Nick and Sam came to visit from Kent in the summer and Sam wrote an article in their local ringing magazine about “our wonderful experience in Worcester this summer”:
I have been on a lovely two-week holiday in Bromyard, Herefordshire.
My dad and I did some research before we went and read about a ringing teaching centre at Worcester Cathedral, just a few miles away from our cottage. Dad phoned to ask if we could come along to the Monday training and practice night and arranged to meet our host Mark Regan outside the ‘Friends door’ at the Cathedral, as agreed.
The training centre is reached by climbing a spiral staircase and is situated in a large spacious room immediately below the ringing chamber. There are 8 dumb-bells which are used to teach Each has a spring mechanism rather than a wooden stay which removes the fear of over-pulling and breaking a stay; it’s much easier to re-set the spring than bolt on a new stay.
Each dumb-bell is linked to a computer so that learners can hear their striking through headphones. Saskia, who has been ringing at the Cathedral for several years, helped me get started and showed me how to use the computer. I tried rounds on 6, 8, 10, and finally 12. It is very similar to the software that Mike Worthington uses to teach me at St Nick’s.
There were a number of other learners using the centre. Some had come from surrounding towers and were practising raising and lowering. We all got on with our own bells under the watchful eye of the tutors. The tower practice followed and I was allowed to ring on the Cathedral bells; I rang rounds on 12 bells with quite a lot of help and guidance from Mark; it felt so different and slow. I had to pull really hard at hand-stroke and set the bell at back-stroke and it is so much harder to hear each bell.
At the end of the practice I helped finish ringing down the tenor, and chimed the 48cwt bell. My Dad took me to the King Charles pub afterwards to join the rest of the band, a great way to end a fantastic evening’s ringing.
We were invited to a regular youth practice at Old St Martins in Worcester on the following Saturday. This ring of 10 has been supported by Heritage Lottery funding and is a fantastic extra training opportunity. It has a much lighter ring – the tenor is only 6cwt compared to the Cathedral’s 48cwt. There were about 12 other young people, at different stages of ringing competence, all of whom were really nice and friendly.
I’m so pleased we were able to use the training centre, ring on the Cathedral bells and join the youth practice. I would like to pass on an enormous thank you to Mark Regan, the ringing master, and Saskia for being so welcoming and kind.
We have planned our holiday for next year, also in Herefordshire – I shall be back.
Sam Chard, Sevenoaks