General Secretary’s Report 2011

On Saturday 26th March 2011, the Association participated in the celebrations of the centenary of The Ringing World at Westminster Abbey and Westminster Central Hall, particularly through arranging to have 47 Middlesex towers open for general ringing. Numbers of ringers attending some central towers, including St Margaret’s Westminster, exceeded 100. A number of Association members contributed significantly to the success of the event, including Helen Udal who curated an exhibition of ringing-related art at a gallery near Trafalgar Square, and Adrian Udal who was an organiser of the first National Young People’s Ringing Contest.

The 2011 Annual General Meeting was held at Bishopsgate on Saturday 16th April, attended by 60 members. Prior to the service and meeting there was general ringing at St Katharine Cree and a service touch at Bishopsgate. The retiring President was in the chair for the meeting, at which members agreed that work should be initiated towards an upgrade of the Association’s website.

The three-year terms of office of the President (Stephen Mitchell) and Master (Stephen Jakeman) came to an end at the AGM. Stephen Jakeman was elected President and Mike Palmer as Master. Stephen Mitchell was elected General Secretary, replacing Pauline Dingley who was standing down. Other new Association officers elected were Sarah Taylor as Bell Restoration Fund Treasurer, and Eddie Heath as Training Officer.

Earlier in the afternoon of the AGM the Inter-District 8-bell striking competition for the Audrey Taylor Cup was held at St Olave’s Hart Street. A touch of Plain Bob Major was judged by Alan Regin: the N &E District won with 55 faults, followed by the Western District (95 faults) and the Southern District (99 faults).

A Middlesex 8-bell striking contest was held at Willesden on 28th May, organised by Tom Lawrance – five teams participated, and the “Middlesex Ladies”, ringing Cambridge Surprise Major, were judged to have won by Penny Sharpe and Jo Dorling. In September the Association also took part in the Essex Trophy, coming 4th out of 6 teams ringing the test piece of London No 3 Surprise Royal.

Under Mike Palmer’s leadership, the monthly (2nd Friday) 12-bell practices at St Magnus the Martyr continued to be successful and well supported, and the method repertoire began to be extended to Yorkshire and Newgate Surprise Maximus. Building on this, the Association entered the 3rd London 12-bell contest held at Shoreditch in October, and came 7th out of 9 teams ringing Cambridge Surprise Maximus.

The Autumn General Meeting was held at Edgware on 8th October, attended by 44 members. There was general ringing in the afternoon at Stanmore and Edgware, and the Association 6-bell striking competition was held at Harrow Weald, judged by Chris Ridley. Two bands from each district took part. Twickenham All Hallows’ won the Association Plate ringing Grandsire Doubles, and Kilburn won the Rhodesia plate for the best 120 not rung by the winning band.

Other significant Association ringing activities included ringing at St Mary-le-Bow for the Lord Mayor’s Show in November, and at St Paul’s Cathedral in July for the ordination service for London’s deacons. A number of successful Association training events were organised by the new Training Officer, including on conducting Stedman Triples and Original, and “Training the Trainers”. Handbell change ringing continues actively across the association. However, neither the 8-bell nor the 6-bell trophies were competed for in 2011. Overall this was a busy and successful year, with much to build on in 2012, including in ringing for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics.

Stephen Mitchell