Public Relations

Public Relations Officer’s Report 2023

There were fewer national ringing events this year on which to hang local publicity. The details of the Coronation, which was potentially such an event, were announced so late by the palace that many towers and bands had made independent arrangements for commemorative ringing, and the palace’s suggested time for ringing (during the hour preceding the 11am service) was judged to be restrictive by the CCCBR, who made no suggestion for the timing of ringing other than a general preference for ‘in the morning’. The lack of a lead from the palace made it difficult to interest local media in such a diffuse event. Crucially, publicity needs to be in advance of a national ringing event where possible to elicit the maximum media interest.

I was approached by Landbeach tower during the year during the year for advice on publicising their augmentation fundraising effort. A proposal was made for a page to be placed on the EDA website to advertise this initiative, but it seems that it was not followed up, as I can find no such page on the EDA site.

Communication within the EDA and particularly between districts seems to be all but moribund – perhaps the Communications subcommittee will suggest ways forward.

JoAnne Rutter

Public Relations Officer’s Report 2022

Most of the publicity opportunities this year centred around the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations and her death a few months later. Philip George gave a Jubilee interview to Radio Cambridgeshire, and both Dave Richards and I did phone interviews with Louise Hulland on two separate days on her Radio Cambridgeshire morning show, talking about muffled ringing around the Queen’s funeral. I sent out an appeal through the usual channels for a spokesperson for one of these radio slots, but frustratingly had only one response which came late in the day, after all the pre-interview arrangements had been finalised. It would be good to have a list of people willing to do live interviews prepared in advance, as these radio requests are often last-minute and our Association communications system is not well-suited to urgent requests. I will be asking for volunteers for such a list at the AGM.

This year brings an equally prominent publicity opportunity with the Coronation on 6th May. The last time I asked for towers to send me details of their commemorative ringing (especially future ringing), I again got only one response, this time from Great Gransden (thank you Phillip!). Their contribution was impressive, but hardly enough to justify the press release I had envisaged: ‘Bells ring for the Queen throughout Ely Diocese’. Please do send me IN ADVANCE details of any special event ringing, complete with interesting phone photos (very important for printed press). The photos can be staged – they needn’t be of the actual event, and if they include children or young people (which is a good idea), be careful to get all the necessary permissions from parents or carers.

JoAnne Rutter

Public Relations Officer’s Report 2021

The Association got back to ringing slowly and only for short periods in spacious and well-ventilated towers once suitable guidance from the Central Council was disseminated in the summer of the year, but nothing that was particularly newsworthy. 

Given that most of our ringing has historically been on bells hung for full-circle ringing, it is perhaps ironic that the one occasion where ringing reached the national news was the 200th anniversary of the Ellacombe Chimes ringing apparatus on June 20th 2021. I wrote around the Diocese asking for information from churches planning to mark this occasion with ringing, but had replies from only a few towers (all in the Huntingdon District) who had suitable Ellacombe devices and, crucially, someone available to ring them. The Hunts Post gave us some nice publicity, accompanied by a photo of Roger Beaman with the Holywell chimes, also mentioning planned ringing at Hemingford Abbots and St Ives. Those churches lucky enough to have working chimes had an opportunity even during lockdowns to keep the sound of bells in the ears of the public so that towers didn’t fall completely silent – in itself a very direct and potent form of publicity!

As the situation hopefully returns to something nearer normal in 2022, please do give me your news of special ringing with good advance notice, including suitable photos, so that I can pitch it to local papers and radio stations. We have been asked to ring for the anniversary of the Queen’s Accession on 6th February, and during the Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend in June. Please let me have your plans so that we can notify the public in advance, and they can be listening out for our efforts.

JoAnne Rutter

Public Relations Officer's Report 2020 & 2019

Post vacant, no report.