CDGCBR: East Cheshire Branch

The East Cheshire Branch of the Chester Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers (CDGCBR) comprises 34 towers in the North East of Cheshire, Derbyshire and Greater Manchester. The branch includes Stockport, Macclesfield, Wilmslow, Buxton and Altrincham, as well as a number of smaller towns and villages in the area. The other branches in the guild are Chester Branch [19 towers with 6 or more bells], Mid Cheshire Branch [18 towers], South Cheshire Branch [22 towers], and Wirral Branch [20 towers]. As you can see by the numbers, we're the largest branch in terms of towers!

Live from Clive

The Latest News from the Branch Secretary

From: Graham Jenkins (as Guild Master)

(Click link above to download message as PDF)

To Guild member(s),

As the new year starts, I wish to provide you all with an update on Guild activities and express my personal hope that 2022 will see us return to the pre- covid bell ringing situation.

As a nation we are still going through a period of uncertainty with the prevalence of the latest Omicron covid variant. Whilst we all need to consider our own personal risks and take suitable precautions, I am encouraged that the success of the national vaccination program means that Omicron appears to be causing milder symptoms and less severe outcomes in people. I truly hope that we are now approaching the ‘end-game’ with the Covid-19 pandemic and that we learn to live with the ever presence of coronavirus infection as we do each year with the influenza virus. It is clear that coronavirus is going to be with us for many years and we face the same constant biological battle of impunity verses infection that we do with many human disease pathogens.

Looking back at 2021, the Guild continued to operate on a limitd basis since social distancing restrictions again prevented cross-branch events such as the 8- bell and 10-bell striking competitions taking place. Local branch meetings were restarted in the second half of the year with appropriate safety precautions and risk assessments being completed to ensure the health of those taking part.

The BRF (bell restoration fund) continued to approve grants for significant projects across the diocese including the recent successful addition of another treble bell at Chester cathedral. Other major projects that are likely to be supported by the BRF include major bell rehanging projects at Neston and Audlem together with significant work to the frame at Mottram-in-Longdendale. In addition, the Guild executive committee is also monitoring the future of the 10 bells at Crewe where the church has been made redundant; we are in early discussions with the relevant authorities with a hope of maintaining access to the bells as a ringing centre for the Guild; this project will also require BRF funding if it is to be viable. To ensure the continued ability of the BRF to support all these worthy projects an annual increase of £2 to the Guild subscription fee was recently approved at the Guild AGM with this additional money being ring-fenced for the BRF fund. We will be holding another ‘BRF Quiz Night’ via Zoom on Saturday 5th February with proceeds going to the BRF; watch out for future information including dates and times being circulated via the branch secretaries.

Looking to 2022 and beyond, I believe the Guild has an exciting future ahead where we can progress many of the bell ringing initiatives that have been in obeyance during the covid pandemic; such initiatives include young ringers, ringing centres, ringing simulators and other training initiatives.

The Guild executive committee recognises that the Guild needs to address the impact of a number of significant challenges arising from changes with respect to the CofE (Church of England) and wider society. There are many realities we need to address including (but not restricted to):

The perception of our art amongst local communities

Loss of existing members and recruitment of new members

Changing demographics

Reducing church congregations and diocesan financial reviews leading to the potential loss of some of our churches

The emergence of new technologies (virtual meetings, simulators etc.)

Reflecting on these challenges, the Guild executive committee has agreed to initiate a thorough ‘root and branch’ review of our Guild during the year with a desire to consult the membership about what changes you wish to see over the next 5-years; the initiative will be entitled ‘CDG-2027’ to reflect this initial 5-year focus but will seek to identify long-term improvements/changes that will extend beyond this timeframe. This review will require input from you the membership and will hope to deliver firm proposals for discussion and potential adoption at next year’s AGM. Further information about this initiative will be made available to you over the next few months (via branch secretaries) with details about how you can personally contribute through questionnaires and feedback forms; your input will be much appreciated.

Guild events will be restarted in earnest in 2022 ranging from local branch ringing events to inter-branch activities. The first inter-branch meeting will be the


Guild 8-bell striking competition to be held at West Kirby on Saturday 2nd April 2022 where the test piece will be a 224 change touch of Grandsire Triples. The Guild will again support the Royal Cheshire County Show on 21st and 22nd June 2022 and any willing volunteers will again be appreciated. Dates for other events will be circulated in due course via Guild/ Branch secretaries. Of particular note will be the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in June when special ringing events across the Guild will be arranged to mark this unique event.

I will close by wishing you all continued good health over the coming months of continuing coronavirus uncertainty. I hope that you enjoyed meeting up with your family and friends over the festive period and I look forward to getting back to enjoying the camaraderie and friendships within bell ringing circles again during the year.

Best wishes,

Graham

Graham Jenkins

(Guild Master)

From: Clive

Happy New Year to one and all!

Some weeks ago Graham Cook at Bowdon sent me an email asking "which towers have had experience lately of new ropes? We are looking to replace ours and would like to get the quality right, as I know it's been a bit mixed in recent years."

I don't think I passed Graham's request on to anyone so, if you've had recent relevant experience please let me or Graham know - Graham.Cook1129@btinternet.com

From: John Lacy Secretary, Society For Northwest Bell Ringing Courses

As you are Secretaries / Officials of branches within a ringing Association local to the Northwest of England, I am writing to let you know about a new annual residential ringing course to be based at Myerscough College near Preston between Thursday 11th August and Sunday 14th August 2022. I attach an introductory flyer with some detail and please note website address which is https://nwringingcourse.uk/ .

This new course has been organised by ringers in the North West with help and sponsorship from the Central Council and is designed to meet a gap in the provision of training for ringers who are no longer in the early stages of ringing but not yet experts. Theory sessions will be taught in college and practical sessions arranged at local towers.

I’d be very grateful if you would circulate this information within the Chester Diocesan Guild.

Many thanks

John Lacy

From: Christine RE: Guild AGM (31 October) ** RESULTS IN BRIEF **

The following Guild Officers were elected

Trustees

Master - Graham Jenkins (Prestbury)

Honorary Secretary - Christine Broadley (Mottram in Longdendale)

Honorary Treasurer - Robert Keen (Wilmslow)

Bell Restoration Officer - Ray Helliwell (Grappenhall)

Others

Guild Web Master - Tom Nestor (Goostrey)

Honorary Press Officer - Tom Nestor (Goostrey)

Honorary Peal Recorder - David T G Jones (Neston)

Report Secretary - Simon Taylor (Middlewich)

Guild Archivist - J David Adams (Chester)

Central Council Representatives

David T G Jones (Neston)

Tom Nestor (Goostrey)

Peter Wilkinson (Weaverham)

Carole Hallam (Mottram in Longdendale)

Annual membership subscription

The annual membership subscription was increased by £2 to £10. This does not include any Branch Levy. The Non-resident Life Membership will therefore increase to £10.

Peal Booking Fee

The peal booking fee was suspended

Expense Policy

The Beeston Library expenses were incorporated into the expense rules

Life Members

The following members were ratified as Life Members: Sue Dyson (Poynton), Helen Knight (Davenham), John S T Willasey (Heswall), George W Phillips (Port Sunlight)

The Master congratulated them and thanked them for their service of over 40 years to the Guild and to their churches.

Help wanted with Guild Peal records

The Guild Archivist, David Adams, is entering Guild Peals and those rung in Guild Towers. He would welcome help with this mammoth task. See separate email (here and here) for further details.

Draft Guild Program

Jolly January Quiz – Online quiz in aid of the Guild Bell Restoration Fund

2nd April 2022 - 8 Bell Competition (Wirral Branch)

Tues/Wed 21st / 22nd June - Cheshire Show (set up Mon 21st)

2nd July - RWNYC Exeter

10th September - 6 Bell Competition (Mid Branch)

8th October - Guild Festival and AGM (Chester Branch)

29th October - 10 Bell Competition (venue tbc)

Here are the Guild AGM documents

  • Independent examiner's certificate (2021) (pdf)

  • AGM Agenda 2021 (Choose format: doc or pdf)

  • AGM notice (Choose format: doc or pdf)

  • 2020 Accounts for year (Choose format: xlsx or pdf)

  • Guild AGM Minutes 2020 (Choose format: doc or pdf)

  • Guild AGM 2021 Guidance Notes For Agenda Items (pdf)

  • Guild AGM Financial Report 2021 (pdf)

  • Guild Masters Report 2021 (pdf)

  • Nomination form list (Choose format: docx or pdf)

From: Central Council (from Vicki CCCBR pro)

RE: Operation London Bridge

Ringing for the death of a monarch is thankfully not something we have to worry about very often. There are, however, specific plans and protocols in place for such an occasion. There is more information in the Guidance Note at the Central Council website here (or you can download the PDF version here).


From: Clive

I have received a note from Peter Robinson (tower captain at Nether Alderley) to the effect that he is now the contact for Chelford. Charles Rogers has relinquished all responsibility for the tower.

There is now ringing regularly at Chelford on Sundays with ringers from both Nether Alderley and Prestbury.

On the third Tuesday of each month, the Alderley practice will transfer to Chelford.

If you wish to go to any of these Tuesday practices (7.30) at Chelford on the third Tuesday in the month you will be very welcome.

You can contact Peter on peterfiona@hotmail.co.uk or 01625 860 679 if you wish to check before you set out.

From ART/CCCBR


Subject: Survival and Recovery Newsheets.

ART and the Central Council have put together a series of newsletters which they called "Survival and Recovery Newsheets". There are five issues in the series, and they are available here - Issue 1, Issue 2, Issue 3, and Issue 4, Issue 5, and Issue 6 .

Contact the Secretary

Members of the branch should have already received the above messages directly from Clive. If you haven't, click here to email Clive [clive.calton@btinternet.com] and get on his mailing list. If you need to get hold of Clive urgently, his mobile number is 07779 488359.

*** New Summary Guidance from CCCBR ***

CCCBR Guidance in England

This section has been copied from this CCCBR page.


This is an important update to the summary guidance which has been agreed with the House of Bishops Recovery Group following the publication of the Church of England’s own guidance in response to the Government’s Plan B. It clarifies how the mandatory requirement to wear face coverings in places of worship applies to bellringing.

Most ringers and towers had returned to some form of normality prior to the emergence of the Omicron variant. This is because as with all the other things we do in life we have learned the precautions that reduce the risk of transmission, but mainly because vaccination, and particularly third doses, significantly reduces the risk of serious illness from all but the most vulnerable. Many ringers are however still routinely wearing face coverings to help reduce the spread of virus, and Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) on the day of ringing (or at worst the day before) are seen as an important tool to mitigate risks for longer periods of ringing.

Face coverings

There has been much debate over the mandatory wearing of face coverings in places of worship introduced by the Government’s ‘Plan B’ and how this applies to ringing. We have now determined that there is an exception to this mandatory requirement for “a person providing services in the [place of worship] under arrangements made with the person responsible for the [place of worship]”. Provided the ringing is with the permission of the incumbent (or other responsible party), bellringing is excluded from this mandatory requirement depending on the layout of the church (see below). The legislation does not explicitly say that the incumbent should be made aware if face coverings are not to be worn but we believe that this is a decision that should be made with the incumbent who has overall responsibility for health and safety in the building.

This exception has been reviewed by the House of Bishops Recovery Group’s legal adviser who added “provided that the ringing chamber is not in part of the church which is open to the public, then bellringers are not required to wear face coverings while they are ringing.” So face coverings will still need to be worn in ground floor ringing chambers, during any passage through the church to get to the ringing chamber, or in other shared spaces such as one shared with the choir.

Lateral Flow Tests

The Government recommends lateral flow tests when meeting other people and this recommendation is carried into our guidance. LFTs on the day of ringing are a key mitigation for those wishing to ring for longer periods of time, alongside good ventilation. We have however all been encouraged to reduce our social contacts to limit the spread of the Omicron variant. The Government ‘s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said this week “Prioritise the things that really matter to you.”

Summary Guidance

The revised Summary Guidance that has now been published looks at each of the mitigations in addition to face coverings and LFTs and how they apply to ringing.

We encourage all ringers to take both a personal approach and a collective approach to how residual risk is managed for themselves and each other. A personal approach is what we are probably all doing already when we ask ourselves:

  • What’s the local risk?

  • What’s my personal risk?

  • How do I reduce both?

  • How do I decide if it’s safe for me to ring?


Note that there are no limits on numbers, distancing or duration, but an emphasis on considering which mitigations are appropriate for a particular situation, adjusting the length of time accordingly. For instance a fully vaccinated band (two vaccinations and booster) might be comfortable ringing for an extended period of time at a well ventilated tower if all participants have done a LFT within the previous 24 hours, while teaching youngsters is likely to be for much shorter periods, again with an LFT within 24 hours and also with a face covering.

The wearing of face coverings is not mandatory (as noted above) but it is known to reduce risk of spread between people, and as such it remains a strong recommendation. It is however a matter of personal choice and a collective band decision

Data on local infection levels

If you want the most reliable data on infection levels in your local area as a guide for your own decision making, the ‘Gold Standard’ is the weekly data published by the ONS which can be found here:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronaviruscovid19infectionsurveypilot/previousReleases

The nature of Guidance

“What is the right thing to do when some of the current restrictions are given as guidance only? Guidance can be vague and ambiguous, a linguistic ploy to put off making ultimate decisions, because the liberal state knows that human liberty cannot be taken away lightly. But I see guidance as that which speaks to our conscience, what we know is the right thing to do, despite the lack of legal clarity.”

Dr Mona Siddiqui, BBC Radio4 “Thought for the Day”, 14 December

East Branch AGM

** Minutes now available **

Here are the Branch AGM documents (see below for Guild AGM documents)

Look To

Lock Down

A Lock Down Newsletter

For East Branch Members

All the issues of the lockdown newsletter are available by clicking on the relevant link: Issue 1, Issue 2, Issue 3, Issue 4, Issue 5, Issue 6, Issue 7, Issue 8, Issue 9, and Issue 10.

Learning the Ropes

The Association of Ringing Teachers (ART) regularly issues a newsletter called "Tower Talk". You don't have to be a member of ART to read the newsletters. Click here to see issue 20 (which is the latest issue). You can also click here for previous issues and other news.

Site Map [Click on the link below to go to the relevant page]

Interactive Branch Map . This map allows you to look up the details for any of the towers in the branch by clicking it [uses Google Maps]. There is also a tower directory underneath. This just reformats all the data to make it easier to read [this bit is identical to the form on the Contacts page].

Interactive Tower Map. Use this to compare towers - weights, practice night, number of bells. Just click on the column header in the table to sort the data. Clicking on a tower in the map will give you contact details. The information shown on this page is also available as a PDF by clicking here.

Reasons to Contact Us

Here are four good reasons to send us a message

  • Stay Informed. Are you getting regular emails from Clive? Maybe your tower captain is getting them, but not passing the information on to you. If you're not on Clive's email list, then click here and we'll make sure that you're added. If you no longer want to receive any of those emails, then just click here.

  • Ringing Room. Are you interested in using Ringing Room? We're trying to get ringers together who would like to have a go [either for the first time or on a regular basis]. If you are interested, and what you would like to have a go at Ringing Room, just click here.

  • Get Help. Is your band struggling to learn a method? Does your tower need a bit of help with numbers? This is your opportunity to reach out for help. Just click here and tell us what you need and we'll do our best to help.

  • Help Us. We can only get better if people tell us what they like and/or don't like. It's up to you to tell us if you like what we're doing on this website, at the branch events, or at tower visits. Every opinion is important, so take a few minutes and let us know what you think. Click here and tell us what you think of us.

If you have any comments or ideas for the website, we would love to hear them. You can email the webmaster by clicking here.