The Ely Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers (Ely DA)

Association News

Association Facebook Page

As well as the Facebook Groups run by each District, the Association has a  Facebook page at 

https://www.facebook.com/elyda.bellringers/

This is intended as a more formal communication channel than the groups for our members and the general public. It will carry announcements of, and reports about, most or all association, district and RATS (incl. Young Ringers) events and so act as a sort of ‘newsletter’ for the association. If you are a Facebook user then please take a look and click the ‘Follow” button so that you will be alerted to new posts.

Posting access to this Page can be made available to Association and District officers involved in organising events to simplify making announcements - see the Facebook Page policy for more information.

12 bell practice

CANCELLED - no 12 bell practice in June due to a event in the church. The next scheduled practice is in August.

The Association holds 12-bell practices at Great St Mary's(12) whenever there's a 5th Saturday in the month. This next happens on 29 June from 18:30-20:00. These are great opportunities to try ringing on 12 bells if you don't already, or to expand your abilities if you do. Everyone will at least get to ring rounds or call changes. Depending on the abilities of those present these practices will also involve opportunities to ring method, including Grandsire, Cambridge and Stedman.

Cambridge Folk Festival

As part of the celebration of the 300th Anniversary of the founding of the Society of Cambridge Youths, they will be making a debut appearance at the Cambridge Folk Festival, 25-28 July. Using the Charmborough Ring and Handbells they will give visitors an experience of ringing on tower bells, a chance to have a go themselves and to participate in handbell workshops.

Ely DA Peal Week

Sue Marsden (Association Peal Secretary) writes:

I am proposing to hold an Ely DA Peal week from Saturday 26th October to Sunday November 3rd. The emphasis will be on 'Firsts' - First peal, first inside, first on 8, first as conductor etc, though not exclusively so - if you just fancy ringing a peal of something you are familiar with, that is fine as well.


If you would like to take part, then please do contact me (as peals_at_elyda.org.uk) or one of your District Ringing Masters, stating any prefered dates and methods. I will also need a number of experienced ringers to support this, so please let me know if you are available for any peals this week. I also need conductors! I will be contacting those who have called peals recently, but please don't wait to be asked. I also need suitable towers, so if you are a tower captain and your tower would be available, please also let me know.(If you would like to ring a peal but this week is not possible for you, then an alternative date could be arranged)


In the past, Peal Week was a very successful event, and I would like to re-establish this event in my final year as Peal Secretary.

Ely DA AGM and inter-district striking competition 2024

The Association's 2024 AGM was held on Saturday 4 May at Swavesey by kind invitation of the Ely District. Prior to the meeting there was ringing at Rampton , Willingham and  Swavesey. 

Further details of the meeting will be available in due course,  but highlights include:

The association inter-district striking competition was held at at Over on the same day.  All four districts entered a team and the judge was Brian Meads from Coggeshall in Essex. Brian commented that the bells were quite difficult to ring well, with long and stretchy ropes making the front bells particularly tricky to handle. In summary he said that none of the bands were outstanding but there were no major clashes in the ringing, and the faults were evenly scattered. Team 1 (Huntigdon) test piece was well rung especially by the treble and tenor ringers. Team 2 (Wisbech) struggled and the ringing was more irregular. It improved durig the test piece. Team 3 (Ely) was similar to team 2 with a slightly better rhythm. Team 4 (Cambridge) was more uneven but there were no method mistakes.

Results. 1st Huntingdon 53 faults. 2nd Ely 83 faults, 3rd Wisbech 85 faults. 4th Cambridge 110 faults.

Bob Cox (Association Chairman) presenting the E. H. Mastin Trophy to Alban Forster (conductor of the striking competition winning band)

Annual Report

The Association's Annual Report for 2023 (and handbook for 2024) has been published. One printed copy is on its way to all ringing towers, as are printed copies for all members who requested one. An electronic copy of the report will be distributed through the Districts in due course.

Landbeach now a 6!

Landbeach ringers are pleased to announce that Landbeach is now a six! The new two trebles from Eijsbouts are a perfect tonal match for our 500 year old tenor and 1929 Taylor 3, 4 & 5. Visitors welcome at practice night, now Weds, 7-8:30pm and service ringing, 9:30am. On the second Weds of the month we go to Horningsea. See you soon! Preferably let us know before coming, just in case there has been an alteration.

Stretham Tower Enhancement Project 

The Stretham Tower Enhancement Project (STEP) aims to keep the tradition of bell ringing alive in Stretham with the installation of a glass screen for the ringing room, some much needed maintenance and the installation of two ‘Training Bells.

Home to the Association's Ringing Education Centre, the bells  of St James' church at Stretham have been ringing out across the village since the 18th century and they now require significant maintenance. At the same time, the installation of two new Training Bells (these are easy to ring model bells which make their noise via a computer) will provide a tremendous aid to safe and enjoyable teaching, especially of children. The installation of a full-height glass screen across the top of the ringing room balcony in St will transform the experience of ringing there from freezing endurance to one of pleasant light comfort!

Follow the progress of the project on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/StrethamBells and keep up-to-date with progress on raising the needed £45,000 on their JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/page/stretham-step1710494742422

Association 10 ad 12 bell practices

As well as events organised locally by the Districts, the Association itself organises events including practices on 10 and 12 bells. These are often on fifth Fridays or Saturday in any month that has them, but sometimes have to be moved. For 2024, these practices will be:

Unless mentioned otherwise these practices are open to anyone who can handle a bell independently and everyone will at least get to ring rounds or call changes. Depending on the abilities of those present these practices will also involve opportunities to ring method, including Grandsire, Cambridge and Stedman.

For any questions or enquiries about ay of this please contact the Association Ringing Master as rm@elyda.org.uk.

Society of Cambridge Youths 300th Aniversary

The Society of Cambridge Youths are celebrating their foundation 300 years ago in 1724 and the tercentenary of the first peal by the Society, rung at Great St Mary's, Cambridge on 5th November 1725. The first proposal for a diocesan association was made by the gentleman bellfounder Gervas Holmes in 1882. Although by then better known as a member of the Cambridge University Guild, his membership of the Cambridge Youths began while he was a student in 1856. The founding meeting of the Association was held at Cambridge in 1897 and presided over by the vicar of Great St Mary's.

For the 300th Celebrations, the society has published the full towerbell peal records for the Cambridge Youths and Great St Mary's on BellBoard. To date there have been seven peals rung jointly for the Ely Diocesan Association and the Cambridge Youths. The first was in 1951 and the most recent in 1994. Four were at Great St Mary's, one at Little Shelford, and the other two at Shoreditch and St Mary, Redcliffe. The EDA itself has rung a further 51 peals at Great St Mary's. The first was in 1905, and the most recent was on the 4th January this year.

In order to recognise the past and present connections with the Ely Diocesan Association, the Society would be delighted if any members were able to attend the celebration dinner, which will be held in the Great Hall of Trinity College, Cambridge on Saturday 21st September 2024. We will be publishing details of further activities via the Cambridge Youths website. There is also a book, Foolish Youths and Substantial Rewards: a History of Ringing in Cambridge, available for pre-order through the Ringing World shop for delivery in September.

On-line membership management

The Association’s Administration Sub-committee is investigating the idea of on-line membership management for the Association. See On-line membership management for more details.

Someone from the  Sub-committee plans to be at every Annual District Meeting in January 2024 to talk briefly about this and to take the views of members. In addition, everyone is welcome to comment directly by emailing webmaster@elyda.org.uk. 

The sub-committee have a list of features that they would like to see available in any system adopted by the Association.

Wendy Piercy

We are sorry to pass on the sad news that Wendy Piercy died 0n 20 September. Wendy lived just outside the association boundary in Eaton Socon, but used to ring regularly in the Huntingdon District and was a member of the Ely DA.

Peterborough Diocesan Guild 100th anniversary

In 2024 the Peterborough Diocesan Guild will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of its creation. During the year a number of events are being planned, there will be some aims and challenges for members to aspire to, and merchandise for sale. 

The events are taking place one in each month, and usually on the second weekend, mostly Saturdays.  The full list of events is available of their website at https://pdg.org.uk/pdg-100. A list of the merchandise available for the anniversary can be found at https://pdg.org.uk/pdg-100/centenary-year-merchandise

Association Events

There are a number of semi-regular Association  events which will be of interest to the wider membership:

Advertise your tower open day with the Ely DA banner

If you are organising an open day at your tower or having a presence at local fetes or other events, the Association Mobile Demonstration Bell, Display Stand, Hand-out Leaflets and Advertising Banner are excellent ways of attracting attention and making people more aware of ringing and its benefits.  

The mobile demonstration bell, display stands and banner are available to borrow. More information here.