A fabulous afternoon was had by all on Sunday 12th August at Little Stoke Bank Farm, where Peter and Sue Cornah hosted a garden party in aid of St Milburga’s Church Bell Project.
In spite of the ominous weather outlook, the rain fizzled out just in time for the arrival of the Lichfield Diocese mini-ring of bells, which would form the centrepiece for the afternoon. Spanners in hand, a group of dedicated St Milburga ringers helped Phil Gay to unpack the apparatus from its trailer and set it up with all the skill (if not the speed) of a team of Krypton Factor contestants. Two hours later, a full mobile belfry had miraculously materialised and the garden party was all set to get underway.
Behind the scenes, Peter and Sue had been working round the clock to set up a number of family attractions for non-bell ringing enthusiasts, such as a treasure hunt, a campfire bake-off, a DIY puppet theatre, giant bubble making and story time in the tipi. Plus, there were always Angela & Geoffrey (Stoke St Milborough’s celebrity mini-donkeys) to make a fuss of. There were fabulous performances from Sue’s madrigal group and the Stoke St Milborough hand-bell ringers and, of course, copious quantities of tea and cakes!
The mini-ring of bells was a great success, attracting much interest from established and new ringers alike. The technique required to ring them is certainly very different from that used in a traditional bell-tower, but with perseverance, everybody was able to get them going and ring some rounds, call changes and even methods. Ringers from all over the Church Stretton district came along to offer their support and, along with those attending for the family activities, the number of attendees was well over one hundred.
In total the event raised £375 for the ongoing project at St Milburga’s to fit a new ring of bells in the tower and huge thanks should go to Peter and Sue Cornah for their hospitality and generosity in creating this event for the benefit of the community.
From 20th to 23rd March, seventeen bell-ringers from Stoke St Milborough undertook a tour of eight different churches on and around the Suffolk coast. The aim of the trip was to give the Stoke ringers the opportunity to try out the bells in another part of the country, both to hone their existing skills and to add some brand new experiences. For example, the tower at Grundisburgh has 12 bells (four more than we are used to at Stoke), so we were able to ring methods and call changes which would not be possible in the local area.
Ringers of all levels were present on the trip and their various needs were amply catered for: with at least 45 minutes of ringing at each tower, there was more than enough to keep everyone busy.
There was also ample opportunity to look around the churches themselves, complete with detailed and fascinating historical notes compiled in advance by Peter Cornah. Other churches on our circuit were at Chediston, Wissett, Blythburgh, Reydon, Ufford, Orford and Aldeburgh.
We enjoyed taking the time to look around the towns and villages during our ‘down time’ and evenings were rounded off with fantastic meals in assorted local hostelries.
Huge thanks go to Peter and Sue Cornah for organising the trip and to the captains at the towers we visited for their kindness and hospitality.
From left: Margaret Oakley (1), Joanie Richards (2), Sue Rees (3), Henry Lewis (5), Martin Scott (4), Ashley Smith (6)
On 19 October 2017, a Quarter Peal of Doubles was rung at the Church of St Peter and St Paul in Eye, Herefordshire by a group of regular ringers of St Milburga's. This was the first Quarter Peal for Ashley Smith (6) and the most methods rung by Joanie Richards (2). Further details of the ringers and the methods rung are given on Bellboard