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Special ringing performances (peals and quarter peals) are often rung for church festivals or national events, but we also ring them to mark important events in the lives of our ringers. On 7th September we rang a quarter peal of 1250 changes of Yorkshire Surprise Major as a farewell to Mhairi Miller who is departing to study at St Andrews University. Mhairi rang in it, and it was also her first quarter of Yorkshire on an ‘inside bell’ (one that rings all the work of the method).
We will miss Mhairi’s contribution in the tower, not just as a ringer, but as the Steeple Keeper (the person who looks after the hardware in the tower and flies the flag) the office she has held for the last 18 months. At her final practice, we presented her with a fid made from a piece of Elm from the old headstocks. (A fid is a tapered hard wood pin used to separate the strands of a rope, when making a splice or when tucking a tail end.)
Wokingham’s loss is St Andrews’ gain. The university recently had a ring of six bells installed, and an embryo band has been trained to ring them. The arrival of an experienced ringer like Mhairi will be very welcome. We wish her well, and look forward to hearing of her ringing exploits in the far north.
John Harrison (September 2011)
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