The city of Oxford was an ideal choice for our Big Day Out as it not only offers a variety of historic and memorable towers but is relatively easy for 19 young ringers and their parents to get around.Our first two towers were the light tens at St Thomas and St Mary Magdalen. Ringing was good, ranging from Rounds to Plain Hunt on nine to Surprise Major. St Giles, just up the road, had a steep stairway ending with a ladder into a very crowded ringing room. We rang Plain Bob and Grandsire Triples there, as well as Rounds and Called Changes. At lunchtime we had a treat! We provided our own packed lunches, but the Parish Room had lots to entertain us – a wonderful selection of cakes and scones and drinks, as well as an excellent book stall with ART books that many of us hadn’t seen before. Also there was the chance to ring Plain Hunt on handbells with some experts. But perhaps best of all, Alan Griffin had brought along his dumb bell with a competition to ring it as the tenor behind to Grandsire Doubles and to get the best score for our striking! Ten of the young ringers had a go. (Some had two goes!)
The day just got better and better when we arrived at Magdalen College – the best bells of the day! First impressions of a gloomy ringing chamber, furnished with ancient leather covered sofas and some even older wooden pews, made us slightly nervous that the worthy members of the Oxford Society who had arranged all the towers for us would not be impressed with our ringing. They reassured us this would not be the case and gave us positive and helpful comments.Next there was the light eight at Lincoln College, and the six at St Aldate’s where the prizes were announced. Josh and Jamie won the handsome big Easter eggs for their top scores on Alan’s dumbbell. All those who completed the quiz sheet received a smaller Easter egg, and these seemed to disappear really quickly!The last tower was Carfax at the central crossroads of Oxford – a fine, but challenging six.
Some of the comments on the day from our young ringers: “I would like to thank you for the experience of ringing at new towers with new people. I thoroughly enjoyed the day.”“It improved my ringing and confidence about it.”“Thank you very much for arranging the whole trip, and I will be sure to come along to anything else planned in the future.”
[The photos accompanying this article, which first appeared in the July 2019 edition of Tower Talk Magazine were all taken by Paul Lucas.]
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