Rutland Bell-Ringers Newsletter for February 2019


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Rutland Branch PDGCBR Annual Dinner

Date: Friday 29th March

Time: 7.00 for 7.30pm

Venue: Wisteria Hotel, Catmos Street, Oakham

Your committee have agreed to hold the 2019 annual dinner at the Wisteria Hotel (Hunters Bar & Restaurant) in Oakham. This hotel is under new ownership and management and the chef previously had the Barn restaurant in Oakham which had an excellent reputation for food.

There is only limited parking to the rear of the Wisteria (access from South Street) but there is parking in the museum car park (access from South Street) and opposite in the Council offices car park.

Parking is free in the evening.

The evening will follow the usual format but in addition there will be a short talk, with pictures, by our Chairman Alan Wordie, on the exploits of his grandfather, Sir James Wordie, Chief Scientist and Geologist on Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance expeditions 1914-1916.

Attached to this email is a menu and a sheet for your choices which I would ask you to complete so that we can pre-order.

Please return your menu choices to me, or by post (Dog Kennel Cottage,

Burley Park Way, Oakham, LE15 6FB) by Sunday 17th March if not before that date. Please note that any dietary requirements should be noted on the choices form.

Payment: Can be made either by cheque/cash with cheques made out to Rutland Branch PDGCBR. All cheques and cash should be sent to John Tomalin for payment into the Branch account. Alternatively payment can be made by bank transfer and the details you will need are:

Cost is £25 per person for a 3 course meal including Coffee/Tea xx-xx-xx and account number xxxxxxxx.
Please use your surname and dinner as reference.

Please advise Simon Forster ( Tel 01780 7208020 and John Tomalin ( Tel 01572 723184) that payment has been made.

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you at the dinner.

John Tomalin


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Officers and Committee Membership for 2019

The following were elected at the AGM in January, and agreed to take the following roles:

  • Chairman: Alan Wordie

  • Ringing Master: Louis Totaro,

  • Deputy: Alan Ellis,

  • Secretary: Helen Pollard,

  • Treasurer: Simon Forster

  • Membership Sec: Sue Baker

  • Steward: Ted Phillips

  • Press Correspondent & Newsletter Editor: Sue Webster

  • Guild Management: John Tomalin

  • Committee Members: Tim Holt, David Rippin.

If anyone would like to work with the committee, contributing skills or representing members, the Chairman would be pleased to hear from you. Contact Alan Wordie.

Membership Subscriptions 2019

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Thank You to all who have paid their subscription dues already. However, there are still some outstanding and prompt payment would be appreciated.

The Guild have set the level of subscriptions for 2019 at :

£7 for active non-retired members
£3.50 for junior members, in full time education

As usual we encourage members to add an additional amount by way of donation.

Retired members are asked to pay the same amount but all their money is treated as a donation.

For 2019 we encourage members to pay by bank transfer, noting their name and tower in the transaction details , to the bank account as follows :

Bank : HSBC
Account Name : PDGCBR - Rutland Sort Code : xx-xx-xx
Account Number : xxxxxxxx

A confirmation email should be sent to Simon Forster, the Treasurer.

In this email you should note the amounts and members being paid for, together with a note as to whether they are junior (full time education), retired, or not.

Simon Forster, Branch Treasurer.

AGM. 12th January 2019

All Saints, Braunston

The service was led by the Revd Charlotte Osborn, Assistant Curate with the Oakham Team Ministry. She gave an interesting and relevant address, much appreciated by those present. With her consent it is published here, in it’s entirety.

I don’t know if you are regular watchers of the TV Quiz show ‘Only Connect’ on BBC2, which is based on finding the connection between seemingly unrelated clues, but I’d like you to have a go at the following:

  • Cromer Junior School

  • University House Birmingham

  • Repton Prep School

  • Nigeria

  • St Michael’s College Llanda

  • All Saints Oakham

The story of my life in many ways, but specifically places where I have been asked to ring a bell. Whether that be the tarmac playground of my junior school, the hall of residence, the playing fields of Repton, a leprosy mission hospital in Nigeria, in the quad of a theological college or in a parish church, the purpose has remained the same – to call for a response of some kind.

It may be to stop playing and line up for lessons, it may be to alert sleeping students to a fire, it may be to summon a school together on a summer’s evening, it may be to announce a drugs round and the arrival of a doctor, it may be to call theological students to prayer, or parishioners to worship with the sanctuary bell.

It is an arresting, insistent sound, alternatively annoying and comforting, alerting and consoling. And all these of course refer to a single bell.

And the most poignant memory I have of a single bell being tolled, not by me, but calling me to a response, was the muffled bell which seemed to ring forever one icy and foggy January afternoon in Northumberland, calling the village to mourn the death of the vicar’s young son.

But a peal of bells is a very different thing, and I for one love to hear the bells ring out over Oakham every Tuesday evening, and every Sunday morning as they now call me not just to worship, but to lead that worship. However, it is an open secret that clergy and bell ringers have traditionally held each other in deep mutual suspicion.

To the bell ringers, clergy are the pestilential nuisances who ration quarter peals, hide the tower key, preach too long at weddings, come bursting into the ringing chamber ten minutes before a full peal is due to finish and ruin everything, and who make dark remarks about ringers who slope off before the service starts.

Thankfully there is one person (present company excepted or course) who is even more of a nuisance to ringers than the Parson, and that is the Organist, who is always complaining that his playing cannot be heard above the sound of those wretched bells, and why doesn’t the Vicar do something about it?

Well, all this is of course terribly unfair, and at least the ringers can enjoy a good grumble after practice in The Wheatsheaf or the Blue Bell, or any other local hostelry.

2018 saw the revival of many new bands of ringers as over 1,000 churches and cathedrals rang their bells in response to the campaign to Ring Out for Peace, and personally I was delighted by the way that St Andrew’s Hambleton responded to that call and now have a reformed band of ringers eager to ring regularly, some of whom started from scratch and after expert tuition and diligent and determined practice were proud to have taken part in that campaign. I am sure there are many other such stories that will be told later at the AGM.

Church bells call us to the worship of almighty God. You who ring them call us to worship, and we are thankful. But in their ringing, you are of course called to worship too. For as John Donne wrote in his poem entitled ‘For whom the bell tolls’

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,

Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,

For I am involved in mankind.

Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

So, in the same way that each man’s death diminished John Donne, we are diminished by those we miss at worship, those who think the bell does not toll for them, but rather block their ears to its insistent and beautiful voice. We need one another as we come to worship God – each to bring what only we can bring, whether that be the ringing of a bell as we take our part in the peal, or whether that be some other contribution to the worship of God and the great pantheon of praise since the church bell is the mightiest of all musical instruments.

Which is why the traditional rivalry about which I joked earlier actually saddens me, because if what we each bring to worship contains the worship of our hearts and lives, then each contribution is important and is accepted by God in the spirit in which it is offered. Christina Rose ’s famous carol might still be ringing in our ears: what can I give him, poor as I am...what I can I give Him....give my heart. Worship as you can, not as you can’t might be a mantra we could listen more to.

So, let the bells continue to ring out. Let them call us and all people to worship almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shows us how much he loves us by living amongst us and dying for us, a life and death costing not less than everything. Let the bells ring out and speak of all life and all me and all gifts offered in worship to God. Let them call us to worship who ring them too. Thank you all so much for reminding us of that so beautifully, faithfully and clearly, week by week and Sunday by Sunday and may God bless you as you make music for His glory.

Rev’d Charlotte Osborn. Assistant Curate, Oakham