Six of the 10 bells were rung half-muffled today while the congregation arrived for the annual Service of Remembrance at All Saints, Staplehurst. The Tenor bell was chimed 11 times at 11 o’clock during the service to mark the beginning of the national one‑minute silence, in which we remembered the service and sacrifice of all those that have defended our freedoms and protected our way of life.
Two Staplehurst Ringers enjoyed ringing with other members of the Kent Association of Change Ringers at Yalding on Saturday morning. Refreshments (including home-made cake and biscuits) were very tasty and welcome whilst catching up with friends we hadn’t seen in a long while. Prior to the pandemic, Ringers often went out ringing at other towers nearby, around the country and abroad. It felt good that some normality had resumed, even though hand sanitiser, masks and increased ventilation were in evidence. Ringing bells at other towers can sometimes present new challenges (due to different weights of bells, varying lengths of rope and how easy (or not!) the bells are to ring) but it is always interesting. So too are the variety and beauty of the churches, towns and villages that we visit. Bell ringing takes us to some amazing places.
The Kent Association of Change Ringers (KCACR) held a Choral Evensong Service of Remembrance to remember over 40 ringers in Kent who died during the pandemic. Several Staplehurst Bell Ringers attended the service in which our own beloved ringer, Iain MacKay, was remembered and whose funeral will be held shortly. The bells at Rochester Cathedral were rung before and after the service by members of KCACR and hand bells were rung during the service. Although many bell ringers are generally renowned for not attending church services on a regular basis, it was a privilege to take part in this special service of remembrance in this glorious cathedral and an honour to ring the bells there afterwards too. One of our ringers was quite daunted at the opportunity to ring at Rochester Cathedral but overcame her fears to ring very well.
At the recent AGM, chaired by the Rector, the ringers voted unanimously that the Tower Officers willing to stand should continue in post for another year. The post of Ringing Master is currently vacant so the organisation of ringing is now being shared amongst the Tower Captain and two Assistant Tower Captains. Officer Reports were noted at the AGM and the Tower Captain’s report gives a summary of the events and activities of our ringing (although mainly not being able to ring) over the past year.