We are extremely fortunate to have a ring of 12 at Truro Cathedral, which is the only ring of 12 in Cornwall. They are probably one of the most difficult rings of 12 in the country due to their excessive draught and audibility issues. We are also limited by the extremely busy Cathedral diary to organise any additional practices. As a result, it has become difficult to offer the much needed support to the local band, who often only ring six or eight for Sunday service. In order to set up more practice time, we entered the South West regional 12-bell striking competition. Some of the band also went on a 12-bell mini-outing and up to Exeter for their open practices to gain more experience. I’ll just say that we were not a band who would class themselves as an experienced 12-bell band, so we all know what it feels like to be learning to ring on 12. We all had frequent reminders about keeping our backstrokes up and leading. We were all petrified on the day of the competition, but we reminded ourselves that we were doing this to secure more opportunity for all in Cornwall.
After the competition, we found that we had the momentum to keep going. Another 12-bell practice was arranged and, once I had secured the attendance of the band that rang in the striking competition, I opened the practice up and advertised it as a Guild practice “open to all”. We had a brilliant practice with lots of rounds and plain hunting on 11. For the more advanced, we rang Little Bob, Erin and Stedman. 25 folk from all over our Guild attended, some ringing at the Cathedral for the first time. We had plenty of support – standing behind, filling in round the front- and back-ends, and offering helpful tips and advice on striking. The overwhelming feedback was “Yes please! Let’s have these practices every month!” I think that many people from all over our Guild have realised that, without this type of practice, our 12 bells are in danger of not being rung. The entire band that rang in the striking competition wants learners to be able to aim for ringing on 12 in Cornwall.
We realise that those of us with more experience have to provide that practice opportunity. The resulting attendance rates at the regular Truro Cathedral practice nights have doubled, so that we’re now able to ring at least rounds on 12 every week. I’m proud to say that we now have ringing on 12 in Cornwall for all.