Bell Ringing as a Sport

Could Bell Ringing be a Sport?

   No problem, say some. Sport already includes snooker, darts, synchronized swimming. So why not another pastime requiring physical co-ordination?

   The question is being debated in the ringing community and there are arguments for and against. Increasing the appeal of bell ringing will attract vital new blood to this English tradition (currently dominated by middle aged and elderly participants) and ensure it continues.

   The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers say it may be a team activity but the tradition is centered on churches and therefore part of worship and should bell towers be the right place for point scoring?

   Actually bell ringing is not solely associated with worship. There are civic and public belfries. Examples are the town halls at Berwick-on-Tweed and Manchester and also Imperial Collage, London. Even so, think bell ringing and you associate it with lovely buildings like our church which has just had our bells put into first class order.

   I believe that the sport idea is worth exploring although I am respectful of others’ views. Church congregations and church choirs are diminishing so recruiting new ringers from that source has not been good. Do any of you have sons, daughters or grand children who would like to take up this sport of bell ringing?

   The Derby Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers currently has 593 members:- 46 Juniors (16 or under), 519 adults, 18 Seniors(over 80) and 10 Honorary Life Members. So you can see age is no barrier.

   These are some of the advantages of becoming a bell ringer:-

A global group of friends
A lifelong learning experience
Maintain a traditional skill
A service to the Church and ringing for fun
A Team activity
A great mental and physical workout
An opportunity to visit amazing places

   Here at St Mary’s we practice on Thursday evenings. Please contact Richard or Colin (0115 9327072) if you can introduce new recruits.

   Richard Stevenson