Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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The shortest day, and Christmas and the New Year festivities are behind us: 2013 is here. Of course, snow and cold may grace us with their presence, but the days are getting longer, which I find psychologically beneficial.

Bill Hicks. It is sad to record the death of Bill Hicks of Stratford-on-Avon. Charles Wilson's obituary is a lovely portrait of Bill's life and his character. Bill was one of the select few who battled through the snow to attend the 2012 Annual Dinner at Moreton, but, as can be seen from the obituary, that was Bill.

1973-2013. This year is, as I've mentioned previously, a significant year for the Guild. It was re-founded on 30th March 1973, so a ruby anniversary is upon us. You may have noticed a change of colour to the badge on the front page. The Newsletter has to do its bit towards this celebration; and it will carry this badge for the remaining three issues of 2013. The Minutes of that initial meeting at Chipping Campden appear under From the Archives (40 years ago). March 30th this year falls on a Saturday. There is to be a celebratory get-together after the Saturday practice at Bourton-on-the-Hill (see Notice). There are now just 6 members who were at that 1973 meeting. It would be nice if they were all able to attend this hugely significant occasion.

Congratulations! There have been a few firsts in Guild ringing performances in the last three months. Heading the list is Sara Woodgate, who rang her first peal at Mickleton on September 29th. Ringing one's first peal is always special, but ringing it for the Guild is extra-special! There are a number of firsts in the quarter peal columns this time. In chronological order: Stefanie Whittle, who rang her first quarter-peal at Offenham; 14yr old Josh Lowe from Harvington, who rang his first quarter-peal at his home tower; and lastly, Tony Hartwell (Josh's grandfather), who rang Grandsire Doubles inside for the first time. Congratulations to them all. Another first in these columns (certainly within the last 3 years) was the quarter peal of Original Major rung at Ilmington. Success in this simple but demanding principle isn't guaranteed, but then it helps having a conductor who called the first ever peals of Original Royal and Original Maximus…!

Not a first by any stretch of the imagination, but one worthy of great note and our congratulations, was the quarter of Superlative Surprise Major at Salford Priors on Monday 3rd December to mark the 60th anniversary of Freda Cleaver's first peal at Tring. The method then was Superlative, with Freda, in her teens, ringing inside. Freda's not just a pretty lady…..

Apologies. It was sackcloth and ashes on my part for incorrectly typing El Pres's mind-bender (see below). I could say I thought it was much too easy in original form and thought it needed spicing up, but you just wouldn't believe me. My excuse is I'm just a keyboard-tapper, not a typist, so I hope I will be forgiven. Should anyone feel I should give up this job because of the error, please don't hesitate to let me know……

Lastly, a point to ponder (for male ringers….). After being chided by Helen (yet again) for undertaking ringing duties before the domestic duties allotted to me, she said, When you get to the Pearly Gates and have to plead your case, you may find God is a woman – and not a ringer….. Hmm…I thought this was worth passing on.

Chris Povey, (Caretaker) Editor

(The views expressed in this Newsletter are not necessarily the views of the Four Shires Guild or its Committee. The Guild endorses no products or manufacturers advertised within the Newsletter – but would not allow such advertisements where the goods or services are knowingly questionable.)


I have to apologise to El Presidente and to others who tried to solve the Brain Teaser published in the last Newsletter. I tried to solve it, and calculated an answer - but it didn't check back. I thought, Uh, uh, EP's boobed. The old mathematical magic has disappeared. But how could I think such a thing! I should have known better, of course, as when I checked back to the source material – unfortunately after the Newsletter's publication - I realised I'd missed out an important word in my retyping. The word, in bold below, makes a big difference. Here it is again, in correct form:-

A man passed one-sixth of his life in childhood, one-twelfth in youth and one-seventh more as a bachelor. Five years after his marriage a son was born, who died four years before his father at half his father's final age. What was the man's final age?

(Answer in the April Newsletter)