Sussex Young Ringers achieved a superb 2nd place at the Ringing World National Youth Contest in York. Competing against 16 other teams in the Call Change contest, they were narrowly beaten by Durham & Newcastle. This year’s band included two new members – ringers from Southover, Lewes.
Michael Shaw captained the band, devising a set of call changes to meet the requirements of the contest: 160 rows of changes to include 2 of the 3 changes, Queens, Tittums and Whittingtons. After 3 focused practices during June, plus some additional coaching from Michael, the team were ready to go.
St Lawrence was a 30-minute hike from our city centre accommodation but we made it in good time for photos and nervous chatter. Being drawn first isn’t usually ideal, but for young ringers, the prospect of turning up, ringing and getting on with the rest of the day is just fine. What a day that was – a tailormade itinerary taking us to most of the city centre towers by foot, the highlight being a slot midday to ring at York Minster 12, 59-1-23. The ringing here was run by Simon Edwards who many in Sussex will know as a founding member of the Lilliputter’s Guild. We joined with two other counties and ringing was deftly arranged to ensure all had a fair go at these glorious bells. The experience of ringing on a ring with the fourth heaviest tenor in the country was certainly a challenge – needing each stroke on all bells 1-8 to be held up to accommodate the larger bells slow swing. Opportunity to ring the Tenor came to all who wanted, so many of the Sussex team had a go and everyone of the team made Sussex proud.
Results were delivered at the Central Methodist Church and Sussex was sat in the Choir stalls at the front, opposite our Surrey Striker friends! It was a thrill to see to SYR alumni on the podium as assistant judges – Molly Smith and Rachel Mahoney - and they were clearly pleased with what they had heard! In contest tradition, a number of thank yous were delivered and then it was results time: Results were read in reverse order. Not hearing any of the other teams’ performances meant we had no idea where we might be, but we all knew we stood a good chance of Top 5. As places reduced, we sat nervously awaiting the final 2 results… there was that anticipation that we might have done it: Team 1 (Sussex) was called in 2nd Place and with massive grins the team collected their medals from the RWNYC team and returned to their seats to applaud Durham & Newcastle into 1st place.
York 2023 was a huge success for Sussex but we say farewell to 3 band members this year as they go on to University. Katherine Quigley (Billingshurst) joined SYR in 2016 in London, Jonathan Martin (Hurst) joined in 2021 at Worcester and Michael Shaw has been part of the RWNYC contest since Liverpool 2019.
Sussex Young Ringers will be going to the RWNYC London on Saturday 6 July 2024. If you are a young ringer, you know a young ringer – get that date in the diary.
Meanwhile we continue to meet for ringing and fun – our next mini-outing is on Friday 28 July and everyone is welcome!
Soundbow will carry a full report of the weekend, including details of a challenging quarter peal scored on the SYR handbells.