District News 2015

Good start to the festive season at Broomfield

The District Carol Service at Broomfield got the festive season off to a good start on Saturday 12th December. An excellent turnout of 35 ringers enjoyed a service of traditional carols and readings and a quartet rendering of O little One Sweet. Before the service there was the opportunity to enjoy a ring on Broomfield's new 4cwt five and as usual there were the traditional mince pies and mulled wine afterwards (as well as some other goodies).

District Practice at Boughton Monchelsea

An attendance of just 16 at the last District Practice of the year at Boughton Monchelsea on Saturday 14th November was again a little disappointing by recent standards, particularly as the local ringers had gone to the effort of providing running refreshments all morning. Nevertheless we were able to ring Cambridge Minor and Stedman Doubles, amongst other things, and of course plenty of Rounds and Call Changes.

Annual District Meeting

Only 26 members attended the Annual District Meeting at Leeds on Saturday 10th October - rather disappointing considering the general upward trend at meetings this year. Those who didn't go missed out on a delicious hot meal of cottage pie followed by a gateau dessert prior to the business meeting (see right for the happy eaters). Our thanks to Chris Saunders for organising it.

At the Business Meeting Liz Barnes replaced James Sawle as Chairman, Adam Brady took over as joint Ringing Master from Richard Barclay, and Jane Higgs joins the Committee in place of Barry Evans. Other posts are unchanged. Details can be found on our Committee page. Our thanks to retiring officers for their work during the past year.

One new member from Lenham was elected to the Association, and the District Programme for 2016 was presented to the Meeting. Draft minutes of the ADM can be found here.

It was also surprising that only around 15 people turned up to ring on the new five at Broomfield prior to the ringing at Leeds. Perhaps they are waiting for the next opportunity when we visit Broomfield for the District Carol Service on 12th December.

County Striking Contest

Maidstone District, represented by District Striking Contest winners Staplehurst, came a creditable second in the County Striking Competition at Godmersham on Saturday 26th September, albeit some way behind winners Chelsfield from the Lewisham District. Full results are on the County website.

District Practice at Lenham

There were 24 ringers at the District Practice Meeting at Lenham on Saturday 12th September which enabled us to ring the two special methods, Duffield Major (successfully) and Single Oxford Bob Triples (not so successfully). There was also plenty of opportunitiers for Rounds, Call Changes and Plain Hunt. Our thanks to the newly trained Lenham band for hosting the practice. It was good to see a number of them keenly taking part.

Alan Bourne (Frittenden)

We are sorry to have to report that Alan Bourne of Frittenden sadly passed away on Sunday 23rd August after a short battle with a brain tumour. Although not a member of the Maidstone District, he had many friends in the District and indeed throughout the County. A half muffled quarter-peal of Grandsire Triples was rung at Frittenden following Alan's memorial service on Tuesday 8th September. 

District BBQ

The weather was kind to us for the District Barbeque on Saturday 15th August. Around 30 ringers and friends atttended the event at Marden which featured not only delicious food but also the traditional mini-ring.

It was particularly pleasing to see Tom Barlow enjoying himself at the barbeque, and looking pretty well following his lengthy stay in hospital. Welcome back Tom!

On the right is a picture of people tucking into their food (which is why the mini-ring was not being rung at that time!). For more pictures of the evening's fun click here (you may need a Dropbox account to view - it's free to set up and use).

Sid Watts

We are also sorry to have to report the passing of Sid Watts of Marden on Wednesday 29th July. His funeral was held at Marden on Thursday 20th August.

A quarter-peal of Plain Bob Triples was rung at Marden on Sunday 2nd August in thanksgiving for his life.

Frank Lewis

It is with great sadness that we have to report that Frank Lewis, County Webmaster and General Committee member, passed away on Wednesday 22nd July.

The funeral was held on Monday 3rd August at a packed Brasted church, following a private cremation. Immediately after the service a half-muffled quarter-peal of Grandsire Triples was rung on Brasted bells by a band comprising some of Frank's many ringing friends. May he rest in peace.

A sunny summer morning at West Malling

The lovely warm sunshine certainly brought out the crowds to West Malling on Saturday 11th July for the Summer Quarterly District Meeting. The attendance book showed 32 names but it is estimated that in fact around 40 ringers were present at some time during the morning - the largest attendance at a District Meeting for many years. This enabled us to ring both special methods, Superlative Major and Middlesex Triples, along with Grandsire Triples, plenty of Call Changes and even a touch of 5-spliced Surprise Major (including Bristol!).

At the short business meeting no less than 19 new members were elected to the Association, and it was pleasing to see so many of them there. Their names will appear in the next issue of The Belfry. The draft minutes of the meeting can be found here.

Useful Practice at Linton

Despite a lower attendance than at recent meetings, the 16 ringers who came to the District Practice at Linton on Saturday 13th June enabled us to ring both special methods, Cambridge Major and Single Oxford Bob Triples, along with Erin Triples, Bob Triples and three leads of Kent. There were also lots of Rounds - particularly useful for the ringers from Lenham's fledgling band who it was pleasing to see at the Practice.

100th Peal at Staplehurst

The 100th peal was rung on Staplehurst bells on Saturday 18th April. This is a landmark for any tower but, to make it even more of an achievement, it was rung by the local band. On the right is a picture of the very happy ringers just minutes after the peal successfully came round.

Further details can be found on Bellboard.

Bearsted proves popular

It was pleasing to see 30 ringers at Bearsted for the Spring Quarterly Meeting on Saturday 11th April. This enabled us to have several successful attempts at both the special methods, St Simon's Bob Doubles and Surfleet Surprise Minor as well as plenty of call changes and some plain hunt.

At the business meeting we elected one new member to the Association and one returning member. Our thanks go to the Bearstead ringers for providing tea and cakes - quite a feast for mid-morning!

Wrotham ringing again

We are pleased to report that Wrotham bells are backing ringing again. Having joined neighbouring Ightham for practices in recent months the Wrotham ringers have decided to continue to have joint practices at Ightham on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Mondays, and at Wrotham on the 2nd and 4th Mondays.

Congratulations Tom Barlow - new KCACR Vice-President.....

County AGMs come and go, but this year's was something special (apart of course from the fact that our District organised it!). Firstly the highlight of the day was the election of Tom Barlow as a Vice-president of the KCACR - an honour only bestowed in recognition of outstanding service to the Association. In a very moving moment the citation was read out by one of the youngest members of the Association, before retiring Chairman Mike Little presented Tom with his certificate to a standing ovation.

Pictured right is a rightly proud Tom showing off his certificate.

.....and Daniel Brady - new County Chairman

And it didn't end there. The new County Chairman is our own Daniel Brady who was elected by a majority vote. At 26 years of age Daniel is probably the youngest ever to chair the Association and, with some progressive ideas, we can look forward to some interesting times during his triennium. On the left is Daniel receiving his chain of office from outgoing chairman Mike Little.

A full report of the AGM will appear in the next issue of The Belfry which will be available shortly.

Staplehurst make it a Striking Competition double - again

After the success of the belated 2014 combined Striking Competitions it was rather disappointing that only two bands entered the 2015 Call Change section and two plus a scratch band the Method Section.

For the third successive year Staplehurst won both shields, with a combined Ightham/Wrotham band coming close runners-up in both. The latter also won the trophy for the band having the most ringers not having rung in a striking competition before. Pictured right are members of the winning bands showing off (from left to right) the Call Change shield, the Striking Competition shield and the "competition virgins" shield.

Full details will appear in the next issue of The Belfry.

District Practice at Barming a great success

The first District Practice of 2015 on Saturday, 14th February was a great success with 34 ringers experiencing the newly refurbished ring of six at Barming (not exactly the same 34 who went to Birling last month!). This enabled several successful attempts at both special methods - Beverley Surprise Minor and Winchendon Place Doubles - along with a variety of other methods from call changes upwards.

There was general agreement that the refurbishment has resulted in a vastly improved go of the bells and David Earl and the Barming ringers, along with bellhangers Whites of Appleton, are to be congratulated on a job well done.

New Year starts well at Birling

The winter Quarterly District Meeting is normally well attended and this year was no exception as 34 ringers came to the first event of 2015 at Birling on Saturday, 10th January, despite the late change in timing from morning to afternoon. We were able to ring both special methods, Grandsire Triples and Lincolnshire Surprise Major, as well as Kent, Stedman, Erin, Bristol, and of course plenty of Rounds and Call Changes and some Plain Hunt. At the brief Business Meeting four new members were elected to the Association, and their names will appear in the next issue of The Belfry. To see the draft minutes of the Meeting click here.

Our thanks to the Birling Ringers for the use of the bells and particularly to Sue Wallis who, almost singlehandedly, provided us with tea and biscuits.

For archived news please click on the appropriate year below