For probably the first time – Bell Ringing – could be found in the Times to the Daily Mail newspapers and even mentioned by the B.B.C. in some news programmes, even on Radio 4’s News Quiz. What was it all about – apparently one section of bell ringers wanted bell ringing to be declared a ‘sport’! It is true that we do have competitions, we belong to the Essex ringers (E.A.C.R.) and they do have a number of ringing competitions both local and regional and then upwards to national but I don’t think you could put them on a par with real sport. We certainly would not compete in the Olympics although we did have a great big mighty bell for the opening ceremony of the London Olympics which seemed to deafen the opening singers.
In the past bell ringing has been categorised as an Exercise, as in the 18th.Century it was fairly hard work to ring a bell and the young men of the day saw it as a ‘work out’. The locals got fed up with the continual noise of church bells, so they had to silence them and still ring, hence dumb bells. Today bells are much easier to ring but it is true you get upper body exercise with the rhythm of ringing but it can be easily negated with the 100 metre dash to the pub. We probably get more exercise climbing the never ending spiral stairs, where half way up we need extra oxygen and a sit down.
I think the idea of making bell ringing a sport is to try to get more younger ringers and perhaps to get a bit of funding and after all I think ‘Bridge’ is trying to become a sport. Not only has bell ringing been described as an Exercise but has also claimed to be an Art and a Science. By the way another official section of bell ringers say that ringing is first and foremost – to aid Worship on a Sunday by ringing for Sunday Services and other Services. I think that bell ringing is an art and a science and we do ring for Sunday Services but it is more, a lot more but we should not make it too serious as what we do, we enjoy, as we enjoy most of the people we ring with but are they a team or a band?
This month we will be doing our usual Spring Clean of the bells, clock chamber, ringing room, stairs etc. and changing the bell ropes between the bells to even the wear, plus a bit of oiling and greasing – the bells not the ringers. I wonder if all that is an art or a science or even a sport.
We are also looking forward to our first ringing outing of the year on Saturday April 30th to Sussex. Also, we are trying to plan a bell ringing OPEN EVENING on Monday 25th. April for anyone to come and find out if bell ringing is an art or a science or even a sport…. mind you - do you get cake in sport, yes I know about cricket!
BELLS AND CAKE
MONDAY APRIL 25TH.
7.30.PM. to 9.15.PM.
COME AND SEE US
By the way none of us seem to know what has happened to the London Olympic bell, we saw it for the opening ceremony but then it was gone, it was not even there for the rest of the Olympics. It was a great big bell but where is it and are they ever going to do anything with it.