Bellringers’ Report – December 2014

It is with deep regret that I have to begin this month’s report with the sad news that Derek Wood, one of our former ringers, passed away suddenly on the night of Wednesday 22nd/Thursday 23rd October. Derek had been a loyal and regular member of the Staplehurst band for 36 years until shoulder/back problems prevented him from ringing a few years ago.  We were glad that he continued to join us in the King’s Head every Tuesday after practice and many of us had enjoyed his company just two days before his death. A quarter-peal was rung to his memory on Sunday 2nd November and we were honoured to ring for his memorial service on Friday 14th November.

We also rang for the Thanksgiving Service for the life of Brian Thompson on the afternoon of 4th November.

The Staplehurst Bellringers held their AGM on the evening of 4th November with Patrick, our Churchwarden, in the Chair. Sue Bassett, who had been Tower Captain for almost 10 years, had decided not to stand for re-election and we are grateful for all she has done in that time. This triggered several changes in Tower Officers, with Daniel Brady being elected as the new Tower Captain and Sue Gullett and Richard Barclay as Assistant Tower Captains. We are grateful also to previous Assistant Tower Captain Ann Fulcher who has also stood down this year. Chris Bassett was re-elected as Steeplekeeper, Roy Barclay as Secretary and Sallyann Barclay as Treasurer. We were pleased that Patrick was able to join us for refreshments in the King’s Head afterwards.

On Saturday 8th November we entered two bands in the Maidstone District Striking Contests at Otham, one in the method competition and the other in the called changes competition. We won both these competitions last year and we are pleased to say that we won both again this year. The winners’ shields are proudly hanging in the ringing room once again.

Looking to the future, as well as the regular Sunday Services we will be ringing for some of the extra services over Christmas and, of course, our normal Tuesday practices. We will, as usual, be ringing in the New Year.

Finally the Staplehurst Bellringers would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.

Bellringers’ Report – November 2014

As many of our readers will know, we are lucky to have several up and coming young ringers in our band and on Sunday 14th September one of them, 13-year-old Roddy Lucas, rang his first quarter-peal.  Although Roddy has been ringing for several years this was his first attempt at a quarter-peal, which involves 45 minutes’ continuous ringing, and our congratulations go to him for his achievement.  By chance the quarter was also Roy Barclay’s 200th on the bells.

We also rang a quarter-peal on Sunday 12th October, this time in celebration for the life of Janet Mackay whose husband Iain was a member of our band until his health prevented him from ringing some years ago.

On Saturday, 11th October we hosted the Annual Meeting of the Maidstone District of the Kent County Association of Change Ringers.  Other ringers from churches around the Maidstone area joined us for ringing, and for Evensong kindly led by Silke. This was followed by tea and then the business meeting at which the District Officers for the forthcoming year (including several from our own tower) were elected.

By the time you read this, our ringers will have taken part in All Saints’ Birthday Celebrations on Saturday 1st November where the tower was open for visitors to see the bells and learn a little about their history and about bellringing in general.

As to the future, on Tuesday 4th November we will be holding our Tower AGM at which we will be electing our own tower officers for the coming year, so ringing will be somewhat curtailed that evening.  Then on Saturday 15th November we will be welcoming visitors from the Tonbridge District who will be ringing our bells from 7 – 9pm. This apart, we will be ringing on our normal Tuesday practice evening and for the regular Sunday services during November.