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!

Lockdown 3.0 has suspended the Tiers-based guidance and replaced it with a mandatory requirement to Stay at Home ‘unless you have a reasonable excuse.’ Our guidance is to adhere to that principle and not go out to ring. This is in line with our guidance during the first period of lockdown when the medical situation was not as bad as it is now.

One difference between the first lockdown and now is that attending a Place of Worship is specifically allowed by law as a ‘reasonable excuse’ provided it is to worship alone or as a household group (the Church of England’s guidance can be found here). The ringing of a single bell or Ellacombe chime (or bells in the case of a ringing household) as part of an act of worship is not prohibited, and if you think it is important enough for a bell or bells to be heard in your community, and you can do it without putting yourselves or others at risk, then that is your decision to make.

Anyone for Ringing Room?

In order to encourage and help ringers interested in Ringing Room, the branch is organizing regular Ringing Room sessions (they started on the 10th January). These practices will be held on Sundays at 2PM and Thursdays at 7PM.

These sessions are intended for those who can already ring at least Bob Minor [not necessarily in Ringing Room]. Practice sessions for those with less experience will be held later, but please contact us to express an interest.

If you have never used Ringing Room, please let us know and we will arrange an induction session for you.

If you are interested in participating in either of these practice sessions, please send an email to cdgeast34@gmail.com.

A warm welcome to our Guild Jolly January Quiz on Saturday 30th January 2021. Please find your personal invitation attached and more details.

"Doors open" at 7.30pm: take your seats, settle down, raise a toast, catch up with your bell ringing friends, and then it's Eyes Down for 8pm. The quiz is free to enter by Zoom and hosted by our very own Tom, and will last for around an hour.

If you would like to donate the price of a favourite drink to BRF, optional donations are being accepted, details below. Most of all, we look forward to seeing as many Guild members and teams as possible, and hope you enjoy the evening!

Jolly January Quiz - take part on the night here

Join Zoom Meeting https://zoom.us/j/91065504211?pwd=OWZ5cjhmNFYzZkR5YW1qWlVJTHpSZz09

Meeting ID: 910 6550 4211 Passcode: 406049

Jolly January Quiz - optional donations to BRF can be received here through February to 28th Feb 2021:

Just Giving https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/brfdrinksandquiz

Direct to Guild Account: Name: Chester Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers, Account No: 39119920, Sort Code: 60-40-08

Live from Clive

The Latest News from the Branch Secretary

Guild Quiz - 30 January 2021

Randle Tinkler and some other Guild members are trying to organise an on-line quiz for the end of this month to try to take your minds off Covid-19! As you'll see from the message below, what they need are questions - lots of them. If you've any little puzzles which might perplex participants please email them to Tom Nestor (NOT to Randle or to me) at tomnestor@shieldstar.co.uk


From: "Randle Tinkler" <randletinkler@icloud.com>

Happy New Year to you all,

On Saturday 30th we are going to have a Zoom quiz night, this for all the CD Guild. The Zoom equivalent of “Doors open” will be 7.30pm for a prompt start by 8pm.

We would like all five branches to take part and to be involved by submitting some quiz questions. It was suggested that if each branch sent in twenty questions our quiz master could choose a random selection of approximately forty to fifty from all of those that have been submitted.

So that we the organisers don’t have the advantage of seeing all the questions, could send them to Tom Nester who will be hosting the Zoom night.

Randle

From ART/CCCBR

From: Annie Hall <annie.hall@sky.com>

Subject: Survival and Recovery Newsheet Issue 2.

Dear All.

Please find attached the second copy of the ART/CCCBR collaboration newsletter, focusing on Survival and Recovery.

For your consideration, I have established a Survival and Recovery google group. I will send out invitations to join this group later in the week. This will enable us to share ideas and initiatives quickly with the option of pursuing those which are of interest to you and your society. There is no obligation to join, but you may find it helpful.

Best Wishes

Annie

COVID-19 Response

In response to the rapid spread of COVID-19, the decision has been made to cancel all branch events until further notice.

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.

Issue 8 January


Happy New Year, I hope you all had a good, if different, Christmas. The run up was looking good, there was a promise of a chance to see friends and family if only for a small window. Alas that was snatched away at the last minute, but never mind, the vaccine looked hopeful, the end was in sight.

Look at us now, back in lockdown, the NHS threatening to be overwhelmed, gloom and despondency all round.

I hope you are all keeping safe and as cheerful as possible. There are several initiatives taking place to try to keep us all in touch and to prepare for the long awaited return to ringing. I hope one appeals to you.

Chris


Ringing Room

The Ringing Room Branch practices are now up and running Sunday 2pm and Thursday 7pm.

Please send your email to chris.broadley21@outlook.com if you would like to be added to the circulation list

These sessions are intended for those who can already ring at least Bob Minor [not necessarily in Ringing Room]. Practice sessions for those with less experience will be held later, but please contact us to express an interest.

If you have never used Ringing Room, please let us know and we will arrange an induction session for you.

From the Guild “Return to Ringing” subcommittee

Quiz Night

Happy New Year to you all,

On Saturday 30th we are going to have a Zoom quiz night, this for all the CD Guild. The Zoom equivalent of “Doors open” will be 7.30pm for a prompt start by 8pm.

We would like all five branches to take part and to be involved by submitting some quiz questions. It was suggested that if each branch sent in twenty questions our quiz master could choose a random selection of approximately forty to fifty from all of those that have been submitted.

So that we the organisers don’t have the advantage of seeing all the questions, could you send them to Tom Nestor, tomnestor@shieldstar.co.uk, who will be hosting the Zoom night.

Randle

In a similar vein

I am missing chatting to people who I would normally catch up with at branch meetings, practices etc. It is hard to believe we haven’t seen each other since March. Would anyone be interested in a Branch Zoom Chat? It would be similar to the AGM but more chatting and no business.

If you are interested send your email to chris.broadley21@outlook.com with your preferred times.

If there is sufficient interest I will set one up.

Chris

CCCBR News


New Bell Board Virtual Hub for talks, training, online learning and activities

Lots going on in bell ringing! There is now a new CCCBR Bell Board Virtual Hub providing a central location for resources to support digital learning for all ages along with information about virtual ringing-related events including for example talks, workshops, training materials and online bell ringing practices.


There is a diverse range of events led by the Guilds and Affiliated Societies. St Martin’s Guild for example runs a series of weekly talks on a variety of bell ringing topics of general interest. Some January events which caught my eye are listed below, but take a look at Bell Board by following the link:

https://bb.ringingworld.co.uk/virtual-hub.php

January Events on Bell Board Virtual Hub

Wed 13 St Martin's Guild — Managing ringing restoration projects

Thu 14 Ely Diocesan Association — From Hats to Bikinis - A History of Ladies' Peals

Fri 15 Handbell Stadium Open Practice

Sat 16 Salisbury Diocesan Guild — THE GREAT BRITISH BELLFOUNDING REVIVAL

Wed 20 St Martin's Guild — The bells of Taylors

Tue 26 St Martin's Guild — Bellringing and Maths


Here’s a bit more on the St Martin’s talk this Wednesday on January 13th 2021:


A message from Arthur Reeves, St Martin's Guild (smgcbr@gmail.com)

I'm delighted to announce that on Wednesday 13th January, we will be

hosting the next in our series of joint St Martin's Guild and Central

Council talks. Sue McClaughry will be discussing how she has led a very

successful bell restoration project. Sue is the Bell Restoration Officer

for the Truro DG and last year's winner of the Westley Award - an annual

award recognising the commitment individuals make in leading bell

restoration projects.

Carole Hallam

Something to look back on

The Branch Car Treasure Hunts

Or ‘Is Chester Near?’*

In the mid 1970’s Ken Lewis (Branch Secretary) and his wife Mary, were a little concerned when a police car drew up outside their house in Timperley. They were relieved when they opened the front door to find that it was PC Bill Dowse who was calling. “Now then Ken, I see from the Branch programme for this year that you are going to have a car Treasure Hunt. Are you aware of the laws that govern this type of event?” Of course, Ken and the Branch Committee were not aware, but Bill handed over a list of ‘do and do not’ so that we could all get away without incurring the wrath of the law!

The Treasure Hunts were a great success and ran for over 15 years. Here are a selection of reports from The Ringing World (RW):

In 1978 Stuart Bamforth and Hilary Bugler from Wilmslow were the organisers. It was reported in The RW as ‘a well-established Branch event’. The route started in Wilmslow and finished in The Windmill at Whiteley Green. Some of the clues were reported as ‘Guardian cross-word-ish’, but all the cars (bar one!) made it to the correct pub. Winners were from Poynton.

The Hunt in 1979 was organised by Alan Scholfield (then Master of the Guild) assisted by Carol Davenport from Macclesfield. Starting in Macclesfield, 8 cars had a pleasant drive around the Cheshire lanes to meet up in The Queens Arms in Bosley. The winning car was driven by Alec Cairns from Cheadle, who had the best combination of mileage and clues correctly answered; they received a bottle of sherry for their efforts.

By 1984 the rules had changed a little, so that the tower that won one year had to set the Hunt the year after. Ten cars departed from Wilmslow on a route set by Peter and Rosemary Spencer from Poynton. The last car to depart reportedly was the first to arrive at The Windmill at Whiteley Green, with very few clues answered! The remaining cars tried their hardest to crack 72 clues over 20 miles. The RW correspondent reported some clues were reminiscent of the anagrams in The Times for that day. Winners were Bill and Margaret Hibbert from Cheadle.

Bill Harrop from Nether Alderley organised the route in 1986, starting from Alderley Station on a ‘sticky summer evening’. Ron Andrew from Marple was the RW scribe and he reported: ’The best fun is provided by the antics of the successful clue hunter as he pretends to be attending to an urgent call of nature in a clue obstructing position. Naughty X beaming disarmingly over left shoulder.’ Rendezvous was The Gay Dog at Over Peover; winners were Bill and Margaret Hibbert (again!).

So, the Hibberts set the clues for the next Treasure Hunt in 1987, when 8 cars departed from Poynton. The route proceeded via Pott Shrigley and continued into Taxal, where it was their practice night. An unusual bonus point could be gained ‘if this tower is a grab for someone in your car.’ All managed to make it to The Cheshire Hunt at Rainow, where a Poynton car won again!

Sue and I set the route in 1988. One of the most annoying things about being a participant is to see someone else going the opposite way and looking noticeably confident, so we had deliberately set a route which doubled back on itself! We sat outside the Stags Head at Great Warford, enjoying a pint and watching the puzzled Hunters. Peter and Rosemary Spencer won the first prize. However, whilst marking the entries, Sue noticed that the Hibbert car had all the correct answers, but some had been rubbed out! When challenged on this, Bill replied that it was tactical to be in an honourable second place, so you did not have to organise the next one!

In 1990 the Marple ringers did the honours of organisation and headed for the hills, the winners being a team from Wilmslow, with a Poynton team picking up the booby prize of a pair of ‘L’ plates for coming last!

* Answer: Deva Close (in Poynton)

Happy days!

Pete Dyson

Something to look forward to

Cheadle update

The bells of St Mary’s Cheadle are loud outside the church when rung, and careful management has been required for many years to ensure that the sound of the bells does not create a serious issue for our neighbours. In order to avoid complaints, we have voluntarily restricted the amount of ringing on our bells, and in recent years we have taken a number of proactive steps such as moving the weekly Tuesday night practice to start & finish earlier, and prohibiting any weekday ringing except for Tuesday practices and an occasional Friday wedding.

In spite of these measures, there have been occasional complaints about the bells, and on at least two occasions wedding ringing has been curtailed at the wedding parties’ request to facilitate the organizing of photographs outside (i.e. the photographer couldn’t shout loud enough). Also, for many years post-ringing refreshment had to be taken at hostelries further down the High Street, because the White Hart next door to the church is directly under the louvres; fortunately, the dedicated efforts of a small group of drinking ringers has repaired that relationship to the point that the White Hart is the hostelry of choice after Cheadle ringing.

So what to do when there is no ringing and the pubs are shut? Answer – do some risk management, of course. When ringing returns, we are likely to want to ring more rather than less as we rebuild and grow our bands, but there will be factors pushing the other way at Cheadle (and possibly elsewhere):

  • People become used to the bells not ringing

  • More houses & flats have been built close to the church

  • More people will be working at home, and this may include people working shifts , e.g. contact centre employees

All this says that the risk of complaints about our bells can only increase, unless we do something. With this in mind I put a case to the PCC for two projects:

  • The installation of variable sound-control to enable some control over the volume of the bells outside

  • The introduction of a PC-based simulator to enable new bell-ringers to progress further using silenced bells.

Happily, the PCC approved both projects, so that gave Trev some things to be getting on with during lockdown!

The first step was to determine whether we needed a faculty. I now know that there’s faculties, List A approvals and List B approvals, and the lowest level of approval required is List B. Both our proposed projects were listed explicitly under ‘List B’, so that was hopeful. It took a while for my access to the online faculty application system to be approved (truly a “pandemic delay”), but once it was, I was able to draft a submission, submit it online and receive a formal approval in less than 48 hours. Really quick and very helpful.

I guess that most bellringing simulator setups are similar. Silence the bell with clapper stays or tyre muffles or whatever, use a bit of electronics to pick up the movement of a reflector stuck on the wheel, and transmit the signal to a PC which runs some software to generate the appropriate ‘bong’. Given the layout at Cheadle, it made sense to have wireless transmitters to send the signal from bell-frame down to PC, rather than trying to run cables for this. Carol and I having just finished binge-watching the whole of Gavin and Stacey and not knowing what to watch next, I chose the Simbell setup because there are a whole set of instruction videos available to show how to install and configure Simbel with various simulator software packages, and with a helpful focus on problem-solving and fault-fixing.

No pandemic delays here – order placed in the week leading up to Christmas, and the kit arrived just a couple of days later; Carol said I couldn’t open it until Christmas Day…

The Simbel transmitters and receiver worked very well on our dining room table, with me waving a reflector at each transmitter but persuading the Abel software on the PC to make an appropriate ‘bong’ took a lot longer. I am not a Windows expert, for sure, but eventually I was able to wrestle it into submission and bongs were duly produced.

So, off to the tower on one of those freezing, dark, miserable days between Christmas and New Year. I had intended to try 3 different bells, but in the end settled for just two because a) there was only Carol and me and b) I have never been so cold in any bell-chamber anywhere. By the time I had fitted reflectors to the wheels of 1 & 2 and strapped the transmitter boxes onto the frame and plugged in the battery I had redefined my success criteria for this test and stopped at those two! Carol had been keeping the heater company in the ringing room and was surprised that I was shivering.

The summary is that it worked well. We were able to ring these two (silenced) bells to rounds on 6, with the Abel software generating the sound for our bells at the right time. There’s a parameter in the software to tweak so that the bell sounds when it should – you just stick the reflector on the wheel with the bell down, then adjust that parameter until the software ‘clappers’ correctly. I see this as the biggest plus for a simulator – when a new ringer is starting to ring rounds, all that is needed is one experienced ringer for them to follow, and they can get the sound effect (and speed) of ringing on 6, 8, 10, whatever, without the neighbours suffering the sound of bad rounds.

Then, getting more adventurous, Carol rang the treble to a course of Stedman Triples – her first dodges in 4-5 up were a bit, well, dodgy, but after that it all sounded really good. The 7 virtual ringers rang perfectly from the start, of course, and Carol was soon able to make it sound right.

Obviously, I needed to try this thing out as well. I changed the Abel setting so that the physical treble became the tenor to a ring of 10 in Abel, and I set off to ring this 4cwt ‘tenor’ to a course of Bristol Royal. The result was – well, Carol stopped laughing eventually. Basically, I just couldn’t keep up. I knew where I was meant to be but just couldn’t move the bell around quickly enough. I blame the 9 virtual ringers for being totally unforgiving, they gave me absolutely no leeway at all and just crashed into me every time I was slow. Whatever happened to ringing around the tenor?! Attempt abandoned after one lead….

Anyway, we had succeeded in what we set out to do. We’d shown that the wireless signals were always received successfully in the ringing room, and the sound from the PC was probably loud enough without an external speaker. It also proved that we do need a foot-operated switch so one can say ‘go’ to Abel while holding a bell-rope.

So, the next step is to install all 6 reflectors, make a few more tyre muffles (having never felt the need to silence more than the front 4 previously), and wait for lockdowns to end so that we can, potentially, do some practicing outside our previous ringing times. So far, so good with the simulator.

The sound control is progressing more slowly. We need an architect’s review of the proposal, but first we have to catch an architect; our PCC is on the hunt right now (I picture the office manager with one of those wide-brimmed hats and a folding architect-catchers net, but I suspect this is just a product of too much lockdown). After that we can put in a List B request, and on from there. Then we can start thinking about the other two projects which are simpler but as yet nothing more than ideas – repainting the bell-frame, and putting in some LED floodlights to replace that single 100W bulb so that we can see the bell-frame to repaint it….

More news in a later edition of this newsletter, I hope!

Trevor Marchbank

Cheadle

And finally

Peter Robinson has informed me that Gordon Smith (aged 99) ex. of Mobberley has died. I don't think I knew Gordon and I don't believe he has rung for some time but his name does appear in old reports.

Clive

Help in Hosting a Ringing Room Session

From: annie.hall@sky.com [annie.hall@sky.com]

Happy New Year!

From the news this week, it would appear it will be a while yet before we can return to ringing. Thanks for agreeing to help with the flow of new ideas and initiatives to keep people involved and motivated until we can return to our towers.

I have attached a couple of initiatives, I hope members within your society will find interesting. The first is Help in Hosting a Ringing Room Session. We have been very pleasantly surprised by the take-up and impact of these workshops and how they have helped people stay in touch with their fellow ringers.

The second, is a copy of the excellent ideas by Matt Lawrence entitled Top Tips for Survival and Recovery. I have sent it in two formats, for you to adapt for your society, if you wish. You can see the full article in the last edition of Tower Talk.

Help in hosting a Ringing Room Session.

If you’ve been ignoring Ringing Room up to now or had a go and it really didn’t click with your band, here’s an opportunity to try it out again – with expert technical help and new ideas about teaching online.

We’re rolling out a workshop on how to run a virtual Ringing Room practice alongside Zoom. It’s a mix of theory and practical, supported by how-to videos and teaching tips gathered from experienced teachers. The workshop is free and will last approximately 90 minutes.

Remember it will be many months before we are able to teach ringing again. This new workshop will help you get the most out of lockdown ringing. And, of course, online ringing will still be useful even when we can start teaching and practising again. There’s a real sense that blended learning including tower bells, handbells and online ringing will be with us even when the pandemic is over.

We’ve had some complete technophobes on the workshops who’ve left as Ringing Room converts. And it contains plenty of ideas about maintaining the interest of all the band. Here’s a quote from one of our early workshop delegates:

“I just wanted to say thank you very much for getting us started on Ringing Room. We are now practising five times a week, two with our less experienced ringers and three with those who have been ringing a bit longer, although several of the more experienced ringers help out at the learners’ practices. We are also getting ringers from other towers who want to join in! I have been astonished at the impact these practices have had and the ongoing support for them. The learners have made amazing progress. In the first session we rang rounds and call changes, but soon realised they could start having a go at Plain Hunt. And they haven’t looked back! They are all ringing touches of Plain Bob Doubles, and some are ringing touches of Grandsire Doubles, with singles. The keenest, who was just ringing rounds before lockdown, is ringing touches of Plain Bob Minor, rings Plain Bob Triples inside as well as Stedman Doubles and Triples!”

Please email Denise (denise.tremain@bellringing.org) to register your interest and we'll be in touch with details and times.

I think that’s all for now. There are other ideas in the pipeline, which I will send shortly, but if you have anything you have found works well in your Guild/Association, please let me know. Always best sharing what works rather than reinventing the wheel.

Best wishes and stay safe.

Annie

07802 728175

Ringing Recovery Champions

As we enter the tenth month of ringing restriction, the Central Council and Association of Ringing Teachers (ART) have been working together to identify ways to make the return to ringing as successful as possible. Obviously, we will have to wait a while longer for any significant return to start, so it’s not just about planning for the future but also focusing on the now – staying in contact with people and maintaining their interest in ringing.

There has been a plethora of new ideas and virtual ringing opportunities being championed around the country. New resources are being developed and many ringing societies and bands are coming up with innovative events, from which, others could learn. Some societies are starting to turn their minds to planning for the restart of ringing. Some great ideas are out there, which need a platform to inspire others to replicate in their area.

To coordinate the flow of ideas and information it has been suggested societies identify one or more Recovery Champions who become part of a network of champions across the country and a focus for recovery planning within the local area. They won’t necessarily be the people doing all the work or dealing with mailing lists; you’re in the best position to know how that could work in your area.

If you think this will be helpful to you and your members, please could you nominate one or more people (with their permission) and send their name, email and phone number to Annie Hall at annie.hall@sky.com

Kind regards,

Lesley Belcher and Simon Linford

ART and the CCCBR working in partnership

The Central Council is regularly updating its website with information relevant to ringing in a world of COVID 19. If you are interested, please have a look at that information by clicking here. The latest update [8th January] is as follows

  • Lockdown 3.0 has suspended the Tiers-based guidance and replaced it with a mandatory requirement to Stay at Home ‘unless you have a reasonable excuse.’ Our guidance is to adhere to that principle and not go out to ring. This is in line with our guidance during the first period of lockdown when the medical situation was not as bad as it is now.

  • One difference between the first lockdown and now is that attending a Place of Worship is specifically allowed by law as a ‘reasonable excuse’ provided it is to worship alone or as a household group (the Church of England’s guidance can be found here). The ringing of a single bell or Ellacombe chime (or bells in the case of a ringing household) as part of an act of worship is not prohibited, and if you think it is important enough for a bell or bells to be heard in your community, and you can do it without putting yourselves or others at risk, then that is your decision to make.

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.