Ringing World National Youth Contest, July 2014

Congratulations to the Ely DA Young Ringers who took part in the Call Change section of the Ringing World National Youth Contest at Worcester on Saturday 7th July. They were placed equal 5th out of 10 bands in the section, with a grade of C+. Bedfordshire were the winners, full results are here.

Barbara Le Gallez writes: For some of the band, this is their first time in a striking competition. We can only be proud of their hard work and team spirit, whatever placing they achieve. We are very grateful to all who have supported us, in particular to the parents who have driven their children many miles and to the ringers at Longstanton and Histon who kindly let us hold practices there. Special mention must be made of the two reserves, who were essential to our practice routine, as well as providing the row counter on competition day. We are all indebted to Alan Winter, our patient and supportive team coach.

The band in ringing order is: Henry Pipe (Great St Mary, Cambridge District), John Hinton (Meldreth, Cambridge District), Dorothy Brooke (GSM, Cambridge District), Bronwen Laugharne (Gamlingay, Huntingdon District), Chris Franks (Fordham, Ely District), Billy Brooke (GSM, Cambridge District) - conductor, Adam Safford (St Ives, Huntingdon District), Will Johnson (St Benets, Cambridge District). Reserves: Rachel Frost (Sutton, Ely District) - row counter in the competition, Alfie Pipe (GSM, Cambridge District)

The photo shows 9 of the 10 ringers, taken at Histon church when we did a dry run under competition conditions on Sun 29th. John Hinton is missing (their car was not working).

Rachel's report on the day follows..

Worcester Cathedral

Ely DA experience

As first timers to the RWNYC our team were all nervous and daunted by the prospects of a national striking competition. However some of the youthful optimism from three of our younger members led even the most pessimistic of us to believe that it was not to be a wasted journey. Thus early Saturday morning, a bunch of intrepid young ringers set off at times in the morning when the open road makes it possible for the convoy of four cars to map the course of plain hunt without causing an accident.

At 10 o'clock precisely (if there was a prize for punctuality and time keeping then we surely would have been in contention) the chosen few met in the picturesque city or Worcester. We then received our golden ticket, well orange wrist band, which would allow us to enter all the various areas and exhibitions where we could expand our ringing knowledge and experiences. 

After consuming bacon sandwiches within the cathedral we set off at a brisk pace (yet another example of our time keeping skills) we entered All Saints Church for the 12 bell master class. It is safe to say that the young young ringers were far keener to participate in the ringing than the older young ringers who sometimes had to be physically pushed to join in. We all learned an awful lot about the speed and quality of ringing which is required to ring successfully in at a 12 bell tower thanks to the patience and vigilance of all involved. 

Sallies at Old St Martin
We then faced another enforced route march through Worcester proving that our obsession with arriving early was a cover up for the fact that we did not have a sense of direction as we managed to get lost twice, this is particularly awkward as you must realise that the bells of the church Old St Martin’s were actually ringing at this point. None the less we arrived on time (a theme is developing here) to ring our test piece. After a rather interesting practice where everyone had to adjust to the light bells (and the sallies of many colours) we began our test piece. Excellent calling and good overall team work from all the ringers lead to our best ever run through of the piece allowing us to finish in exactly 160 rows, perfect!

The team then began our third and final group route march to the cathedral to have a go in the training centre. After a brisk climb of over 70 stairs and a walk above the north transept roof, an interesting and unusual room came into view. Everybody present found the unique challenges posed by ringing on a simulator very interesting; my particular problem was when ringing Bob Triples and having to dodge with a bell you couldn't actually see, as well as hearing when you passed the treble. None the less we all persevered and enjoyed the experience.

It was now lunch time and the team split in two small groups either with parents or independent of them and travelled off together. A small band of us had a brisk 20 minute walk to a tower on the outskirts of the city to ring for 15 minutes, only to return the same way. Others however made use of the bus service which was provided to travel to this particular tower.

Whilst my small group were continuing our now traditional route marches throughout the city (as well as getting lost in quite interesting places, for example outside a fire place shop) the sensible ones stayed nearer the cathedral to take advantages of all the facilities that were on offer. Several took the opportunity to ring on the cathedral’s fantastic (and quite heavy) ring of twelve (which the local team stressed were the best in the world as well as the fact that if you can ring them then you can ring any twelve). Others though saw ample opportunity to ring in the selection of towers, attend a hand bell master class or simply relax on the cathedral lawn.

We then all met up for the results; the judges said we were a little insecure in our striking and as well as this we sometimes had a tendency to clash. They graded us a C+ making us 5th= with St Martin’s youths. Congratulations to all the teams that took part, in particular Yorkshire Tykes and Bedfordshire for winning their categories.

Thanks to all the local ringers for helping the Ringing World reps sort everything and help it all to work out smoothly even if the midday panic went unmentioned, until now. For those who are blissfully unaware, two stays broke, one of them in the competition tower, and had to be fixed quickly ready for the other half of the bands who still had to ring. I must add here that it was not broken by any of the competing bands but instead during the lunch break.

See you all again next year in Oxford! 
Rachel Frost