District News 2011

District Carol Service

This year's District Carol Service was held on the relatively, recently, rediscovered three at Ditton.  The pre-service ringing was rather tentative with people coping well with the very tricky bells, rounds, call changes and even Shipping Forecast Singles were rung under the guidance of new District ringing master Adam Brady.  The service went without a hitch with all the old favourite carols being sung with considerable gusto by the congregation.  After last year's success a quartet made up of Tina Bastow, Debbie and Daniel Brady and Richard Young sung two pieces, O Little One Sweet and We Wish You a Merry Christmas.  The service was followed by mince pies and mulled wine which was prepared by Andrew Brady.  Our thanks to all those who helped out during the service by doing readings, to Ross Terranova for taking the service and to Alan Warner for arranging the use of the bells.

Call Change Striking Competition

Not so much a competition as a match - only two of the 30+ bands in the District entered a team in the Call Change Striking Competition at Hunton on Saturday 12th November. Judge Tom Barlow, always one to look at things from a positive point of view, decided that he would award gold stars for good ringing rather than faults for errors. The result was that last year's winners Staplehurst retained the winners' shield again this year by the narrowest of margins by achieving seven gold stars to The Suttons' six. However The Suttons won the shield for the band having the most ringers who had not rung in a competition previously.

Below left is the youngest member of the Staplehurst band receiving the winners' shield whilst to the right one of the Suttons' band is presented with the other trophy.

Annual District Meeting

Only 12 people - just 5% of the practising membership - bothered to turn up for arguably the most important District Meeting of the year, at Leeds on Saturday 8th October. However what lacked in quantity was made up for in quality, as we managed to ring two touches of 4-spliced Surprise Major (although alas nothing on all ten).

At the Business Meeting two newcomers were elected to the District Committee, James Davis of Marden and Barry Evans of Mereworth. The only other change was the election of Adam Brady as one of the Ringing Masters. He replaces his brother Daniel who remains as District Chairman. The Meeting agreed the provisional programme for 2012, the first half of which can be seen on the District Calendar. There were no new members elected at the meeting. Unadopted minutes of the meeting will appear here when available.

Close thing at County Six-Bell

This year All Saints Maidstone represented the district at the county six-bell and came a very close second place behind winners St. Dunstans, Canterbury. The competition was hosted by the Maidstone District on the wonderful bells of Hunton, thanks to Hunton ringers for the use of the bells and for providing the refreshments and to Graham Hayward of Nottingham who was the judge for the day.

Pictured is the district team, who rang a test piece of Plain Bob Minor.

1st Canterbury (St Dunstan, Canterbury)
2nd Maidstone (All Saints, Maidstone)
3rd Rochester (Meopham)
4th Lewisham (Beckenham)
5th Tonbridge (Hadlow)
6th Ashford (Frittenden)

Why not Wateringbury?

Only seven people came to the District Practice at Wateringbury on Saturday 10th September, and four of those were from one tower. Maybe it was the rival attraction of England's Rugby World Cup match with Argentina live on TV that kept people away? However, it would be interesting to know whether there would have been a better attendance had the augmented Otham bells been ready in time for this practice as was originally hoped.

The upside was that the low numbers enabled two of the ringers to have intensive practice, rendering the event worthwhile overall.

Outing to London a great success

This year’s District Outing to London on 13th August was probably even more successful than the last one.  By 10am more than 40 people from the Maidstone and Ashford Districts were crammed into the ringing chamber of St Martin in the Fields, where methods rung ranged from rounds and call changes on 12 up to Stedman Cinques and spliced Plain and Little Bob Maximus.  At St Giles in the Fields we had to take it in turns to go up to the small ringing room, before we split into various groups for lunch.  Afternoon ringing was on the 10 at St Clement Danes, St George the Martyr in Borough High Street (8), St John’s in Waterloo Road (8) and culminating in ringing at St Margaret's, Westminster (10) where we scaled the heights of Cambridge Surprise Royal.  Probably the nearest most of us will get to ringing at the Abbey! Visits to various west end pubs rounded off the day.

Photo Gallery


Come Back to the District BBQ

And come they did ... in their droves! The Come Back to the District Social event and BBQ was a resounding success, with every ticket sold and, according to the feedback we have had, a great time being had by all.

The afternoon began with two hours of ringing on the ten bells at Staplehurst Church. Those packed into the ringing room enjoyed a variety of ringing from rounds and call changes up to Surprise Major and Little Bob Royal. Then it was back to the garden of two of the Staplehurst ringers where a BBQ was already sizzling nicely away. Much use was made of Chris Trafford's mini-ring during the following three hours, culminating in a light-hearted striking competition with chocolate bars as prizes. Even the weather was kind to us, even if it did get a little cool by the time festivities due to a close at around 9pm.

A huge vote of thanks goes to District Chairman Daniel Brady who did the lion's share of organising the event, and to everyone else who helped out on the day.

Photo Gallery

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