Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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News from Welford-on-Avon in 2009

Fund Raising Garden Party and BBQ at Greenways, Welford-on-Avon 20th June 2009

Ringers visiting St. Peter's in Welford-on-Avon during recent years will have noticed the rather ugly green netting installed below the nave ceiling. It was put up to protect the congregation and visitors from bits of plaster falling from the panels between the rafters.

An affordable permanent protection from the loose plaster was hard to devise but eventually the PCC decided to line the ceiling panels in a way that would keep their original appearance but also keep church users safe. The cost was estimated at £35,000 and an appeal was launched to raise the required funds during 2009. As well as a general approach to the village community, each of the church groups planned to hold at least one fund-raising event, spread so that there would be one event each month throughout the year.

The bellringers got off to an early start with a Shrove Tuesday soup and pancake lunch and then bagged the June slot for an event that would be both more ambitious and more profitable. With the FSG Centenary Party and pig-roast being planned for July at Todenham, we felt there was no need for us to offer the FSG ringers a summer BBQ in Welford after a Saturday practice, as we had done in recent years. This led to the idea that instead we could hold a fund-raising BBQ and Garden Party at Greenways for our church and village people.

The eight ringers in our band, together with friends and families, helped to provide and serve the food and some were kept hot and busy BBQ'ing the special local burgers and sausages etc. We were fortunate to find a source of the most delicious strawberries from a farm in Snitterfield - the freshest and best we had ever tasted.

Games for the young - and not so young - were organised in the garden, including a portable bowling-alley, hired for the day, and skittles, garden bowls, putting and many others. We also ran a book stall, which proved very popular. The event turned out to be far larger - and more exhausting - than the BBQ's we had previously held for our bellringing friends but we were delighted and amazed that at the end of the day we were able to hand over a substantial contribution to the Church Ceiling Repair Fund.

Overall, the fund raising was a success and the work was put in hand towards the end of 2009. As we write this, in February 2010 a service of thanksgiving for its satisfactory completion has just been held. We are very grateful to bellringing friends who rang the following quarter peal at the start of the Garden Party. We were able to hear some of the ringing from the garden.

Freda Cleaver & Ewart Harper

This method of fund raising, with each associated church group holding an event, is novel - and clearly effective, too. Ed

Cambridge University 800th Anniversary

We had learned that the year 2009 was the 800th anniversary of the founding of Cambridge University. We could see on Campanophile that many touches of 800 changes of Cambridge Surprise Major had been rung at various towers in Cambridge and around the country. We wanted to join in the celebrations but felt we were not quite up to arranging and ringing 800 changes of Major so we devised a touch of 800 changes of Minor.

We met up short on one occasion when Freda was all geared up to call the touch herself but when we eventually met on 25th October 2009 Nick kindly agreed to call it, as it would be our last chance to ring for the Anniversary in 2009 before Nick went off to work in New Zealand and we knew we'd have a much better chance of success with Nick as conductor, as was proved to be the case.

Many thanks to the friends who joined us for this touch.

Freda Cleaver & Edward Timmins

(Details of the Quarter and 800th anniversary touch are in Around the Towers.)