Rutland Bellringers Newsletter for March 2017


Dates for your Diary!

GuildSponsored Walk or Ride

Saturday 15th April10.00am start.

Rutland Water

Proceeds for Guild Bell Fund


Branch 6 bell Striking Competition

Saturday 29th April 2017 4.00pm-7.00pm



Uppingham Bell Fund Cake & Plant Stall

Saturday 20th May  9.00am-12.00pm.

Uppingham Market Place

Branch 8-Bell Practices


4th April 2017.  7.30pm


Uppingham intermediate 8 bell practice

Every 3rd Thursday. 7.30pm.

16th March &  20th April. 


Items for the April newsletter by Friday 31st March please

Sue Webster

John Webster (1948 - 2017)

Branch Bell Steward for Rutland and Tower Captain at St Peter and St Paul Uppingham John Webster was well known to the bell ringing community of Rutland. It is with huge sadness I write these words following John’s death on Monday 20th February 2017.

John may have appeared a quiet man but he undertook a huge number of tasks for Rutland bell ringers, family and friends without any fuss or noise.  He generally completed the works within a few days of hearing of a problem. A committed Branch Steward he would regularly climb into cobweb ridden bell towers not often visited, or assist the tower captain in annual inspections and repairs. Across the branch when others were busy at work, stays were miraculously replaced and ropes spliced. Nothing was too much of a problem for John. He has recently been compiling a schedule to ensure bells are reviewed by the relevant PCC at their quinquennial church inspection.

What other branch steward is so dedicated?

The Branch committee agreed a simulator would be a useful addition for training new ringers at Uppingham and within the week the simulator was installed. I remember John showing it to me and asking which bells I would like to hear in the tower (we chose Gloucester Cathedral for the day). Then he showed me the micro switches and cables he had fitted linking the bells to the computer. This technical wizardry became a fantastic training aid which has been used to great effect ever since. But I have to say it was always John who would arrive early, tie off the clappers and set up the computer ready for the lessons. I have lost count of how many learners John has helped to ring. He has lead Saturday morning sessions and also one to ones on Tuesdays and Friday lunchtimes. He would adjust his diary to suit the learner.  He gave his time to quite a number of learners over the last few years and I have been pleased to support him with this. When John said he would do it – he did and others joined him (if the task was not already completed).

John attended the ART teaching course laid on by Rutland Branch and Sue was persuaded to be his guinea pig.  So it was that Sue learned to ring. This meant John and Sue rang together on about 3 nights a week when John was not involved in one of the 4 Masonic Lodges to which he belonged. We will miss John’s enthusiasm and commitment to ringing in and around Uppingham and his teaching. Sue has requested we continue the teaching sessions and, yes we will.

As tower captain for Uppingham John led practices and ensured the church bells are rung for services, even if only 4 bells. This year he has been encouraging the ringing of 8 bells on Thursdays and Louis (Master) has agreed to ensure this practice will continue and grow so all levels of ringer can improve and there is a pool of ringers in Uppingham even if only ringing good call changes on 8

I remember the committee discussion regarding a revamp of the website (such an important means of communication). Weeks later we had a colourful and simple website that I can navigate and so dip into regularly. Yes, you have guessed: John took it on and delivered without fuss.  John and Sue have worked closely on this with Sue preparing the monthly newsletter and John professionally arranging it on the website page, with other suitable news updates.

In addition to bells and the masons, John and Sue would regularly sneak away on their long boat to explore the waterways of England. How did they find the time? I am sure there are many other hobbies and skills John enjoyed that none of us knew about – in addition to the family cycling and walking trips.

John will be hugely missed by his family, his many colleagues and friends and especially the Rutland bell ringers. He may have appeared quiet, but he and Sue have enjoyed a very busy life. Rutland has lost a good friend, steward, captain and all round Mr Fixit. 

I know I speak for the Branch in conveying our very best wishes to Sue, Stephen, Mark and the wider Webster family on Tuesday 7 March.  John will be missed by many.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you all, now, and in future.


Alan Wordie


Rutland Branch PDGBR


Celebrating the life of John Webster, 1948 - 2017

Peterborough Diocesan Guild

Uppingham, Rutland

SS Peter and Paul

Tuesday 7 March 2017 in 48m (14–2–2)

1260 Plain Bob Triples

1 Richard Beadman

2 Janice Atkinson

3 Jane McKee

4 Peggy Jennings

5 Marilyn Tomalin

6 David Couldwell

7 Christopher O'Mahony (C)

8 John Tomalin

Quarter peal team, including Sue Webster

Quarter peal team, including Sue Webster

Peterborough Cathedral Ring

The afternoon of Sunday 26th February saw a number of Branch members congregate at Peterborough Cathedral to ring for the Service of Celebration and thanksgiving for all things Rutland.

I was particularly impressed and if I must say a little overwhelmed by the support. Both myself and our Chairman were really pleased by the number of members who decided to spend their afternoon to come and have a go on the Cathedral Bells.  Having checked, re-checked and checked a 3rd time I'm pretty confident that there were at least 26 of us if not 29ish, which is up from our last visit - either way I was so proud that we represented the Branch and my plan to have some really good rounds and call changes sounded great and certainly did us justice for the event we were representing.

I am very pleased with ALL our band of ringers. I noticed there were some new faces that had never tried ringing on higher numbers of bells before, but my, they certainly got stuck in!  We had 4 sessions of good rounds and call changes, which allowed ringers to 'find' the rhythm of 12 bells, as well as two very well struck courses of Plain Bob Triples and Plain Bob Major respectively. Finally, we finished off with 2 quick sessions of pure rounds for the benefit of our learners before the Bourdon Bell started chiming for the service.

A big vote of thanks must go to Robin and Judith Rogers for allowing us to ring and being excellent hosts. Also thank you to those ringers who were on hand to offer help and stand by some of our learners whilst they rung as support and guidance - without your support they wouldn’t progress.

Finally, I would like to make a personal vote of thanks to you all. Regardless of the time that each of us have been ringing for I believe we all learnt something new from today's experience and as I said I am very proud - A GOOD JOB WELL DONE!!!!!  Louis Totaro

Uppingham Tower Stay

At the behest of both Alan Wordie and Monica Spence, I found some spare time to replace a broken stay on the 5th bell so that ringing can continue undisrupted. Having the time in the belfry allowed me a special privilege to see John Webster's work behind the scenes with the simulator, which was not only impressive, but humbling, showing a great man's interest and dedication. The main thing that John would be pleased with is that the ringing can continue and it is my pleasure to help a Tower's need.

General Maintenance

As Branch Steward John always reminded us of the importance of reporting and keeping our bells in top condition - Therefore, if any towers are aware of general maintenance work (i.e. replacing ropes and stays) that needs urgent attention, and assistance is required, please can they inform the Branchcommittee so that we can offer guidance/help.

Louis Totaro

From the Editor

We have received so many cards, letters, messages and calls.  Thank You all, for your kindness and support in these very difficult days. 

A tribute to the man we knew and loved. 

With our heartfelt thanks and appreciation.

Sue, Stephen & Mark


An explanation why the Backstroke is so helpful


Backstroke – when the rope is around the wheel and ringer has the tail only – is the “power stroke” as the rope has leverage being round ¾ (270 degrees) of the wheel.

This is the easier stroke for the ringer to use to “control” or “recover” the balance position.

At Handstroke there is only ¼ (90 degrees) of the wheel before the garter hole passes the pulley and the rope races away into the tower and around the wheel. If the bell has dropped there is less than 90 degrees so do not attempt a “recovery long pull” on Handstroke Get ready to do so on the next Backstroke (or 2 if needed) thinking and doing –

 “fully drop my hands and roll my wrists if needed”