Bell-ringers

St Mary’s Church Bell-ringers

Who are we? We are 13 women and men of mixed ages and backgrounds.  We are part of the church and meet in the bell-ringing chamber in the church tower; our ministry is largely unseen but certainly heard.  Some ringers may regard bell ringing simply as an enjoyable, sociable hobby – and that is fine.  We are all members of the West Dorset Branch of the Salisbury Diocesan Guild of Bell Ringers.

What is our purpose? Our main purpose is to ring the 8 church bells to celebrate the main church service on Sunday morning and to ring for other church service such as on Remembrance Sunday, Christmas, weddings and the occasional funeral.  Bells have always been rung to celebrate occasions and we enjoy ringing for national and local celebrations.   We also like to feel that we are maintaining a historic tradition of church bell ringing in Bridport.

When do we ring? We normally ring on Sunday mornings from 8:50 – 9:30 before the main morning church service. Our practice night is normally on Thursdays from 19:45 – 21:00

Please come and Join us! We are actively looking for new members to join our band.  If you have rung before and would like to take up ringing again, that would be great.  If you have not rung before and would like to learn, we can teach you.  Bell ringing is a team activity and a sociable activity (visits to other towers, meals out, quiz teams etc.)  It is good mental and physical exercise and will provide you with a life-long learning experience. You can progress to whatever level you want.  You need to be reasonably fit, but ringing is less about strength and more about technique and having a sense of rhythm.    You would be helping to maintain a traditional art in Bridport – and most of all, it is good fun.

Interested? Please email bridport@sdgr.org.uk

St Mary’s Church, Bridport Guild of Ringers A.G.M. Tower Captain’s Report, 16 February 2017 : Our band of twelve ringers has rung for the main Sunday morning service during the last year.  In addition, we have rung for three weddings, a funeral and various occasional services.  We held two successful Open Tower Days and hosted a number of visiting bands and individual visiting ringers.   Members of our band have occasionally helped to assist with ringing for services at Toller Porcorum, Symondsbury, Netherbury, Askerswell and Bradpole.  We have assisted with courses at Bradpole Ringing Centre and have also benefitted from its expertise.  A few individuals have attended West Dorset branch practices.  Nine of us enjoyed a tower outing in October; we rang at Charminster, Cerne Abbas, Cattistock (followed by excellent lunch in the Cattistock pub) and Evershott.  A convivial annual dinner in November was held at Symondsbury Kitchen in November.

The year has been overshadowed by the illness and death of Dinah Wilson.  She was a committed ringer for many years and was our Tower Captain from 2008 – 2012; she will be missed.  We were also sorry that Jim Durrant decided not to return to ringing after two accidents (unrelated to ringing).  On several occasions, we have had to cancel our Thursday practice because there have been less than 6 ringers available to ring.  This indicates that our big challenge remains recruitment and training of new ringers if the bells are to continue ringing regularly in Bridport.  We have also been challenged by the clock hammers, especially on the tenor bell and also the tenor bell’s wooden clapper which kept coming loose. But these matters now seem to have been resolved and we are fortunate in not having had any bell maintenance bills this year.

Bob Hardwick (Deputy Captain), Simon Hurdley (Steeple Keeper), Diane Stevens (Treasurer)  Jane Trower (Secretary) and I are grateful for having supportive Church Wardens and are particularly grateful for the unfailing practical support given by Steve Bartlett. As Bob Hardwick takes over being Tower Captain, we have a united and loyal band of ringers; the bells and finances are in good shape and we have much for which to be thankful.

Elizabeth Skinner – Outgoing Tower Captain, St Mary’s Church, South Street, Bridport