The bells ring out for na­tional com­pe­ti­tion

New band of bell­ringers is of­fer­ing to show peo­ple the ropes

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

The bells of St Mary’s Church, in Old Amer­sham rang through­out the day on Satur­day when teams of ex­pert ringers con­verged from all over the coun­try to take part in an elim­i­nat­ing round prior to the Na­tional 12 Bell Com­pe­ti­tion in June.

The eight teams of 12 came from Ex­eter, Towces­ter in Northamp­ton­shire, South­wark Cathe­dral in Lon­don, Cam­bridge, Ox­ford, the Univer­sity of Lon­don, Birm­ing­ham and the newly formed lo­cal band, which has been prac­tis­ing hard at Amer­sham since the sum­mer.

Each team rang the same piece and the aim was to not only do this with­out clash­ing but also to get the 0.2 se­cond spac­ing be­tween the in­di­vid­ual bells ab­so­lutely cor­rect, with per­fect rhythm and a steady beat.

The two judges were hid­den away in the Vestry with a sound feed from above the bells plus two spe­cially de­signed com­puter sys­tems – HawkEar and the Strikeome­ter – which pro­duced the sta­tis­tics on even­ness of ring­ing.

There was plenty laid on to amuse those not ac­tu­ally ring­ing in­clud­ing walk­ing tours guided by vol­un­teers from the Amer­sham Mu­seum.

The event even fea­tured on Trea­sure Quest on BBC 3 Coun­ties ra­dio.

The lo­cal ringers also sup­plied vast quan­ti­ties of ba­con baps, tea and cake and the pubs did not quite run out of beer – al­though the land­lord of one was very con­cerned when all the pub cus­tomers walked out – ap­par­ently some­one had shouted ‘It’s 4.30pm, time for the re­sults!’.

Al­though the new­ly­formed Amer­sham band pro­duced its best per­for­mance to date against very stiff op­po­si­tion, it was not among those go­ing for­ward to the fi­nal.

Not down­hearted af­ter be­ing com­pli­mented on or­gan­is­ing such a suc­cess­ful event, its mem­bers will be de­lighted to ex­plain this an­cient art with a mod­ern twist at a free taster ses­sion. Ring­ing usu­ally takes place on six, eight, 10 or 12 bells, with con­sid­er­able ac­cu­racy be­ing re­quired for the higher num­bers.

There are more than 7,000 churches in Great Bri­tain which have a ring­ing peal of bells, of which just 132 have 12 bells. Elim­i­na­tors also took place in All Saints in High Wy­combe and St Lau­rence in Read­ing on Satur­day.

To book a free bell ring­ing taster ses­sion at St Mary’s in Amer­sham visit www.amer­sham­ring­ing. org.uk.

The bell­ringers of Amer­sham would be de­lighted to in­tro­duce peo­ple to this an­cient art

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