Lily rings on Sunday for the first time, after starting eight weeks ago

Not only did Lily Tang come and help with the fun-day at Bermondsey on Saturday, but Lily rang for her first Sunday service at Greenwich on Sunday morning. Lily only had her first lesson at Greenwich eight weeks ago, but she rang the third to some very creditable rounds and simple call-changes on the front six.

This was the first time in many years that there had been ringing before the morning service at Greenwich, and it was good that four ringers who do not normally have the opportunity to ring on Sunday mornings came along.

Afterwards seven of us walked the short distance through the foot tunnel under the Thames to Isle of Dogs, where we were joined by Buky Rufai and Lily rang some more rounds and simple call-changes on eight.

To top that, in the evening Lily came to ring for the evening service at Deptford and rang some more rounds on eight. So ringing at three towers, two of which were new. That’s enthusiasm!

Lily is already developing a good handling style and although not perfect yet, she is striking her bell more or less in the right place much of the time. Something that will only improve with plenty of practice, like she had yesterday. We very much look forward to our next batch of new ringers at Bermondsey and Greenwich making similar progress.

Bermondsey Community Fun Day – highly successful

Rear (L to R): Roger Booth, Paul Harding, Edward Gormley, Matt Amos, Trisha Shannon.
Front: Naoko Nakatani, David Connearn, Lily Tang.
Photo: Gillian Harris.

On Saturday 22 July, the Parish of Bermondsey held a Community Fun Day in aid of restoring the ‘Joy Slide’ which once sat in the Churchyard. The old wooden slide, which was built in 1921 and brought delight to generations of Bermondsey children, was donated by Arthur Carr, Chairman of Peak Freans, whose biscuit factory stood close by. The old slide was damaged by fire and removed shortly after we installed the new bells, 25 years ago.

There were various attractions in the churchyard including a bouncy castle, helter skelter and a barbecue. As one of the attractions, during the afternoon we invited local people to come up the tower and meet the ringers, watch the bells being rung and climb the new ladder to the viewing platform above the bells.

Our aim was to raise awareness of the bells and the ringers within the local community and the church family, and to recruit some new people into the local band. With help from our friends from Greenwich, Lewisham and Waterloo, and with all the ringers wearing their smart Docklands Ringers polo shirts, and giving everyone a warm welcome, we certainly helped give the right impression.

We must have showed at least 60 people up the tower and given most of them a go at ringing a few backstrokes, even a large group of schoolchildren. We also have three people who have left their contact details, and there may be a couple more who have also promised to come along early next Tuesday evening for a lesson. We were also able to publicise the event in local social media, and have attracted a significant number of ‘likes’.

The Vicar and Churchwardens were very pleased and it was very good PR for the ringers. All in all a very worthwhile exercise.



East Molesey enter Striking Challenge at Isle Dogs

It was a hot sticky evening on Thursday and six ringers from East Molesey came to Christ Church Isle of Dogs to join our local band practice and also enter our challenge striking competition. They turned up on time, all smartly dressed in matching T-shirts and although apprehensive about their abilities, they were keen to have a go and find out what they could do to improve their striking.

Isle of Dogs lies at the corner of four different ringing associations (Middlesex, Essex, Kent and Surrey) and does not, therefore, have the same benefits as towers located more centrally. We set up the competition to encourage ringers from towers in the four local Districts to come to our practices and help develop our local band.

We have a simulator, connected to all of the bells, so we can record two touches of 120 changes (even if only call changes) in Abel and the file can be marked by the 12 bell competition striking analysis software (CAS). The competition is now in its third year and teams have until 21 December to come and enter for the prize of a magnificent cup and a bottle of champagne. As the judge is a computer, it is 100% consistent each time it is used, and produces a percentage score which enables easy comparison.

East Molesey are the first team to come this year and we look forward to welcoming further teams over the next six months. We were able to play back the ringing to the East Mosley team and, using the graphics on screen, explain some simple things that they could practice in order to improve their striking. We were also able to examine the accuracy statistics for each ringer, and send them a printout afterwards.

The East Molesey team are probably typical of the majority of Sunday service bands, and having seen the benefits are now considering installing a simulator in their own tower on at least one of the bells. Although currently near the bottom of our league table, they left confident that with practice they could move up the league table significantly when they return next year.

97%           Kingston upon Thames 1 (2016)

96%           Kingston upon Thames 2 (2016)

96%           Kingston upon Thames 1  (2015)

94%           Kingston upon Thames 2  (2015)  

88%           Crayford 1     

87%           Crayford 2     

83%           Erith 1    

81%           Erith 2

80%           Bermondsey/Rotherhithe (2015)       

78%           Bermondsey/Rotherhithe (2015)      

75%           Bermondsey/Rotherhithe (2016)

71%          East Molesey 2

70%           Lewisham 1     

67%          Lewisham 2     

66%          East Molesey 1

Stepney Band Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Stepney band May 2017

Most of the current Stepney band on the day. Missing are Alan, Daniel and Rebecca

Not long after moving to the area, a chance discussion between Elizabeth LeMoine (herself a novice ringer of less than two years) and churchwarden Vera Hullyer prompted an invitation to start a local band. The current Stepney band held its first practice in May 2007.

Party in Parish Room

The Party in the Parish Room

On 13 May 2017 the band held a 10th anniversary party, attended by current and past members, supporters, members of the clergy and congregation – including Vera, whose husband Charlie worked for the foundry – Vera  brought a wonderful bundle of related newspaper clippings. Representing the previous band, we were delighted to welcome Liz, Peter, Matthew and Heather Rayner who have been great supporters of the current band,  especially appreciated in the early days when there was a lot of teaching to be done.

Vera, Benji and Margaret

Vera, Benji and Margaret

Foundry press clippings

Chapman, Peter, Jenny and Andrew examining Vera’s album of Foundry press clippings and literature

Jonathan, Chris, Elizabeth, Kevin, Joe

Tower Captains past and current: Jonathan, Chris, Elizabeth, Kevin, Joe

A quarter peal was rung that included all of the Tower Captains of the current band. There was too much food, the ice cream van playing ‘Oranges and Lemons’ stopped by, there was open ringing, speeches and lots of photos. Perhaps the latter speak best about the afternoon’s celebration.

Oranges and Lemons lunch

The spread, with ‘Oranges and Lemons’ flowers

Joe and Gareth

Joe, current tower captain, and Gareth

Birthday cake

Anna’s amazing Oranges-and-Lemons-themed Lemon Drizzle birthday cake

Julian showing the bells to Heather

Julian gave tower tours to interested passers by. Heather is now learning to ring with us!

Chapman and Matthew

Chapman and Matthew on 9 and 10

With great thanks to everyone who came and to all the Docklands, Middlesex and local ringers who have supported and continue to support the current Stepney band through its first 10 years – and here’s to the next 10!

Photos by Heather Rayner and Éva Rédei.

Heather Rayner

One photographer captures the other