In 2015, 88 peals were rung for the Association; this is a drop of 17 from 2014. Tower bell peals fell from 77 to 69 and handbell peals dropped from 28 to 19. These totals are the lowest since 2000; however, the number of ringers contributing to the peal totals was 159, only one down on 2014. The drop in peals is in part due to Meldreth bells being out of action for 6 months; 13 peals as opposed to 31 in 2013.Again, the leading peal ringer total (with 27, 13 of which were on handbells) is the lowest since 1982. The leading tower bell peal ringer rang 22; 10 years ago it was 67. Statistics can be interpreted in many ways but it does seem as if many bands are choosing not to ring peals for territorial associations such as the Ely DA.
The three leading peal ringers were Paul Seaman with 27, Sue Marsden (22) who was the leading tower bell ringer and Jane Hough (21). Paul Seaman and Alan Winter were the joint leading handbell peal ringers with 13. 28 different ringers called peals with the leading conductor again Derek Sibson with 15. Paul Seaman and Edith Robinson both called 6.
Peals were rung at 41 towers during this year, up from 30, and the leading tower was again Meldreth but with only 13. Now that the bells are back in action it will be interesting to see the effect this has on peals in 2016. Handbell peals were rung at 4 locations, and 102 Mawson Road, Cambridge (15) was again the most prolific. A significant milestone was the 900th peal rung at Trumpington.
The breakdown of the peals is:
Tower Hand Total
Two ringers called their first peal: Nick Elks; 7 Surprise at Ramsey, and Greg Pearce: Cambridge S Minor at Great Wilbraham.
Hopefully all those who rang their first peal will go on to ring more in the years to come. Peal ringing is not for everyone but it is the peak of ringing achievement. Peal ringing nationally is in decline in numerical terms, although the complexity of methods has never been higher. Many peal bands are becoming older so we need to encourage younger ringers to give peal ringing a go, so if you know a young promising ringer, why not ask them if they would like to ring a peal? Of course this also applies to ringers of ALL ages; if you would like to ring a peal, or try something new, please get in touch with either your District Ringing Master or the Peal Secretary and we will arrange something and hopefully we will have even more ringing their first peal in 2016 and the peal total will increase.
Several peals are worth highlighting. Peals were rung to mark the 65th anniversary of Geoff Oldfield’s election to the EDA, and in memory of ringers Geoff Lucas (of Willingam) at Newmarket (Paget Place), Houghton and Willingham, Sue Rothera at Cambridge GSM, Geoff Oldfield (of Whittlesey) at Whittlesey, Joan Gipson (of Meldreth); at Meldreth and Cambridge (Mawson Road) (twice each), and Elizabeth Graham (of Stanground) at Castor.
The birth of Princess Charlotte was marked by peals at Fulbourn, Fordham and Rampton. Great Wilbraham bells marked Queen Elizabeth II becoming the longest reigning monarch.
Several battles were also marked: 70th anniversary of VE day at Gt Wilbraham and Easton on the Hill; 200th anniversary of Waterloo at Barton Seagrave; 530th anniversary of Bosworth Field at Orwell; 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain at Arreton, IoW; and the 600th anniversary of Agincourt at Whaplode.
Another noteworthy peal was a ‘name’ peal of Susans rung at Lapworth. The only previous ladies name peal was by a band of Ann(e)s some years ago. This peal was unfinished business for one ringer who was in a peal with 4 other Susans in 1981 but a last minute illness by the 6th Susan lead to David Brown ringing in her place.
The first peal by a band of EDA Officers for some time was rung to say farewell and thank you to Peter Binns, PR Officer.
handbell peal as conductor......... Michael
A brief word about footnotes: Please could they be relevant, significant and noteworthy and if you ring for someone’s wedding, birth etc., it is helpful to know their connection with the church, bells, or members of the band.
Finally, the usual plea about peal fees. Please pay promptly at the end of the year and inform me if someone other than the conductor will be paying. Fees can be paid by BACS; please ask me or the Treasurer for details.
STOP PRESS: The Central Council has decided to set a target of 125 ringers conducting their first peal in 2016 to mark the 125th anniversary of the first CC meeting. If you know someone who might like to try to conduct a peal this year, encourage them to go for it and help them achieve this, or if you would like to call your first peal, please contact either me, your District Ringing master or any peal conductor. Details can be found on the CC website under ‘Conduct5040’. Let’s try to at least double the number of ‘first as conductor’ for the Association in 2016.