My children and I started ringing following a chance conversation I had with Trisha Hawkins, the bell ringing teacher at St Mary’s, Barnes. She had recently got back from a ringing trip and was recounting the details, and it all sounded very interesting. She then asked me if I would like to
have a go, and I thought why not? I would try anything once …! I asked if my children could come and watch, and they were invited to ring too, and so began our bell ringing adventure.
The three of us – my daughter Isabelle (aged 13), my son Dominic (aged 11), and me – all started learning the ropes on a Saturday morning in mid-November. We were all pretty much hooked from day one, and I in particular was pleased to be asked back again after having knocked the teacher’s glasses off in the first lesson! Isabelle and Dominic have also enjoyed using a laptop when they are having a break from ringing to practise ringing as the tenor using Abel, even though they aren’t ready to do that yet on a real bell. It is a real pleasure to see my children developing in confidence each week and progressing so well. It is also great for all of us to develop bonds with the other ringers from across the generations.
When we are not ringing the three of us are often discussing the ins and outs of the bell ringing process. My children enjoy doing something so completely different and outside of their comfort zone and they like the thought that one day they could be ringing for an important occasion. It is as much a mental as it is a physical activity and after a busy week of work,
school and everything else, it is good to have a completely different focus.
Bell ringing is so much a part of British life and it is great that we can be part of this ancient tradition.
Isabelle says that it is “interesting and unusual, and a physical activity that I really enjoy”.
Dominic took part in the ‘Eggstravaganza’ Easter egg competition at his school, which involves the children making models with real eggs. He chose the ringing theme and was over the moon when he won! He says “I like learning about the sounds of the different bells and the techniques and really like the people who come and ring the bells”.
Their teacher, Trisha, commented:
We love having Louise and her family learning to ring with us. They are all doing really well and we hope to see some Level 1 passes very soon!
We are aiming to train enough new ringers so that we can ring for the extra Informal / Baptism services which are held about twice a month without having to rely on the regular band who ring for the 10am service. A family of three will make quite a difference!
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