Friendly and challenging hobby

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IT is gratifying to know that young and senior people are being taught the rudiments of bell ringing at Wisbech St Peter and St Paul, one of the finest rings of ten bells in East Anglia (Citizen December 28).

The tower harbours a host of happy memories. From 1950 for 25 years I regularly joined the ringers for weekly practices as well as ringing at Chatteris and completing 64 years at March.

I recall to mind Fred Wigmore, Lewis Bush (firefighters) and Tom Bush, Mary Whitlock (tower secretary), Bill Rose, Len Harvey and at least 20 enthusiasts meeting at the tower on those occasions.

Fred and I organised several outings to dozens of churches and cathedrals in East Anglia, Bedfordshire, Lincolnshire, Rutland, Leicestershire and Buckinghamshire meeting local ringers.

We arranged peals lasting from an hour to more than three hours non-stop ringing (no half time breaks!) including Grantham, a grand ten similar to but heavier than Wisbech bells.

Wisbech ringers were proud of a peal of more than 5,000 changes of Grandsire Caters achieved on their own bells which were rung every Sunday for services.

Apart from the physical and mental exercise, campanology is a friendly and challenging hobby.

Ringers can enter other towers and have a rope thrust in their hands without so much as a question.

Years ago, Wisbech was the regular mecca for ringers from Walpole, Elm, Emneth, Tilney, Downham Market, King’s Lynn, Long Sutton, Leverington, Newton, Walsoken and Wisbech St Mary.

Convivial company, marvellous times and very English. It was such a shame when the bells fell silent.

Learners must have ‘stickability’ and patience, especially in the initial stages. I wish them every success and many years’ enjoyment of the art.