Bell Adviser’s Report 2021
The Covid pandemic restrictions resulted in a patchy year of activity with very little being done in the first three months; although the opportunity was taken to give Haslingfield a mid-life refit. This was followed by an inspection campaign to support Return to Ringing where the team visited 21 towers and carried out minor maintenance in at least eight.
Major projects – After a long period of negotiation with the Churches Conservation Trust, Swaffham Prior now has an excellent ‘going’ tenor thanks to Matthew Higby and the co-ordination efforts of Gareth Davies. Bury has two bells rehung with new headstocks and the tenor has been quarter turned, together with the secondary and tertiary foundation beams being clamped together. The St Clement’s training centre has had the two original bells relocated, the bases of the spire beams removed and a new steel ringbeam installed. It is planned to install the frame and bells before Easter. Two new projects are under development: at Alconbury it is proposed to rehang the bells lower in the tower and an augmentation to 6 bells at Landbeach.
For the future, the Return to Ringing inspections highlighted the need for regular inspections especially in those towers without an active band or steeple keeper. This will require widening the pool of competent steeple keepers and maybe linking towers together in more formal local support groups. This will then need to be supported by more training and production of training material. assistance.
Bell Adviser’s Report 2020
There has been a very limited amount of work carried out due to the Covid pandemic. Prior to the first shut down there was work being carried out in four towers and a number of inspections carried out. It has been hard to interpret what is permitted under the various public health restrictions but where possible various visits have been made and at my home tower, Haslingfield, we have used the opportunity to have a mid-life refit of cleaning up and doing all the little improvement jobs in the tower and ringing room.
Dove’s guide used the lockdown to carry out an updating and enhancement exercise of their records and I am grateful to a number of people who assisted with that, although it has left a list of seven towers that still need to be visited.
I gave a talk on care of bells, belfries and ringing rooms that is now available on the Cambridge District You-Tube channel and have been asked to produce an edited version for the CCCBR Technical Committee. I have also produced a paper for that committee on how a training and accreditation system for volunteers maintaining and working on bells could be set up following the format of the ART system.
Finally, a reminder that before ringing recommences its essential to check that the bells have not deteriorated. A quick visual check is all that’s required that nothing is obstructing the bells from swinging, the ropes are in good condition and the stays, sliders, wheels, pulleys and clappers are serviceable. If anyone is looking for help the District Bell Advisers will be happy to arrange some assistance.
Bell Adviser’s Report 2019
This has been the first year with formal District Bell Advisers and as a result it has been possible to provide advice and support to a much wider range of towers. The list of towers contacted for a variety of reasons last year reached 32.
Following changes to the BRF Constitution and the Bell Repair Sub-Committee Terms of Reference we are now planning to go beyond just offering advice to more practical help:
For large projects we will provide advice, work with ringers, PCCs and others to progress the project and supply voluntary labour to assist the bell hangers.
For towers with regular bands we are available to train steeple keepers and provide advice and help as required.
For towers without a regular band but rung by the Association we will provide a steeple keeping service.
For towers not normally rung we will endeavour to inspect and try and prevent deterioration.
This will require a larger team than just the bell advisers and we will be signing people up to a competency matrix (rather like the ART scheme) and giving them training to ensure everything is done safely.