Bellringing Through COVID

Online Ringing

When we were unable to ring in church we started to be concerned that some of our ringers might lose interest – none of us are well established ringers so time was spent looking into Ringing Room which is an online virtual ringing platform. Tower Captain Debbie joined the Ringing Room Take Hold Lounge which is a lovely group from around the world who were all learning new things. It took a while to get our band interested mainly because the technology caused problems. Eventually we did get enough interest and after spending a fair amount of time with individuals specific issues we now have 7 competent online ringers – we started to move on leaps and bounds when various more experienced ringers were able to join us and put us right when we went wrong. We have recruited friends who have never rung with us in a tower who are now ringing Plain Hunt. Several who have never done it before have begun to understand and ring Plain Hunt and even onto Bob doubles.

Though we will have sadly lost 2 ringers (One moved away from the area and one was going to come back to ringing this year after illness has decided not to join again) we may have gained two new ringers. So 13 ringers at the end of this year but hopefully gain 2 more for next year.

Ringing in the New Year 2021 Lytchett Style

On 31st December 2020 Lytchett Matravers and friends rang in the Cambodian New Year. This was at 6pm our time but 12pm in Cambodia as most of us were in bed by 12pm UK time! Our last Ringing Room of the year thanks to our helpers. We rang diminishing rounds, then the Big Ben chimes then Tenor rang 12 times. Before that we rang the Cambodian Kaleidoscope (Lytchett version) we had the first 4 bells making paces, the middle 4 bells dodging and the last 4 bells making places. Let’s hope we can all meet up in person in 2021 to ring the tower bells and welcome our two new ringers to the real thing.

Happy 2021

Who said “The bells won’t ring out at Christmas?”

We have the bells, we have the ringers, we have the enthusiasm! Last year we had the brilliant Clapper Chaos with us – this year we have Chaotic Clappers

We used to think our little cosy tower was friendly, warm and welcoming….untill this year! With no window, little ventilation, little space between ringers and open to the rest of the congregation we have sadly only been able to ring one bell when we could ring at all. This didn’t stop us though – all those who could have a ring had a go and surprised themselves that they hadn’t forgotten how to!

However, we then got closer to Christmas and the thought of just one bell ringing out at Christmas didn’t really appeal. You can’t stop the Lytchett Matravers band though, so we put our heads together, found a group of keen ringers, located the Branch Handbells and decided to give it a go. We have never rung handbells before so Debbie had a couple of lessons from Alan and Kathy Bentley and got as far as trying out a few patterns such as Queens, Kings etc and even progressed to ringing the first and last pairs for Plain Hunt. These skills now had to be urgently passed on to the rest of the Lytchett ringers. 

We were now beyond the first Lockdown and managed to get 4 ringers in the garden to learn the technique of ringing hand and back and then one more session with a different 4 still putting together a medley of ringing patterns. Then the second lockdown came…thank goodness for Ringing Room where some of us were able to have a couple of practices but then it was mentioned that it might be nice to ring some carols. Well that’s all well and good – we found some music but though we have a lovely set of 13 bells the majority of them are sharps and we know we could only ring one bell at a time and not cords as we didn’t have the skill or time to practice. No point checking our music on Ringing Room as the notes there are different to our bells so a fair amount of time was spent checking the tunes, trying to ring the bells with one person as we were all locked down and eventually we collected together 5 carols which didn’t sound too bad though one of them has a very strange note. Hurray, lockdown lifted and we managed 2 more practices but this time with all of us and having to learn a new skill in ringing tunes as it sounds better if you don’t do the hand and backstroke – something we learned after we studied the ringing of the brilliant Clapper Chaos.

We were motivated and we were keen to be able to ring for the Christmas services. Five of us DID ring before the Carol Service on 20th December and four of us rang for the Christmas Day service. You can hear some of these on the links below and you MIGHT even recognise a carol or two….or you might not. Whatever you hear it will at least be more than one tower bell and we have had such fun and so many laughs along the way. 

In December we rang more bells than we’ve rung all year!

Our First Virtual Outing

On 13th March 2021 we ventured out to Somerset and Scotland and had a fun packed afternoon of food and entertainment… See our photo Gallery below.

99 Tolling on 10th April 2021

To honour the service and life of HRH The Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh.

The D of E and me – by Viv

One of the wiser decisions of Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was to refuse the offer of a dodgy sausage cooked by me.  It was 1975 and at a promotional event for participants of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme at what is now Budmouth Academy in Weymouth.  Prince Philip had arrived by piloting himself in a Sea King helicopter.  We had been instructed to cook our own lunch so had come equipped with a frying pan and stove, but no cooking fat or spatula.  We were looking at this burnt offering with some dismay when D of E approached.  But then, that is what the D of E Award was about; getting teenagers to get themselves organised and to learn from mistakes

I did the Award scheme through school and in parallel with Guides.  In those days the requirements were slightly different for girls, so I found myself doing flower arranging and helping a kids playscheme in East London.  My skill was bellringing for Bronze and typing for Silver.  For Gold I attended an excellent course run by Dorset Police taught aspects of Civics not covered in school.  Of most significance was a weeks pond dig at Netherbury with BTCV where age 17, I met John. 

It was whilst recovering from Glandular Fever, age 19, that I decided to finish my Gold Award, with a project about Dorset Villages.  It was a proud day when age 20, I could take Rosie and a supportive teacher to Buckingham Palace, to get my Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award certificate.  I did wear a skirt, but there was no-way I was going to wear a hat!

I never threw off Glandular Fever, and it is only now with the development of Long Covid that I think that friends and family can begin to understand Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, because 40 years later my body still thinks it is fighting a virus.  I regard ME as the Dementor’s Kiss.  

In my darker moments, when trying to keep a grip on who I am, that I remind myself that I am a holder of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award, and that helps to keep me grounded.

Today I have been wearing my Gold badge with pride and in thankfulness to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.


Viv Tolling our Bell 4
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