The DLS Award

2015 to present

The Dorothy L. Sayers Young Lady Ringer of the Year Award


Applications for the 2020 award are now open. The deadline for applications is 31st December 2019. The rules and an application form are available here. Please contact the Guild President for any more details.

Reports on the DLS awards for 2009 - 2014 are here.

2019 - Alice Pugh, Marches District

The Dorothy L Sayers award for 2019 was presented to Alice Pugh of the Marches District on 28th September 2019.

When the award was announced at the AGM, Rhiannon Pugh said that Alice had been ringing since age 13, was age 16 now and had rung Ladies Guild quarter peals. Alison Williams asked Districts to encourage their young members to apply for the award and to make sure nominations are sent to her by the end of the year.

2018 - Alex Durrant, Western District

This year’s winner was Alex Durrant of the Western District. She was taught to ring by Jan Wyatt from 10 years old. The presentation was on 8th September at Clapton in Gordano. This is the 10th year since the inception of the award.


Last weekend I went on my first ever ringing course at Hereford. I was lucky enough to go because I won the Dorothy L Sayers award - young lady ringer of the year competition in the year 2018 and the prize was the funding for a weekend bell ringers course.

The course was really helpful in improving my ringing, and I managed to learn two new methods whilst there, bob minor and little bob. There were many different lectures which I attended which also helped me with the theory of the methods and really helped me understand what I was ringing.

One highlight of my trip was going to ring the bells at Hereford cathedral because it was my first opportunity to ring in a cathedral. All the helpers were really friendly and patient and helped the whole group to learn to ring their method.

I would like to thank the Western district for supporting me and in particular my tower captain Jan Wyatt who organised additional practices and theory lessons to prepare me for the course.

2017 - Carmen Wright, Eastern District


Helen Webb writes:

On Friday 15th September, about 20 members of the Eastern district of the Ladies Guild, and six members of the Dorothy L Sayers Society converged on the church of St Mary Magdalene, Thornham Magna, in Suffolk. We were there to attend the presentation of the Dorothy L Sayers Society Young Ladies Guild Ringer Award 2017 to the winner, Carmen Wright. When I arrived, the bells were being raised in the tower, and canapes were being served in the nave of the church. Prior to the arrival of the members of the DLS Society, when wine was served and more canapes appeared, everyone had an opportunity to have a ring on the bells.

The presentation began with an introduction and welcome by Val Counter, Vice President of the Eastern district. Sylvie Fawcett, who rings at Thornham Magna, gave a short talk about the village, church, and bells of Thornham Magna: the oldest of the ring of six bells date from the 1490s; and an interesting feature of the church is the window at the west end on the south side of the nave, which was designed by Burne Jones and made by Morris & Co. This was followed by a brief introduction by Seona Ford, Chair of the DLS Society, to life and work of Dorothy L Sayers, and the purpose and activities of the Dorothy L Sayers Society. The Society also gives awards for music, design, and theatre, which represent some of the other interests of Dorothy L Sayers.

Betty Baines spoke about the Eastern District of the Ladies Guild: this is the largest district in the Guild both geographically and in terms of the membership. Betty also talked about the purpose of the Ladies Guild as a learning organisation in which members can progress in a supportive and encouraging environment. A touch of Grandsire Doubles, with Carmen in the band, was then rung, before three members of the Dorothy L Sayers Society delivered a reading from the Nine Tailors. The award was then presented to Carmen by Seona Ford. After Carmen said her "thank yous", her mother, Zoe, was presented with a bouquet of flowers from the Eastern district; Val explained that this was to acknowledge the support that Zoe, who started learning to ring at the same time, has given to Carmen.

A very short speech of thanks from me closed the formal part of the evening. After the group photograph was taken with several cameras, we took the opportunity to mingle and chat while we quite happily did justice to the comestibles provided by the members of the district.

Carmen Wright by Betty Baines, Ringing Master Eastern District

Carmen started ringing in June 2013 at the age of 9, with the aid of several boxes. She accompanied her mother Zoe to the Thornham Magna practices, where they both learned together, taught by Sylvie Fawcett. They were both enrolled in the “Learning the Ropes” progressive learning scheme and Carmen rapidly advanced from level 1, ringing rounds in February 2015, trebling to her first quarter peal in April 2016 for level 3, ringing her first quarter inside to Plain Bob Doubles in January 2017 for level 4, and in two weeks time she will be attempting to ring her first quarter inside to Plain Bob Minor for level 5, which will complete the final stage. In between times, she has rung several quarter peals of doubles, inside, in various methods and has become something of a perfectionist, getting very cross with herself if she makes a mistake. Carmen has a tremendous talent for the art of bell ringing. She is not put off by ringing at new towers and has a special ability to be able to look at the line of a method and go ahead and ring it. Both Carmen and Zoe are valued members of the Ladies Guild and we hope they will continue to enjoy the challenge of learning more advanced methods and visiting lots more towers within our district and hopefully further afield.

2016 - Rebecca Stuttard, South Eastern District

Report by Helen Webb, President of the Ladies' Guild.

The award was presented to Rebecca Stuttard of South Eastern district, at Kemsing on Friday 30th September.

Members of the Dorothy L Sayers Society travelled from Essex, Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire for the presentation. One of them is a ringer, so we had a ring before the presentation, to ensure that he got a grab.

Fraser Clift, Ringing Master at Kemsing, welcomed us all and talked about some of the interesting features of the church, literary links with the village and some quotes from Dorothy L Sayers.

Seona Ford, Chair of the Society, spoke about the life and work of Dorothy L Sayers. I spoke about the Ladies Guild and we then rang a touch of Grandsire Doubles. Members of the Society read an extract from the "Nine Tailors" after which Seona presented Rebecca with the award.

Following group photos, the members of the Society headed off to the local pub for dinner while we stayed in the church and made suitable inroads into the feast kindly provided by Caroline Stockmann and appreciated by us!

Rebecca Stuttard's report

Winning the Dorothy L. Sayers Award last year enabled me to go to Bradfield on a three-day intensive training course, which was an amazing opportunity. I set out to improve my grasp of Cambridge Surprise Major and perhaps breach Yorkshire territory (for non-ringers: debatably the two simplest methods/ tunes out of the ‘Standard Eight’ methods – on eight bells - which require a lot of study/ concentration). Yet, with the encouragement of my tutor, Tom Hinks, I managed both and ended up able to ring some Bristol and five-spliced (a considerably more complicated mashing together of methods/ tunes!) by the final day.

There was a good mixture of theory and practical sessions and people were free to sign up to training sessions and talks ranging from beginners’ hand-bells to a Yorkshire Royal tutorial (10 bells), so there was something for everyone.

The course reinvigorated my interest in ringing because the support of the course’s many helpers and tutors allowed me to progress quickly in a short period of time; equally important was this residential course’s social events, which allowed me to meet ringers with similar interests. I made contact with several ringers from in and around Warwick (where I’m going to university in October 2017), so that I feel like I’m already welcomed and have friends who will help me keep up my ringing while I’m there.

From left to right: Caroline Stockmann, Isabel Pearce, two DLS Society members, Fraser Clift, Seona Ford and another DLS member, Rebecca Stuttard, two more DLS members, me, Michael Stuttard
Rebecca and Seona

2015 - Hannah Williams, Central District

Hannah Williams from Harefield Middlesex was presented with The Young Ringer of The Year Award by Seona Ford of The Dorothy L Sayers Society on Wednesday 23rd September at 7.00 pm at St Mary’s Church Harefield. Pictured (left) with Hannah and Seona Ford is Liz Davey, President of the Ladies Guild. Hannah from Central District is a third generation ringer, pictured right with her Grandfather Chris Lomax from Pinner, Mum Danielle and Dad Mark who has also learnt to ring making it a family event. She received a cheque which she intends to spend on a Ringing Course, to enable her to move from ringing Plain Hunt on 5 and 6 bells to method ringing. We wish her every success.