Bere Regis Bellringers

VHS film courtesy of Keith Gibson 2003

September 2020

Return of the Bells

At 2 minutes after 11.00 o’clock on Saturday 15th August the church bells rang out again to signal the end of the 2 minutes silence to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VJ Day.
Only 4 bells rang because of Covid 19 precautions, but they all remember August 1945 very well, and were no doubt pleased and thankful to return to duty for such an important act of remembrance.
For the time being, 4 bells will be the maximum that can be rung at the same time because the ringers must keep 2 metres apart in the small ringing chamber 50 feet up in the tower.
We have worked out a drill to enable safe ascent and descent of the narrow and winding tower staircase.
This will allow us to ring for services as and when they get under way again.
Because of the precautions we will not be able to hold the regular Wednesday evening practices and regretfully will not be able to teach any new recruits.
This is a worry as one or two of us can just about remember 1945 and are rather less resilient than the bells!
So if you are inspired to learn, please get in touch with Adrian Standfield on 01929 471 774 and we will introduce you to the band, explain how it all works and have you ready to ring just as soon as ‘normal service’ can be resumed.
Jon


July 2020

CHURCH NEWS

When will Bell Ringing resume?
Although the restrictions imposed nationally to combat coronavirus are being gradually eased, it is not at all clear when we will be able to restart group bellringing.
At present a single designated person is allowed to ring one bell under controlled and very restricted circumstances.
The ongoing need for social distancing and other preventative measures to avoid Covid-19 pose particular problems for our Bere Regis bell ringers owing to the space restrictions in the bell tower and the physical activity that is involved.

We have received very detailed and well thought through information from the Central Council for Church Bell Ringers (CCCBR) who have worked with highly qualified medical practitioners who are also themselves bell ringers and so understand the problems.
We are using this information to formulate our own plans for how we might get ringing again, once that is allowed, minimising risks to
ringers and congregation.
For the moment these remain just plans which we are discussing and updating as circumstances change.
But to give you an idea, we think we could see a way to resume ringing for services using in the first instance no more than 4 bells, rung by 4 rota nominated ringers, and employing PPE, antiviral cleansing agents, and very controlled entry and exit procedures.
There would be no weekly practices, and so regretfully for the time being we will not be able to train any new ringers.

December 2019

 

Time is about to stand still …….

 

Have you ever wondered what sort of a clock is responsible for those hourly chimes?

After all, it never shows its face!

Well, the answer is a huge, monster piece of Victorian engineering that weighs a ton and lurks high up the tower in the bell-ringing chamber.

 

It ticks and tocks away quietly in the background until the hour approaches.

Then suddenly it wakes up and a rumbling “Wurra –Wurra – Wurra – CLICK”……… makes even the most seasoned bell ringer jump as it releases the mechanism for striking the hour.

 

It has been like that since 1878 when the clock was bought at a cost of £140 10s 0p.

Until 1977 it had to be wound daily. Arthur Janes did the winding for 40 years, from 1912 to 1952 with occasional help from Reg Standfield.

 

Then Tom Woolfries did a 25 year stint till 1977.

Tom’s deputy was Dave Gibbs.

The bell-ringers still ‘manage’ the clock but no longer wind it by hand.

In 1977 Geoffrey Booth designed and installed the system of electrical winding that is still working today.

Geoffrey looked after the clock till 2012 when he handed over to Tim Alford.

 

Tim lives in Wool, is married to one of the Wool bell ringers, and runs “Alford Time Repair”.

The clock last had amajor overhaul in 2012.

The time has now come for another overhaul, which will entail parts of the clock being removed for bench-top inspection and servicing.

 

We have scheduled this work to take place in February 2020 and anticipate that the clock will fall silent from the end of January for several weeks.

 

Please be warned !

Jon