Bellringing with the Beatles

by Michael Ford last modified 16 Jul, 2019 05:05 PM

A photo with the Beatles (well, the statue) and Doritos left on the bus were just some of the extra-curricular activities enjoyed by our diocesan team of young bellringers, when they went to Liverpool to compete in the Ringing World National Youth Contest early this month.

8 young ringers from the Salisbury Diocesan Guild of Ringers (SDGR) gathered at Saint Francis Xavier church in the Liverpool suburb of Everton to take part in the contest.

Although this was the ninth year of the competition, it was only the second time that the SDGR has managed to enter a team, and our young ringers were gathered from places as far apart as Weymouth, Swanage and Trowbridge. The youngest was 13 and the oldest 17.

Hilary Child from the SDGR told us what happened:

"We had had travelled to Liverpool the day before – some by car, some by train and a couple even by plane. While the first team was ringing, we had a last minute 'team talk' and then we were on.

"The bells are a 16cwt ring of 8 and they went OK, although the Tenor ringer had to cope with standing on a large box, painted bright red. After a short practice time, the team completed the test piece of 160 call changes successfully; Alfie made a great job of calling the changes and nobody went wrong, so it was a very respectable performance.

"After the official team photo, we headed off to enjoy ringing at some other towers, without the pressure of competition. First up were the 8 bells at Bootle (Tenor 8cwt); the girls were not impressed ("hmm" and "well, that was interesting" being 2 comments overheard).

"We then had to head back to the base for the day – the church at Pier Head, with its 12 bells (Tenor 41cwt).

"Then, back to the buses! Max guided us around all day on countless buses, doing battle with a few grumpy drivers, bus stops which were closed and one bus which was so late that 2 buses with the same number turned up at the same time. The buses also led to the most random WhatsApp exchange of the day: 'Does anyone happen to have my Doritos?' Reply - 'They are on the number 86 bus'.

"The whole group, without the lost Doritos then made it to Penny Lane (of Beatles fame). After taking photos of the sign, they enjoyed the bells there and all agreed that they would have been an easier choice for the competition tower than SFX. Finally, after some group photos at the Beatles statue and a round of ice creams, the group assembled for the results in the church at Pier Head.

"Sadly the Group finished towards the bottom (but not last!), being awarded a Grade 3 with the comments from the judging panel reading:

"You had a sense that you knew what you were trying to do and the speed remained consistent... Well done."

"Anyone who thought that the excitement of the day was over was mistaken! At the last minute the organisers had arranged for anyone who wished to ring at Liverpool (Anglican) Cathedral – 12 bells, Tenor 82cwt – "the highest and heaviest ring of bells in the world"."

Hilary added;
"It was a sunny evening and the views across the city and the Mersey on the way up as we crossed the roof were stunning.

"Huge thanks to all the parents (ringers and non-ringers) who accompanied their young people to Liverpool and who invested a lot of time and effort into getting them to practices beforehand, sometimes bringing cake too!"

The team was:
Treble   Ed                    5th       Ellana
2nd       Hannah            6th       Baxter
3rd        Annabel           7th       Max
4th        Abigail              Tenor   Alfie (Conductor)

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