is there someone in your tower who would be willing to receive the quarterly Newsletter by email, and be willing to make at least one copy of it for your tower notice-board? This person should be someone who checks their email frequently (not just once or twice a year!).

Please contact Shaun Greenfield [ ] with the name, email address, and tower of your tower’s email correspondent and of any other members who would like to receive their own copy. Email addresses supplied will be stored on the Newsletter Editor's computer and used only for the distribution of the newsletter. They will not be made available to anyone else.

Paper copies will still be sent out to those towers who do not wish to receive it electronically.

Shaun would welcome any comments on the future format of the Newsletter and any items for inclusion in it.

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Association Monthly Surprise Major Practices

These practices are usually held on the last Friday of the month and at various locations.

The practices are not only aimed at members who want to progress in their Surprise Major ringing, but at those who feel they are capable of starting their Surprise Major ringing career. Those who aspire only to ring the treble may attend, but clearly they may not get much of a ring - there is only one treble in each touch. We rely on the experience of more seasoned Surprise Major ringers to strengthen bands; the ringing master is grateful for their support.

The practices will as far as possible be tailored to the needs of those attending. There will be one or two 'special' methods - probably one of the 'standard eight' plus something of the Ringing Master's choosing. The 'easier' methods of the standard eight will also be rung e.g. Cambridge and Yorkshire. Please let the ringing master know of any special request.

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Committee Meeting

The next Association committee meeting will be held on Sunday, 13 September 2020.

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