Latest Guild News

Index - click on item to be taken straight there




100 Club winners 2020


CCCBR YouTube competition


Golden Anniversary photo


Guild 10-bell Practices


Guild AGM 2019

Guild AGM 2020

Guild Newsletter

Keep Fit

Kettering's old bells

Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust

Marlene Phillips

Mike Harvey

National 12-Bell Competition 2019

Peter Box

Phil Curtis

Recruitment Power-Point

Return to ringing after coronavirus

Silver anniversary photo

Streamed worship

Summer Festival 2019

Towcester's Sponsored long peal

Returning to service ringing as COVID-19 subsides

The extraordinary closing down of churches in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 in mid March stopped all ringing. 

With the announcement in week commencing June 22 that churches may open for services, there has been much discussion about when ringing will start again.

After discussions with the Church of England and Public Health England, the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (CCCBR) produced guidance notes which they update every Friday evening, if necessary, during this period of rapid changes to government guidance.

Guild advice is to follow the CCCBR guidance (below).  In brief - before ringing starts, three things are necessary: 

1)      Permission from the incumbent

2)      Ensure the safety of the installation

3)      A risk assessment of the infection risk associated with ringing.

CCCBR Guidance

Latest information 

Guidance Notes

1. What are we worried about? (PDF
Recommended background reading for all

2. Making your tower as safe as possible (PDF)
Suggested for tower captains and steeplekeepers

3. Checklist for recommencing ringing (PDF)
Summary for steeplekeepers but see also detailed document from SMWG

4. Running safe ringing sessions (PDF)
Guidance for Tower Captains and Ringing Masters

5. Can I go ringing safely? (PDF)
Considerations for individual ringers

6. How bell ringers are assessing risk (PDF)
To be given to incumbents to explain how we are making our ringing safe

To aid the risk assessment process, the Guild has produced a blank template here for ringers to use to document the risk assessment. The Guild also provides additional prompts by way of a sample complete assessment here, which contains many different scenarios, not all of which will apply at any one tower. An aid to measuring your tower ringing space is available here with plans for 6 bell8 bell and 12 bell towers. The aim of these documents is to provide you with prompts of some different risks and ideas as to the kind of actions that might be introduced to mitigate those risks. 

Safe and happy ringing!

The webmaster will keep this page updated with latest relevant Government and Church of England instructions and the Events page up to date when and if he is advised by branches of any updates for after coronavirus.  The Guild Secretary will use the Guild facebook site to similarly advise of latest news and advice. 

Silver Anniversary photo

This week's photo was taken at the AGM, in 1949, the Guild's 25th year. The AGM was held at Peterborough Cathedral. From the report: "Tea was served in the Dujon cafe with 158 sitting down".  That's an awful lot of tea! Do let Helen or webmaster Geoff know who you recognise. 

Guild AGM & Autumn Festival 2020

Helen Allton, Guild Secretary announced on May 17 that the Guild AGM will be postponed. It was due to be held Saturday, June 13 at Towcester. That is clearly not going to be possible. After discussion with the branches involved, we plan to hold the Guild  AGM at Towcester on Saturday, September 19. The annual general meeting is intended to start at 6pm, all other arrangements will be announced in advance, depending on the situation at the time. 

Because the coronavirus pandemic means that the Annual Report for 2019 has not yet been distributed, the accounts pages are available to read here.

September 19 was the date of the Summer Festival. It was decided that as this is already a Guild event date, it would be better to use this for the Guild AGM, as it will already be in all your diaries. That does mean that the Summer Festival will have to move. This is provisionally planned for Welford, in the Guilsborough branch on Saturday, October 3. We’ll rename it the Autumn Festival, just for this year. Again, arrangements will depend on the situation at the time.

Golden Anniversary photo

For the Guild's 50th anniversary, back in 1974, there was a group photo taken at the AGM outside the west front of the (unringable) Cathedral. Some of you will be in this, can you find yourself? Who else can you spot? Do let Helen or webmaster Geoff know who you can find and what you remember - count from left to right! Hopefully we can arrange a similar photo for the centenary!

In more recent weeks Helen has also published on facebook the eleven photos taken in 1974 of a group of members from each branch which were published in the Annual Report for that year.  They are shown on a new page in this website.  

There is also the photo taken of those presented with 50 year membership certificates on the 50th anniversary, January 5, 1974 at a special meeting at Wellingborough.  

Let Geoff know who you recognise and amend any entries already wrongly identified!

Competition for best YouTube ringing videos

The Central Council is running a competition for the best YouTube videos
of ringing. To recognise the coming of age of this form of ringing recording,
to encourage the discovery and production of high quality online content
(there’s some pretty ropey stuff so far!), and to have a little bit of focus
and fun while we cannot go out and ring, this monthly competition is to uncover
the best of these YouTube clips.

What it also wants is for any ringing found on YouTube to be showcase standard. Full details are available on this CCCBR page

For the rest of 2020 it will be inviting monthly submissions for the best YouTube video in a series of different categories. The early categories will need to be existing material, but we hope the later categories will give scope for new production, particularly if we can get back in the tower.

Remaining schedule

August ……….. Best video demonstrating change ringing not on tower bells

September ... Best showcase of school or university ringing

October ……… Most effective instructional video

November …. Film that promotes ringing in the most positive way

At the end of each month, the entries will be published as a Playlist and subjected to the scrutiny of an independent judge, who will decide which is the best submission.

In December we will launch an online voting poll for the ‘People’s Choice’ taken from the winners of each individual month.

Prizes:  Each month  £25  People’s Choice   £200

Full details here.

Mike Harvey

Jill Harvey of Weedon sent this message on May 17, 2020:

I’m sad to say that Mike died in the early hours of this morning from liver cancer.  He was peaceful.  Could you please include this with your next report which I think is going out today.

Mike was taught to ring by Mike Bennett at Rothersthorpe, he was one of several youths forming a keen new band in 1959. He joined the Guild’s Northampton Branch in 1959. The young ringers in this and nearby towers were very active with cycle outings and motorcycling to other practices. His records show that he rang in 79 towers by the end of 1960 and at 67 these, rang the tenors. Mike first called a quarter peal on October 23, 1960 Plain Bob Doubles at Rothersthorpe. He rang seven peals, the first being St Sylvester Doubles at Weston Favell on December 30, 1961, and 16 quarter peals, before marrying Jill Williams at Rothersthorpe on December 18, 1965. He rang a couple more peals in 1966-7.

After 1967, Mike didn’t appear in ringing circles again until Jill learned to ring at Weedon in 1994. He turned up at a Guild Open Day in October 1996, asking lots of questions about ringers from the 1960s! Mike and Jill then became regular ringers.  Both rang a quarter peal at Badby on the Daventry branch quarter peal day on November 16, 1996, which was Jill’s first.

Mike rang one more peal, the treble at Rothersthorpe to 52 doubles methods in 2002. He also rang 81 more quarter peals including inside to Cambridge and Yorkshire S Major, seven quarters on 10 bells and specially arranged cinques at Peterborough Cathedral in 2014; his last was at Litchborough on July 3, 2019.

In September 2019, Mike entered Northampton General Hospital for a serious but routine operation to remove some cancerous bowel. After fighting infections, he was eventually moved to Danetre Hospital, Daventry to rehabilitate his seriously reduced mobility on March 30, 2020. Liver cancer was diagnosed in late April and he passed away peacefully on May 17, 2020 aged 78. Mike expressed a wish to have a green burial.  He rests at Greenhaven, Lilbourne, surrounded by trees and wild flowers after a small family funeral.

Further details are available here.

Photo taken May 5, 2014 at Rolleston

Peter Box 

James Glover of Kilsby advised me on May 7 that Peter Box died from coronavirus (COVID-1) that afternoon in Walsgrave Hospital, where he had been taken by ambulance on Sunday.  There was a private cremation on Thursday, June 4 at Rainsbrook Crematorium, because of the coronavirus restrictions.  So that people could pay their respects at the roadside, the cortege left from The Banks, Kilsby at around 2.20pm, then head to St Faiths, Kilsby where a dozen people had gathered. Peter's newest handbells were rung by the Glover family outside Kilsby Church as the cortege paused on its way to the crematorium, with Peter's cap laying on the coffin, before continuing to St Marys, Barby. There another dozen people waited with a tower bell being tolled. The cortege carried on to the service at 3pm which was available to see on-line at

Peter was a real character, who once he had a bee in his bonnet, whittled away almost irritatingly, until something happened. An ex-Heyford ringer recalls being hoiked out of a branch meeting after the tea and meeting to ring a quarter peal at Peter's home tower Newnham, possibly with Percy Amos involved! Peter’s insistent offer much later to install rope guides at Kilsby remained rejected.

He was taught to ring with Stan Ruddlesden by Vic Perry just after WW2 on Newnham bells, newly rehung in 1940. He joined the Daventry Branch in August 1956. He duly received his 50 year membership certificate after a short thanksgiving service at a special gathering in Barby church on Saturday December 2, 2006. He last rang at a branch meeting in December 2019 and came to the meeting at Barby on March 14, three days before ringing stopped for coronavirus. 

He was churchwarden 1970 - 85, tower captain at Newnham and its correspondent for many years and rang also at Badby and Preston Capes as well as drilling Fawsley bell frame for reinforcement for full circle ringing in 1992. He arranged for Newnham bells to be chimed from the ground when the Silver Jubilee patio under the tower was dedicated by Bishop Feaver.

Although he was a basic ringer, in earlier times he never seemed to mind that youngsters were moving ahead to ring things that were beyond his abilities, but in later times he tended to fail to turn up with the key when another villager was teaching a new band!   He graduated to calling call changes but usually rang the tenor behind, including several quarter peals. The first and last were covering Grandsire Doubles at Badby on August 8, 1957 and January 6, 2001 respectively.

Peter Gordon Box was born in Kimbolton, Hunts and was adopted as a baby by the Russell family, who brought him up in Newnham and left him a house.  After his first wife, Ivy Beaupré of Badby, died young, Ruth answered his advert for a housekeeper and they were married in 1974.  Ruth took the store on the Green and when the shop opposite the church closed, took on the Post Office and added an off-licence extension.

After over 25 years with the county council, Peter took redundancy and did painting and decorating jobs, was a pallbearer as well as delivering newspapers around a large rural area.

Peter and Ruth retired and moved to Kilsby in 1996, where Peter continued ringing at Barby and around Rugby.  He arranged for several annual Rugby District picnic outings into Northamptonshire, including in 1991 which was filmed by the BBC and used during the Bellringers’ Songs of Praise.  He was deeply involved with Barby’s ‘new’ millennium treble.

Peter was a keen handbell (tune) ringer and helped to raise money to buy a set for Badby in 1957.  Within the last two years he had augmented his own set with eight from Everdon and had them professionally restored.  

Peter died after four days in University Hospital Coventry on May 7 of coronavirus COVID-19.  

He was well ahead with planning a party for his 90th birthday in November, intending to hold it early whilst his step-son Norman was in England from his home in Thailand, but unfortunately it wasn't to be.

GHP with thanks for Graham White’s memory! Updated 12/6/2020
Daventry Express obituary here.

Photo taken at Peter's 80th birthday party.

Keep Fit

Being aware that, for many of us before the coronavirus lockdown, ringing formed part of our weekly exercise, a series of exercises have been put together by my brother, Stephen Newell, (who used to ring and is a physical trainer – that’s him in the videos) that will work those bellringing muscles - and there are quite of lot of muscles that bellringing uses. I am publishing  ten exercises week by week on the Guild Facebook site and they are repeated here.

Helen Allton

Click on the exercise to see full details and the video:

Exercise 1: Warming you up

Exercise 2: Book Raises

Exercise 3: Book Presses

Exercise 4: Straight arm kickbacks

Exercise 5: Tricep Kickbacks

Exercise 6: Added warmup: Good Morning

Exercise 7: Tricep Dips

Exercise 8: Pull down Lunges

Exercise 9: Plank to Downward Dog

Exercise 10: Overhead crunches

Marlene Phillips

Message from Paul Bennett received through Chris Skermer, Secretary of Culworth Branch: 

With sadness I must tell you that Marlene has passed away [aged 85] today [April 15, 2020]. 

Rev Sue Cooper has been visiting Marlene and Peter for some time to offer comfort. In these unusual times Marlene’s carefully planned arrangements will be in disarray, we may learn of a service and an opportunity to ring for Marlene at some future date.

Dee has been caring for Marlene’s needs in these last few days and keeping Peter company during this time.

Please think of Marlene and Peter with love and gratitude for their many hours of companionship in the belltower.

For those who want to write to Peter his address is 10 Portway Gardens, Aynho, Banbury, Oxon, OX17 3AR

Best wishes   Paul Bennett

The photo was taken after ringing for VE + 70, five years ago.

Marlene's cremation and private service was held on Tuesday May 5 at 2pm at Banbury Crematorium. Angus (Aynho ringer) supported by Paul Bennett had permission to toll a bell at Aynho at 1.30pm as Peter left home. The service was broadcast on the website.

Details of a memorial service at Aynho later are not yet known.

Donations may be made later to St. Michael's Church Aynho.


Marlene was a "43er". She started learning in 1943 at St Johns, Hillingdon Middlesex where she, her father, mother and brother learnt at the same time. They then rang as a family every Sunday for the church service.

Marlene and Peter arrived on the local ringing scene after moving to Aynho. In 1977 Marlene and Peter were ‘founder’ singers in the Brackley Jubilee Choir. Marlene worked as a Nursing Sister at the Horton General Hospital in Banbury. There; I’m told, she ran the Occupational Health Department with military precision but with her staff always to the fore. Following her retirement Marlene became a great supporter of the Brackley Cottage Hospital.

I first got to know her at the Tuesday evening practices at Croughton. At that time Aynho bells were ringable, but had no band. She and Peter were still working at that time, but as they neared retirement they managed to get a regular Aynho practice established, sharing practice nights with Croughton. [They joined the Guild in 1996]. From the start they became active ringers at Aynho, Croughton and Kings Sutton. They also appeared at Brackley on a regular basis where their help and friendship was much appreciated.

Marlene had a strong sense of right and wrong. She disapproved of the situation in Ireland, so when we organised a ringing trip there, she refused to join Peter and the rest of the group. However she came on the succeeding years to places as far afield as the Channel Islands, Scotland, Cornwall and Suffolk. After the peace agreement she also did two trips to Ireland. Even after her retirement her nursing training was always in evidence and we always teased her about her large first aid bag. Several of us were pleased to accept help from it. She was also a non-medical “healer”. I watched her help two people by holding their hand and massaging their arms.

Following a breast cancer op Marlene endured radiotherapy and this left her much weakened. Marlene suffered too from a reaction to a flu jab which led to a hospital admission and where she contracted C Dif. Her determination kept her ringing although she kept to light bells and wore a glove for better grip. Even after her final cancer was diagnosed she managed to climb the stairs in Kings Sutton, ringing the treble for short periods.

Peter and Marlene were always the mainstays of the Tuesday practice night session. Until coronavirus this attracted high numbers of ringers from the surrounding area. Being a well brought up girl Marlene was always appreciative of help and never failed to thank people. We always received a thank you card after each away outing that we had arranged and thanked every ringer who attended practice.

Marlene was devoted to Peter as he was to her. They both came on many of the annual ringing tours organised by Ian Chapple which was always great fun and they were an integral part of the group. Marlene looked after the ‘girls’ of the group like a mother! Her first aid kit was always on hand along with aspirin to deal with any headaches etc, plus she always had the uncanny knack of finding the girls’ facilities! On one tour Marlene’s brother Roland joined us for the day which included a scenic rail trip. Much merriment was enjoyed by all. Back in the late 1990’s - early 2000s’, when Richard Hagger ran Croughton tower, Sara Chapple and I would regularly go there and to Aynho and Kings Sutton, the memories of which still give pleasure today. We learned many methods at that time which; I have to admit, are beyond me now! True to form Marlene battled her illness for far longer than had been predicted and continued to ring almost until the end. A truly brave lady.

May she rest in peace, she has earned her place in heaven.

Paul Bennett

Guild Newsletter

Chris Pearson has completed the March 2020 Guild Newsletter for us, with a contribution from all ten branches.  However the coronavirus pandemic has prevented it from being printed.

Disappointed as many members may be in not seeing a hard-copy, it is available now on-line to read here.  

Please pass the word around and try to find a way for our off-line members to read it!

On-line streamed worship

Now that all churches are closed, some clergy are streaming worship so people can partake at home.  Guild Secretary Helen Allton has arranged with the diocesan communications office over past weeks to provide some recordings of bells for parishes to use at the beginning and end of their streamed services.  

For a start there are now two pieces: rounds and two minutes of change ringing available on the diocesan website's coronavirus resources page here.  If your church is providing streamed services, please bring to their attention that they can begin and end with bells, so that ringing continues to form part of the soundscape, even if we can’t actually be making the noise in person. 

Helen has offered to provide the communications office  with alternative recordings. So if you have good quality recordings of your bells, please send them to Helen for review of recording quality and uploading.

100 Club winners

The monthly draw of the 100-Club takes place at a Guild or Branch event each month and the profits go to the Bell Fund.  

Membership is £12  a year - see details here.  

With an increasing number taking part, the value of the prizes are going up!  Previous year results are available here.  The latest draw results for 2020 are shown below.


No of paid-up members

1st Prize winner & branch

1st Prize value

2nd Prize winner & branch

2nd Prize value



14 To


164 K




27 D


29 K




31 P


61 K



From April, 2020, the number of prizes each month will increase to three - better odds of winning!

However on March 18 Cathy says: In view of the coronavirus pandemic, there are unlikely to be any meetings for the next few months, the 100 Club draw will not be able to take place.  Any subscriptions paid will be rolled over by one month for each draw that is missed.

Cathy Dixon


The Diocese of Peterborough

Posted on facebook by the diocese on December 12, 2019

Disposal of Kettering’s old bells

When Kettering’s old 12 bells were replaced in 2004, the front 8 bells were rescued by the Keltek Trust and the six heaviest ones soon found homes around the world, including Ireland and Tonga [see list]. The two smallest ones only dated from 1979, and were offered by the Keltek Trust to Church Knowle in Dorset. After more than a decade, however, this project never got off the ground and instead the bells were offered to Strensham [right], a redundant church in Worcestershire under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. You’ve probably heard of Strensham because of the services on the M5.

Although it is a closed church, there has been lots of activity going on in the bell tower, where the bells have been rung once or twice a month for the last 20 years. Strensham now has a reputation as a teaching tower where ringers from around the area make use of the easy going bells to develop their ringing skills. It’s always been a long term plan of mine to see if it was possible to squeeze two more bells in to offer a better teaching facility.

I asked Matthew Higby to look at how the two Kettering bells might actually fit at Strensham. The bells themselves would require some minimal tuning, and luckily there was just enough room to hang them next to the existing medieval frame. Matthew put together a detailed plan which would also include some restoration work on the existing bells which were last rehung in 1911. The Keltek Trust then confirmed that we could indeed have the Kettering bells subject to obtaining permission to hang them.

The first of the required permissions was from the Churches Conservation Trust, and since the church is no longer part of the Worcester Diocese, we also needed to obtain Grade I Listed Building Consent. Having submitted the necessary plans and drawings, both of these permissions were successfully obtained.

So, in August 2016, the bells were obtained from the Keltek Trust, who kindly donated one of them. Following tuning at Loughborough, the bells were delivered to the tower ready for the work to begin.

The CCT then gave permission to retune Strensham’s 3 oldest bells dating from 1704/5, which was done at Matthew Higby’s workshop. The results are superb and these bells now perfectly match the other bells which are all modern sounding 20th century bells.

Being a volunteer led project on one evening a week, it wasn’t going to be a quick job, but we weren’t in any hurry. One by one we got each bell hung, and finally everything was finished in December 2019.

The overall result is a superb sounding ring of eight in which the Kettering bells have found a new home and a new purpose.

David Bagley


David Kelly, of the Keltek Trust, has provided the following disposition of the other six bells:

  • The 3rd bell was originally going to be installed at Thurgarton, Nottinghamshire but it did not respond to tuning as expected and was eventually installed at Maplebeck, Nottinghamshire as the 3rd of four.
  • The 4th bell was installed at Sibson, [Seems very appropriate!  Ed.] Leicestershire as the treble of six.
  • The 5th bell has been installed for chiming in Holonga, Tonga.
  • The 6th bell has also been installed for chiming in Ireland but we don’t know where!
  • The 7th bell replaced the cracked 2nd of six at Collingbourne Kingston, Wiltshire.
  • The 8th bell is the replacement 7th of eight at Coleorton,


Guild 10-bell practices

The first of the series of practices to be held every other month took place from 10.30am to 12.30pm at Rothwell on February 8, 2020, when 20 attended and ringing ranged through Little Bob,  Cambridge S, Yorkshire S, Bristol S Royal and Grandsire and Stedman Caters.

The next one was scheduled for Saturday, April 4, 2020 at Higham Ferrers but has had to be cancelled for the coronavirus pandemic.  Future dates will be shown here and in the Events page.

The aim will remain to have the majority of practices in mid Northants hoping that towers can be found to accommodate the practices! 

Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust

I have received a letter dated November 12, 2019 from David Potter MBE in his capacity as a Trustee of the above trust, which has been set up to restore the historic buildings of the only dedicated bellfoundry that is working in the country.  David is also Advertising Director of John Taylor & Co.

Dear Geoff

I am writing to you and enclosing a number of copies of our appeals literature for distribution to any of your Association/Guild members who might like to support our quest to raise £1 million for the restoration and development of the Loughborough Bellfoundry buildings. The Heritage Lottery Fund have allocated nearly £4 million towards the scheme, but to release this we have to "match fund" by raising our £1 million contribution - hence the appeal.

After raising the £1 million, and before we can start any major work, we need to satisfy the many requirements of the Heritage Lottery Fund, and anticipate this will take another year or so – so many forms to fill in and meetings to be had, but we are positive and look forward to Britain's only remaining specialist bell foundry looking splendid once again.

Please do contact me if you or any of your members would like further copies of our appeals literature. Thank you.

Yours sincerely,   David E Potter    on behalf of The Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust.

If you would like to contribute towards this massive restoration and improve the facilities for future visitors, you can see and print off the appeal leaflet, with details of how to donate, here.

Guild Summer Festival 2019

The Summer Festival was held in bright autumn sunshine on Saturday 21st September.  The afternoon started at Stanwick, with around 15 people ringing a mixture of methods for the less experienced through to the more advanced on this light six.

The competition element of the day was held on the eight bells at Rushden.  The branches enter a team of eight ringers to perform a short piece of their choice, which is judged for quality of the striking, or accuracy of ringing. There were six teams from the different branches of the Guild and they rang in a pre-determined order. During the afternoon, the local ringers laid on a tea with an array of savoury sandwiches, quiches, sausage rolls and a vast selection of cakes and other sweet treats to satisfy over 70 hungry ringers.

Representatives from eight branches of the Guild attended. People were able to enjoy the late summer sunshine and listen to the bells from the churchyard. All six teams completed their pieces without significant issue. 

A vote of thanks was greeted with much applause to the Wellingborough Branch for organising the day and the teas and the relevant clergy for use of bells. During the business meeting, a Bell Fund grant of £110 was agreed for refurbishment of clappers at Ecton. The Secretary announced that the Guild paper quiz with sheets selling at £1 (Answers are streets and landmarks in the City of London, the “Square Mile”) and the September Newsletter have been distributed to branch secretaries that day. 2018 Reports and latest Guild committee headshots are available for branches to update welcome packs. The Treasurer advised that affiliations were up by £628 on last year and a grant from Ecclesiastical of £1,000 had been received. Gift Aid has been reclaimed with £1,143 received from HMRC. He reminded branches to maximise gift aid, by making sure that forms are completed for new members and those transitioning from junior to tax paying adults. He has badges and pendants available for sale.

On behalf of the Guild’s four reps to the Central Council of Church Bellringers (CCCBR), Nick Elks gave a summary of the recent new-style annual meeting held in London. 

General attendance was down with 149 reps attending. The venue (Goldsmiths campus) worked well, with mini meetings, a roadshow and time to network with other reps being a more major part of the weekend. The Ringing World AGM was also held during the weekend. Ringers who were not reps were encouraged to attend and about 25% of attendees were of this category. In general, the new format is bedding in with the activities in the workgroups continuing

At our Guild AGM, questions were raised about the Guild’s membership and the reps had worked with the council to find some answers.

There was some discussion arising. The presence of the word ‘church’ in the CCCBR title was discussed with points being made on both sides. The reasons for the proposed change were inclusivity of both secular ringers and hand bell ringers as well as a change by the Charity Commission, allowing fundraising through education rather than religious funding sources.

Nick Elks' full report of the CCCBR meeting is available here. The response by the newly elected President of Council, Simon Linford, to the questions that Nick had posed to the Council is available, with Simon's permission, here.

Len Hallifax was elected as a Life Honorary Member of the Guild for outstanding services at our AGM in June. He was not at the meeting, so the President presented his certificate at this meeting.

Cathy Dixon then organised the 100-Club draw for this month which is the annual special draw for three prizes.  After a few ‘out of membership’ draws, the first prize of £64 went to Geoff Pullin!  Second prize of £32 to Richard Allton and 3rd prize of £12.80 to Kingsthorpe tower.

After the competition ringing and business was completed, the Master introduced the judges,  Derek and Sue Jones, who had very bravely stepped in to fill a lack of other available judges. They had time to deliberate and collect their thoughts before giving the results at the conclusion of the business meeting. Comments were given first, before the results were given in the traditional reverse order. The winners were announced as the Towcester branch, followed by a very tight competition between Kettering and Wellingborough in 2nd and 3rd respectively. 






Peal speed





3h 18m





3h 19m





3h 08m





3h 00m





3h 12m





3h 08m

The impressive Harry Wooding Trophy was presented to the winning team, who duly lined up for a team photograph. They are standing in the order that they stood for the test piece, starting front right and working clockwise.

The winning team with the trophy, clockwise from front right:

Richard Yates, Margaret Bulleid, Barbara King, Jonathan King, Richard Allton, Chris Bulleid, John Stanworth, Brett Masters. 

The day was concluded by ringing at Wellingborough, the heaviest ring of 8 bells in the Guild. 20 members ascended the stairs to ring everything from rounds and call changes for those less experienced on these heavier bells to Cambridge surprise major for those more expert. An excellent day and a credit to the organisers in the Wellingborough branch.

The September Guild Newsletter (white cover) was passed out for Branch Secretaries to distribute and can now be read here.

Helen Allton, Geoff Pullin

Philip J Curtis

Geoff Stretton sent this message:

I have just heard the sad news from Chris Klein-Wassink that Phil Curtis passed away today (August 21, 2019) in the JR Oxford.

No doubt we will get more information in the next few days from those closer to him. Our thoughts must be with his mother at this time.  [See last paragraph below for information about the memorial service]

Phil was a member at Brackley and Culworth Branch Ringing Master from 1988 and held posts in the branch and was currently its GMC rep.  He was Guild Master in 2013-4. 

Julie Blencowe and Sara Chapple write:

Philip passed away on August 21 having battled with severe disability following a brain haemorrhage in early May. Sadly he was unable to recover despite very intensive rehabilitation. He was sixty years of age.

Phil (as he was always known) joined St Peter's ringing team in Brackley in the mid 1980's when he lived in Brackley for a short time. He became a member of the PDG Culworth Branch almost immediately and became Tower Captain at Brackley. He went on to become a long term Branch committee member, serving as deputy chair and GMC rep. He arranged the first successful ringing tour to Southern Ireland which led to the formation of the Brackley Area Ringing Tour, which ran for twenty years.  He was one of only three people who went on every trip. We travelled from The Channel Islands to Scotland, Cornwall to Norfolk. Phil also did a short spell as Guild Ringing Master.

Phil was a very experienced ringer who taught many people, young and not so young, to ring. He was much called upon to conduct quarter peals and also called several peals over the years. He was always encouraging us to learn new ringing methods and once we'd achieved one goal he'd swiftly urge us on to another!

Phil was also an experienced organist and he played regularly at his local Church in Stratton Audley. He was called on to play the organ for Branch ringing meetings and also for our annual Carol Service.

Philip will be sorely missed here in the Culworth Branch, the Diocese and the wider bellringing community.

May he rest in peace.

There was a private family funeral for Phil.  A thanksgiving and memorial service at Stratton Audley Church was held on Thursday, September 26 at 4pm, taken by the Revd Alice Goodall. It was attended by around 90 people with a high proportion of ringers.  There was ringing by the local district before the service and by the Culworth Branch afterwards. Refreshments in the church made it feel like a large bellringing meeting.  A retiring collection was taken and will be split equally between Stratton Audley Church and the Stroke Association. See here ringing for Phil.


National 12-Bell Competition Broadcast 2019

Click here to access the broadcast of the whole event held at Exeter Cathedral on Saturday, June 22, 2019.  The home team won and their ringing starts at 2hr 39min. Does your ringing on 4, 5, 6, 8 or 10 match this?!

Guild AGM 2019

Despite, or because of, the atrocious wet weather there was a good collection of people from all over the diocese gathered at Belton-in-Rutland ready to start ringing under the direction of Deputy BRM Alan Ellis. This was followed by a struggle to park in busy Uppingham where BRM Louis Totaro was giving everyone a ring on the nice eight.  At Seaton. there was ringing under the Guild Master’s direction before the service. The Revd Canon Jane Baxter provided a service with two different ringers’ hymns and the President read about silver trumpets sounding for gatherings and alarms, just like our bells 2,500 years later. The collection at the service raised £165.69 (and 40 euro-cents!) for the Bell Fund.

After a closely aligned buffet tea in the village hall prepared and served by the Rutland Branch there began a blizzard a paper to give ammunition to the 75 members including at least one member from all ten branches.  Around 6pm the President, Geoff Pullin loudly gavelled the meeting into life.  His welcome was followed by an all embracing vote of thanks proposed by James Thorpe of the Peterborough Branch who were the hosts for the Spring Festival. It was passed in the requested “raucous” manner.

The celebration section began with three of four members who have reached 50 years membership: Peggy Jennings (Oakham), Paul Loxston (Bulwick) and Roger Scholes (Harringworth & Ryhall) being presented with certificates and that for Sue Parker (Bulwick) was stored.  

Then on behalf of the General Management Committee Sue Jones proposed, and Brenda Dixon seconded, the election of Alan Marks as a Life Honorary Member for his outstanding work while sorting out the finances when Treasurer and his many years and continuing ringing and social activity.  He was elected and presented with a certificate by the President.  

On behalf of the Thrapston Branch Alison Byrnes proposed, seconded by Ted Buckby, and everyone agreed that Len Hallifax also be elected as a Life Honorary Member for his outstanding service over many years.  Len unexpectedly didn’t turn up so will have to wait for his certificate!

The main business approving of minutes, accounts and the report was followed by agreement that the subs remain the same for 2020 (Adult £7, student £3.50, peal fee 20p per rope).

Nick Churchman in his last proposal before retiring after 11 years as Steward, successfully sought £1,450 from the Bell Fund for Weekley to cut out and weld in replacement sections for the corroded areas of bell frame under the 3rd , 5th  and tenor pits and weld repair the cracked frame side on the 5th  bell pit at a cost of £14,295 by John Taylor & Co.  £1,000 was also agreed for the administrators to use for minor grants.

We were advised that future Guild meetings would be:

˜  June 29:   10-bell practice at Kettering (NN16 0AL) 10.30am - 12.30pm
September 21:   Summer Festival: ringing at Stanwick, competition at Rushden and ringing at Wellingborough in the evening,
˜  April 25, 2020:   Spring Festival at Helmdon in the Culworth Branch
˜  June 13, 2020:   AGM at

The elections began with the re-election of Geoff Pullin as President, for the last time he warned. Simon Dixon was re-elected as Master.

The two candidates for Secretary were Alison Byrnes (Thrapston Branch) and Helen Allton (Towcester Branch).  Each had prepared CVs and gave a brief statement before members voted in a secret ballot.  

While the tellers were counting, Chris FitzGerald was re-elected as Treasurer and John Beresford (left) introduced himself and was welcomed as Guild Steward.  Paul Mason was agreed as Peal Secretary while on holiday ringing peals and thus released Derek Jones from one of his two remaining jobs.  His other job was 100-Club Coordinator, which he set up in September 1986 and has run ever since.  Cathy Dixon kindly took over this useful form of fund raising for the Bell Fund.  

With the result of the ballot revealed in favour of Helen (right), Alison was willing to be Public Relations Officer thus relieving Geoff of this job after 12 years.

But remaining as webmaster he revealed that the annual ‘hits’ had increased by 33% compared to last year.  The page totals were:

Website Page


Website Page




About This Guild


Latest Guild News


Peals & Quarters




Guild Newsletters




Constitution & Rules


Branch Officers


Bell Ringing


Bell Maintenance


Learning to Ring


Bits & Bobs




Guild Officers


Guild Shirts


Bell Fund


Making Progress




Social Regulations (new)




Training Fund (new)


The F&GP recommendation was accepted to allocate up to £150 each towards our four CCCBR representatives expenses in attending the annual meeting this year (in September for the first time).  There was some confusion as to the effect of the new constitution for the CCCBR but the function of guild reps was said to be as scrutineers. It was queried why then we needed four reps.  Our reps will report-back to the Summer Festival and the GMC will look at the situation next year.

Derek Jones carried out  the June draw for the 100-Club, eventually producing no. 60 from Northampton Branch winning £44.40 and no. 120 from Wellingborough Branch winning £11.10.  The prizes are a bit different from the ones announced at the meeting due to a recheck of the number of paid-up members.

The President began AOB by summing up two requests from Rob Palmer, who had not expected to be present, but was!  He is undertaking two projects:

1.  To complete all the details for Dove on-line for the diocese, especially the frame layouts and descriptions; whether bells have canons or not and have been quarter or half turned on their headstocks. 

2.  To update the Inventory of Bells published in 1989 by the Guild and to record all the cast inscriptions on the bells in the diocese.  North recorded them as at 1878 but since then there has been no systematic collection of inscriptions.

Have a look at his website  If you can help for one or more towers and want to know how to assist Rob, please contact him on .

Murray Coleman drew attention to many items on display from the late Denis Pearson’s ("H") collection of books and records which he was trying to place in new homes in exchange for a donation to Guild funds. He had found homes in libraries and the Record Office for some and had already raised £40 today.  A list will be put on the website and in The Ringing World but he will dispose of anything left at December 31, 2019.

At 7.30pm the good humoured meeting ended with Alison Buck presenting Sue Jones with a bouquet of flowers to mark the end of nine years as Guild Secretary.

There was more ringing at Seaton till 9pm under the Master’s gentle marshalling and then The George & Dragon provided the finale for some twenty members.

Draft minutes of the meeting are available here.


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