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Eastern

Secretary: Kay Lucas email kay_at_hollyhocks.org.uk

Ringing Master: Betty Baines mail_at_btkservices.plus.com
Assistant ringing masters:
Cambs Jackie Latham jackielatham_at_hotmail.com
Essex Wendy Godden wendyegodden_at_gmail.com
Suffolk Kay Lucas kay_at_hollyhocks.org.uk

October newsletter available here with lots of dates for your diaries.

Dates for the Eastern District

This calendar shows National events, Eastern District Quarterly meetings and Eastern District practices. For events in other districts, see the calendar here.

Kneeler for Jenny Pell in Ickleton church

  Ladies Guild member Jenny Pell rang at Duxford and Ickleton in Cambridgeshire until she died in 2014. This kneeler is now in Ickleton church, reflecting her professional and personal interests, including the choir and bell ringing.

Action photo from the District meeting on Saturday 4th June 2016

  Ringing at Balsham. Thanks to Elizabeth Coates for the photo.

Eastern District newsletters 2019

Eastern District newsletters 2018

Eastern District newsletters 2017

Eastern District newsletters 2016

Eastern District newsletters for earlier years 2015 

District Secretary's report for 2018

Unfortunately I have not been able to get to many practices this year so I would ask that all the reports and lists of members attending be sent to me as soon as possible after they take place if I am not there so I can keep the official books up-to-date.

We are still recruiting new members; we are delighted to welcome them and hope they enjoy their membership. This has meant that on the whole we have had better attendance at meetings this year.

This year we held thirty-eight meetings and rang in forty-seven different towers, plus eight more including all quarter peals so in total rang in fifty-five different towers! We rang a massive total of fifty-five quarter peals during 2018 (three of which included a ‘friend’). Our highest attendance was twenty-six, the lowest was four and the average attendance was thirteen people.

As well as Rounds, Call changes and Plain Hunt on 5 and 7 we rang a wide range of methods during 2018:- (v) Variation
  • Minimus, P. Bob, Double Bob, Rev. Canterbury, St Nicholas, Stedman, Oxford Treble Bob.
  • Doubles,Stedman, Plain Bob, Grandsire, Reverse Canterbury,St Martin’s, April Day (v),St Simon’s, Southrepps, St Osmund’s, All Saints, St Nicholas, Rev. St. Bartholomew, May Day (v), Churchill, Eynsbury, Winchendon Place.
  • Minor, Kent Treble Bob,Single Oxford,Plain Bob,Cambridge,Double Oxford,St. Clement’s, Bourne,Beverly,Ipswich,Little Bob,,Surfleet, Double Court, Norwich, Single Canterbury Pleasure,,Lakesend.  
  • Triples, Plain Bob,Stedman, Grandsire. Major,Cambridge, Little Bob.
Kay Lucas

Ringing Master's report for 2018

2018 has been a year of celebrations and quarter peals. So much has happened nationally throughout the year. A new prince was born, two royal weddings took place, it was 70 years since the N.H.S. was formed, the 100th anniversary of the R.A.F. and 100 years ago the First World War came to an end. We rang for them all but nothing captured our imaginations quite so much as completing the challenge of ringing 100 quarter peals to celebrate 100 years of some women obtaining the right to vote.

Just before Christmas it became apparent that we might not quite reach the target but with a final push between Christmas and the New Year we did it. The final total throughout the guild was 102, with our district ringing 55 of them. In Norfolk and Suffolk we rang most of our quarters at Woodton and Thornham Magna and unbelievably we were successful with every one we attempted. What makes this even more satisfying is that we didn't just stick to methods we were confident of ringing, we challenged ourselves by ringing many different surprise minor methods, a lot of mixed doubles and even Stedman. Also most of the quarters had a member ringing a method for the first time and for some it was even first blows in method.

Not only did we ring for the national celebrations we also rang for some more personal ones within our district. There were 20th and 50th wedding anniversaries, British Citizenship for one of our members, Suffolk Day and Norfolk Day and various birthdays but none more memorable than Monica Churchill's 90th birthday. Monica is an inspiration to us all, still ringing and climbing church towers like a teenager. There was one memorable moment on our September outing when Monica, aged 90 was ringing next to a young man aged 9. Who said ringing doesn't appeal to all ages! I apologise for only writing about the Norfolk and Suffolk quarters but I am sure Wendy or Jackie will give details of those rung in Essex and Cambridgeshire in their report. However I would like to thank Janet Garnett for organising a brilliant Quarter Peal day in Cambridgeshire in November.

Our twice monthly practices in Norfolk and Suffolk are always a pleasure to attend. My very efficient county representatives Angela Packer and Jane Palmer work tirelessly to book a variety of towers in all parts of the counties. Some are better attended than others, partly due to travelling distances. We have had as many as 26 attend but we have also experienced one disappointment when only 4 came but even then we had fun ringing as many minimus methods as we could. Our 8 bell practices are still popular. I have been trying to encourage more ringers who are happier on 6 bells to give it a go. To encourage them to come I include 6 bell methods as well and hope they will try 8 as a natural progression. Gislingham has been our usual venue but in February we were invited to St. Margaret's in Ipswich and had a fantastic morning ringing on their recently restored bells.

We have been pleased to welcome some new members, mainly thanks to the Ringing Remembers Appeal. I hope they will enjoy our relaxed approach to ringing. I am a strong believer that a nice cup of tea and a piece of cake start the mornings off well.

Now for our 2019 challenge. Helen Webb, our president, is encouraging us all to do more conducting. This is something I have been trying to do for some time. Already new names appear on the conductors list at our practices but it would be good if everyone has a try. Why not start with a few call changes and build up from there. I am considering arranging a special practice to explain conducting in as simple form as possible. Please don't be put off, no one will be pressured into conducting if you don't want to but on the other hand you will be encouraged to ring as much as you want to. Such is the Ladies' Guild, we encourage you to learn.

To conclude I would like to thank all our Eastern District Officers for their help and dedication throughout the year and, as they used to say in the Old Time Music Halls, “strictly yourselves” for your company and support.
Betty Baines - Eastern District Ringing Master

District Secretary's report for 2017

I would like to thank Pam Wakeling very much for stepping in to help me by writing the newsletters for the last year. I will be doing them again from this year so please send all reports, and especially quarter peals to me.

Please could all the reports and lists of members attending be sent to me as soon as possible after they take place so I can keep the official books up-to-date.

We are still recruiting new members; we are delighted to welcome them and hope they enjoy their membership. This has meant that on the whole we have had better attendance at meetings this year.

This year we held thirty-eight meetings and rang in thirty-eight different towers.

We rang a total of twenty three quarter peals during 2017 (thirteen more than last year and Betty rang in twenty of them!). A peal of minor was rung in Watton on 6th November in memory of John Adcock, long-term member of Watton church, member of the choir and former ringer, on the eve of his funeral, also to coincide with the memorial concert for Leonard Cohen in the Bell Centre, Montreal. We have made a good start this year, let’s keep it up! The Ladies’ Guild are hoping to ring one hundred quarters this year, I’m sure we can supply a good number.

We rang a wide range of methods during 2017: Rounds and call changes on 6 and 8;  plain hunt doubles, minor, triples and major; whole pull and stand; whole pull plain hunt on half muffled bells; treble bob hunt  minor and major; Plain Bob doubles, minor and  triples; Grandsire doubles, triples; St Martin’s doubles; St Simon’s doubles; St Martin’s and St Simon’s spliced; St Nicholas bob doubles; Reverse Canterbury doubles; Stedman doubles and triples; All Saints doubles; April Day doubles; May Day doubles; St Osmund doubles; Reverse St Bartholomew doubles; St Augustine’s doubles; Erin doubles; Shipway Place; Kent treble bob minor; Cambridge surprise minor and major; Little Bob minor and major; St Clements minor; Single Oxford bob minor; Norwich minor; Double Oxford minor; Ipswich surprise minor and Aberdare Triples.. 
Kay Lucas, Secretary
Ringing Master's report for 2017

The Ladies' Guild is a teaching organisation and I am pleased to report that Eastern District members are advancing every year.  As well as tackling a huge variety of methods at practice meetings, this is also very apparent in the methods rung in quarter peals.  Once upon a time Plain Bob Doubles was a struggle, but now the quarters mainly consist of multiple doubles methods, various surprise minor methods and even the occasional triples or major is sometimes attempted.

With Redgrave out of action, the monthly 6 and 8 bell practices have all been held at Gislingham and I am very pleased to see more members taking advantage of ringing basic triples and major methods with the help of the more experienced ringers, who are also more than catered for with surprise minor and major plus Stedman doubles and triples and many other methods besides.  Our twice monthly practices in Norfolk and Suffolk are extremely well attended and I hope the same can be said for the Cambridge and Essex practices which I am sorry to say I have not been able to get to this year.

Carmen Wright, who rings at Thornham Magna, supplied the highlight of the year by winning the Dorothy L. Sayers award for young lady ringers.  The presentation, which took place in Thornham Magna church, was a lovely, friendly occasion with several members of the Dorothy L Sayers Society and our Ladies' Guild president, Helen Webb, attending.  Carmen is an amazing young ringer, who is going from strength to strength, and has just recently, together with her mum Zoe, rung her first peal.

I have no worries for the future of the Ladies' Guild in this district.  It is a very friendly organisation which welcomes new members with open arms and a good supply of cakes!  My thanks go out to all the ladies who keep me well fed and watered at the practices and to our officers, in particular Val Counter, who has done an amazing job as our new Vice President this year, Kay Lucas, who is a brilliant secretary and my two right hand ladies, Angela Packer and Jane Palmer for booking all the towers in Norfolk and Suffolk and most importantly making sure there is always a cup of tea ready when we arrive.  It is easy to thank everyone I see regularly but I must not forget to thank Wendy Godden and Jackie Latham for doing such an excellent job looking after our Essex and Cambridge members. 

Now for 2018, the programme Angela and Jane have arranged for us in Norfolk and Suffolk looks a lot of fun, taking us to all corners of the counties and I am sure Wendy and Jackie have laid on an equally interesting programme for Essex and Cambridge.  Nationally we have a target of 100 quarters to achieve, of which I am sure the Eastern District could manage at least one third.  At recent practices more and more ladies are having a go at conducting so let this be the year please, when more of you conduct your first quarters and give me a rest!

Wishing you all another very happy year, of ringing in good company, with lots of lovely cakes to keep us going.

Betty Baines, Eastern District Ringing Master

Ringing Master's report for Essex and Cambridgeshire 2017 

Four Training mornings have been held in Essex during 2017.  Obviously some have also been held in the Cambs area but we have lost quite a few 3rd Saturdays for assorted reasons!  The first was Easter, the second was August when it’s difficult to get enough members because of holidays, the third one in September was given up for the QDM and our December meeting is always too close to Christmas!. Attendances ranged from seven to eleven, including three visitors.

We continue to ring the staple methods of Plain Bob and Grandsire, but we have also been able to stretch ourselves by learning new methods such as St Augustine, St Osmund and Shipway Place.

The November Quarterly District Meeting was held in Essex and although somewhat poorly attended those who did come really enjoyed the half-muffled ringing and were able to take several ideas back to their home towers.  Two half-muffled quarter peals were attempted in the afternoon with one being successful.

We have, sadly, had to say farewell to our dear friend, Charmaine, who moved to Scotland in November to be with her boyfriend, Euan.  We were delighted to hear of their engagement just before Christmas - those of you on Facebook will have seen her beautiful ring.  We miss you, Charmaine, and thank you for all you’ve done for Ladies Guild and especially for our District.  We wish you well.

My thanks to all those who so regularly turn up to Training mornings and help to make them useful and enjoyable.
Wendy Godden, Assistant Ringing Master


District Secretary's report for 2016

We continue to attract new members to our District. We are delighted to welcome them and hope they enjoy their membership.

This year we held forty meetings and rang in 43 different towers! Numbers attending the meetings varied from 22 to 5 which is very disappointing for those who have travelled a distance. However the most usual number is 10.

We rang a total of ten quarter peals during 2015 (five fewer than last year). A peal of surprise minor was rung to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday and significant birthdays for Betty Baines. Theo Crowder and Janet Garnett.

We rang a wide range of methods during 2016:-
Rounds and call changes; plain hunt doubles and triples; treble bob hunt minor and major; Plain Bob doubles, minor, triples and major; Grandsire doubles, triples; St Martin’s doubles; St Simon’s doubles; St Nicholas bob doubles; St Remigius bob doubles; Banana doubles; Reverse Canterbury doubles; Stedman doubles and triples; All Saints doubles; April Day doubles; Evening Star; St Osmund doubles; Reverse St Bartholomew doubles; Kent treble bob minor and major; Cambridge surprise minor and major; Little Bob minor; St Clements minor; Double Court minor; Single Oxford bob minor; Killarney bob minor; Buxton; Norwich; Double Oxford; Ipswich surprise minor; London Surprise minor; Bourne surprise minor; Oxford bob triples and Yorkshire Surprise major. 
Kay Lucas, Secretary
Ringing Master's report for 2016

I begin this report by apologising to Essex and Cambridgeshire. I have not been able to attend their practices so my comments and observations mainly refer to the Norfolk and Suffolk diary of events. Firstly I would like to thank our district reps for booking such a varied and interesting programme this year. Also I would like to congratulate them for thinking about where our members live and booking towers in all corners of the counties so that sometimes those members on the perimeter are spared a long drive.

We visited some new venues, such as Little Walsingham in North Norfolk, where we enjoyed the wonderful display of snowdrops, marvelled at the beautiful ceiling at Huntingfield and experienced driving out into the unknown in the search for Euston church in its peaceful parkland setting. We also returned to some old favourites like Polstead, where we always receive a very warm welcome and Reydon for our annual summer trip to the seaside. The rest, as far as I can remember were Scole, Saxlingham Nethergate, Woodton, Wetherden, Mundford, Bressingham, Kersey, East Harling, Surlingham, Mendham, Reepham, Blo Norton, Great Ellingham and finally Kenninghall in December, prior to enjoying our annual Christmas lunch at North Lopham King’s Head, thanks to Angela Packer’s excellent arrangements.

To try to attract more members to visit the other two counties in our district, we decided to only hold one business meeting a year, which would be at the ADM and the three quarterlies would be special events. The first was a tower grab in Cambridgeshire in June. It was great fun but poorly attended, which was a great shame as those who arranged it put in a lot of effort to make it a success. In September, Wendy Godden organised a wonderful day out to the glass tower at Basildon plus more towers in the surrounding area. This attracted a few more members than the tower-grab but I can't help thinking that those who were unable to go missed out on a superb day. 
 
The November quarterly meeting was advertised as a practice followed by quarter peals at three previously booked towers. This was the worst attended meeting I have ever been to, which I found difficult to understand as there have been so many requests to hold quarter peals after a practice to make it worthwhile travelling long distances. We had just enough members there to ring a quarter peal of Bob Doubles at Carleton Rode in the afternoon.

The first Saturday of the month special 8 and 6 bell practices at Gislingham and Redgrave have had mixed attendances and of course this affects the range of methods rung. I have heard some worrying comments from our members that it is not worth going as they are unable to ring the methods they wanted.
My reply is always the same; if everyone attended we could ring almost anything. For the coming year, I am going to try to remember to advertise in advance the methods we hope to ring, which will possibly encourage more members to attend.

Quarter peals were a little thin on the ground last year but 2017 has started well. In January, Clare Grant rang her first quarter peal since 1973 and Zoe and Carmen Wright rang their first quarters inside. These were followed in February by first inside to Reverse Canterbury for Zoe, Carmen and Jane Palmer, with one of these quarters being rung in memory of Freda Cannon, a former Ladies' Guild president. I am a great believer in the benefit of ringing quarter peals as it helps to cement a method in your memory.

An extra bonus for us this year, was to welcome Ladies' Guild members from all over the country to Norfolk for their annual Ladies' Guild ringing holiday. It was a great pleasure for me to meet up with friends I haven't seen for some time. I used to go on these holidays regularly and I would highly recommend them to everyone regardless of ability.

The aim of the Ladies' Guild is to help our members grow in confidence and increase their skills, and for those members who attend regularly I can see a vast improvement. More and more members now confidently raise and lower in peal, attempt new methods and much to my pleasure happily conduct methods on 5, 6, 7 and even 8 bells. Congratulations to you all.
Betty Baines, Eastern District Ringing Master

District Secretary's report for 2015

We continue to attract new members to our District. We are delighted to welcome them and hope they enjoy their membership.
This year practices and district meetings (where all four counties meet together) took place in 48 different towers. I would ask that if I am not at a practice that someone takes a note of those attending and the methods rung. I keep the official record book of all our meetings and unfortunately there are some blanks; most notably the September quarterly meeting in Norfolk. Numbers attending the meetings varied from 31 at the ADM last March to only 5 on four occasions which is very disappointing for those who have travelled a distance. However the most usual number is 10.

We rang a total of fifteen quarter peals during 2015 (one fewer than last year). A peal of minor was rung to celebrate Marina Warner’s significant birthday.

We rang a wide range of methods during 2015:- Rounds and call changes; Single Court minimus; plain hunt doubles, triples and caters; whole pull plain hunt doubles; treble bob hunt minimus and minor; Plain Bob doubles, minor, triples and major; whole pull Plain Bob doubles; Grandsire doubles, triples and caters; St Martin’s doubles; St Simon’s doubles and triples; reverse Canterbury doubles; Stedman doubles and triples; reverse Stedman doubles; Winchenden Place doubles; All Saints doubles; April Day doubles; St Osmund doubles; reverse St Bartholomew doubles; Kent treble bob minor; Cambridge surprise minor; Little Bob minor; St Clements minor; the Dream minor; Double Court minor; Pinehurst; Single Oxford bob minor; Beverley surprise minor; Norwich; Double Oxford; Ipswich surprise minor Primrose surprise minor; Childwall; York; Annable’s London; Double Court Minor; Oxford treble bob minor; Bourne surprise minor; Oxford bob triples; Cambridge surprise major and Kent treble bob major.
Kay Lucas, Secretary

Ringing Master's report for 2015

There has been a lot of discussion lately about attendance figures at practice and quarterly meetings, with distances members have to travel being the biggest problem. Our district covers a huge area which will always cause problems for those living on the perimeter. We have hopefully made it possible for most members to attend the ADM by choosing venues close to the A14 in Suffolk, which seems to be accessible from all four counties, but the quarterly meetings suffer badly from travelling distances as they are still held in the other three counties. The local practices seem to attract a loyal group, who are happy to come wherever they are held but we are sometimes short of experienced ringers who could make a big difference for those wishing to learn new methods.

I think, once again, this is generally due to where the practices are held and the need to attend Association and Guild meetings in the afternoon. I feel this is something we will have to live with as it is important that we reach all parts of the district and I hope those attending will be happy to ring whatever methods the members present are capable of ringing.

In 2015, as an example of how far we moved around the area, the Norfolk and Suffolk group visited Elvedon, Halesworth, Sudbury St. Gregory's, Orford, Cromer, Southrepps and East Rudham as well as our old favourites central to the two counties. The 6 and 8 bell training mornings seem to have found permanent homes at Redgrave and Gislingham and have been very successful, attracting a good cross section of abilities and a pleasing variety of methods. I am hoping these will continue in 2016 with more members trying Treble Bob and Surprise Minor and Major. The mainstays of Grandsire, Stedman and Thirds and Back will not be forgotten but hopefully once the doubles version of these methods has been mastered, I am hoping everyone will give triples a try. 

I hope this report does not give the impression that we are not moving forward. Once upon a time we were lucky if we could ring and conduct Plain Bob without help from the gentlemen. We are now more than capable of ringing and conducting quarter peals and peals in both plain methods and surprise, and although some of us are not quite as fit as we used to be, we are happy to turn in tenors when the need arises. The Ladies' Guild is still fulfilling its purpose of advancing the art of ringing and I still feel a tremendous sense of achievement when a member rings a touch of something they have been struggling with for some time or, as has happened this year, a lady has come back to ringing after a gap of over 30 years, started from scratch again and is now plain hunting the treble with confidence. For me, that is what the Ladies' Guild is all about and I don't mind how far I travel to be a part of it.
Betty Baines, Eastern District Ringing Master

Essex and Cambs Reports for 2015

Five Training mornings have been held in Essex since our last ADM with December being omitted because of its close proximity to Christmas. 

Attendances ranged from six to twenty, this number included four visitors, three of whom have since been elected as members.

Although one or two Essex members resigned during the year, It has been especially pleasing to have welcomed several new ones making it possible to share transport when travelling the further distances of our large district, but more importantly, to be able to ring quarter peals nearer to home. Charmane May has done sterling work in organising these and although our success rate has been mixed, we are improving all the time. (She also makes very scrummy cakes!) Our method repertoire at Practices has also improved, varying from the staples of Plain Bob and Grandsire right through to Surprise Minor. A few members have also made their first attempts at calling touches

My thanks to all the members, (not just those from Essex), who come so regularly and help to make our practices encouraging, useful, and best of all, enjoyable.
Wendy Godden, (Assistant Ringing Master) 

Cambridge has also held five practices and the numbers attending have been very similar. We get quite a lot of crossover between the two counties, for which I know we are all grateful.

We have had quite a productive year in terms of what we ring, with methods being focused on for a variety of reasons – either someone has put in a special request, or members are hoping to ring a quarter peal. We didn’t gain or lose any members in Cambs in 2015. As always, the cake is much appreciated and always delicious. We don’t have a ‘Charmane’ sadly, but we do have a variety of talented bakers.

I hope we continue with enjoyable and supportive practices during the next year.
Jackie Latham, (Assistant Ringing Master – Cambs)

District Secretary's report for 2014

2014 started with lots of celebrations for Betty receiving her MBE in the New Year's Honours list! A real achievement which is well deserved. The Ringing World website said "We were delighted to hear that Mrs Betty Baines of Diss, Norfolk was awarded an MBE in the Queen's New Year Honours — "For services to Bell Ringing in Norfolk and North Suffolk". 

As always, we continue to attract new members to our District. We are delighted to welcome them and hope they enjoy their membership. 

This year practices and district meetings (where all four counties meet together) took place in 48 different towers.

We rang a total of sixteen quarter peals during 2014, a number of which were to congratulate Betty on receiving her MBE. A peal of mixed doubles was rung to celebrate Wendy Godden's 70th birthday.
Kay Lucas

Ringing Master's report for 2014

Whenever I am asked to write a report my mind goes blank and panic sets in. I simply have to wait for inspiration to strike. This should not be a difficult task, considering the amazing year I have experienced in 2014, but so much of that was personal and I wanted to talk about the district as a whole.

It took an ordinary practice morning at Ditchingham to spur me on. We had a reasonable number of members present, with a cross section of ringing abilities but it was one of those days when everything we tried was successful. We even rang two totally new methods, Reverse Stedman and the appropriately named "The Dream". I believe everyone enjoyed the morning and went home with a smile on their faces, I know I did, you could say I drove home in a "dream".

I am always being asked, what is so special about the Ladies' Guild as it is a well known fact that I prefer it to the Association meetings. My reply is nearly always the same, it is our members' enthusiasm for ringing, which is easily proven by the vast distances some have to travel to attend meetings and practices, of course the lovely cakes are an added enticement but most of all I believe it is the friendly atmosphere that makes the whole experience so enjoyable.

When I first joined the Ladies' Guild, we were lucky if we could raise a band to ring 6 bells without asking for help from the gentlemen. Now we have grown to such an extent that we have two groups, each covering two counties and offering 5 or 6 practices a month. Also nearly every month a ladies' quarter peal is rung somewhere in the district and ladies' peals are nowhere near as rare as they used to be.

The introduction of the special 8 bell practices has been extremely beneficial. It has enabled members who normally ring on 6 bells the chance to advance onto 8 and it has also filled a gap for experienced ringers who would like to ring something challenging like surprise major, which may not be possible in their own towers due to a shortage of ringers able to ring to that standard. Unfortunately the special 6 bell practices have not been so successful. This could possibly be my fault for not advertising in advance the methods to practice or it could mean that it is not needed as the normal twice monthly practices already cover everything they wish to ring. I have, however, been approached to offer the occasional intensive practice on one or two methods, together with instruction on calling touches.

My own personal achievement during the year was ringing "rounds" at St. Paul's Cathedral. As I said at the beginning of this report, 2014 was an amazing year for me and that was mainly due to a group of our ladies working extremely hard to obtain the MBE for me. When I received my medal from HRH Prince Charles his first words were, that it was good that there are still dedicated people, keeping the bells ringing, and I believe these words completely sum up the Ladies' Guild. 

Betty Baines