Guild Newsletter

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Edward “Ted” James Copson 13th January 1934 – 26th December 2017

Ted was born and brought up in Warwick. The family lived in Theatre Street, Warwick; he was educated at Warwick School and left at sixteen to join Warwickshire County Council. His career took him to a number of departments, finishing as purchasing officer for the county. In 1991 the department was closed when purchasing was combined with Leicestershire CC, so Ted took early retirement.

Ted CopsonTed was a keen member of The Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, and it was at one of their meetings that he met Pam Sturdy, who was to be his future wife. They married at St Mary’s Church, Charlton Kings, Cheltenham in 1971.

After marrying, they bought their first house in Barford. They joined All Saints’ Church at Sherbourne, where they both took charge of the bellringing and established a weekly practice late on Friday afternoons. They also organised ringing for the Sunday services and special occasions.

They lived in Barford until 1977, when they moved to a new house in Wellesbourne but still continued to organise ringing at Sherbourne. Ted was also a big supporter of St Peter’s Church, Wellesbourne, where he and Pam rang for practice and Sunday services. He was Tower Captain at St Peter’s for a short spell, and when he was unable to ring anymore he would still come along to practices so that he could enjoy a pint and a chat afterwards.

Ted supported the church at Wellesbourne in other ways: he was at one time a member of the PCC, chairman of the fabric committee for a number of years and a loyal sidesman, and always very willing to do any small DIY jobs for the churches both at Wellesbourne and Sherbourne. He supported ringing at Stratford upon Avon on Tuesdays and The Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers Saturday evening meetings, as that was also another good excuse for him to go for a pint and a chat afterwards. He was not a prolific peal ringer, ringing just three peals, all for the Coventry Guild. But he and Pam rang many quarter peals, and during Pam’s time as the president of the Coventry Guild they attempted to ring a quarter peal in all ringable towers in the diocese.

Ted was a proficient German linguist and spent many hours at Stratford College on Wednesday evenings learning the language; he and Pam had numerous holidays in Austria and Germany so he could perfect his skills.

Sherbourne Teaching Aids, a range of resources including the ‘One Per Learner’ book, was the inspiration of Pam, written by hand in 1982; after she died in 2007 Ted continued to distribute these until he went into a nursing home almost two years ago. It is a legacy that some 4,000 items, including 2,500 One Per Learner books, were purchased in 2017, and they are still going strong.

Ted’s funeral took place at All Saints’ Church, Sherbourne on Friday, 26th January 2018. There was a congregation of about 70, with ringers represented from three counties. The bell were rung half-muffled before and after the service. A peal of Yorkshire Surprise Major was rung at St Peter’s Wellesbourne on Monday, 15th January 2018 in his memory by members of the Coventry Guild, and a halfmuffled quarter peal of 1260 Grandsire and Plain Bob Doubles was rung at All Saints’ Sherbourne on Monday, 28th January by ringers from Wellesbourne and Sherbourne, in thanksgiving for Ted’s life. 

Peter Quinn

Happy Birthday Les!

Leslie LunnLeslie LunnIf you remember, back in June of 2017, we held a special celebration for Leslie Lunn as he was the most senior ringer in the Coventry Diocesan Guild still ringing for Sunday service at the grand age of 94.

On Saturday January 27th 2018, Les celebrated his 95th birthday by inviting family and friends, including those from Australia and 9 fellow bell ringers to a special birthday lunch at Nailcote Hall, Berkswell.

After a sumptuous lunch, Les was presented with a birthday celebration plate decorated with chocolate and then, to the rendition of Happy Birthday, in came the birthday cake in the shape of a bell, complete with clapper and sally.

Gordon Hubbleday, a fellow ringer, has arranged for Les to be a guest of honour at RAF Cosford later this year, in recognition of service to his country. He also presented Les with a medal that celebrates 100 years of the Royal Air Force.

Les enjoyed the day immensely and was thrilled to bits that so many people were with him for his birthday lunch and the ringers were delighted to have been invited to take part in Les’s special birthday celebration.

Pillerton Hersey Restoration
It all started with a cream tea…

The Church

On a sunny summer Sunday in August, soon after moving into the area eleven years ago, Sue & I were tempted by the roadside adverts – ‘Cream teas - Sunday afternoons in August – Pillerton Hersey Church’.

So, keen to partake, off we went to discover a tiny village, population 170, with a lovely church displaying tables & chairs in the churchyard all laden with cakes and cups of tea, being eagerly disposed of by locals, passing cyclists - and before long, us.

Lowering a bellThree ropes hung from the tower ceiling and we were told the bells were not allowed to be rung because of their condition. Maybe not we said, but we can chime them and make a noise – which we did to be greeted by great applause from the churchyard. A nice sounding three in a minor key.

Two of those present were residents Derrick & Krystina Allen (left) who seemed interested and I invited them and others to come to Kineton so that I could teach them how to chime which would allow their bells to be heard. After a practice session we then went to Pillerton to practice and my heart sank. They were very, very hard to chime with the old clappers hung on baldricks not at all keen to move freely!

Undaunted though they took to it and since that time the bells have been chimed for weddings and some services. To chime the treble you had to stand 2 feet up on a chest and few could manage chiming at all for more than a few minutes before needing to rest – sometimes a ‘strapper’ was needed! Later they both learned to handle a bell properly. By coincidence there was a family in the Village with a ringing pedigree and we started to teach Jonnie Rogers and his brother Alexander through the Warwick School group. Father David (giver of lifts) followed suit!

An inspection of the 1901 Bond installation showed it to be unusual - the three-bell frame was so far to one side of the tower that it emerged into the spiral stairway only an inch or two from the central pillar! As you progressed up the stairs you were met with a barrier which was the corner of the frame and the arch over the doorway to the belfry had been shaved to allow the movement of the second clapper. Strangely there was about 3 feet of spare room on the other side of the belfry and it looked as if the clock weights (no longer in use) had governed the position of the frame.

Wheels were in poor order and headstocks had some worm and the whole room a mess of sticks. It was not clear how stable the ancient supporting beams were, so ringing full circle seemed unwise.

Undaunted Derrick took up the challenge and spent days removing sticks and detritus. Money was being raised to repair the tower externally and install a kitchen and toilet facilities, so it was a few years later when the timing seemed right to suggest restoring the inside of the tower. With such a small population and continuing maintenance commitments on the building it was clear that funds would have to be raised externally and once again Derrick & Krystina took on the task and started fundraising and writing for grants.

The original plan was to re – use the three-bell frame and add steel pits for 2 more bells. Unfortunately, there would not be room to add a tenor to convert them into a major key. The village was happy with the concept of 4 bells but 5 was a step too far so that was very much a provision for the future only. The faculty was agreed following a site visit by several members of the DAC and others concerned with the project and Taylors were awarded the contract.

Fundraising proceeded steadily and then a fourth bell was found - a redundant bell from Adlestrop not far away. This was purchased and donated and the whole project got a boost!

In January 2017 the bells were removed – with some difficulty - by Simon Adams and a group of helpers and the Bond frame (composite wood & metal so never ideal) was found to be in poorer condition than expected and the suggestion was made by Taylors that it would be more effective and cost the same to install a new steel 5 bell frame with all the bells on the same level. This was willingly accepted as a better solution.

The BellsIn the summer of 2017 the village finally raised all the money and were feeling confident that it would finally all happen, and they would cope financially. Then out of the blue an offer from the Keltec Trust to donate a 5th bell and assist with the hanging costs. The Coventry Diocesan Guild who had already agreed a substantial grant then made an additional offer to help with some of the additional hanging costs and the village found itself with 5 bells with no extra worry about raising more funds. That offer was enthusiastically accepted!

In November & December 2017 there was a flurry of activity when volunteers from the Coventry Guild (and afar!) assisted Neil Thomas the Taylors Bell Hanger every day for over 3 weeks as the old frame and supporting woodwork was removed, mortar repaired, steels fitted, and eventually bells hung. Strangely Neil had removed the Adlestrop bell when he was working for Whitechapel!

Following a try out they were first rung for the carol service on the 17th December and again on Christmas Eve. At this stage with new, damp rope and, no guides they proved to be a little tricky but once the guides were installed in January they are very easy to handle indeed. The bells also rang in the new year when a gathering of villagers saw in the new year in the church tempted by prosecco and pork rolls.

The Try OutDerrick and Kristina moved from the village towards the end of the project but are still regular visitors and the boys we taught are now at university. Sadly, the benefice has 5 towers and only a couple of ringers so there is no band currently. An initiative to create a benefice band is in the early stages of planning and will happen when time permits.

Graham Nabb

The Bells

1. 3-2-25 1360.7hz F  26.00" 2016 John Taylor & Co
2. 3-3-17 1212.7hz Eb 27.00" 1711 Abraham I Rudhall
3. 4-1-19 1071.9hz Db 29.50" 1668 Henry I Bagley
4. 5-2-17 1016.7hz C  31.90" 1672 Henry I Bagley
5. 7-0-10  905.5hz Bb 35.40" 1602 Newcombe (generic)

Pillerton Hersey, Warwickshire St Mary
Thursday, 1 February 2018 (7)
1260 Grandsire Doubles
1 Lucy Gwynne
2 Sue Marshall
3 Becki Johnson
4 John Gwynne
5 Graham Nabb (C)
First quarter peal on the bells.

ART Conference 2018 – Comes to Royston!

ART will be holding its annual conference on 3/4 March at Royston, Herts. The exciting agenda includes a great line up of speakers, with keynotes by the St Martin’s Guild Ringing Master, Simon Linford, Matt Bulbeck a professional outdoor sports coach and bell ringing teacher, and Colin Parker, ringer, teacher and keen cricketer.

Reflecting the rapid proliferation of questions and concerns around recent events, new additions to the line-up include presentations about safeguarding, insurance and risk assessments. There will also be an opportunity to talk through any local issues with the experts will be available throughout the day.

Finally helping you put a positive spin on all this we have some lively “how to” sessions from the Central Council’s Caroline Stockmann and Kate Flavell.

The second day of the conference weekend concentrates on simulators and new technology and is hosted by the Central Council. Get up to speed on the latest hardware and software developments, find out how to use simulators to improve the learning experience and take the opportunity to try out the newest ideas for teaching using simulators on different systems. Sessions are tailored to new, occasional and more frequent users and a third of the time will be practical.

The ART Conference is ART’s leading national event and is open to anyone with an interest in ringing teaching and leadership. We would like to invite you to join us at Royston, Hertfordshire on 3 March 2018 for what is sure to be a full and interesting day. The ART Awards Ceremony will be accompanied by drinks and nibbles.

Book your conference place now

ART Conference Speakers

  • Simon Linford
    Brumdingers: the story of Moseley’s ringing group for kids
  • Matt Bulbeck
    Why I refuse to be called an Instructor: the differences between instructing, teaching and coaching
  • Colin Parker
    Engaging with young ringers: steps to success
  • Linda Garton and John Loveless
    Developing youth teams
  • Pip Penney
    Why do ringers keep ringing?
  • Veronica Downing
    Differences in learners and flexible teaching approaches
  • Vinni Sullivan & Ruth Suggett
    Small is beautiful: tales from ART Teaching Centres and Hubs
  • Marcus Booth
    Insurance & Bell Ringing: what you need to know
  • Andrea Watkins
    Volunteers, Safeguarding & the CofE
  • Caroline Stockmann and Kate Flavell
    Positive PR: ‘how to’ guide for towers and societies

Why not give it a go!

Download the Agenda