Newsletter 2012

Ringers' Carol Service

The Association was well represented at the recent Carol Service held jointly with the Church Stretton District of the Hereford Guild, at St Laurence’s, Church Stretton. The ringing before the Service was directed by Helen Sharp, Ringing Master of the Church Stretton District, and included call changes, Plain Hunt, Cambridge Surprise Major, Grandsire Triples, and Kent Treble Bob Major.
The Service was led by the Rector, Richard Hill, with organist Andrew Buckley accompanying the Carols. The readers were from both the Shropshire Association and the Church Stretton District.

Following the Service, mince pies and mulled wine (and non-alcoholic drinks) were served in the Parish Hall.

Thanks go to Anne Hone and everyone else involved in making this an enjoyable evening.

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Fifth Association Peal at Beckbury

The fifth peal at Beckbury for the Association was rung on Wednesday 5th December.

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Queens at Market Drayton

Following the Market Drayton band’s successful quarter peal to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, tower captain David Beckwith wrote to Buckingham Palace. The photograph of Her Majesty and a letter of thanks that David received have been framed, and they are to be found on the wall next to the plaque which commemorates Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. This plaque reads:

Diamond Jubilee of Our Sovereign Lady, Victoria Queen and Empress. This flagstaff with its accompanying flag was erected by Mr Samual Bennion of this town with money collected by his energy from nearly 300 individuals.

June 22nd 1897

Charles J Winser         J Beaumont Picuy (?)
Vicar         Thomas Hughes
        Church Wardens

The hole through which the flagstaff used to come down into the ringing room is still there; when the ringing room door is open and the wind is in the wrong direction there is a terrific draught!

Those of you who have rung at Market Drayton will know that a portrait of Queen Victoria hangs high up on one of the walls of the ringing room. A note attached to the picture reads:

Presented to the tower of this Church by Rev’d J H Rabone, Curate of this parish. In reverent memory of her most gracious majesty Queen Victoria of glorious and blessed memory and to record the tolling of the passing bell when the tidings of the Queen’s death reached Market Drayton on the evening of January 22nd 1901.

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December Surprise Minor Practice

For the second time this year the last day of the month was a Friday, which meant that the Surprise Minor practice was held the day following the Surprise Major practice. Thirteen ringers (not all of whom had been at the Surprise Major practice) travelled to Baschurch to improve their Surprise Minor ringing, under the leadership of the Association’s Report Editor, Chris Fraser. Methods attempted were Bourne, Carlisle, Ipswich, London, Norwich, Wells, and York, plus variable treble London. A successful touch of Spliced Cambridge/Beverley/Surfleet was also accomplished, much to everyone’s amazement. Less successful was a touch of spliced London/Cambridge/Primrose....

The next Surprise Minor practice will be held on Saturday 5th January 2013 at Oswestry.

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Quiz Night 2012

This was held at St Chad’s Church Hall, Shrewsbury. 58 tickets were sold. Eleven teams answered questions in 10 rounds, plus a bonus round which was scored separately. The winners of this round were a team from Oswestry. Sioux’s Team were the winners of the main quiz and were presented with a container (pedantry prohibits me from calling it a tin) of chocolates. The wooden spoon was presented to Stumped of Stanton. A delicious meal of chilli, bread and salad was followed by what the Association is famous for – its puddings.

The Social Secretary, Sue Buckingham, thanked all those who had helped with the meal, those who had provided puddings, and those who had helped with the mammoth task of washing-up.

Sue also thanked Paul Lewis for setting the questions, and presented him with a bottle of wine. Paul thanked Chris Fraser for creating the bonus round, and then revealed that this had been his last time as Quizmaster.

When not behind the bar, Peter Woollam sold raffle tickets, raising £93 for the BRF. The prize winners included Oliver Stokes, Norah Stokes, Susan Capey, John Williamson, Sarah Hamilton and Cathy Gaskell.

The total raised for the Association (including £93 from the sale of raffle tickets) was £441.61. A big thank you to all who helped make this possible.

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November Training Morning

The last Training Morning of the year was held using the simulator at Edgmond Ringing Centre, on Saturday 17th November. Four students were supported in their learning by eight tutors, led by Tony Freemont, the Association’s Training Officer. Arthur Saunders (Shifnal), Grace Cookson (Oswestry), Nicola Stone (Oswestry) made progress with bell-handling, call changes and plain hunt. Peter Hall (Cheswardine) came along to practise Treble Bob Hunt, and Grandsire Triples. The tutors were rewarded (if that’s the right word) with some Yorkshire Surprise Major and Bristol Surprise Major.

Next year’s Training sessions have not yet been decided, but will be announced on this website and in the Calendar of Events that is circulated to all towers in the new year.

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November Surprise Major Practice

This was held on Friday 30th November at St Mary’s church, Shrewsbury. Fourteen Association members indulged themselves with various lengths of Bristol, London, Yorkshire, Superlative, and 6-spliced, under the direction of the Ringing Master, Sue Buckingham.

The next Surprise Major practice will be held in January 2013 – check the website for details, nearer the time.

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November Surprise Minor Practice

This excellent practice was held at Stanton upon Hine Heath. Eleven Association ringers, under the direction of Chris Fraser, rang a good variety of methods, including Bourne, Cambridge, Carlisle, London, Norwich, Primrose, Wells, and York.

The next Surprise Minor practice will be held at Baschurch on Saturday 1st December from 10am to 12noon.

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St Chad's, Shrewsbury, Christmas Tree Festival

When the Ringing Master was offered the opportunity to reduce the cost of hiring St Chad’s Church Hall for the Quiz Evening she jumped at the chance. The deal was that the Association would not have to pay for the hall (£60) if it sponsored and decorated a tree for St Chad’s Christmas Tree Festival instead (£25). Gill Glover has been able to persuade several of those who ring at Shrewsbury to help with the decorations - on a bell theme, of course.

The Festival will be opened by the Bishop of Shrewsbury, on Friday 14th December at 7pm, with Christmas Choral music presented by ‘Sine Nomine’. The Festival will then run every day until Wednesday 19th December.

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Change to Bicton practice night

Ringing practice at Bicton is now held on Mondays, starting at 7:45pm.

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October Association Practice and Quarterly Meeting

The October Association practice and Quarterly Meeting were held at Sheriffhales. Seventeen ringers attended, and under the direction of the Ringing Master, Sue Buckingham, had a go at Call Changes, Plain Bob Minor, Stedman Doubles, Grandsire Doubles and Cambridge Surprise Minor. Peter Woollam ran the raffle, raising £21 for the Bell Restoration Fund. The winners of the wine were Sue Buckingham and Alan Glover.

The Quarterly Meeting was held in the kitchen area rather than the Ringing Room. Tea and biscuits were provided by the local band. The meeting was chaired by the Ringing Master. Nicola Stone and Pamela Gee, both from Oswestry, were elected as members of the Association. Sue Buckingham talked about the Quiz on 10th November – tickets are now available from Sue or any Committee member. The Quiz will be held at St Chad’s Church hall, Shrewsbury. There will be a raffle (no surprise there) and a licensed bar. Please contact Sue if you’d be willing to make a pudding.

Peter Woollam displayed the Association’s illustrated Peal Book and described his project to create a hard copy of every Shropshire Association peal. Peter also spoke about Bell Restoration projects at Ellesmere, Kemberton, and Wem. Tony Freemont mentioned the final two training sessions of the year – conducting training at Oswestry, and a general training at Edgmond. He mentioned that he has applied for Ringing Centre status for the Oswestry tower. Peter informed the meeting that Will Lander had stepped down as Webmaster, and that Madeline Harris had agreed to take over from Will. Sue thanked Brian Waters, from Sheriffhales, for his hospitality.

Madeline Harris ran the 100+ Club draw, in the absence of Brian Kear. The winners were Pat Paddock (Ruyton XI Towns) - £50; Paul and Edwina Smart (Baschurch) - £25; Arthur Saunders (Shifnal) - £15; Beatrice Cains (High Ercall) - £12; Gill Glover (Shrewsbury) -£10. The winners can expect to receive their cheques from Brian in due course.

The annual Ringers’ Carol Service will be held on Saturday 8th December at Church Stretton.

The next Quarterly Meeting (and the AGM) will be held on Saturday 12th January 2013 at Whitchurch.

Madeline Harris
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October Training Morning

A training session was held at Oswestry on Saturday 20th October for those ringers who are interested in learning to conduct. Ten ringers were guided by Alan Glover through the basics of place notation, coursing orders, and how to interpret touches printed in the Ringing World diary (and elsewhere). Plain courses of Plain Bob were rung in order to help students see the coursing order of the bells, and coffee was taken in the Oswestry Visitor and Exhibition Centre.

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Change of Webmaster

Will Lander has stepped down as Webmaster, for personal reasons, and Madeline Harris has taken over from Will as Webmaster. Thanks to Will for his work on the website this year.

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September Surprise Major Practice

This was held at Oswestry and made use of the simulator. Ten ringers turned up, and under the direction of Sue Buckingham, rang three leads of Bristol several times, and courses of Cambridge and Rutland. The next Surprise Major practice will be held on Friday 26th October at High Ercall.

Provided by Madeline Harris
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September Training Morning

This was held at the Edgmond Ringing Centre under the direction of Tony Freemont, the Association’s Training Officer. The four students were Cathy Gaskell from Market Drayton, Peter Hall from Cheswardine, Nicola Stone from Oswestry, and Arthur Saunders from Shifnal. Tony was assisted by eight other ringers. The students came along to make progress with bell-handling, call changes and Stedman Doubles.

The topic for the next Training Morning (Saturday 20th October at Oswestry) is Conducting. The next general Training Morning will be held at Edgmond on Saturday 17th November. Please contact Tony Freemont ( if you would like to attend either of these sessions.

Provided by Madeline Harris

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Striking Competition - Saturday, 8th September

The Association's 2012 Striking Competition was held on a beautiful September afternoon at St John the Baptist church, Ruyton XI Towns, where the local ringers provided an excellent tea throughout the afternoon. The draw was held in the church, and groans were elicited from the Shrewsbury ringers when their ‘A’ team was drawn to ring first…again. It’s a well-known fact that the first band to ring doesn’t win a Striking Competition. The judges were Peter Furniss and Beverley Wharton who ring at St Michael’s, Garston in Liverpool. Peter is also Ringing Master at Liverpool Parish Church, Pier Head.

Eleven bands representing nine towers participated in the competition, and are pictured below in the order in which they rang. Before he gave the results, Peter revealed that the last Striking Competition he had judged was an eliminator for the National 12-bell Striking Competition. He also said that it was a credit to the Association that so many bands had taken part in the competition. Peter gave a brief report on each band's ringing before announcing the scores, showing that well- known facts aren’t always accurate. The scores and results are given below. Sue thanked Peter and Beverley for their efforts, and presented them with a bottle of wine and some chocolates. She also thanked the Ruyton XI Towns ringers and helpers for the splendid tea and for use of the bells.

Peter Woollam thanked all those who had bought raffle tickets and those who had supplied prizes. Madeline Harris said that Neil Micklewright, a ringer at Market Drayton, had donated an original piece of marquetry work as a raffle prize, and that Neil has an exhibition of his work at Jones’s Coffee House in Whitchurch in September, and in Market Drayton in October. The raffle prizes, which included the old favourites of alcohol and chocolates, were won by Roger Chapman (Atcham), Paul Smart (Baschurch), Sue Buckingham (Shrewsbury), Andrew Gordon (Codsall), Cordelia War (Oswestry), and Mark Adams (Edgmond). The raffle raised £70 for the BRF.

Shrewsbury A

Shrewsbury A

Adrian Roberts, Alan Glover, Jacqui Barden
Nick Green, Gill Glover, Sue Buckingham

Ruyton XI Towns

Ruyton XI Towns

Chris Ayers, Pat Paddock, Ringer B
Sandy Wilson, Mandy Oakley, Dawn Offen

Shrewsbury B

Shrewsbury B

Jad Bienek, Alan Glover, John Crum
Madeline Harris, Gill Glover, Amanda Craig

Wellington A

Wellington A

Rob Davis, Dave Scurr, Vic Young
Marion Lake, Andrew Gordon, Nicole Adams



Jad Bienek, Ringer B, Geoff Harding
Jacqui Barden, Dawn Offen, Ringer A

Wellington B

Wellington B

(imagine Andrew Gordon here), Alan Price
Rob Davis, Sue Turnbull, Nicole Adams



Judith Gibbins, Pete Gibbins, John Whitham
Peter Woollam, Heather Thomas, Jen Rowley

Market Drayton

Market Drayton

Cathy Gaskell, Edric Broom, Roy Bloor
Madeline Harris, Cynthia Costelloe, David Beckwith



Susan Capey, Will Lander, Tony Freemont
Peter Neal, Cordelia Warr, Peter Woollam



Edric Broom, Mark Adams, Paul Lewis
Chris Wulkau, Bill Deason, Abigail Hind



Adrian Roberts, Roger Chapman, Bill Price
Nick Green, Sue Buckingham, John Blackall

WilcoxTrophy presentation

Jacqui Barden receiving the
Ernest Wilcox Trophy for Shrewsbury

Call Change Trophy presentation

Amanda Craig receiving the
Call Change Trophy for Shrewsbury

Allmand Shield presentation

Pat Paddock receiving the
Charles Allmand Memorial Shield
for Ruyton XI Towns

Faults Team Ringing Peal Speed
3 Shrewsbury ‘A’ Method 2h48m Ernest Wilcox Cup
3.5 Baschurch Method 2h54m  
3.5 Edgmond Method 2h53m  
6 Shrewsbury ‘B’ Call changes 2h43m Call Change Cup
6.5 Oswestry Method 2h57m  
16 Ruyton XI Towns Call changes 3h08m Charles Allmand Memorial Shield
21.5 Atcham Call changes 2h48m  
41 Market Drayton Method 3h10m  
45 Wellington ‘A’ Call changes 3h28m  
64.5 Wellington ‘B’ Call changes 2h52m  
81.5 Beckbury Call changes 3h24m  

Report by Madeline Harris
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September Surprise Minor practice

The September Surprise Minor practice was held at Oswestry the day after the August Surprise Major practice. Seven ringers made the journey. Plain courses of Wells and Norwich were rung. Following the departure of the Ringing Master a quarter peal (of variable quality) of Norwich Surprise Minor was rung. The next Surprise Minor practice will be held on Saturday 3rd November at Stanton upon Hine Heath.

Provided by Madeline Harris
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August Surprise Major practice

This was held at Edgmond on Friday 31st August with twelve ringers in attendance. Sue Buckingham organised the ringing of Bristol, Lincolnshire, London, 6-spliced, and Ashtead. The next Surprise Major practice will be held on Friday 28th September at Oswestry.

Provided by Madeline Harris
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August Joint Association Practice

The Association's joint practice with the Church Stretton District of the Hereford Guild was held at Oswestry. Sixteen members attended, nine from the home team and seven from the opposition. A wide range of methods were rung, ranging from Plain Bob Doubles to 6 Spliced Surprise Major.

The next Surprise Major practice will be held at Edgmond on Friday, 31st August from 7.30 to 9.00pm, special method Ashtead.

The next Surprise Minor practice will be held at Oswestry on Saturday, 1st September from 10.00am to 12.00 noon.

Sue Buckingham

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A First Among Several

On Sunday 5th August at Stanton upon Hine Heath, Claire Unsworth rang her first quarter peal. That same quarter saw Callum Unsworth and Karen Compton ring their first quarter on an inside bell. Congratulations to them all.

This quarter at Stanton is the 100th in the Association’s website listing of quarter peals for 2012, and is the earliest 100th quarter since such record-keeping began. In 2011 the 100th quarter was rung on 24th October, and the total number of quarters rung that year was 123. In 2010 the 100th quarter was rung on 20th October and the total number of quarters was 120. In 2009 the 100th quarter was rung on 26th August and the final total was 153 quarters. 2008 saw the 100th quarter rung on 2nd November with the final total being 121; and in 2007 the 100th quarter wasn’t rung until 23rd December, and this was the penultimate quarter of the year.

Based on the information above we might expect that in 2012 between 150 and 160 quarter peals will be rung at Association towers, with at least half the band members being Association members. Of the first 102 quarters for 2012, 31 have been rung for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and/or the Olympic Games.

If your band, or some members of your band, would like to ring a quarter but you feel that you could do with a bit of expert help, please contact the Ringing Master, Sue Buckingham, or any Committee member.
Madeline Harris
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August Surprise Minor Practice

Nine ringers attended this practice held at Upton Magna. Wells, London, Carlisle, Bourne, Beverley were among the methods named after places in England that were attempted. Peter Hall (Cheswardine) came along to have a go at treble bob hunting. The next Surprise Minor practice will be held on Saturday 1st September, from 10am to 12 noon, at Oswestry

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July Surprise Major practice

This was held at St Mary’s, Shrewsbury. Fourteen ringers attended, and various lengths and combinations of the Standard Eight were rung. The next Surprise Major practice will be held at Edgmond on Friday 31st August, from 7:30pm to 9pm, when the special method will be Ashtead Surprise Major.

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Tower Maintenance Course - 21st July 2012

Nine Association members from five towers assembled at Oswestry on 21st July to learn something about the maintenance of bells from Peter Woollam, Bell Adviser. All went away reciting the Steeple-Keeper’s mantra “ If it is intended to be fixed, it must be fixed securely. If it is intended to move, it must move freely”.

Highlights of the morning included (re)learning the Imperial system of weights and realising the magnitude of the forces generated when bells swing full-circle. Entertainment was provide by a well-known ringer from the Shawbury/Stanton/Moreton Corbet triangle when she laid flat on her back in a bell-pit in order to remove, charge and re-fit the grease cap of a clapper lubricator. Other highlights included having a go at rope splicing. The merit of having the right tool for the job was recognised when Peter gave a demonstration. A certain ebay trader seems likely to receive a flurry of interest in his wares (type “Fid” into the search box and go to ‘Stainless Steel Swedish Fid Tool With Wooden Top’ – choose the small size. £7.59 + £2.99 p&p)

This session can be repeated in future if there is sufficient demand. Today’s numbers seemed about right.

Peter Woollam
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July Association Practice and Quarterly Meeting

Bicton was the venue for the July Association practice and Quarterly Meeting. Twenty ringers were in attendance, and under the direction of the Ringing Master, Sue Buckingham, attempted Plain Hunt Doubles, Plain Bob Doubles, Stedman Doubles, Plain Bob Minor, Cambridge Surprise Minor, and St Clement's College Bob Minor. Peter Woollam ran the raffle, raising £28 for the Bell Restoration Fund. The winners of the wine and chocolates were Karen Compton, Nick Green, and Sue Ganley.

The Quarterly Meeting was held in the church rather than the Ringing Room. Homemade cakes were supplied by Karen Compton, and the Bicton ringers provided biscuits. The meeting was chaired by the Ringing Master. The following were elected as members of the Association: David Coleman (Wrockwardine), Rob Davis (Wellington), Carol Edwards (Tong), Elizabeth Patterson (Shrewsbury), Kenton Standidge (Norton in Hales), Sue Townsend (Bicton), Sue Turnbull (Wellington), and John Whitham (Beckbury).

Sue Buckingham thanked all those who had helped to make the recent Treasure Hunt and BBQ such a success. Sue also mentioned that, so far, 19 Quarter Peals had been rung in the Association to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. The Striking Competition will be held on Saturday 8th September starting at 4pm at Ruyton XI Towns. Start now to get your band in shape for the competition! Peter Woollam displayed the Association's illustrated Peal Book and remarked that he would be bringing it to future Quarterly Meetings for ringers to browse. Sue thanked the Bicton ringers for their hospitality.

Adrian Roberts ran the 100+ Club draw, in the absence of Brian Kear. The winners were Ray Purcell (Ellesmere), James Fraser (Shawbury), Judith Byne (High Ercall), Alan Fisher (Wellington) and Paul Lewis (Edgmond). The winners can expect to receive their cheques from Brian in due course.

The next Quarterly Meeting will be held on Saturday 13th October at Sheriffhales.

The next Association practice will be held on Saturday 18th August at Oswestry, and will be a joint practice with the Church Stretton District of the Hereford Guild.

Madeline Harris
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Annual Report 2011 and Handbook 2012

Gill Glover, Association Report Editor, has started to distribute requests for updates to tower information for the Annual Report and Handbook. Included with these is a request from Alan Glover, Association Treasurer, for membership subscriptions. Subscriptions (£7 per ringer, or £5 for ringers under 18 and in full time education) are due on 1st January 2012, and updates for the Report must be received by the AGM (14th January 2012).

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100 for RW100

You will have seen in your new Report the Ringing World advert asking Associations to come up with a local Challenge to mark the 100th anniversary of our ringing journal.

We would like to record 100+ (the more the better) Association members calling something!  A good start for ringers new to calling would be ‘Queens and back’ in call changes.  On six bells this is just six calls and the treble is a good observation bell as it stays at lead throughout.  Aim to ring 100 or more changes (rows).  If you have a method band at your tower you could try a 120 of Plain Bob or Grandsire doubles.  If you are already a confident caller we expect no less than a quarter peal!!

This is not meant to be competitive, it's a team effort by all of us and the more people who have a go the more we shall succeed.  Advice on how to call can be found below, and we shall have a table to record all the successful ringing you tell us about.  The deadline is next January's AGM, so we have plenty of time to make progress.  Perhaps when you have called your Queens and back you could go on to Tittums and back … ready for the Association Striking Competition in September.  Send as many achievements as you like to add to your personal record, and encourage as many members of your tower as possible to get calling.  The final table will be featured in next year's Report, and an article sent to the Ringing World.

A good first target would be the Royal Wedding on 29th April.  Can your tower come up with a nice piece of celebration ringing (and send the details to your parish newsletter too)?  Get practising now!

Calling Queens and back

I know there are some towers, and many ringers, for whom call changes are a mystery, so here goes …

It is easiest to call call changes off a fixed bell, usually the treble or tenor.  In time, you will be able to call from an affected bell because the sequence will become so familiar.

 Down or Up?

Some bands call bells down the row towards lead, and some call bells up towards the back − choose whichever suits your band but make sure you stick to one or the other.

Start in rounds.  Remember to make the call just as you pull the sally, and call loud and firm (even if it's wrong − we've all called wrong changes and lived to ring another day!!).

Calling Down


Calling Up









3 to 1

5 to 2

5 to 3

2 to 3

4 to 2

2 to 1









You have swapped the bells in 2nd and 3rd places

You have swapped the bells in 4th and 5th places

This is Queens           To go back



Back to rounds








2 to 3

4 to 5

2 to 5

5 to 2

4 to 5

2 to 3








You can see the rows are exactly the same, but it's important always to call one way or the other, because your ringers will get used to the first bell called having to ring faster or slower. If you stay in each change for about ten whole pulls (handstroke and backstroke), that would make the required 100 rows.

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100 for RW100 Challenge accomplished

The Association's 100 for RW100 Challenge was accomplished on Saturday 14th January, with just minutes to spare! You can see the list here. Well done to everyone who took part, and special congratulations to those for whom this was their first calling.

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Association peal at Beckbury

A peal has been rung at Beckbury for the Association.

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January 2012 Surprise Minor practice

This was held at Edgmond on Saturday 14th January, under the direction of Chris Fraser and using the simulator. Fifteen ringers tackled Cambridge, Beverley, Surfleet, Norwich, Norfolk, and Ipswich.

The next Surprise Minor practice will be held at Oswestry on Saturday 4th February, from 11am to 1pm.

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Association practice and AGM - Newport, 14th January 2012

The pre-AGM practices were divided between Chetwynd and Newport. The ringing included call changes, Plain Bob Doubles, and Minor, Cambridge Surprise Minor, St Clement’s College Bob Minor, Plain Hunt Triples, Grandsire Triples, Erin Triples, and Superlative Surprise Major. The Ringing Master, Nick Green, was in charge and was able to cajole several ringers into calling for the 100 for RW100 challenge. The challenge was accomplished with time to spare.

The Service was held in St Nicholas church, Newport, and was led by Rev. Steve Mitchell and the Bishop of Shrewsbury, Mark Rylands. After the Service, ringers adjourned to the Parish Rooms where the Newport ringers had laid on a substantial hot meal, with pudding and tea/coffee. Thanks go to Richard Talbot for his culinary skills, and the rest of the kitchen staff. The Newport ringers have very generously donated £84.20, the profit of the meal, to the Bell Restoration Fund.

AGM Catering

Pictured serving hungry diners are (l to r); Richard Talbot (Master Chef), Oliver Stokes, Kathryn Greaves, John Stokes and Barry Lewis.

Picture and caption supplied by John Williamson

Bishop Mark brought the meeting to order. At the Quarterly meeting held immediately prior to the AGM the following were elected as members of the Association : Sue Richardson, Justin Wade (both Codsall), Grace Cookson, David Neil (both Oswestry), Carol Edwards (Tong), Chris Evans, Craig Gilmour, Catherin Huyshe, Margaret Pocock, Nigel Pocock, Ben Roper (all Hinstock), Elsie Rowley, Jen Rowley, Heather Thomas, Judith Gibbins, Peter Gibbins, Emily Gordon (all Beckbury), Alex Brown, Jon Richards, John Cole (all Coalbrookdale), Andrew Hollins (Ightfield), Rob Bradley (Edgmond), Sue Turnbull (Wellington), Paul M Mason (NRLM).

Edric Broom (Training Officer) reported that the next Training Morning to be held on Saturday 25th February still had a couple of spaces available for students.

Jan Snowball (Secretary) reported that the new Calendar of Events would be available soon, and she thanked all those who have agreed to host events.

After the usual business of apologies, minutes of the last AGM, and matter arising from the Minutes, Nick Green gave his Ringing Master’s report. Nick touched briefly on the highlights of the year, including:
   • Membership had increased by about 30;
   • Training opportunities had continued to be offered and taken up;
   • The Surprise Minor practices organised by Chris Fraser were very successful;
   • The Surprise Major practices were less so. Nick was grateful for the use of High Ercall, and said that the back eight of St Mary’s Shrewsbury was more ringable as an eight after the work which had recently been carried out there;
   • 6 peals had been rung for the Association; Amanda Craig (Shrewsbury) had rung her first peal, and the first peal on the augmented ring at Beckbury had taken place;
   • 123 quarter peals had been rung with Karen Compton (Shawbury), Jayne Hayball (St Martins), Bill Hurst (Clive), and Neil Micklewright (Market Drayton), and Sophie Mullard (St Martins) ringing their first quarters. 94 ringers had rung quarters at 22 towers, with Oswestry being the leading tower;
   • The Striking Competition had been held at Baschurch, with the home bands taking two of the three available pieces of silverware, the other going to Market Drayton;
   • A good turnout of Shropshire Association ringers had attended the joint practice with the Church Stretton district of the Hereford Guild on the ten at Clun;
   • The Bell Restoration Fund had provided significant support for the major projects at Beckbury and Shrewsbury, St Mary;
   • The Coach Outing to Derbyshire, and the Ceilidh at Shawbury had been very successful;
   • The Shropshire Ringers’ Carol Service at Shifnal had been attended by about 40 ringers and 52 Christmas trees, and the Association President had finally made his first appearance at an Association event;
   • The 100 for RW100 challenge had been completed at 4:58pm.

Nick reported the recent death of Don Mann who had been a ringer at Oswestry. Nick encouraged the meeting to continue to support Association events.

Jan Snowball (Secretary) thanked all those who had helped her during her first year in the post.

Alan Glover (Treasurer) presented the accounts of the Association, which were subsequently approved by the meeting.

Peter Woollam gave his Bell Adviser’s report mentioning the work done at Beckbury, Oswestry and St Mary’s, Shrewsbury. He spoke about the value to projects of the volunteer work that is carried out, and the fact that a number of Association members are willing to help. Peter also mentioned the availability of grants for work on bells, Alan Smith has compiled a detailed list of these, and the Central Council also has such information. He had carried out a number of inspections at Clive, Ellesmere, Kinnersley, Oswestry, Shrewsbury (St Mary’s), and Whittington. For the first time he had been asked about sound control at two towers, and the Association had purchased a Sound Level Meter for his use. His tip for 2012 was – if your bells have clapper bushes then they should be greased at least once a year.

Edric Broom (Training Officer) mentioned the training held in January 2011 for teaching bell-handling. Two inexperienced people had helped with this. The other trainings held during the year were the usual ones – five students per session supplemented by experienced ringers to make up the bands. He had received only positive feedback about the courses. Edric made special mention of Nick Green for running the trainings when he had been unavailable, and Madeline Harris for the refreshments. Edric thanked Nick Green and Chris Fraser for organising the Surprise Major and Minor practices, respectively; and Chris Fraser for organising the mid-week quarters. After looking around the room, Edric’s message to the meeting was that we must do what we can to teach a new generation of ringers.

Alan Glover reported that the Report and Handbook would probably be available in late February/early March.

Brian Kear (Librarian) reported that despite having to deal with one loan request he had still had time to do some updating of the library resources. He reminded the meeting that the library is for the use of members, and contains historical and technical items.

Madeline Harris (PRO) thanked everyone who had contributed to the promotion of ringing, and reported that there had been no negative publicity about ringing in the Association. Four Newsletters had been produced and an increasing number were being delivered electronically. There would be opportunities to further promote ringing in 2012 with ringing for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics.

The proposed changes to the Association’s Objectives were briefly discussed and a vote to accept the changes was passed. There was a longer discussion about the proposed changes to the Rules of the Association, and, after making one change to the proposal, these changes were also passed.

Elections for the Committee for 2012 were held and the new Committee is
    Ringing Master – Sue Buckingham
    Treasurer – Susan Capey
    General Secretary – Jan Snowball
    Social Secretary – Sue Buckingham
    Librarian – Peter Woollam
    Bell Adviser – Peter Woollam
    Publicity and Public Relations Officer – Madeline Harris
    Webmaster – Will Lander
    Training Officer – Tony Freemont
    Report Editor – Chris Fraser
    Children and Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer – Chris Fraser
    Committee Members – Jacqui Barden, Cordelia Warr

The non-Committee posts were also filled:     Trustees to the Lichfield Diocesan Mobile Belfry – Madeline Harris, Chris Fraser
    Central Council representatives – Alan Glover, Sue Buckingham
    Independent Examiners – Karen Compton, Brian Kear

Kathryn Greaves thanked Nick Green, Alan Glover, Edric Broom, Brian Kear and Gill Glover for all their hard work on behalf of the Committee.

Nick Green thanked all those involved in the day’s activities – Barry Lewis for the use of Chetwynd bells, the Newport ringers for the delicious meal, Rev Steve Mitchell for taking the Service, and Bishop Mark for taking the meeting.

Bishop Mark thanked the meeting for inviting him, and thanked ringers for their work within their communities.

Brian Kear reported that the 100+Club had had its best year ever with 113 members, and he expected that about £800 will have been made for the BRF. Forms for 2012 would be going out to towers soon. The winners in the last draw of the year are Geoff Harding (Baschurch) - £50, Pippa Hodgetts (Sheriffhales) - £25, Neil Semmence (Wellington) - £15, Joan Wilson (Shifnal) - £12, Rowena Goddard (Bicton) - £10, David Bourne (High Ercall) - £10.

The raffle, run by the Bell Adviser, raised £79 for the BRF. Winners of wine, confectionery, and duck eggs were Madeline Harris, Mary Tetlow, Bishop Mark, Ian Baker, Ben Roper, Jad Bienek and Barry Lewis.

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January Quarterly Newsletter

The January quarterly Newsletter has been posted to towers and has been emailed to those tower correspondents and others who have requested electronic delivery of the Newsletter. The mailing includes details of proposed changes to the Association's Objectives and Rules, which will be discussed and voted on at the AGM to be held on 14th January at Newport.

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February Surprise Minor practice

Fourteen enthusiastic Association ringers braved the icy and snowy weather to attend the Surprise Minor practice at Oswestry on Saturday 4th February. Methods rung included Cambridge, Primrose, Ipswich, Norfolk, Beverley, Norwich and London. The next practice will be on 3rd March at Stanton on Hine Heath at its more usual time of 10 ‘til 12 noon.

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February Association Practice

This was held at St Mary’s, Shrewsbury, on the newly-refurbished bells. Sue Buckingham, Ringing Master, led the eighteen ringers in a variety of ringing, including call changes, Stedman Triples, Single Oxford Bob Triples, Grandsire Caters, Stedman Caters, and Bristol Surprise Major. Peter Woollam raised £16 for the Bell Restoration Fund by running a raffle. The lucky winners of the chocolates, recipe book, and wine were Ernie Martin (Bicton), ChrisFraser (Shawbury), and Alan Glover (Shrewsbury). The next Association practice will be held on Saturday 10th March from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Albrighton.

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February Training Morning

The first Training Morning of the year was held at Edgmond using the simulator and under new management. Peter Cadwaladr (Forton), Peter Hall (Cheswardine), Andrew Hollins (Calverhall), and Doug Spooner (Coalbrookdale) were participating in the hope of making progress with at least one of: call changes, plain hunting, Plain Bob Minor, Stedman Doubles. They were assisted in this endeavour by Jacqui Barden, Edric Broom, Chris Fraser, Kathryn Greaves, Nick Green, Madeline Harris, Adrian Roberts, and Cordelia Warr, under the leadership of Tony Freemont, the Association’s Training Officer.
The next Association Training Morning is planned for Saturday 21st April from 9:30am to 12:30pm. Contact Tony Freemont to book your place.

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February Surprise Major Practice

With Jupiter, Venus and the Moon aligned in the evening sky, seventeen ringers made their way to High Ercall; and under the leadership of Sue Buckingham, Ringing Master, made creditable attempts at Cambridge, Pudsey, Bristol, 4 spliced, and 8 spliced.
The next Surprise Major practice will be held on Friday 30th March from 7:30pm to 9:00pm at St Mary’s, Shrewsbury.

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Two Peals for the Shropshire Association

On Saturday 25th February 2012 two more Peals were rung for the Association, at Atcham and at Morville. Andrew Gordon has provided this documentary evidence of the Peal at Morville.

* * * * * * * *

Morville peal band


Picture and text supplied by Andrew Gordon

Peal 979 was rung at Atcham and peal 980 was rung at Morville
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100+ Club 2012

The Shropshire Association’s 100+ Club is now in its 13th year of operation. Last year was the best ever for the Club with 113 members. There were twenty two winners with two members winning twice. The total prize money awarded was £473 and £823.94 was raised for the Bell Restoration Fund. Brian Kear, the organiser, has recently sent out application forms for 2012 to all tower correspondents, and he is hoping that this year will be even better than last. To be a member of the Club you must be over the age of 16 years, but you don’t have to be a member of the Association – Brian will take anyone’s money! More members means more and/or better prizes. To be in with a chance to be a winner, please return your completed application form and cheque to Brian by 1st April 2012. Cheques should be made payable to Shropshire Association of Church Bellringers Bell Restoration Fund and sent to Brian Kear Clifton Rise, The Cliffe, Ruyton XI Towns, Shropshire SY4 1ND. The form is also available to download from the Association’s website. The first draw of the year will take place at the Quarterly Meeting at Ellesmere on 14th April.

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March Surprise Minor Practice

Nine enthusiastic representatives from seven different towers descended upon St Andrew's, Stanton-upon-Hine-Heath, to enjoy a profitable two hour session ringing Cambridge, Primrose, Ipswich, Norfolk, London and Norwich. Opportunities arose for those wishing to try their hand at calling touches and a long awaited touch of Norwich was attempted.

Next month's practice will take place on the simulator at Baschurch. Special methods Norwich and Wells.

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March Association Practice

This was held at Albrighton and was attended by twenty ringers. Ringing Master Sue Buckingham directed the ringing, including call changes, plain hunt, Plain Bob Minor, Grandsire Triples, Stedman Doubles, Stedman Triples, Bristol Surprise Major, Cambridge Surprise Major, Rutland Surprise Major. Peter Woollam surprised no-one when he ran a raffle that raised £23 for the Bell Restoration Fund. The winners of the biscuits, chocolates, and wine were Jacqui Barden, Peter Gibson, and Madeline Harris.

The next Association practice will be held on Saturday 14th April at Ellesmere, and will incorporate the Quarterly meeting.

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Atcham Outing

Ann Williams has sent the following from the Atcham ringers' outing to the Welsh Borders on Saturday 10 March 2012.

Atcham ringers

Picture taken by Mrs Anne Newcombe of Churchstoke.

Six churches were visited: Stokesay, Bishops Castle, Chirbury, Montgomery, Churchstoke and Pontesbury. 15 ringers took part, 10 from Atcham and 5 from Shawbury.

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March Surprise Major Practice

This was due to be held at St Mary’s, Shrewsbury, but had to be relocated, at no notice, when it was discovered that there was a musical event being held in the church at the same time. Thanks go to Chris Yates for allowing the use of High Ercall bells. Eighteen ringers made the journey to High Ercall, and under the direction of Tony Freemont, Training Officer, rang Cambridge, Yorkshire, Pudsey, and Bristol. The next Surprise Major practice will be held on Friday 27th April at Edgmond. The special methods will include London.

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A Taxing Problem

The national media has paid a lot of attention to the issue of taxation and the potential impact on charities in the last few days. The use of charitable giving by the wealthy to reduce their tax liability has had the greater coverage and rather subsumed an issue that is probably of more interest to bellringers. Until fairly recently, the VAT element of the costs associated with repairs to listed buildings could be recovered from the Exchequer. Several recent bell restoration schemes in our territory were completed whilst the scheme was in place and your committee expected that churches would reclaim the VAT when assessing the value of grants to be awarded from the Bell Restoration Fund.

This VAT concession was removed by the Chancellor in his recent budget, with the result that future schemes now face a 20% increase in their costs. However, a goverment e-petition has been launched to garner support for thisto be overturned. It has the full support of Anglican bishops, as the church is responsible for approximately half of all listed buildings in this country. The most recent edition of the 'Ringing World' also drew attention to the petition, having been asked by Churchcare to do so.

Some members may find it inappropriate that political messages on the Association website and I regret any offence that this might cause. However, I would stress that I do not see this as a party political matter and I invite you to consider adding your name to the petition at

Peter Woollam
Bell Adviser & Librarian.
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April Surprise Minor Practice

This was held on the simulator at Baschurch on Saturday 7th April. Eleven members were present and practised Primrose, Beverley, Norfolk, Norwich, London, Wells, Bourne and Carlisle.
The practice in May has unfortunately had to be cancelled, however, hopefully there will be one on June 2nd. Watch the website for further details.
Wanted – ringers who would like to learn to ring Surprise Minor. The practices are an ideal opportunity for those who wish to progress onto Surprise Minor as  there is a wealth of experience available to give support.
For further information please contact Chris Fraser at

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April Association Practice and Quarterly Meeting

These were held at Ellesmere, and twenty four ringers were in attendance. In the absence of Sue Buckingham, Ringing Master, the ringing was organised by Tony Freemont, Training Officer. The ringing included call changes, Grandsire Triples, Stedman Triples, plain hunt triples, Cambridge Surprise Minor, Yorkshire Surprise Major, and Bristol Surprise Major. Cordelia Warr sold raffle tickets, raising £20 for the BRF. The winners of the confectionery and alcohol were Peter Neil, Chris Fraser, and Madeline Harris.

The Quarterly Meeting was run by Peter Woollam, Bell Adviser. Peter reminded those present that the quarterly printed Newsletter had been sent to towers, along with a Calendar of Events for the next year or so, and a poster advertising the Treasure Hunt and BBQ. Tickets for the BBQ will be available shortly. One new member was elected to the Association – Derek Dancy (Bicton). Tony Freemont reported that there was currently one student signed up for the next Training course at Edgmond on 19th May. Peter Woollam will be organising a Bell Maintenance course at Oswestry, probably in September. Peter stated that he had made one inspection – at High Ercall. Ellesmere ringers were putting forward a proposal to their PCC for improvements to the bells.

Peter mentioned that the Committee had discussed the possible need by some towers for help with ringing quarters for St George’s Day, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, or the Olympics. Andrew Gordon reported that ringing was planned in each of the towers in the Ryton group on Saturday 2nd June. Will Lander, Webmaster, explained why the website had not been updated for more than four weeks, and reported that the Newsletter page was now up to date. Peter displayed some of the illustrated peal sheets that are held in the Association library and said that he was hoping to get them bound. Peter also said that he now had for sale ‘Criblines 1’ and ‘Criblines 2’, booklets listing the blue lines of Surprise Minor and Surprise Major methods, for £1 and £1.50 respectively.

Brian Kear was pleased to announce that there are currently 101 members of the 100+ Club. The first draw of the year took place, and the winners were Colin Jones (Wellington) - £50, Andrew Pooler (Kemberton) - £25, E Ann Williams (Atcham) - £15, Keith Atkey (Market Drayton) - £12, and Christine Ayres - £10.

Peter thanked Terry Davies for the use of the Ellesmere bells. The next association practice will be held at Edgmond on Saturday 12th May.

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April Surprise Major Practice

This was held at Edgmond and made use of the simulator. Twelve ringers made the journey and were rewarded with opportunities to ring Pudsey, London, Bristol and 6-spliced. This practice is a very good opportunity to make progress with learning Surprise Major methods; which methods are rung depends on the ringers who attend the practice. The next Surprise Major practice will be held on Friday 25th May at St Mary’s, Shrewsbury.

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Shrewsbury Ringers’ Outing – Saturday 28th April 2012

At the Shrewsbury ringers’ AGM in December 2011 Amanda Craig volunteered to organise the band’s Spring Outing. Within a short time Amanda had suggested combining ringing with a trip on the Severn Valley Railway, and a plan was born. The towers to be visited were determined largely by the timetable of the Railway.

Seventeen ringers met at St Mary Magdalene’s church, Bridgnorth and rang for an hour before boarding the first train heading south. The band, now numbering eighteen plus one non-ringer, disembarked at Arley and walked the short distance to St Peter’s church where we rang several well-known methods, plus Arley Surprise Minor, before returning to the station to wait for the train. Packed lunches were opened and started in the cosy Waiting Room in which a coal fire burned.

Our next stop was Kidderminster, where the band grew to nineteen ringers. There was a longer, less scenic, walk to St Mary and All Saints church where we enjoyed ringing on 12 – reminding the band that construction work at St Chad’s had curtailed ringing on the fine 12 there for eleven months. The return walk through the underpasses of Kidderminster brought the ringers back to the station in plenty of time for refreshments and a visit to the Railway Museum before the departure of the train to our final ring - St Anne's church at Bewdley.

It was important that the ringing at Bewdley did not overrun as we were due to catch the last train back to Bridgnorth. We arrived at the station in time to have a group picture taken, and then boarded the train having had an excellent day’s ringing. But that wasn’t the end of the day – fourteen members of the band regrouped at the Riverside Inn at Cound for dinner and more socialising. Many thanks to Amanda for organising a very enjoyable Outing, on the only dry day of the week.

Shrewsbury outing 2012

At Bewdley station. l to r : Gill Glover, Biff Patterson, Brian Kear, Nick Green, Chris Fraser, Mark Adams, Kathryn Greaves (mostly hidden), Jacqui Barden, Madeline Harris, Cordelia Warr, Tony Freemont, Sue Buckingham, Amanda Craig, Adrian Roberts, Jad Bienek, Bill Deason, Geoff Harding

Picture taken by Alan Glover
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Oswestry Society of Bell Ringers - Saturday 5th May 2012

On Saturday the 5th of May the Oswestry Society of Bell Ringers (15 of us) ventured into South Shropshire and the Hereford Diocese Guild for our outing.

Starting early at St Mary's, Eardisland, everyone enjoyed a nice introduction to the day with an easy going ring of 8. The challenge method was St Mary's Bob Triples which was negotiated successfully.

On to Leominster where the band was at full strength (with the arrival of the stragglers). Not used to 10 bells and with quite varied "going" in them, we struggled to find a good rhythm, though everyone had at least one go. A variety of things were rung, including a touch of Grandsire Caters and a plain course of Stedman but we left hoping that we didn't spoil the tourists' day too much!

Ludlow next stop where we had secured the bells by agreeing to be a 'wedding band'. Minor stress was caused by having to park a good 10 minute walk from the church due to the Ludlow May Fair which had closed roads around the centre but 10 arrived in good time to welcome the bride and groom to their new life together. St Laurence's is a very impressive high vaulted church with a central tower and part of the fun is finding the door to the stairs! On this occasion they were in one of the central pillars of the church and 2 young (non ringing - yet) adventurers counted 138 steps to the ringing chamber. The bells have been recently rehung and augmented to 10 and, despite the height of the tower, we found them easy going and very pleasant to ring. All those who ventured up the stairs had a couple of goes and this time we tried Bob Caters and Grandsire Caters and were sure that those in the narrow streets below would have thoroughly enjoyed our meandering melody.

A hearty lunch (with Hobson's beers) was taken in the Rose and Crown just round the corner from the church and once refreshed we retraced the 10 minutes back to the cars for the short drive across Ludlow Racecourse to the 8 bells of Stanton Lacy. The entrance to the ringing room was via an unusual set of stone steps on the outside of the tower (see picture) but this did not stop all of us (including the 4 year old) venturing up to ring our usual favourites. "Double Norwich" was one challenge we could not quite meet (that's one for a Sunday at St Oswald's soon?) so it was Cambridge Surprise Major instead. Outside the ringing room much interest was being provoked by Lucy, Peter's dog, who was obsessed by something under the church oil tank. What the children presumed was a rabbit turned out to be a hedgehog and we left with prayers being said for Mrs Tiggywinkle!

Clungunford is a place that very few of us had been before and we were met by a cheery church warden who showed us the way through the church with a glint in her eye! We soon discovered why as the ascent to the ringing room was via a ladder attached to the wall with the aid of two vertical metal handrails as we stepped off the top. "Would never get past Health and Safety these days!" A loud ring of 6 were ably handled and we had a successful go at St Cuthbert's (thanks Tony!) with a few helpers dotted around the band.

Our final stop, just through Craven Arms, was Wistanstow. The children were delighted at the size of the church yard and on one of their trips up to the ringing room were disappointed to hear that we would only be 20 more minutes! Very robust use of the calls "bob" and "single" were needed here as the 8 bells sounded like they were only a plyboard ceiling away. We rang our range including half a course of Yorkshire (warming up for the Diamond Jubilee peal attempt?) and Don's favourite touch of Stedman. Weary but very happy with our efforts we concluded the day with a vote of thanks to Andy Harris for organising such a varied and full day and it was off back to Oswestry to what would seem like lovely, easy, quiet bells the following Sunday morning.

Oswestry outing 2012

On the steps at Stanton Lacy.

Pictutre taken by Peter Woollam
Provided by Brian Rothera.
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Training Officer Activities

Hi Everyone,

This is my first website posting as Training Officer, so here goes.

Edric is a very difficult act to follow, not only because he was a brilliant and dedicated Training Officer for the Association but also because he is a really patient and talented trainer. His ability to recognise a trainee’s precise need is uncanny as he proved on the second training event of the year on February 25th. But I’m getting in front of myself, what have we done so far?

On Saturday 18th February we had a training morning at Oswestry. Simulators are vital if we are to give trainees a good go and keep the neighbours happy. Having two 8 bell simulators in the Association (Oswestry and Edgmond) is really useful. I can’t decide whether it would be better to have one simulator in the middle of the Association, but we are where we are and we have two, one each end of the patch, and that makes reaching out to all ringers and potential ringers, not only in our Association, but also in neighbouring areas, a lot easier.

So on Saturday the 18th at Oswestry we had 3 brand new ringers from St Martin’s who, at the end of the 3 hours, were ringing rounds on 8 with a minder standing by. St Martin’s is looking to recruit a new band and if they carry on like this we should soon have a full band there. In addition, one of the really dedicated trainees at Oswestry went from rounds to call changes, another Oswestry ringer started to ring plain bob affected inside and a third
did very well at half a course of Cambridge major.

I know some people feel strongly that we should only use the training mornings for bringing on learners. However, I can’t see the harm in rewarding someone who turns up as a trainer or assistant for 3 hours by using 15 of the 180 minutes of the session to give them the chance to have a go at something more complicated that they are trying to learn. So half a course of Cambridge it was at Oswestry.

A week later we had another training morning, this time at Edgmond. We had 4 learners doing everything from rounds to triples and I think they all progressed very nicely. And our prize for the helpers was Pudsey.

What of the future?

There is 1 upcoming training sessions:

 • May 19th at Edgmond (Please note this is a change from the original posting of 21st April, which will not now happen).
Anyone wishing to learn anything should get in contact with me please.
I will also need trainers

And some new things in the pipeline:

 • Peter (Woollam – bell adviser) will do training sessions on bell maintenance (Date to be decided). This year’s training morning will be at Oswestry, probably in July  (date to be confirmed with Peter) because there is a huge amount of space around the bells for people to stand and watch, the bell chamber is easily accessed, there is good lighting and the bell chamber is relatively dirt free and uncluttered. But there must be other towers suitable for future years where there is space, access and suitable lighting and where the steeple keeper might value a group of keen supervised trainees working on their bells. Please contact me if you think you have such a tower.

I would like to have some sessions that whilst open to all learners also have a theme based on a difficult skill.

• Calling and conducting are real skills without which new bands can stagnate. We will have sessions designed for people to learn to call changes and  plain bob/grandsire. The first of these will be combined with the training morning at Edgmond on May 19th.

• People have also asked for training in conducting (rather than just calling). There will be a training session incorporating theory and practice at Oswestry on 20th October.

• Leading up and down are also key skills. Some (including me!) really need to practice this important part of the exercise. Simulators are far from perfect for learning this skill, but Will (Lander – webmaster) has found some tricks that make the experience almost lifelike. The simulators at Edgmond and Oswestry are slightly different. We can certainly do this on the simulator at Oswestry and so the training morning on June 30th at Oswestry will incorporate raising and lowering in peal.
 • I have had a number of people say they would like the chance to learn the basics and intricacies of Stedman, so later on in the year a Stedman practice will be arranged for people to have a go at Stedman doubles and triples with a good band around them. This is currently scheduled as part of the training morning on June 30th at Oswestry.

31st March Oswestry Learners
19th May Edgmond Learners AND learning to call
30th June Oswestry Raising and lowering in peal AND
Stedman doubles and triples
Mid-late July/Early
Oswestry Bell maintenance
22nd September Edgmond Learners
20th October Oswestry Learning to conduct
17th November Edgmond Learners

The whole committee is conscious that whilst as a small Association we ring lots of quarter peals, there are many ringers who might wish to ring in or even call a quarter but don’t get the opportunity. So there will be a general request for interest in ringing quarter peals at your own or others towers. This will mirror Andrew Gordon’s call for people interested in peals.

All of that said, the training mornings are for the Association and its members and it is really important that you get in contact with me (email address on the web site) to let me know what you would like to learn or see happening. If any of the above have whetted your appetite please contact me, places are, I’m afraid, limited.

Tony Freemont
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May Association practice

This was held at Edgmond on Saturday 11th May and was attended by 18 ringers. The Ringing Master, Sue Buckingham, ran the practice, and the ringing included Plain Bob Doubles, Plain Bob Triples, Stedman Triples, Cambridge Surprise Major, Rutland Surprise Major, Superlative Surprise Major, and London Surprise Major. Peter Woollam raised £25 for the Bell Restoration Fund by selling raffle tickets. The lucky winners of the usual types of prizes were Natasha Compton (Shawbury) and Tony Freemont (Oswestry).
In her role as Social Secretary, Sue was also selling tickets for the Treasure Hunt & Barbecue on Saturday 9th June. The cost is £7 per ticket. Please contact Sue, or any Committee member, to purchase your tickets.

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Association Training Morning – 19th May 2012

This was held at Edgmond Ringing Centre, using the simulator. The students were Peter Hall and Rob Richards from Cheswardine, Biff Patterson from Shrewsbury, Jackie Roberts from High Ercall, and Doug and Angie Spooner from Coalbrookdale. They all made good progress in at least one of: call changes, Grandsire Doubles, Stedman Doubles, Plain Bob Minor, Plain Hunt Triples, Plain Bob Triples.
Tony Freemont, Association Training Officer, was assisted by Edric Broom, Sue Buckingham, Susan Capey, Alan Glover, Madeline Harris, Adrian Roberts, and Peter Woollam. Madeline supplied flapjacks and brownies (the chocolate sort).
The next Training Morning will be held at Oswestry on Saturday 30th June and the topics will be Raising and Lowering in Peal, and Stedman Doubles and Triples. There will also be a session on Tower Maintenance on Saturday 21st July at Oswestry.
Please contact Tony Freemont ( if you would like to attend either, or both, of these sessions.

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May Surprise Major Practice

This was held on Friday 25th May at St Mary’s, Shrewsbury. Nine ringers attended, and Sue Buckingham was able to coax them into ringing Yorkshire, Superlative, and Bristol.
The next Surprise Major practice will be held at Oswestry on Friday 29th June, starting at 7:30pm.

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Olympic Torch Relay Shrewsbury - 30th May 2012

Olympic torch

A view from the tower of the crowds who gathered as normal to listen to the fine bells of St Mary's church in Shrewsbury,
but were briefly distracted by a passing pyromaniac.

Picture and caption by Alan Glover
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