Author Archives: Penny Drayson

Christmas Tree Festival

Holy Trinity held a Christmas Tree Festival at the end of November to coincide with the switch on of the Christmas Lights.  The bell ringers decorated a Christmas tree for this event. It was very successful with over 1,000 visitors during the four days. Afterwards, we put the tree in the ringing room until New Year.Christmas Tree Fest

Darren Osborne’s Final Practice Night

Tonight’s practice was finished with quite a few sad faces all around the tower as Darren Osborne, Development Officer at Rayleigh bid his farewell to the band before moving back to his hometown in Devon.

Darren has been running the practice nights since February and working with the Ringing Master to get the band ringing better and encouraging all band members to improve their skills. And he was just getting into his stride and producing results when sadly his wife Laura, aged 39 passed away at the beginning of June. Darren took the decision to return home to Devon and tonight was his final practice night before he moves.

Not that it made much difference to the practice tonight. Darren ran it exactly the same as every other week, with the exception of calling for a touch of Plain Bob Major and calling it “his final touch”. This was rung excellently by the mix of experienced and not-so-confident ringers and at the end, after a few nice rounds Darren finished with “Stand, and goodnight” which added a finality to his ringing as a member of the Rayleigh band and it all went a little sombre for a little while. Darren said afterwards that he chose the word “Goodnight” rather than goodbye as it’s not a goodbye.

He will come and visit whenever he can and is looking forward to the Rayleigh Outing in October which he will definitely be back for. Darren was presented with a good luck card signed by the ringers in the tower.

Rayleigh at Essex 6 Bell Competition Finals

Bell Ringers of Holy Trinity, Rayleigh, following on from their success in the Southern District 6 Bell Striking Competition rang in the finals of the competition at Nazeing, Essex on Saturday 7th July 2014.

All Saints, Nazeing

All Saints, Nazeing

It was a nice warm afternoon (with the occasional light shower) and the top 2 teams from each of the six districts came together to compete from the trophy.  11 out of the possible 12 teams turned up which is fantastic and the two Southern Teams were drawn early, Prittlewell 1st and Rayleigh 3rd.

Rayleigh finished 9th and Prittlewell, rather respectfully finished 3rd.  Well done to them.

I know this phrase is thrown out there often to make the lesser teams feel better, but in this case the old phrase “It’s the taking part that counts” really does mean something.  Why?  Let me explain.

This is, as far as we can tell the first time Rayleigh has entered a band in this competition for many many years.  David from Prittlewell said he has been ringing in the competition since the 1970s and he cannot remember us entering a team.  So, after our “shock” qualification in the heats (and it was a shock to many other teams) just getting through the to finals and turning up and ringing is a massive achievement.

The quality of the ringing in the final was of a high standard by all teams and the fact that we finished 9th out of 11 should be taken as a positive.  It also highlights the fact that we need to work on our striking a bit more.

Our thanks to Ros Skipper and Jim Laken, regular practice and sunday ringers at Rayleigh for helping us make up a band.  And a special thank you to Southern District and Association Master John Harpole, also a regular ringer at Rayleigh for joining us last minute to make up the 6.

The competition was won by Chemsford Cathedral and second place was Kirby.  Quite rightly too, the two highlights of the day and an absolute pleasure to listen to.

Ros Skipper, David Belcham, Jim Laken, John Harpole, Darren Osborne, Tony Lowe

After the 6 bell competition, everyone went to Harlow Common where an excellent buffet tea was provided.  Immediately after this was the Association 8 Bell Striking Competition where each district enters a team who all ring the same set-piece (this year a plain course of Cambridge Surprise Major) and Darren Osborne was Rayleigh was selected as a member of this band.  The Southern district finished 4th with 19 faults, with only 11.5 faults seperating first from last.

Southern District Striking Competition

We don’t know the last time we entered the Essex Association 6 bell Striking Competition but this year, with a little gentle persuasion Darren Osborne, Development Officer wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Striking Competitions are important. They are important for networking, socialising and showing off your tower and it’s ringers at their best to the public.

There was six teams from six different towers. We were drawn to ring last. As Development Officer, I didn’t care if we finished in last position. It was about being there and completing the test piece to the best of our abilities.

We actually came second, narrowing beaten by the winners Prittlewell who by far rang the best on the day. No arguments there.

The top two teams go through to the Essex Association Finals in July, where the best two teams from each district battle it out for the title.

As we finished second, we are through to the finals!

Thanks to Ros Skipper, Jim Laken, David Belcham, Doug Bowles and Tony Lowe for keeping your place and ringing steady.

Roll on July!

Darren Osborne picking up the certificate on behalf of the Rayleigh Ringers.  Picture taken from the Southern District Facebook Group.

Darren Osborne picking up the certificate on behalf of the Rayleigh Ringers. Picture taken from the Southern District Facebook Group.

Tower Open Day

On Monday 5th May, Rayleigh had it’s annual Tower Open day, giving the public the opportunity to climb the tower and find out a little about the bell ringing and how it all works.

After being advertised very well, including the tower being part of the BBC Essex Quest the day before hundreds of people turned up to climb the tower in groups of between 10 and 20 people, and it was steady and consistent all day.

The first stop was the ringing room where they were able to grab a seat and have a little rest and were treated to a 10-15 minute talk on what bell ringing is, demonstration of how we ring and answering any questions they might have before continuing to the top of the tower to enjoy the views.

It was a great event for the tower, the church and more importantly the art of Bell Ringing as a whole in Essex.  We hope most visitors went away happy and more informed.