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.