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At All Saints we often invite people into the tower to see what ringing is about, but to many of the public it remains a hidden art – few people have seen ringers in action and fewer still have seen bells in action at the same time.
To counter that, the Sonning Deanery bellringers hired the Charmborough Ring and took it to the Hurst Show in June. In essence it is a miniature bell tower with the bells and ringers in full view.
The bells weigh about 1/20 as much as our bells, which makes them completely safe even in the hands of complete novices, so as well as demonstrating ringing we could let people have a go themselves. Adults and older children tried proper ‘full circle’ ringing, and some of them picked it up quite well. Lots of the smaller kids weren’t interested in anything so serious and just wanted to swing the bells and make a lot of noise.
The activity was probably seen (and heard) by a couple of thousand people over the weekend, and a couple of dozen people signed up for follow up taster sessions at Twyford, where they could get some individual tuition on full size bells, and a better idea of what ringing can offer.
All Saints ringers strongly supported this initiative, and since several of the people who expressed interest in ringing live in Wokingham we may also gain some new recruits from it.
There are more details and pictures at: sdb.odg.org.uk/events (first item).
John Harrison (July 2016)
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