Ringing Master

The post of Ringing Master for the Ely DA was introduced in 2018 with the adoption of the new Rules. 

Ringing Master’s Report 2022

This was our first year back to proper ringing events since the pandemic. The year included marking our Association’s 125th anniversary as well as the Platinum Jubilee and the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II and the proclamation of HM King Charles III. It was pleasing to see lots of Bellboard performances for all these events, including firsts in methods and as conductor, showing that ringing has come alive again since the last couple of years of virtually no ringing.

In June, we entered the Ridgman Trophy as we usually do; the contest was held at King’s Lynn. This was another consistent performance by the Ely DA band, coming 2nd yet again.

In the spring of 2022, I started up 10-bell practices on 5th Fridays at St. Neots and 12-bell practices on 5th Saturdays at Great St. Mary’s; these have both been well attended. The 12-bell practices have seen people ringing plain hunt 11 for the first time and we managed two touches of Stedman Cinques at the last 12-bell practice in October.

Alban Forster

Ringing Master’s Report 2021

In 2021 we saw the return to some normality as Covid restrictions were relaxed, and we were able to start organising in-person ringing again.

We finally managed to hold the Tower Captain's forum which took place as part of the Ely DA training day in October. We had enough participants to be able to utilise all eight bells at Swaffham Bulbeck so that different people could practise organising a touch, ringing it and then reviewing it to see what could have been done differently. The major part of the session was simply an exchange of ideas from everyone which I hope benefited all.

The Ridgman Trophy went ahead on 30th October rather than the usual date in June. This was held at Braintree in Essex, and we came third. It was nice to come ahead of Hertford CA at last as they've pipped us to the post a few times in recent years.

I wanted to organise a 12 bell practice at Great St Mary’s in place of the handbell day in December, but it was not possible to get the bells. Once Covid infections die down a bit, I shall endeavour to get this organised, hopefully before Easter.

We still haven't resumed 10 bell practices at St. Neots but I plan on getting more definite feedback about this soon. In the past, we rarely attracted people from other than the Huntingdon district on a first Friday evening, and we did talk about alternative times at the AGM in 2019. It may be better to have a quarterly Saturday meeting, similar to the few 12 bell practices that we have had.

With the upcoming Jubilee in June 2022, as well as this being the 125th anniversary of the Ely DA, we should really try and organise as much ringing as we can, whether that's general ringing, quarters or peals. If anyone is keen to organise something and needs help raising a band, please don't hesitate in approaching me or the ringing subcommittee.

Alban Forster

Ringing Master’s Report 2020

There is not much to report on this year as we have been restricted to virtual ringing since mid-March 2020. However, we have been trying to make use of Ringing Room where we can.

In November, I organised a Remembrance/Armistice quarter of Grandsire Triples to make use of the new half-muffled Ringing Room feature which is rather satisfying in my opinion, more so than the effect you get on Abel. Unfortunately, we didn't score and so I rearranged shortly after but we still succumbed to the technical obstacles online.

In December, Alan Winter held the usual annual handbell day which attracted a lot of interest, despite it being held online. It was very encouraging to see the support and enthusiasm and I thank Alan for his work organising it yet again and having to spend all those hours during that afternoon, moving people into breakout rooms.

Sue Marsden has started to organise weekend quarters recently and I am starting to organise the odd quarter on higher numbers. We went for Cambridge Royal last week in fact but were unsuccessful.

We are trying to start a campaign to encourage more handbell ringing, having received feedback from Dee that Stretham REC are extremely keen on this and need extra help. We will try and get some handbell experts to join their handbell practices twice a month on a Saturday as well as finding out who else in the association would like to learn.

There is a very optimistic date booked in the diary for the Ridgman Trophy on 19th June at Waltham Abbey. Should this still not be able to go ahead, we may look at trying to hold it in October if the easing of the pandemic enables us to.

Alban Forster

Ringing Master’s Report 2019

In 2019, I incorporated a similar ringing programme to 2018 in terms of continuing the monthly 10-bell practices at St. Neots and having another 12-bell practice at Great St Mary’s, Cambridge in July. I also organised the Ridgman Trophy team as in the previous year. The ringing subcommittee and I were also discussing the possibility of having a "Tower Captains' Table" in which specific challenges and strategies of running towers could be brought together as a forum. Unfortunately, this planned event last October wasn't able to go ahead but I am keen to see if we can organise this sometime soon.

We entered the Ridgman Trophy at Bury St. Edmunds in June, coming 2nd behind the Hertford County Association yet again Let's see if we can get the edge over them next year...!

We are still struggling to attract ringers from the whole association to the St. Neots practices and they are mostly a Huntingdon district practice. The ringing subcommittee have been talking about whether these practices are still viable or whether we should adopt an alternative approach, perhaps having focused quarter peals. I'd like to once again emphasise that these practices are aimed at anyone who wants to ring on 10 and I'm very happy to have ringing ranging from call changes right up to Stedman Caters and Surprise Royal.

We had a lot fewer at the 12-bell practice at Great St Mary’s, Cambridge in July, which was also basically a Huntingdon district practice. We rang up to Grandsire Cinques and a lot of people benefited. I shall endeavour to have two or three practices this year. I also understand that the Cambridge district also plan on organising something.

My thanks go to Alan Winter who organised another successful handbell day in December. I'm sure this will happen once again at the end of this year.

Finally, if anyone has any ringing suggestions, such as having focused workshops on anything, please feel free to contact me or the ringing subcommittee.

Alban Forster

Ringing Master’s Report 2018

In this new post as Ely DA Ringing Master, I run the regular Ely DA 10-bell practice at St. Neots on the 1st Friday of the month and organise the Ridgman Trophy band. I have also thought about other ringing activities which could be introduced such as a peal week and a 12-bell practice. There is a report on the latter below and the former could be an idea for 2019.

We entered the Ridgman Trophy in June, coming 2nd behind the hosts, the Hertford County Association. We put in a good performance but we unfortunately didn't successfully defend the trophy which we'd won a few times back to back. Let's see if we can get the trophy back next year! 

Regarding the St. Neots monthly 10 bell practices, during the summer, and apart from the June practice when the Ridgman Trophy band were present which boosted the numbers and standard, we were struggling to raise 10 ringers which was disappointing. Since the summer, we have acquired a nucleus of mainly Huntingdon district ringers and we've regularly been ringing up to Cambridge Royal. The standard of ringing has generally been good, particularly as I have been encouraging more of our St. Neots ringers to come along too. It would be nice to see people from other districts come along but I understand that some people don't want to travel far on a Friday night. It would be nice to welcome new people wanting to ring on 10 and to boost the repertoire in 2019. If people have any special requests for these practices, be it a new method or conducting, please do mention it! 

We had a very successful 12bell practice at Great St Mary’s in October, when there were over 30 people present. This was mainly down to Catriona Shearer who encouraged all the volunteers at the 12-bell contest in June to come along, and made sure there were plenty of strong ringers to lend support. We were mainly ringing rounds, call changes and plain hunt, but also managed some Grandsire and Stedman Cinques. I plan to organise 3 or 4 of these 12-bell practices in the year. 

My thanks go to Alan Winter who organised another successful handbell day in December. We are collaborating on what to do about next year. I would also like to thank Alan for making the regular trips to Soham and Wisbech to run the ringing there in my absence due to lack of transport.

 Alban Forster