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The Bells will be Ringing!

Members of the Shropshire Association of Church Bellringers will be coming to Ellesmere to ring the Church Bells on Saturday, 9th December 2017, from 6.00pm to 7.30pm followed by their Carol Service.

I anticipate that the ringing will be of a good standard, and well worth a listen.

I will take the opportunity to wish all members of the Ellesmere Parish an enjoyable Christmas and all the very best for the New Year.

Terry Davies, Tower Captain

Mrs. Kathryn (Kate) Sampson

A member of our team passed away recently - Mrs. Kathryn (Kate) Sampson of Dudleston Heath. As a mark of respect, Ellesmere bellringers, and other bellringers who knew Kate, rang Saint Mary's eight bells prior to the funeral service on Thursday, 31st August 2017.

Kate had been a member of our team for around four years, and became a valued and essential member. I find it difficult to accept that on a Friday nqht and Sunday morning, the door to the ringing room will no longer open for Kate to join us for ringing, which she did until fairly recently.

For any voluntary organisation to function we, the people involved need to be friends, friends who share a common interest, and friends who share a mutual respect and belief that what they are doing is important and appreciated. In our case, the ringing of the church bell for the 10:15am Sunday morning service, which I like to think is an integral part of church life in Ellesmere, and is recognised as such by the church members and the wider community.

We miss you Kate and we were fortunate to have you both as a member of our team and, more importantly as a friend.

Tower Captain's Report to the 2017 Annual Church Meeting

During the last year we have rung for all of the 110.15 a.m. services, also special services, the occasional wedding and the occasional funeral.

Most Sundays we manage to use the full ring of 8 bells — sounds much better than a ring of 6. Eight bells somehow seem complete, which I suppose it is being a complete octave — on our case, being in the key of "E" Flat.

The bells have also been rung by a number of visiting bellringers, who have made favourable comments on the sound of the bells, which were tuned at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London. It should be remembered that the bell founders in the 18th and 19th Century, when our bells were cast, did not have the facility of modern tuning equipment, and the tuning of bells was much less of an exact science than it is today.

The sound of the church bells on a Sunday morning helps to remind the community of Ellesmere that this church continues to exist, and is also a reminder that a service is soon to start.

Based on comments made to me on a regular basis by a number of the people in Ellesmere, the sound of the church bells is enjoyed and the fact that the bells are rung on a regular basis by a team of volunteers is appreciated.

I would like to mention that in 2016, I completed 60 years as a bellringer at Ellesmere and 4O years as Tower Captain. I owe a debt of gratitude to the previous Tower Captain, Mr Arnold Whitehead for his excellent example of dedication and commitment to the post.

Terry Davies, Tower Captain

Bellringing at Saint Mary's Parish Church, Ellesmere

I thought that those readers of the Church magazine who were unable to attend the Annual Church Meetin, recently might be interested in reading my short report as Tower Captain:

After a break from November 2013 to April 2014, with no bells to ring at Ellesmere, we rang on the restored bells for Palm Sunday in 2014.

People in Ellesmere have made favourable comments on the retuned bells, although a number of people have commented on the sound of the bells being quieter. The restoration work should ensure the bells and associated equipment are fit for purpose for probably the next hundred years. Without a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, it is unlikely that the money would have been available from other sources.

Special recognition should be made to the work done by the joint project leaders - Mr. Peter Leigh and Mr. Rodney Upton. Without their dedication and commitment, it is unlikely the work would have been started, never mind completed within the budget and within the anticipated timescale.

We were also fortunate to have an excellent team of volunteers to help in the work and reduce the cost. All the volunteers were bellringers or former bellringers who freely gave of their time and talent in a worthy project.

Regarding bellringing at Saint Mary's - we continue to have a dedicated band of ringers, who turn up regularly on a Friday night practice and for Sunday morning service ringing. Special mention should be made of our two new ringers - Kate and Jackie - both of whom have become essential members of our band and continue to make good progress.

I like to think that the sound of the bells is part of the contribution that the Church of England makes to what means to the 'British' way of life, and more importantly, proclaims to all who listen that Christianity and this Church continue to exist, and will hopefully, continue to exist for the foreseeable future. Certainly the bells will be still in the Tower in 100 years time, with hopefully bellringers to ring them and a congregation and community to listen!

Thanks for taking the time to read this article - Terry Davies.

Shropshire Bell Ringers Meeting

On Saturday 10 January we were hosts for the AGM of the Shropshire ssociation of Church Bell Ringers. The meeting attracted over 60 nembers from across the northern half of the county.

Proceedings started with ringing at 4 pm which allowed the members to experience the improved sound and handling of the bells following the restoration project. This was followed by a short service taken by the Vicar, Rev Philip Edge, at which the Archdeacon of Salop, the Ven Paul Thomas (who is Vice President of the Association) gave the address. He spoke about the evocative and emotional effects that sounds have on people, particularly the sound of bells. Some enthusiastic hymn singing was accompanied by the organist, Malcolm Powell.

After the service we moved into St John's room where a splendid buffet was provided and the ringers tucked in, leaving little at the end. The buffet was provided by Vermeulen's and our thanks go to Annabelle and Jen for providing such a good spread and for their hard work in setting it out and clearing up after us.

The business of the meeting continued for a further 2 hours and afterwards some of the ringers returned to the tower for a further session on the bells, whilst others retired to one of the local pubs.

On 24 January a team of 8 ringers from the Association rang a quarter peal (1260 changes taking about 45 minutes) of a method called Quedgeley Surprise Major (don't ask me - it's well beyond my abilities!!) to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Death of Sir Winston Churchill.

After all the turmoil of the bells project and hosting this meeting we are now back to "business as usual" with our practices on Friday evenings from 7.30pm to 9.00pm and our regular ringing at 9.45am before the Sunday morning services.

We extend a warm welcome to anyone wishing to take up our ancient and fascinating activity -just get in contact with any of the ringers and we will show you what is involved and how you can join in.

 

Peter Leigh
for the Tower Captain and Bell Ringers