Chapter 3 - Other People and Activities
Other things about people.
As mentioned above, John Baldwin was Master in 1977, and was also one of our Central Council Representatives. He served on several committees of the Council, becoming Vice President in 1984 and President in 1987, both offices being held for 3 years. This is the only time that any Council member representing one of the Welsh ringing organisations has held this high office. John served with distinction, bringing much credit to the Association.
Members of the Association have also been active in other ringing organisations. In 1985, Paul Williams of Bassaleg and Newport, followed in the footsteps of John Phillips, and became the Master of the Ancient Society of College Youths. The Society's country meeting was held in Newport in July 1986. Paul also (with Richard Major), started the University of Surrey Society of Change Ringers which still flourishes today (2015) and has an Annual Dinner and a Summer Tour with some 50/60 members. Jacqueline King became President of the Ladies Guild in 1965, and subsequently became their General Secretary, a post which she has now held for many years. Alwyn Lewis for many years represented the Swansea and Brecon Guild on the Central Council, as did Jonathan Lewis for the St David's Guild. Many other members have played a part in various University Societies and non-territorial societies from time to time.
Nevil & RCW - OBE
Other worthies not mentioned elsewhere... ?
Wilfred - Master of ASCY
Other Ringing Activities
Another feature of recent years has been the organisation of striking competitions which have resulted in many large and happy gatherings of members, and a friendly spirit of competition between the towers and the Branches. These competitions have wisely been organised to cover call changes, change ringing, and occasionally handbell ringing.
(We need some history of the Branch and Pitman Trophy (first in 1975) competitions here. Call changes added to Pitman in 1998 - Monmouth Branch suggestion. ?DENNIS PERRY memorial trophy? Pitman moved to a fixed date in 1999.)
On the initiative of the Swansea & Brecon Guild, an annual striking competition involving all four of the Welsh ringing associations was commenced 1990. The trophy, held for one year by the winning team, is a handsome silver tray presented by the S&B in memory of J Arthur Hoare, a well-known Swansea ringer who died in 1988. Our Association has won this on several occasions, including the very first,
and most recently re-gaining it at Brecon in 2006 after being pushed into second place by the North Wales for the previous 4 years.
In an effort to give their ringers a bit of a push, Monmouth Branch introduced their first quarter-peal week in 1990, and Llandaff Branch followed suit the next year. Such was the success of the Monmouth QP week that it was expanded to cover a fortnight in 1994 and has remained so since then. Llandaff eventually did the same in 2001. This inititiative has seen numerous ringers achieve "firsts" of all kinds, with as many as 100 ringers having been involved in a single year.
Another feature of the later post-war years have been the various practices held in the Association’s name. A monthly (mainly surprise) Minor practice, largely based in the Vale, has been held since **** and a similar surprise Major practice has also been going strong since ****. The former was originally organised by ***** and has been run by Dave Bounds since Mike Thomas’ death in 2004, with much assistance from Peter Mayle. The latter was started by Robin Churchill and has been in succession run by Peter Brennan, Fr John Hughes and, since the early 1990s, by Julian Parker.
A monthly mid-week practice was also instituted in December 1994 under the leadership of Catherine Hayman, which then passed to Phil Evans the following year and subsequently, following his "un-retirement" in 1996, to Jenny Mole who has since been running them with great success. There was also a period of successful monthly Saturday practices at Peterstone Wentloog organised by the Rumney and Redwick ringers to give themselves practice on 8. These commenced in 1992 and eventually became the monthly practice of the South-West group of the Monmouth Branch. They ended on a regular basis in 1995, mainly because the SW group’s activities ceased.
In 1988 surprise Royal practices were started by Dave Llewellyn at Llandaff but this was short-lived and ceased in 1991. Much more successful have been the 12-bell practices there started in 1994 by Chris Kipling. Under his leadership new methods such as Newgate and Bristol were introduced, leading in due course to all- resident peals in these methods in 1997. After a gap from January to August in 1998, these practices were then run by Robin Churchill, under whom the band progressed to Spliced Surprise Maximus of which two peals were rung in 2003, one by an all-resident band at Llandaff and the other with ten resident members in at St Stephen’s Bristol. Due to Robin’s work commitment David Moore started to run these practices in 2002, and he finally took over in 2005 when Robin went abroad . The Association was fortunate in having David available, since he had only moved to Llandaff in 2002 following unexpected redundancy from his job in Chicago. When work in turn took him abroad in 2006, Matthew Turner stepped in. Matthew is a Rumney ringer who went to university at Reading in 1995, stayed there to work and then returned to Cardiff in 2004.
Following the recasting of Llandaff’s bells an invitation was made for bands to ring a quarter peal before the mid-afternoon evensong or compline service. The Llandaff Branch have made particular use of this, especially through 1994-98, which has enabled many ringers to experience more advanced ringing and on more bells than available at their own towers. While these QPs have varied in frequency since 1998 they are still alive and well (2010) and enabling ringers to achieve methods not available in their home towers.
Although not strictly an Association event, the invitation from the Westminster Abbey ringers to the band at Llandaff to provide the ringing at the Abbey on New Year’s Day 2006 should be recorded here, as it shows the high regard in which the Cathedral’s band is held. As well as general ringing, a good QP of Grandsire Caters was rung at Westminster and a very memorable day was had by all who made the trip.
Ringing for special events has always been traditional and in more recent years efforts have been made nationally, via the Ringing World to encourage ringers to do this. One such occasion was ringing arranged in 2004 for the 10th birthday of the National Lottery, which provided funding for a number of restoration projects in South Wales. Royal events in particular have always provided an excuse for ringing. The death of Princess Diana in 1997: the 100th birthday in 2000 and death in 2002 of HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother; and the Golden Jubilee in 2002 and 80th birthday in 2006 of HM Queen Elizabeth II are recent such events. The 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar in 2005 was also celebrated by special ringing requested nationally. Nearer home, the opening of the Welsh National Assembly in 1999 and Cardiff’s dual celebration in 2005 of its centenary as a city and its 50th year as the capital city of Wales were also noted by peals and quarter peals.