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Ringers accept the challenge

2011 was the centenary of the foundation of The Ringing World, the ringers’ weekly newspaper. Part of the celebrations was ‘100 for RW100’, a challenge to ringers at large to do 100 of something significant. What the 100 should be was unspecified, and there was to be a prize for the ‘idea judged the most unusual or outstanding’.

We wanted to take part, but first we had to think of something that would be challenging but achievable. 100 peals (3 hour performances) would be impossible – we normally ring 1-2 a year. 100 visitors up the tower would be too easy – we had more than that on Heritage Day.

In the end we decided we would ring 100 different methods. That was quite a challenge, given that the normal repertoire of most of our ringers is only a couple of dozen methods. Bear in mind that we have no ‘music’ – everything is from memory, and if one person makes an error it can escalate so the whole performance falls apart.

The challenge applied to the year 15 Jan 2011 – 15 Jan 2012 (the nearest Sundays to 13 Jan, which was the birthday of the founding Editor), but the challenge wasn’t issued until June, so we only had half a year to learn and ring all the new methods.

In the autumn, we saw the first published result of another contender. The Derbyshire Diocesan Association organised a performance containing 100 changes in exactly 100 minutes, in an 8-bell tower, with 100 ringers ringing in relays. That was a massive logistical undertaking to get everyone into and out of the tower at the right times, with the ropes handed over every few minutes to someone else, all while ringing continuously. The write-up in The Ringing World was also very impressive.

To cut a long story short, we achieved our goal – with 6 days to spare. It involved a lot of people doing a lot of hard work and working together as a team (and an extra practice in December when we were slipping behind).

We produced a write-up, with contributions from different perspectives, and sent it to The Ringing World at the end of January. Now we await the selection panel’s deliberations.

You can read the full story of the challenge on the tower website at: http://allsaintswokinghambells.org.uk/ASRinging/Challenge/ 

John Harrison (February 2012)

 See also: Picture of success .     See also: Progress chart 


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