On Saturday 22 July, the Parish of Bermondsey held a Community Fun Day in aid of restoring the ‘Joy Slide’ which once sat in the Churchyard. The old wooden slide, which was built in 1921 and brought delight to generations of Bermondsey children, was donated by Arthur Carr, Chairman of Peak Freans, whose biscuit factory stood close by. The old slide was damaged by fire and removed shortly after we installed the new bells, 25 years ago.
There were various attractions in the churchyard including a bouncy castle, helter skelter and a barbecue. As one of the attractions, during the afternoon we invited local people to come up the tower and meet the ringers, watch the bells being rung and climb the new ladder to the viewing platform above the bells.
Our aim was to raise awareness of the bells and the ringers within the local community and the church family, and to recruit some new people into the local band. With help from our friends from Greenwich, Lewisham and Waterloo, in the Docklands ART Hub, and with all the ringers wearing their smart Docklands Ringers polo shirts, and giving everyone a warm welcome, we certainly helped give the right impression.
We must have showed at least 60 people up the tower and given most of them a go at ringing a few backstrokes, even a large group of schoolchildren. We also have three people who have left their contact details, and there may be a couple more who have also promised to come along early next Tuesday evening for a lesson. We were also able to publicise the event in local social media, and have attracted a significant number of ‘likes’.
The Vicar and Churchwardens were very pleased and it was very good PR for the ringers. All in all a very worthwhile exercise.