Although no Parish Magazine was published in August the report written for that issue nevertheless appeared on this site. What follows is the report as published in the September Parish Magazine in its entirety and therefore contains some duplication of the August report as published on this site.
As reported in the July Magazine, at the beginning of June four of our ringers joined with other ringers from the Weald area on the ultimate bell ringing holiday – to Scotland. With the Church of Scotland being Presbyterian in nature those churches with bells are few and far between since Presbyterians do not generally have bells in their churches. Consequently there are less than twenty rings of bells in the whole of Scotland, which is just over half the number in our own Maidstone District alone! The ten day trip necessitated some intricate planning, for which we are grateful to Chris Bassett and Tim Munt, the latter of whom is a regular visitor to our practices. It also meant lots of driving – around 800 miles in addition to the journey from Kent and back.
On Saturday 8th August we were pleased to be able to ring for the wedding of local ringer Stephen Bassett to Becky Mahoney, daughter of Staplehurst chorister Chris. Many of Stephen’s family are ringers, including of course his mum Sue and dad Chris, his bothers David and Michael and also his uncle and aunt and cousins. Indeed at one stage before the wedding all ten of our bells were being rung by members of his family. Added to that many ringing friends who were present and you have one wedding where there definitely wasn’t a problem in finding enough people to ring! Following the wedding a three hour peal was rung to celebrate the event.
The following week, on Saturday 15th August, our ringers were again out in force at the annual District Ringers’ Barbeque at Marden.
Looking forward, we will be ringing for a 1pm wedding on Saturday 5th September. Then on Saturday 19th September the Kent County Association of ringers will be holding a training day at Staplehurst from 9.15am until 6pm. But don’t worry – the practical sessions will take place on our simulator so there will be no sound outside the church during the day! [note: event now cancelled due to lack of support]. Otherwise we will just be ringing on our normal Tuesday practice evening and for the regular Sunday Services.
Please note that there was no Parish Magazine in August due to the indisposition of the graphic designer. The report below is what was originally written for the August issue and will be combined with the September issue if and when published.
As reported in last month’s Magazine, at the beginning of June four of our ringers joined with other ringers from the Weald area on the ultimate bell ringing holiday – to Scotland. With the Church of Scotland being Presbyterian in nature those churches with bells are few and far between since Presbyterians do not generally have bells in their churches. Consequently there are less than twenty rings of bells in the whole of Scotland, which is just over half the number in our own Maidstone District alone! The ten day trip necessitated some intricate planning, for which we are grateful to Chris Bassett and Tim Munt, the latter of whom is a regular visitor to our practices. It also meant lots of driving – around 800 miles in addition to the journey from Kent and back.
Looking ahead, August is normally a quiet month with many people away on holiday. Not so for our ringers this year. There is a wedding requiring bells on Saturday 1st August and then the following week on Saturday 8th August we will be ringing for the wedding of local ringer Stephen Bassett and Becky Mahoney. Following the wedding we will be attempting a peal (around three hours’ continuous ringing) to celebrate the event.
Then, on Saturday 15th August, our ringers are likely to be out in force at the annual District Ringers’ Barbeque at Marden.
We do not currently have any visiting bands of ringers scheduled to ring our bells in August, so apart from the weddings mentioned above we will just be ringing on our normal Tuesday practice evening and for the regular Sunday Services.
At the beginning of June several of our ringers joined with other ringers from the Weald area on a bell ringing holiday to Scotland. We will not be back until after the deadline for this issue of the Magazine, but we hope to include a report in the August issue. Other than this, little of note has happened in bell ringing circles during late May and early June, so this month’s report is necessarily a short one.
We have no weddings requiring bells during July, nor do we currently have any visiting bands of ringers scheduled to ring our bells. We will therefore just be ringing on our normal Tuesday practice evening and for the regular Sunday Services during July.
However, looking forward to next month we will be ringing for the wedding of Stephen Bassett and Becky Mahoney on Saturday 8th August. Steve is a member of our own band and we are therefore proposing to attempt a peal (around three hours’ continuous ringing) following the wedding to celebrate the event.
We reported in last month’s magazine that our ringers were attempting a three hour peal on Saturday 18th April, and we are pleased to be able to report that the attempt was successful. This was the 100th such peal since the original bells were installed in 1885 and, as far as we are aware, the first ever by a band of Staplehurst’s own ringers, so congratulations to all those involved.
On Bank Holiday Monday 4th May twenty of our ringers and friends enjoyed their annual outing, during which we rang at six churches around the Dorking area of Surrey and enjoyed a lovely pub lunch.
Friday 8th May marked the 75th anniversary of VE Day and, in common with churches throughout the country, we rang to commemorate the event. During May we also rang for the Ascension Day High Mass.
Perhaps surprisingly, we have no weddings requiring bells during June, nor do we currently have any visiting bands of ringers scheduled to ring our bells. We will therefore just be ringing on our normal Tuesday practice evening and for the regular Sunday Services during June.
It has been quite a notable few weeks for our bellringers. You will remember from last month’s report that we entered two bands in the Maidstone District Striking Competitions at Ightham on 14th March, one in the method competition and the other in the called changes competition. We had won both these competitions for the past two years and the good news is that we won both again this year. This is believed to be the first time in the competition’s history that ringers from one church have won both competitions for three consecutive years. The following day Silke invited us to show the trophies to an appreciative congregation during morning service.
In common with most churches we did not ring our bells at all during Holy Week, but they rang out joyously again on Easter Day. The following day, on Easter Monday, we welcomed visiting ringers on their way to the Kent County Association’s AGM at Marden, which this year marked an important milestone for Staplehurst when our own Tower Captain, Daniel Brady, was elected County Chairman. This is the first time a Staplehurst ringer has ever achieved the highest office in Kent ringing and, at 26 years of age, Daniel is probably the youngest ever to chair the Association.
One of Daniel’s aims as chairman is to ensure that there are sufficient younger ringers coming through to replace those whose ringing days are over and, with this in mind, he arranged a special school holiday practice at our tower on the following Thursday. It was encouraging to see the progress of those young people who attended.
On Saturday 11th April we rang for the wedding of Alyson Mahoney and Michael Spicer. Then on the following Saturday, 18th April, our ringers attempted to ring a three hour peal. This was after the copy deadline and a report will appear in the June issue.
On Saturday 2nd May we will have a visiting band attempting a quarter-peal (45 minutes’ continuous ringing) between 11am and 12noon. Then on the following Friday evening, 8th May, we are hoping to attempt another quarter-peal to commemorate the 70th anniversary of VE day.
In addition to the above we will of course be ringing for our regular Tuesday practice and the normal Sunday Services during May.
Contrary to popular belief our bellringers do not spend all their time at the end of a rope. We often undertake social activities together. In February we had our belated “Christmas” lunch and another such occasion was Saturday 7th March when we entered a Bellringers’ team in the Friends of All Saints’ ever popular Brain Game. We finished in 6th place from an entry of 11 teams.
Back to ringing and the following week we entered two bands in the Maidstone District Striking Competition at Ightham. This event came after the copy deadline for this issue, so let’s hope we have some good news to report in the May issue.
Looking to the future we have some additional ringing coming up in the next month. Firstly, on Easter Monday 6th April our bells will be available between10.30 and 11.15am for visiting ringers on their way to the Kent County Association’s AGM at neighbouring Marden. Then on Saturday 11th April we will be ringing for the first wedding of the summer.
On the following Saturday, 18th April, our ringers will be attempting to ring a peal, starting at 10am. A peal comprises approximately 3 hours of continuous ringing and is thus a challenge to both body and mind. If successful it will be the 100th such peal since the original bells were installed in 1885 and, as far as we are aware, the first ever by a band of Staplehurst’s own ringers.
On Saturday 2nd May we will have a visiting band attempting a quarter-peal (45 minutes’ continuous ringing) and then the following Monday we will be spending the Early Spring Bank Holiday on our annual outing, where we will be ringing at churches in Surrey and enjoying a pub lunch together.
In addition to the above we will of course be ringing for our regular Tuesday practice and the normal Sunday Services.
The first weekend in February was a busy one for the Staplehurst Bellringers. It started on Friday 6th February when we welcomed around 40 Scouts, together with their parents, friends and leaders, to view our bells and hear a talk about bells and bell ringing. Some of the more adventurous even had a go at ringing – under strict supervision of course! Hopefully we may get a few recruits from among them.
The following day we enjoyed a belated “Christmas” meal at the King’s Head – with not a turkey or Christmas pudding in sight. Twenty ringers and their partners and friends enjoyed an evening of good food, good drink and excellent company, and we thank Sue Bassett for organising the event. Despite the excesses we were all up early the next day to ring for Sunday morning service and again on Sunday evening.
Later in the month we rang for the Ash Wednesday service, marking the beginning of Lent.
On Saturday 14th March we will be entering two bands in the Maidstone District Striking Contests at Ightham, one in the method competition and the other in the called changes competition. We have won both these competitions for the past two years and are hoping to make it a hat-trick this year. You will be able to read how we fared in the April Magazine.
At present we have no visiting bands scheduled for March, so we will only be ringing for our regular Tuesday practice and the normal Sunday Services. In common with most other churches we will not be practising on 31st March which is during Holy Week.
We were surprised – and delighted – to welcome a former member of our band to our practice on 23rd December. Iain Mackay gave up ringing due to shoulder problems some six years ago but is now back and intends to start coming regularly again. True to his word Iain turned up to ring for the Christingle service on Christmas Eve and rang as though he had never been away. Good to have you back Iain, and we look forward to seeing you for many years to come!
As usual January was a rather quiet month for the Staplehurst ringers following the busy lead up to Christmas, although we did ring for the Epiphany High Mass on 6th January. As to the future, we will hope to be ringing for the Ash Wednesday service on 18th February. That apart we will be ringing on our normal Tuesday practice evening and for the regular Sunday Services.
Staplehurst Bellringers now have their own website which can be found at http://bells.allsaintsstaplehurst.co.uk/ or alternatively accessed via the Church website Bellringers’ page and following the link More about ringing at All Saints’ Staplehurst. There you will find regular updates as to what goes on up in the tower. We are sure you will find it interesting.
The Staplehurst Bellringers hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas and wish you all the best for the New Year.
As usual, the Christmas period was a busy time for our ringers. On Saturday 13th December some of our ringers joined those from other churches in the area for a special Bellringers’ Carol Service at Addington, followed by mince pies and mulled wine. However, due to the non-availability of several of our ringers in the weeks preceding Christmas it was decided to postpone our “Christmas” Dinner until the New Year. In addition to the normal Sunday Services we also rang for the Christingle Service on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Morning. By the time you read this, we will also have enjoyed our traditional New Year’s Party and will have “rung in” 2015.
We are always looking to recruit new ringers to ensure that our bells continue to be rung for many years to come. As you will see above there is a good social side to bellringing. We nearly always adjourn to The King’s Head for liquid refreshment after practice, and once a year we have a day’s outing ringing at churches in other parts of the country. Why not make it one of your New Year resolutions to come and visit us at our Tuesday practice and see what it’s all about? For more information contact our Tower Captain Daniel Brady on 01580 891840. In case anyone is wondering, I must stress that there is absolutely no requirement for ringers to attend the church services that they ring for (although if they wished to, they would be most welcome).
During January we will be ringing on our normal Tuesday practice evening and for the regular Sunday Services. At present we have no visiting bands coming to ring on our bells in the early part of 2015, but that may well change as we move towards Spring.
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.