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Tower Captains Report - Annual Church Meeting, Tuesday 8th April 2014

I thought it might be perhaps interesting and informative for readers of the Church Magazine to have the opportunity to read my report to the Annual Church meeting:

As in 2012, we have rung for all of the Sunday morning 10.15am services and several weddings and we also rang half-muffled for the funeral of Mrs Estelle Gilbert, the mother of two of our former bellringers (Stephen and Robin Gilbert).

Our Friday night practice is usually well-attended with our own ringers and regular visitors from Baschurch (Paul and Edwina) and Whitchurch (Malcolm and Ann)

It is essential to have a friendly bell tower, where newcomers are welcomed, where every member of the team is given respect and worth for who they  are - for without this considerate attitude, any band is unlikely to continue other than in the short term.

Why are Church bells rung for a Sunday Service ? It is to call people to worship and to remind people, if any reminder was needed that God exists.  The sound of its bells may be the only message a church gives to many of its parishioners.  The service a ringer gives to his or her church can be demanding on time and commitment but can be equally rewarding because of the reason for the bells being rung and for the part bells make to the life of the church.

I have been Tower Captain and Saint Mary’s since Mr Arnold Whitehead retired in 1976. I like to think I have done the best I could to ensure that the bells continued to ring on a regular basis.

There are other activities I could have done, especially on Friday night, but I considered it important as Tower Captain to show dedication and commitment by attending practices regularly. I like to think my record is something of which I can be proud and I like to think that I continued the good example of a Tower Captain set by Mr  Whitehead over a period of 32 years (1944 to 1976).

I am also proud of the fact that since 1976 apart from the cost of lighting and heating in the tower, there has not been a cost on this church for the bells. All minor maintenance costs and replacement of ropes have been paid for by fund raising by the bell ringers and generous donations from the people of Ellesmere (mainly parishioners).

We are fortunate that we continue to have at this church a very dedicated team of bellringers. I hope that ringing Saint Mary’s may continue for a long time - certainly into the foreseeable future.

The restoration of the bells and associated equipment will help to make that aid easier to achieve by making the bells easier to ring and hopefully it will leave a lasting legacy of which we can all be proud.

I thank Peter Leigh and Rodney Upton for taking the lead in this important project.  An important and significant contribution was also made by other bellringers - Ray Purcell, Nick Easthop and myself from Ellesmere, Peter Woollham from Oswestry, Alan Glover from Shrewsbury and finally Greg          Davies (a former bellringer and my nephew) from Penley.

Terry Davies, Tower Captain