Guild Newsletter

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Jill Roberts

23rd August 1933 – 18th August 2019

Jill Roberts (or “Auntie Jill” as we affectionately called her) started ringing later in life than most (I first remember her when she would have been in her mid-50s). Most people who learn as adults don’t progress very far but Jill was very determined and learnt to ring up to and including Surprise Major.

Jill RobertsJill was a superb organiser of ringing tours. She was most accommodating, accepting requests from all those coming on the tour and sometimes she ended up squeezing in as many as 20 towers into a single day. She also had the knack for getting permission to ring at towers where everyone else was refused permission.

Jill also loved going on ringing trips organised by others. One of the most memorable holidays was in the summer of 2005 when she and Pat Halls travelled with me visiting all the towers in Scotland over one week followed straight after by all the towers in Northern Ireland over the following weekend.

On another busy day, Jill acted as my navigator on the Peak District open day. We visited 30 different churches in one day, with Jill, at the age of 70, ringing at all but one.

Jill made the national press earlier this year when she went to watch the Severn Bore with her dear friend Sue Marshall. Standing too close, she got caught up with the bore and ended up in the river!

Jill, of course, had many other interests. As well as tending her sheep and growing crops on her smallholding, she was a keen photographer, in particular taking pictures of dragonflies. She attended lectures given by the U3A, and she was still playing table tennis at the age of 85!

Jill was a most generous host, welcoming people to her cottage, perhaps for a hearty supper of lamb casserole followed by stewed fruit or maybe a cuppa and a slice of cake for those riding past on the National Cycle Route.

Jill’s funeral was held at Sutton under Brailes on 17th September, on a lovely, warm late summer’s day. Jill would have been pleased that the ringing before and after was to a suitably high standard.

Jill was adored by all of her many ringing friends and we will miss her terribly.

Tim Jackson

Independent Examiner

‘Ask not what your Guild can do for you, rather what can you do for your Guild?’

For the past 8 years, the Guild has been honoured to have David Leafe perform the duties as Independent Examiner. This year David has indicated he wishes to resign from the post and has advised us to look for a replacement.

We are grateful to David for all his help and guidance over the previous years, which was extremely valuable especially when we were negotiating with the Diocese over the Phil Faulks Memorial Fund.

With David’s imminent retirement we need to identify a Guild member who might be willing to take over from him. Is this something you could help with, or do you know anyone you could nominate to help?

The Guild has receipts and payments accounts and the examiner should have financial awareness and numeracy skills and ideally have experience of the charity sector. It is not necessary to be an accountant to carry out this duty. The role is mainly carried out in February, when the annual accounts are prepared. It generally involves scrutinising, over a cup of coffee or perhaps a beer, the prepared accounts and associated paperwork/evidence with the Treasurer, Simon Rogers, to check for accuracy and challenge any findings.

The role is different from that of an auditor in that the independent examiner is only required to confirm whether any material matters of concern have come to their attention, whilst an auditor is required to provide an opinion on whether a charity’s accounts give a ‘true and fair view’. <;p> p>

If you think you can help, or know someone who can, please contact .

More details on the role of the Independent Examiner can be found at

Central Council of Church Bell Ringers’ Annual Meeting held in London on 7th September 2019.

This year’s meeting was held in London at Goldsmiths College. It was the first of the new format of CC meetings. Rather than a 2-day event held on May Bank holiday, it is now a weekend event around the first Saturday in September. The formal business meetings are scheduled for the Saturday, a mini road show on the Sunday and open ringing to welcome people on Friday evening.

66 ringing societies are affiliated to the Central Council, but the Devon Association will lapse at the end of the year. There are 177 representatives on the council with 21 vacancies (1 in our Guild).

With the new structure, it is important as many members as possible attend to hold the new executive to account. In fact, there were 149 members present at the meeting and a further 30 observers, who are not CC members. Chris Mew received a special mention at the beginning of the meeting as it is 50 years since he was first elected to the council, representing a different society.

The usual meeting formalities were quickly addressed and reports adopted. Interesting points:

  1. The Council still has £15,000 left of the £20,000 grant they received for Ringing Remembers.
  2. The cost of the Council meetings is covered by contributions from members.
  3. The Council has £159,000 in the General fund.
  4. The library collection is valued at £88,000
  5. Total funds in the Council are £444,438.

Joy has written about the work of the Workgroups, so I will focus on other points of interest.

  1. There were 4617 peals rung in 2018, with Church Lawford (The Plantagenet Ring) recording the 9th highest tower scoring 25 peals.
  2. The Robert Kilby memorial peal will be attempted in the Coventry Guild, following the inaugural peal in Leicester last year. Robert bequeathed £10,000 to the Council on the condition a peal of Stedman Caters was rung each year with 1 person ringing SC for the first time. (Incidentally, Robert only rang one peal of SC at Chilvers Coton).
  3. The new website is still being developed but there was concern much of the old information has disappeared. The webmaster said, all the existing content is still there but clearer signposting was being developed.
  4.; is a new website aimed at young people going to college.
  5. The council is working to ensure there is a common plan for VE 75 to avoid some of the issues with Ringing Remembers.
  6. The direct membership of the council is still being planned
  7. More Tower Leadership courses are in the pipeline.
  8. The Council was reminded of the excellent publication, ‘Bells in Your Care’, which is aimed at incumbents. It addresses many of the challenges posed in churches with a peal of bells.
  9. The PRO is developing, ‘An event in a box’ which is aimed at those planning a recruitment event to attract more ringers. 1
  10. Chris Mew is standing down from the Safeguarding Advisor to the Council and his replacement was being sought.

The current President of the Council, Christopher O’Mahony, elected for 3 years in Edinburgh in 2017, has resigned and a new President needed electing. The Current Vice President, David Kirkcaldy, had not sought election and will complete his 3 years in the role.

Simon Linford was elected, unopposed, to the role as President for 1 year, but was not at the meeting. He attended the dinner in the evening, where he officially accepted the position.

The meeting concluded at 4.40, lasting 2 hours 40 minutes.


Joy and I agree this was the best meeting we had been to so far mainly because there was very little acrimony, despite criticism to the contrary from certain directions. The various groups were trying hard to establish themselves in the new format and most have a clear vision of what they wish to achieve.

With Chris retiring from the Council, there will be two vacancies within the Guild for Central Council Reps. Why not put your name forward for election? You can stand for as little as one year.

The next meeting will be held in Nottingham University, Jubilee Campus on 4-6 September 2020.

Work Groups

The various Workgroups have metamorphosed out of the original Committees and are made up of Members of The Council as well as volunteers with specific interests/expertise. Each Workgroup has a link person to The Executive.

The Groups are:

  • Communication & Marketing
  • History & Archive
  • Stewardship & Management
  • Technical & Taxonomy
  • Volunteer & Leadership

There is also a group which coordinates and reports on the International Societies

Their reports for 2018-2019 can be found on the Central Council website, 2019 Annual Meeting: Annual Meeting Papers/Supplement Pages 16-34

A member of each group was invited to outline their plans for the next 12 months.

Communications & Marketing

  1. To launch Phase 2 of the New Website
  2. To produce materials including Teaching Aids and Advice
  3. To produce an ‘Events in a Box’ package for Distribution
  4. To plan how VE 75 Day 2020 is marked by Ringers

Stewardship & Management

Their plan covered 30 objectives but basically centred round overseeing:

  1. Tower Infrastructures, Tower Operations and Major Projects.
  2. Health & Safety in Towers and Legal Liabilities.
  3. The effect of noise inside and outside towers, and tracking accidents in belfries.
  4. Updating and regulating Safeguarding.

Technical & Taxonomy

Their plan fell under 5 sections:

  1. Services – looking at projects 
  2. Methods – continuing to look at and develop frameworks
  3. Compositions – putting together the ‘Ultimate Collection’
  4. Dove – 11th Edition now published
  5. ICT – adding to new website

Volunteer & Leadership.

  1. To continue to produce ‘Leadership’ interviews to be published in the RW
  2. To continue to produce the Education Column in the RW
  3. To try to convene a Youth Conference in York in 2020
  4. To run a ‘Recruit & Retain’ Workshop at ART Conference in March 2020
  5. To support the work of Guild & Associations when setting up Ringing Centres

Ringing World AGM held in London 7th September 2019.

It is not usual for the Guild Central Council reps to comment on the AGM of the Ringing World, but this year was different. A proposal had been made to change the objects of the RW and this had been met with concern across the Guild.

Traditionally, the AGM has always been held on the same day as the Central Council. Two years ago, members of the Council had been invited to buy a share in the RW for £10, which gave us voting rights at the meeting. £10 was the limit of our liability if the company went broke.

Nigel Orchard was the retiring chairman of the RW, some might remember him for his time ringing at Warwick, and he conducted the meeting very professionally.

Key points worth mentioning from the meeting are:

  • The RW is now solvent thanks largely to the donations ringers make when their peals/quarter peals are published;
  • The RW National Youth Competition goes from strength to strength;
  • RW paper subscriptions continue to decrease but online subscriptions increase;
  • The survey of 3,000 ringers taken a couple of years ago wanted the RW to remain a weekly publication;
  • Reduction in plastic material this year with wrappers to become home compostable.

Then came the difficult proposal of changing the objects of the RW. Currently, it is:
"The Charity’s objects (“the Objects”) are to promote and foster the ringing of bells for Christian worship and on other appropriate occasions and in particular by the publication of educational and literary works connected with or related to the ringing of Church and other bells for Christian worship and on other appropriate occasions. [Memorandum of Association, 3] [10 March 1983].

The proposal to make the change was made by Canon David Grimwood, the new Chairman. There was a keen debate about the change, but the feeling of the meeting was it needed changing to reflect the change from a religious charity to an educational charity, with religious connections. The charity Commission had been approached and had given their approval for the change. One defining moment was when of the trustees said when then had commissioned work, they had asked if there was a reduction for charities. The answer was yes, but not for religious or political groups. A vote was taken and carried unanimously. The new objects are:

“To promote and foster the art, science and history of bells and bell ringing to bellringers and the general public, and in particular by publishing educational material and historical archives, facilitating communication, encouraging public interest and uniting the ringing community.”


Central Council of Church Bell ringers: Workshops:

Sunday 8th September 2019

It was impossible to get to all the Workshops due to overlapping times but the following contains information from three of them.

Volunteering & Leadership Workshop

“When you take hold of a Rope, you don’t know how it will take over your life”

The main aim of this session was to elicit what help Guilds and Societies needed from this Group to help them mobilise ringers, by developing teams, enhancing knowledge, giving guidance and materials where needed, and promoting life-long learning.

They are very much concerned by the age profile of many belfries and the need to recruit and retain younger ringers, and to help them develop/take over Leadership roles.

They are looking at encouraging more Regional Youth Festivals, a Youth Conference in York in 2020 and the possibility of an International Young Ringers’ Organisation.

Ringing centres were discussed: it was stated that these did not have to contain the all-singing, all-dancing Technological Aids but were towers of Good Practice offering outreach to others on a regular basis with planned programmes.

I have ordered a copy of ‘Training Times 13’ (didn’t know Training Times 1-12 even existed!) for information.

Insurance: Presentation by Marcus Booth, Ecclesiastical Insurance: Church Underwriting Manager – and a Bell Ringer!

This was by far the most intense workshop but offered to clarify many of the myths and legends surrounding Church and Guild insurances.

  1. Ecclesiastical Insurance is owned by a Charitable Trust – ‘All Churches Trust Ltd.’ All profits are distributed to Parishes on a Grant basis and £120 million has been donated since 2014!
  2. will give you templates for documents on H & S, Risk Assessment, Fire Risk Assessment
  3. Their Standard Policy – ‘Parish Plus’ (Most Church PCC s have this) covers the following 
    1. Physical damage to buildings through fire, storm, theft
    2. Loss of Income following physical damage
    3. Loss of money or goods in transit
    4. Liability for all Clergy, Employees and Authorised Volunteers – the Bell ringers come under the latter category
    5. Liability for all third parties and visitors – this latter category includes visiting ringers whether ad hoc or by arrangement but must have satisfied the Ringing Master of their capability to ring.
    6. Trustee Indemnity
    7. Personal Accidents – providing the equipment etc. that caused the accident has been well maintained.
    8. Legal Expenses
    9. Anything ‘In Connection’ with your usual activities
      These are all subject to the Policy Conditions that reasonable care has been taken on maintenance that reasonable precautions have been taken to prevent damage, and that reasonable care has been exercised for regulations to be observed.
  4. Is Bell Ringing a dangerous occupation? YES!
    Do we need to ensure the Church has Insurance Cover? YES
  5. Church & Cathedral Bell Ringers – Employers’ Liability
    1. Accidental injury of Employers or Volunteers where there is proven negligence:
      (i) Slips, trips, due to poor general maintenance
    2. Anyone approved by Vicar or PCC is an ‘Authorised Volunteer’. This covers
      1. Resident band
      2. Visiting Ringers whether on Sunday or Practice Night
      3. Visiting Ringers invited for a specific event
      4. Tower Tours – members of the public
      5. Any person performing maintenance e.g. clock winding, cleaning etc.
  6. Personal Accident Cover
    1. If you are engaged on a Church Activity. However these are age defined – at the moment 3 years to 80 years (the latter may be reviewed soon)
    2. Benefit is paid to PCC not individuals (You might have to put in a liability claim to receive compensation)
    3. The C of E Safeguarding Policy and the CCCBR policy on Safeguarding must be adhered to.
  7. Guild Insurance Guilds are only insured for events organised by the Guild itself or its Districts e.g. a BBQ that takes place outside the confines of a Church and therefore not covered by the Church Insurance. The cover is restricted to MEMBERS only.
  8. FAQs
    1. Are you insured when you ring on holiday? Yes, because you become an ‘Authorised Volunteer’ if the Tower captain has vetted your capability.
    2. Are you covered on an organised tower outing? Yes, as you are ‘Church Organised’ you are covered by your own Church’s policy. Your Vicar or PCC has in effect accepted the liability for the visits.
    3. Are you covered at a Branch Practice? Yes, because you become an ‘Authorised Volunteer’ if the Tower captain has vetted your capability.
    4. Are you covered for peals and quarter peals? Yes, because you become an ‘Authorised Volunteer’ if the Tower captain has vetted your capability
  9. How can you help Yourselves?
    1. Keep accurate records – timed and dated – of any incidents that occur in your tower.
    2. Ensure there are regular Inspections of your bells and fittings and that there is regular Maintenance. Keep a log of date and time of the above.
    3. Keep a Record of any accidents.
    4. Review Risk Assessment at least once a year at the Tower AGM or after an accident.
    5. Report any incidents that result in damage even if a claim is not made.
Draw Club Results: July - September 2019
Date 1st Prize (£25) 2nd Prize (£10) 3rd Prize (£5)
July 62 - Rodney Swallow 124 - Sandra Parker 108 - Janet Kirtley
August 62 - Rodney Swallow 8 - Sally Idle 28 - Sue Roderick
September 21 -Jill Montgomery 34 - Barbara Howes 126 - Martin Mellor


A Bell for Sue

I have decided that a more permanent and fitting memorial to Sue is appropriate, and the intention is to augment the 5 bells at Radway by adding a new treble bell cast in her memory. Sue rang her last Quarter Peal here on the 25th May and rests nearby.

The project at Radway is to augment the bells and install a ringing balcony. The cost to add a bell and hang it is about £15,000 if we take advantage of a reduction for supplying some labour. The Ringing floor has not yet been costed.

The Keltek Trust have already agreed a substantial grant and I am hoping for a similar one from the Coventry DG BRF in order to ensure the project is viable.

However, there will be a shortfall for hanging and casting the bell alone and I am hoping that Sue's ringing and other friends will make up the difference.

If you wish to make a personal donation for this memorial for Sue, one that is in addition to any Coventry DG grant that is given, please send a cheque, made out to "St Peter’s Radway PCC", but sent to me at 12 Glosters Green, Kineton CV35 0LT, and gift aided where possible please!


Gift Aid Form Template

Ringing in Memory of Sue Marshall

Radway, Warwickshire St Peter
Sunday, 7 July 2019 in 43m (5)
1260 Plain Bob Doubles
1 Yvonne Kennedy
2 Lucy Gwynne
3 David Bell
4 David Rake
5 John Gwynne (C)
Rung for Sue Marshall who passed away this afternoon. She loved these bells.

Kineton, Warwickshire St Peter
Thursday, 11 July 2019 in 39m (10)
1260 Doubles (11m)
60 Grandsire, 120 each Reverse Canterbury, Huntley Place, St Remigius,
Winchendon Place, St Nicholas, Plain Bob, Eynesbury, St Osmund, St Martin, St Simon's.
1 David Bell
2 Becki Johnson
3 Lucy Gwynne
4 John Gwynne
5 Graham Nabb (C)
6 Nick Gunn
For Sue. To celebrate her return to the village.

Todenham, Gloucestershire St Thomas of Canterbury
Thursday, 11 July 2019 in 48m (12)
1260 Doubles
(420 Grandsire; 840 Plain Bob)
1 Imogen Murphy
2 Tracey B Newbold
3 Keith Murphy
4 Isobel Murphy
5 John Newbold (C)
6 Gervald Frykman
Remembering Sue Marshall, former colleague of 6 and friend of many in the Coventry Guild.
A talented and very brave lady.
Following Sue's example 'Pink Fizz' featured in the post quarter refreshments.

Alderminster, Warwickshire St Mary and Holy Cross
Saturday, 13 July 2019 (12)
1260 Doubles
360 St Simons, 360 St Martins, 540 Plain Bob
1 Ria Koshi
2 Keith Chambers
3 David Harrison
4 Peter Hollings
5 Doug Kempton (C)
6 Bob Taylor
Rung in memory of Sue Marshall

Wootton Wawen, Warwickshire St Peter
Saturday, 13 July 2019 (10)
1272 Plain Bob Minor
1 Bob Taylor
2 Ria Koshi
3 Keith Chambers
4 David Harrison
5 Peter Hollings
6 Doug Kempton (C)
1st minor inside, 2, Rung in memory of Sue Marshall

Coventry, West Midlands Ruined Cathedral Church of St Michael
Sunday, 14 July 2019 in 45m (14)
1280 Spliced Surprise Major (8m)
160 each Bristol, Cambridge, Lincolnshire, London, Pudsey, Rutland, Superlative & Yorkshire, 39 com
1 Doug Kempton
2 Julie A Tarling
3 Joy Pluckrose
4 Geoffrey Pratt
5 Eaymon A Sheasby
6 Michael Chester
7 Jonathon R Chester
8 Andrew F Alldrick (C)
First 8 spliced - 7
Dedicated to the memory of Susan E Marshall.
Rung prior to Choral Evensong

Coventry Diocesan Guild
Church Lawford, Warwickshire The Plantagenet Ring
Monday, 15 July 2019 in 2h 16 (2)
5040 Surprise Minor
7m: 1 extent each London, Bourne, Ipswich, Norwich, Beverley, Surfleet, Cambridge
1 Peter M Fleckney
2 Raymon A Sheasby
3 Michael J Dew
4 Alison R Williams
5 Andrew W Gordon
6 Simon P Rogers (C)
Rung in memory of Sue Marshall who was booked some while ago to ring in this attempt.

Coventry Diocesan Guild
Claybrooke, Leicestershire St Peter
Monday, 15 July 2019 in 3h (13)
5024 Zeitgeist Delight Major
Composed by Alan G Reading
1 Geoffrey W Randall
2 Julie A Tarling
3 Michael Chester
4 Raymon A Sheasby
5 Paul M Mason
6 Mark W Sayers
7 Andrew F Alldrick
8 Simon P Rogers (C)
Rung in memory of Sue Marshall.

Aston Cantlow, Warwickshire St John the Baptist
Wednesday, 17 July 2019 in 46m (14)
1260 Doubles (2m)
Reverse Canterbury Doubles and Plain Bob Doubles
1 Tracey B Newbold
2 John Newbold (C)
3 Sandra Parker
4 Christopher W Tennant
5 James Trewin
6 Ingrid Everson
Rung to remember Sue Marshall who passed away before her time on 07/07/2019. May she rest in Peace.
First local female guild member to Tenor to a quarter at Aston Cantlow. Well done Ingrid.

Kineton, Warwickshire Edgehill Ringing Centre
Thursday, 18 July 2019 in 43m (8)
1272 Plain Bob Minimus
1 Gillian Hosking
2 Yvonne Kennedy
3 David Bell (C)
4 Mike Rigby
5 Kathryn McCarthy
6 Grace Wilson
In memory of Sue Marshall.
The first QP rung together by 'The Ladies That Lunch' and ably assisted by our two patient teachers.
We sadly missed you Sue as our 5th 'Lady That Lunched'

Bubbenhall, Warwickshire St Giles
Friday, 19 July 2019 (5)
1272 Carlisle Surprise Minor
1 Ruth Border
2 Barbara Howes
3 Janice Sheasby
4 Simon Rogers
5 Keith Chambers
6 Raymon Sheasby (C)
1st in M - 2.
Rung in Memory of Sue Marshall. 

Honiley, Warwickshire St John the Baptist
Saturday, 20 July 2019 (6)
1296 Cambridge Surprise Minor
Composed by Lynn Scales
1 Becki Johnson
2 Rowena Shipley
3 Graham Nabb
4 Lucy Gwynne
5 Stephen Shipley
6 John Gwynne (C)
Marking Graham and Sue's 5th wedding anniversary which would have been on Thursday 18 July.

Warwick, Warwickshire St Mary
Sunday, 21 July 2019 (24)
1259 Grandsire Caters
1 Ruth Border
2 Annie Hall
3 Lucy Gwynne
4 Philip Sealey
5 Karen French
6 John Keddie
7 John Gwynne
8 Christopher Mew (C)
9 Douglas Kempton
10 Charles Hayward
Rung in fond memory of Sue Marshall by her friends in Warwick

Pillerton Hersey, Warwickshire St Mary
Thursday, 25 July 2019 (7)
1260 Grandsire Doubles
1 Becki Johnson
2 Rebecca Melen
3 Lucy Gwynne
4 John Gwynne
5 Graham Nabb (C)
For Sue Marshall. On the eve of her funeral.

Lighthorne, Warwickshire St Laurence
Friday, 26 July 2019 (5)
1296 Cambridge Surprise Minor
Composed by Glenn A A Taylor
1 Kate Flavell
2 Gill Hughes
3 Lesley Belcher
4 Clare McArdle
5 Roger Booth
6 Paul J Flavell (C)
Rung by members of the Association of Ringing Teachers in celebration of the life of Susan Marshall on the day of her funeral


July 2019 Edition Available

The latest newsletter is available to view as "Current Edition" and a printable version has been put into "Downloads".

Please note that the deadline for the following edition 15th September 2019 and items submitted after this date may have to be held over until the January 2020 edition.


Ringing World National Youth Competition 2019

In the 5 years that the Coventry Spires have entered the Ringing World National Youth Competition, Liverpool was the furthest away. An early start was necessary and 11 of us met on Coventry Station at 7.15am. Alec and Mark had already boarded the train (and secured seating for us all) in Rugby so a promising start for our merry group. Also, on our train were the teams from Lichfield and Birmingham. There was great ribbing between the teams. We took one of the Brumdingers, Robbie, hostage and sent Chris Mew to negotiate his release. I was slightly anxious about this approach as being the “responsible adult”, I thought taking an 11-year-old hostage might invalidate my credentials. One of our team, (who will remain nameless), seemed to form a close friendship with the captain of another team, but that’s a different story.


It had been a beautiful week prior to the competition, but arriving in Liverpool it was raining. We spent a while in the museum visiting the stars and the aquarium before setting off for St Francis Xavier for the competition piece. 24 teams had entered the competition and for the first time, with this number, there were no heats. All teams rang at the same tower and the decision was to be made by the strikeomieter and the opinion of 4 judges on the structure of the ringing. Even the best laid plans can go wrong and unfortunately, we got lost on the way. However, we arrived bang on time and the team ascended the tower. They rang their test piece and the striking improved with each minute. They stopped, made the starting signal, and then rang their competition piece. The sound control is so good at SFX, we had to gather at the foot of the tower to hear the bells. The team rang well and again, their striking improved as they progressed.


The team came down to applause from the supporters and posed for photos. There was a sigh of relief from all concerned then it was off to grab some towers. First it was St John Tuebrook, a lovely peal of 8 bells and the team wished the competition had been here as the bells went so well. We had a really good ring, with each team member ringing at least 3 times.

The next tower was St Barnabus Mossley Hill better known as Penny Lane. Again, these were lovely bells, easy to ring and sounded sweet. We had over 30 minutes here on our own and rang a number of different touches, including 3 leads of Bristol. When the next team arrived, they were short so Ruby and Ria stayed to ring with them and rang a course of Plain Bob Triples.


We caught the bus again and headed for the river front. Millions of pounds have been spent on the regeneration of Liverpool and the whole area is now a wonderful tourist area. We took a ferry along the Mersey which has a great way to relax and see the sights. We saw the Liverbirds, Birkenhead and the view towards the coast. You could hear the bells of Pier Head very clearly across the river.

No trip to Liverpool would be complete without a glimpse of the Beatles, and although the team were too young to remember who they were, this was certainly a highlight for the oldies.


The last tower of the day was St Nicholas Pier Head, a 41 cwt 12. Bertie and Alec both rang the tenor with great professionalism and all our young people performed well on these mighty bells. We had about 30 minutes ringing and then had the opportunity to ring on a mini ring and attend handbell workshops. The chance to sit down was much appreciated.

The award ceremony was in Pier Head and each year the organisation improves. It is always rewarding to see so many keen young ringers in one place. Speeches were made, grades given and medals awarded. This year the scoring was based on the GCSE grading scheme of 9-1. Coventry Spires were awarded a 4 and the judge commented:

Your ringing got better and better as it went on. Some rows were particularly well struck and the rounds and back rounds worked well. There was a sense of structure to your ringing. Well done.

Bertie then took the helm and guided us back to Lime Street for the journey home. The train was very busy so we had to wait to get out the picnic and let the party begin. However, by the time we got to Crewe we were all sitting together and could laugh and joke together. We got back to Coventry at 9.30, said all our farewells and went home. Not until, however, Ruby finished off the day by stealing a Policeman’s helmet.


The annual trip to the RWNYC is now one of the highlights of the year. If you know a young person who would like to join the group, please let us know. Next year’s competition is on 4th July, location to be confirmed.

Other Photos:





Handbells Wanted

Please help us! Some U3A members are looking to set up a handbell ringing group and are looking for a set which we can either use in situ in the Leamington/Warwick area, or borrow. I have been a Radford Semele Church ringer for over 20 years and some of those setting up the group have experience of ringing handbells.

If we are allowed to take them away, they would be kept in a locked cupboard in St Nicholas Church, Radford Semele, and we would be happy to take out insurance as necessary. If you can help, please email me at or you can call me on 07951517237.

Very many thanks.

Claire Darlington
(Radford Semele Ringer)


Alfred George Frank Spiers MBE 1925-2019

Frank in 2011Frank was born in January 1925 the second child of Alfred and Victoria Spiers who kept the Bull’s Head in Bidford on Avon, Warwickshire. His younger brother, Fred, in due course took over the tenancy from his mother. The tenancy had passed to his mother on the death of his father when Frank was 9 years old. Frank could often be seen behind the bar helping his brother and this became the watering hole of the ringers.

From a very early age Frank was a boy chorister at St Laurence Church just over the road from home. He never moved far from his beloved Church. At the age of about 12 Frank was invited into the tower by the then captain, Arthur Shorey.

After schooling in the Village Frank, at the age of 14, started work at the BSA factory in Redditch later moving to the Austin Motor Company at Longbridge finally working on car bodies as a sheet metal worker. He initially cycled the 12 miles to Redditch before moving to a motor cycle which he subsequently added a side car. In the 1950s this was exchanged for a car. After being demobbed Frank returned to The Austin and remained there until retirement.

At the age of 18, when called up for military service, he decided to join the Grenadier Guards and after training served time in Germany finally returning to Caterham where he was a Drill Instructor until he was demobbed. He was very proud of his time in the Grenadier guards, a member of the local branch of the Grenadier Guards Association and almost always wearing his Guards tie. No surprise our sallies are the colours of the Grenadier Guards! Prior to Military Service, Frank was an amateur boxer something which he was able to continue with whilst serving with the Guards, representing them in various competitions.

In 1953 Frank married Gian, a marriage which was to last until 2002 when Gian died. They had two children, Jill and John. Frank was very proud of his children and their achievements.

In 1995 Frank was awarded the MBE for ‘’services to Bidford on Avon’’. Locally Frank was known as Mr Bidford, a tribute to all the village organisations to which he was involved. He was a Parish Councillor for 45 years, a Church Warden and a member of the Royal British Legion. Perhaps I should add here that Frank enjoyed his football as a youngster playing for the local team and later as a referee travelling to various games in the area. He was also involved in raising funds for the village cricket pavilion. Sport would often be a topic of conversation with fellow ringers. Space does not allow me to list all his activities during his lifetime.

Returning now to Frank’s ringing and looking at Tower records, it appears that Frank’s first quarter peal was in 1955. Ringing at Bidford was rejuvenated in the 1970s when Frank asked Michael Homans how to teach new ringers. This was the start of the new band.

In the 1980s Fred and Joan Munday, Pam Craney, myself and my husband all moved into the village. This was really the moment when Frank was able to progress and enjoy his ringing. In the period to 2006, which was his last quarter peal he rang a minimum of 58 quarter peals, conducted one of Plain Bob Doubles. On Bidford bells Frank would normally be ringing the 7th or the Tenor. Frank was not a peal ringer but did ring 9 peals with Peter Border and Chris Mew conducting them.

Whilst Frank did not take office he was a member for over 50 years of both the W&DCRA and the Coventry Guild of Bellringers, also joining the Fours Shires Guild and would always try and attend meetings. He enjoyed the monthly outings with the FSG and in the early years he would have a day out with Gian sorting out the lunchtime pub. At the May outing Grandsire Doubles was rung as attribute to him, a method which he would ring on these days out and would sometimes call. He would often comment that ringing took him to ‘some lovely parts part of the country’.

In late April 2019 Frank was taken to hospital and subsequently discharged to the care home home in Bidford, where he had been for just over a year, where he died peacefully on 7th May.

The congregation of 240, for his funeral, shows the regard and affection with which Frank was held. There was half muffled ringing prior to the Service with the local band ringing Frank out of Church. Whilst the burial was taking place in the Churchyard next to the Church a quarter peal was rung.

Sandra Parker

Bidford on Avon, Warwickshire St Laurence
Wednesday, 29 May 2019 in 47m (14)
1273 Grandsire Triples
Composed by C Montague Meyer
1 Richard Lewis-Skeath
2 Annie Hall
3 Karen French
4 Roger Hunt
5 Ray Sheasby
6 Mike Chester
7 Simon Rogers (C)
8 Richard Spray
Rung immediately after the funeral service of A G Frank Spiers MBE (1925-2019).
Frank was born in Bidford and it was his home for his whole life. He was fully involved in village life throughout his life including playing and refereeing football, working on the parish council and being fully involved as a parishioner at this church. He learnt to ring in 1939 and was tower captain for may years, only giving up ringing when not well enough to do so. He was awarded the MBE in 1995 for services to Bidford.
Further details of Frank's life can be found at
400th quarter - 3.

The Quarter Peal Band

Richard, Karen, Richard, Mike, Annie, Simon, Roger, Ray.

First Aid Course.

12th October 2019 at Ryton on Dunsmore Church.

Course Tutor: Mark Butler. Mark is a ringer at Leamington Spa and also a St John’s Ambulance trainer. He is running this programme for the Guild as a volunteer and we are grateful for the contribution of his time and expertise.

This is a bespoke course lasting 6 hours, with the following aims:

  • Provide a basic first aid course suitable to people using the church and bell tower
  • To cover basic life support including basic use of an AED using as much practical activity as possible
  • To discuss and explore documentation, minor cuts / splinters / burns, bruises and head injury
  • Have an overview of legislative requirements.
  • How to administer CPR
  • How to control external bleeding
  • Recognise and manage shock
  • Recognise the signs of sepsis
  • Safe use of first aid equipment.

The programme is being held in Ryton on Dunsmore Church room. We have access to the bell tower, so some of the practical sessions will be held in the belfry.

The course will start at 9.30 and finish at 3.30. Lunch will be provided and tea and coffee available during the day.

There is no charge for attending the course, but the Guild is asking participants to pay £20 towards the cost of the church room hire and refreshments.

For further details please contact .

Using the Website Message Board

If you want a message put onto the website, please follow these simple steps

  • Click here - the link is at the bottom of the messages if you forget this one. It is also on the "News and Notices" menu.
  • Click on
    • Practice Night Information, or
    • Meeting Information, or
    • Ringers Required
  • Click on "New Topic"
  • Fill in the form with:-
    • Your name
    • A subject line for your message - not the whole message, something such as, "6-Bell Practice at XXXXXX on Thursday  XX December - this appears on the website
    • Type in the details in the "Message" box
    • Click in the "I am not a robot" box
    • Click on "Submit" to post the message

It is very simple to do. Please give it a go

Coventry DG Brokerage Scheme

The Guild is hoping to be able to give a helping hand to ringers and towers in the area by arranging for ringing support for what YOU want to be able to do next.

Do you need some ringers to provide a steady band around a learner in a given method?  Do you just need the odd ringer extra so you can make the next step with your, or your tower's, ringing?  Do you need a conductor for a quarter or a peal?  Do you want to ring a quarter peal or a peal and don't know the next step?

Help is at hand!  Simply download the CDG Brokerage file that you can find from

, in both pdf and Word format, complete it and then send it off.