The first few months as Association Master have been fairly busy, namely joining practices around the County to hand out 50 year membership certificates. The first of these visits was to Burgess Hill, where Alan Seymour had invited along so many friends of Bill Hubbard, that there was hardly room to stand let alone ring. However a good time was had by all and it was really good t
Similar numbers were at Southover's practice when it was arranged for me to go there to present Arthur Snell with his 50 year membership certificate. Again, finding space to sit when not ringing was difficult, but the evening was made all the more enjoyable by having cake to eat.
Then it was Sonia Rix's turn to receive her certificate, but she doesn't go ringing these days. The answer, in a pub of course. A lot of people turned to see what was happening when I stood up with the Master's Chain on, as I struck a glass with a spoon before presenting Sonia with her certificate.
My final presentation was to Ruth Reynolds at St. Mary's, Eastbourne. This time it was a 60 year certificate and a grand reception was laid on for Ruth in the Ringing Room, with cake, drinks, and presentations of not only her certificate, but also a copy of the 4 peals board in the tower which were all rung for either Ruth or her husband, Harold, or for both of them.
Now for a little bit of a gripe. Our Association's rule 2a, states that, The Aims of the Association are to be of service to the Church in Sussex, within the Diocese of Chichester by promoting the ringing of church bells to call people to worship. I thought this was obvious, but I was quite taken aback recently when I found out that there were people who would not ring for Sunday services, because the ringing would not be up to their standard. It is the duty of all ringers to ring for services whenever possible, and to help to raise the standard of the band, and help to attain the standards required.
The Sussex Young Ringers did a marvellous job coming equal 2nd in the Ringing World Young Ringers Contest held in Oxford, and I was with them for their 3 tower outing in Worthing. However, on their outing, there were occasions during call changes that some didn't know who to ring over. This highlighted the age old question of whether to call up or down. I personally prefer to call down, because I believe that it gives the most amount of information to the ringers, especially the person being called down, as he/she will be the first of the 3 affected bells to strike. Anyway, I know there are others who firmly believe the opposite, but I do think that everyone would benefit if taught to ring with calls being made both ways, but not during the same ring.
May I wish you all a very Merry Ringing Christmas!
Graham Hills (published in Soundbow Autumn 2015)