Bell-ringing update

Return to Ringing
We have returned to almost normal ringing but with the following Covid restrictions:
Face coverings are required to be warn by all if any one member of the band present requests that masks be worn.
All ringers to take a lateral flow test in the 3-4 days prior to ringing (i.e. a test on Thu is sufficient for Thu & Sun ringing).
Wash or sanitise hands before handling the ropes and on leaving. 
Visitors are welcome if they conform to these restrictions. 

A 'Small' Achievement!

On Sunday 3rd November, 2019, six members of the Harwell band rang a very special quarter peal.
We rang non-stop for 42 mins with each person ringing their bell 1,260 times.
In ringing terminology, a 'change' is when all the bells ring once in order (with the order changing each time), so this was 1,260 changes.
What made this quarter peal special is that it included 4 members of the same family.
The treble (lightest bell) was rung by Elisha Small (age 13) who started to learn to ring about a year ago. This was her first attempt at a quarter peal. She was joined by her mother, Lyn, and one of her brothers, Ben, who had not rung 'inside' for a quarter peal before. It was rung to celebrate the 21st birthday of her eldest brother, Seb, who learnt to ring at university and who rang the fifth. So four 'Small's altogether!

This is how the achievement was formally recorded:

Oxford Diocesan Guild
Harwell, Oxfordshire
St Matthew
Sunday, 3 November 2019 in 42m
1260 Plain Bob Doubles
1 Elisha Small
2 Lyn Small
3 Benjamin Small
4 Nick Clarke (C)
5 Sebastian Small
6 Debbie Greenfield
First Q 1, 1st inside 3. 21st birthday compliments to 5.

The 4 Smalls photographed in the tower just after we stopped ringing:

11 November 2018, 19:05
On 11th November 2018, the United Kingdom and its friends overseas marked the day, 100 years ago, when the guns fell silent at the end of the First World War. Bells will ring out in unison from churches and cathedrals in villages, towns and cities across the country.
Oxfordshire County Council played its part in remembering the sacrifice of millions of men and women by joining in Battle’s Over, a unique series of events involving organisations and communities the length and breadth of our nation and in many countries abroad.

Many of the parish churches across Oxfordshire rang out for peace at exactly 7:05pm on 11th November.  At St Matthew’s Harwell, 7 new recruits and 1 returning ringer were going to ring for the first 5 minutes by themselves. Unfortunately, essential maintenance work on the tower means that we were not able to ring at Harwell over that period but we were delighted that we were invited to ring at All Saints', Chilton  instead.

As part of the Ringing Remembers campaign, to mark the final year of the First World War centenary commemorations, 1,400 new bell ringers will be recruited in honour of the ringers that lost their lives during the First World War. Many bell ringers joined the war effort, and many lost their lives. Just after the war, the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers wrote to all bell towers to compile the Roll of Honour. At the time 1,077 men were reported as lost. More recent research has uncovered over 300 ringers who died in service. In total some 1,400 bell ringers lost their lives in the Great War. A loss to them and their families. A loss to communities.

There are no Harwell ringers on the ringing Roll of Honour but there is one from each of Chilton, East Hagbourne and Sutton Courtenay; and 2 from each of Blewbury and  Wantage. The casualty from Chilton was Corporal Archie Reginald Silver who served in the Great War (1914-18) in the Household Battalion. He died 12 Oct 1917 at the age of 25. He is commemorated at the Tyne Cot Memorial.

At Harwell we have 8 learners taking part in this project. We have 7 new recruits: Helen, Susan & Jude (who have been learning since just before last Christmas); and Jayne, Elisha, Rowan and Caleb (who have only been learning for the last few weeks). We also have one ringer, Bridget, returning from a break of about 20 years. It was was a very ambitious target for these learners to ring by themselves . They are all doing very well and have done a huge amount of practicing including visiting other towers. They did themselves and their teachers proud by ringing very competently on the 11th (especially as they were on unfamiliar bells!). 


Debbie Greenfield
(last updated 4 Nov 2019)