26th July, 2007. 6:05 pm. Yeeds(theelephant)
The winners of the 2006 Striking Competition (York) having a joint practice with the losers (Leeds) held a certain ironic appeal for us. We, as the losers, were hoping that York would improve our ringing, so that we can surprise everyone, and win next year (but we take no responsibility if by some strange twist of fate they lose!). A formal arrangement for combined practices was arranged- Leeds go to York on the first Sunday of every month, and York come to Leeds on the third Monday.
The day York were due to ring with Leeds was highly stressful for many reasons. Firstly, it was perishingley cold, and we were afraid that York would be put off. We provided hot drinks and biscuits, just incase! Secondly, the previous attempt at a joint practice had ended up being moved to the pub, because of a lack of electricity. Thirdly, changing the light bulb in the bell room proved immensely problematic and unsuccessful, so we knew any equipment breakages on the night would be irreparable.
York turned up, and as members of LUSCR suddenly became able to learn methods in an evening, we rang exciting methods like Bristol and Yorkshire major. With the added expertise of York, we were able to ring Stedman and Grandsire triples. This may not sound like an achievement to you, but a strong and confident band really made the difference to us. As normal, practice finished in the pub, and we managed to steer the conversation away from ringing.
On the return visit to York however, things took a slightly different focus from the very beginning. Leeds suggested a social event first, where as York wanted to ring quarters. So we split, with each society doing what we do best... York had booked a 10bell tower, which gave some of our members a good introduction to their 10bell ringing.
Next term we hope to continue our alliance, and ring some joint quarters, as York ring too many, and Leeds don’t ring enough.
Annelise Felton and Charlotte Davies
26th July, 2007. 5:55 pm. Term 1 Update(theelephant)
This term has been fantastic for LUSCR. After a successful Freshers' Fayre we recruited three freshers who could already ring, and several other willing to learn!
Our 48th Annual Dinner was well attended, by current members and alumni.
We successfully represented Leeds at the Northern Universities Association
weekend in Warwick, bring home some silverware. Our exteremely cool hoodys got us noticed at the NUA, as did our t-shirt design.
We have been successfully published
in the Ringing World three times since July, with a general report on ringing at Leeds, and reports of both our Give it A Go Sessions.
We have successfully formed an allegience with York, and welcome them to our practice every 3rd Monday, and go and visit them on the first Sunday of every Month. Combining talent has been a huge help to our progression.
Ringing practices have been well attended, and all members have progressed well. The usual social events like curry nights, theatre visits, cinema visits and pub trips have all been well supported!
26th July, 2007. 5:54 pm. LUSCR(theelephant)
Leeds University Ringing
When you think of Students, what is the first thing that comes into your
head? Few people think of study, some think of lasting friendships, most
people think of eccentricity, love, scroungers and alcohol. Joining a ringing
society provides the option for all of these things, under a cunning guise of
bell ringing. Who would suspect that the eager young graduate who has
been a member of a ringing society for three years has had more pints of
beer and more relationships than the ex-President of MedSoc?
As President of Leeds University Union SCR, I am going to focus on Leeds,
and how fabulous LUSCR is. From my brief encounters with other university
ringing societies, most of LUSCR's exploits are typical of ringers across the
Where ever you ring, ringing is an excellent hobby to put down on job
application forms. It is the ultimate activity to combine teamwork and
communication skills, and is such an obscure hobby, you couldn't possibly
have made it up!
At Leeds we have a very mixed band. Our newest ringer, Renee from
America, has been taught how to ring from scratch, and is just about ringing
rounds- we're really pleased with her progress. With declining attendance
over the holiday, Renee has already proved her worth as a reliable member
of the band. We do have bell handling practice if necessary, but we like to
integrate everyone into the general practice as watching the more
experienced ringers gives the less experienced something to aspire too. The
more experienced ringers often progress quicker, as suddenly they realise
that one of the 'beginners' is chasing at their heals!
We have tried many methods to encourage progress in ringing. Mentor
groups and personal challenges didn't work very well (full details on our
website)- we're now trying to encourage quarter peal ringing. The vast
majority of our ringers are inexperienced, so we are aiming to be ready to
ring a full University band peal by our 50th dinner- in 2008.
Like many cities, Leeds offers a huge ringing experience. Ringing at Burley
with the University is fun, and generally quite laid back. For more serious,
but still enjoyable ringing, Leeds Parish Church are very welcoming and
support everyone through their 12bell ringing journey. For the less
adventurous, the local bands at Armley and Hunslet are often glad of a
competent rounds ringer. So there's something for everyone.
Unlike Surrey University who have 15 handbells, Leeds doesn't have a full
set of handbells. We would be more than happy to practice handbells if we
have enough interested people. If we work hard enough, maybe we'd reach
the high standards of York, who have a performing hand bell society with
concerts at churches, residential homes etc.
As Presidents/Masters/Steeple-keepers/(Bell Repair Fund secretaries if
you're in Nottingham) are elected annually, being a member of a University
band gives you some very good opportunities to get involved in. I have only
been ringing for four years, and have run practices, mended stays, painted
a bell frame, swept a clock tower, fixed wheels, replaced bell ropes and
(unfortunately) dealt with noise complaints. I may not be an expert, but my
knowledge of ringing goes beyond the actual physical ringing. It's a lot easier
to agree to be Steeple-Keeper, knowing that it will only be for a year.
Non Ringing Reasons
Relationships are taken very seriously in all ringing societies. Whilst few
societies go to the lengths of Aberysthwyth in electing a Romance Officer
and Bristol in appointing a Cupid, the web of ringer-ringer relationships is
complicated in any society. (Cupid is a position that is appointed by the
outgoing Cupid, rather than being elected. Someone is eligible to be Cupid
if they aren't in a relationship and have a reputation for being a bit of a
singleton. The moment you enter into a relationship or romance (no matter
how fleeting it might be) you stop being Cupid and have to choose the next
one.) Whilst many people have found a life long partner at university, not all
relationships formed are romantic. When you are with a group of ringers,
you belong, whether you are short or tall, talkative or quiet. I have never
met a group of people who are more accepting of deviations from the norm.
I think I can honestly say, I would not have stayed at University if I had not
joined LUSCR. LUSCR gave me a chance to be myself, share a home cooked
meal (something you miss when you're in halls) and a chance to be a part
of something different, and worthwhile.
Drinking is an optional activity of most (if not all) ringing societies. Whilst
none have gone to the lengths of LUSCR in having a pint of beer as an
integral part of their logo, most societies prefer their members to drink
beer...and copious amounts of it. This is a preferable quality and is by no
means compulsory. The Northern Unviersities Association weekend always
includes a boat race (beer downing), which is a chance to show off your
(potentially new found) skills.
The NUA is just one example of a cheap holiday. By sleeping on church hall
floors (lets face it, just as comfortable as a camp bed anyway) costs are
limited to alcohol and food! Most weekends go without a hitch, although
Sheffield managed to get the police called out to investigate them during
their Summer tour to Rugby.
Every society has their eccentricities. Aberyswyth's president is a three foot
high stuffed red Dragon called Idris, and their first lady is a similarly sized
green dragon called Cader. Cardiff have a beer drinking sheep mascot called
Rhys, combining their love of beer and eccentricities. Oxford have gone a
step further than most by developing their own language. If you're
frightened of spiders, London is the place to ring- their home tower has a
bicycle wheel to hang the bell ropes on, instead of a spider!
If you were ever unsure what to put on your Christmas wish list, ringing
again has the answer! How about some ringing top trumps cards from
Southampton or a mug with the Cambridge logo on? Durham University
ringers can boast a page of ringers in a naked calender.
Most societies have an annual dinner dance which is a chance for University
Alumni and current students to meet. Exeter have daffodils on their menu,
most other Universities are slightly more carnivorous. Despite Leeds having
a ceilidh (crazy Scottish dancing), we haven't yet needed to do a risk
assessment for our dinner, unlike Birmingham.
I hope you've decided that ringing at University is well worth the experience.
Most ringing societies will be represented at their Fresher's Fayre. Why not
investigate your chosen University's ringing society on the web- be careful
if you look at Warwick's website though, their discussion board will suck you
(That's Leeds LUSCR, not Liverpool. Liverpool has members who pride
themselves on their journalistic talents. Leeds has a co-erced Charlotte)
26th July, 2007. 5:52 pm. Celebrate(theelephant)
I had to write something about LUSCR for the University's Celebrate magazine. It wasn't printed, but this is what I wrote:
Being in charge of an unusual society as LUU Change Ringers brings about its own unique highs and lows. I've tried hard to think of a low of running LUSCR, and all my initial thoughts have turned into highs! Coming last and penultimate in the Northern Universities Association striking competition wasn't my most proud momment, but I was immensely proud that our numbers have swelled so much that we were able to enter two teams. People refusing to learn new methods hasn't been easy, but they've compromised by improving on what they can ring.
Perhaps one of the highs was being asked (albeit jokingly) for my autograph, after a three page article on LUUSCR appeared in colour on the front page of the weekly bell ringing magazine, the Ringing World! At last, LUUSCR achieved worldwide fame!
Together, this year's committee have organised many social events, completed many ringing projects (new carpet, new wheels), increased LUUSCR's profile, improved ringing, and enabled many people to reach personal ringing milestones.
Being part of LUUSCR is more than being part of a society - members of other ringing socities have often remarked that we all know everything about everyone. LUUSCR, if you want to get fully involved, is a family and a best friend all rolled into one. There is always ringing, somewhere, and there is always someone to go ringing with, or to have a ringing social with. Members of LUUSCR are never alone, and I feel very proud to have been given the opportunity to organise opportunities for LUUSCR friendships to extend.
26th July, 2007. 5:38 pm. NUA 2005 Striking Competition Report(theelephant)
Rang 120 Bob Doubles
4min & 5sec
->2.51 peal speed
Leading not consistent but did improve towards the end.
Trebles a little quick, especially over the larger bells, and more at handstroke than at back.
Dodging blows struck quite well on the whole.
Tenor set a good rhythm and maintained this throughout the ringing.
Slightly rushed towards the end- a desperate atempt to get it over and done with!
One slight method error in lead 3 but quickly recovered.
All in all, a nice piece of ringing on difficult bells to strike well.
26th July, 2007. 4:45 pm. Striking Competition(theelephant)
When Andrew asked me if I'd be scribe for the final of the YACR striking competition, I readily agreed. I foolishly thought that sitting in a car, writing stuff down would be easier than ringing! How wrong was I? Even as I write this, I'm still counting 1-2-3-4-5-6-1-2-3-4-5-6 1-2-3-4-5-6-1-2-3-4-5-6 in my head, interspersed with an occasional 1-2-3-4-5-6-1-2-3-4-5-6-1-2-3-4-5-6-1-2-3-4-5-6 cartwheel style, just to make me concentrate!
Bob Cater was the judge, and he scored each row 0 for perfect, 3 for a crash, with 1 and 2 inbetween. The first band to go raced along and I just listened to the overall sound, rather than to each row. The next bands rang a little more slowly, and Bob was tapping out his expected rythmn, to see how bang on they were. It wasn't until Band 5, the first cartwheelers, started ringing that the perfect rhythm was obvious. Their slow speed made even slight errors in striking sound terrible. I started to guess what score Bob would dictate. Surprisingly, I agreed most of the time! Generally, I was more harsh than Bob- experience and maturity shows!
Being in a unique position to listen to some excellent striking really made me concentrate on listening. Without having to worry about bell control, I suddenly found that I was hearing the bells, when they were late, and when they were early. It even became easier to imagine I was the treble and to pick out the treble's path, listening to the striking. I didn't hear every fault, and know everything, but I improved.
If anyone gets the chance, I'd recomment listening to all the teams at a striking competition with an experienced judge. It's improved my listening skills - whether or not it improves my ringing we'll have to wait and see!
26th July, 2007. 4:44 pm. Picnic(theelephant)
Well, my year as social secretary has not exactly got off to a great start. My first social was cancelled due to lack of support. But the second one went a bit better. Well, that was, until the heavens opened and ruined all of my plans.
It was intended that we went and had a picnic in the grounds of the very picturesque Kirkstall Abbey. As it was, the picnic happened in my kitchen, and a jolly time was had by all eight of us. Somehow, we managed to consume THREE boxes of cocktail sausages!!! Not quite sure how that happened. Lots of other savoury stuff, and then cake also disappeared.
JB managed to sit in the corner and consume rather a lot of beer, and later admitted that he fancied TWO members of LUSCR. How exciting! Sadly, no other repeatable gossip was elicited.
Anyhoo. I hope everyone that came enjoyed themselves, and we shall just have to see about some more socials in the near future.
26th July, 2007. 4:41 pm. Northallerton(theelephant)
Ringing with a University Band, it is not often that when faced with a choice, my compatriots choose early mornings over afternoons so it was with great surprise that I came to be leaving Leeds at 9am, with a car full of somnolent ringers.
We joined the Yorkshire Association (YACR) at Saltaire and my passengers awoke, eager to ring. For some of us, talking to long lost friends was much more important! Our fundraising officer, Dot Connellan, made the most of the queue of people and started selling our fundraising quizes.
We progressed onto Otley, where the challenge of Yorkshire Tail ends awaited us. Although visiting a tower with Yorkshire Tails always invokes complaints from our band, the standard of ringing seems unaltered. Whilst ringing down, I did wonder if anyone has ever managed to knock themselves out with the tail end, as the tail end did hit my head a few times! But that’s because I can’t ring down properly yet.
Despite Ed Brightman’s excellent navigation, we arrived at Ilkley far too late to ring there, so did what LUSCR do best- we went to the pub where Rebecca Farrelly introduced us to the delights of raspberry beer! After a nice picnic, we left for Ainderby Steeple, deserting YACR for LUSCR.
At Ainderby we were met by the rest of LUSCR who’d gone for the staying in bed/working option of missing out on the YACR trip, and some of the local ringers. Our learner, Jen Taylor, was very confused on moving from the 3rd to the 4th, to find that the fourth was lighter than the third!
Moving on to Northallerton Lucy Mathers experienced her first ring on 10, ably guided by many Northallerton ringers. Our band then parted ways with some returning to Leeds, some visiting the pub for some more beer and the hardcore ringers ringing a quarter with some Northallerton ringers.
Our final ringing delight was the plant pots at Romanby Green. Plain Hunt on 8 didn’t go particularly well, so we quit while we were ahead, and went . . . to the pub for some beer!
Through Sunday service ringing, we were distracted by thoughts of our visit to the Theakston’s Brewery in Masham - a very good tour! Eventually, we wended our weary way back to Leeds. Thank you to Jon Glahome for organising the trip.
During ringing on Monday, LUSCR got another surprise. A past LUSCR member wanted to come and visit LUSCR. Although Viv couldn’t ring any more, his method knowledge was still spot on, so he made an excellent ‘stander byer’ and we much appreciated his help.
26th July, 2007. 4:40 pm. Motivating Members(theelephant)
I have always believed that the ringers of Leeds University Society of Change Ringers are more than capable of ringing better, and a more varied repertoire. Their enthusiasm and dedication is apparent through extra-curricular events like the Freshers Fayre. How to transfer that enthusiasm into their ringing is the problem. The topic of how to improve striking has been brought up at many a committee meeting, and we still have not quite found the solution to the problem.
Reading through past AGM minutes, we discovered that a learning board had been introduced. The whiteboard in the tower is not used for listing forthcoming social events & birthdays as we thought, but for writing a plan of campaign for the evening. As LUSCR has a limited repertoire, we haven’t really needed the board. Still, time to start anew we thought, so, we cleaned the whiteboard!
Emails can swiftly be sent but people often do not check them for inaccuracy before hitting the send button. We are not all glued to our computer screens 24-7, so someone may not have received an email that they were expected too, meaning they have an excuse for not learning the method of the week.
On the wall at the tower, we have a laminated progress chart, with handling at the top, and conducting at the bottom. Every member of LUSCR has a marker (with spares for new-comers), positioned on the relevant box. This was designed to motivate people into progression and moving their marker down the page. To a certain extent this worked, but there was still a high amount of lethargy in the band.
Our next cunning idea was to set everyone a target to reach by Christmas. For the less advanced, this was simple (ringing plain hunt 10times in an evening was rather waring for the more advanced but they never complained) but finding something new for the advanced people to ring or call was a little more difficult. People have worked well towards their targets, and it has also helped me to run the practice with more focus.
Method of the week has been a continuing theme, adding the delights of Antelope, Reverse Canterbury, St Simon and St Martin to our repertoire. We emailed the method of the week to all LUSCR members in advance, but still no-one seemed to learn the method. Eventually, we changed it to method of the month. This worked well as people used the first two weeks to learn a plain course, and by the fourth week, touches were being rung perfectly. With our influx of new ringers, Method of the Week was abandoned as we did not have time to ring it. I was very aware that this meant the more advanced members of our band were not being stretched to the best of our abilities. After a quick pol at a ringing practice, most ringers said they would like to see a return of Method of the Month. Simple doubles and treble bob methods have enabled learners to perfect trebling and tenoring techniques so have something to offer everyone.
Our latest scheme has been to allocate everyone a ringing buddy. Each group has an advanced ringer, a middley ringer and a not so middley ringer! The idea is that everyone encourages everyone to learn and watch new things. Personally, this has helped me a lot, but success has depended on the group. Absentees have caused the rest of the group to suffer. The group scheme has not meant that people outside the group won’t help - it has just given everyone a specific focus. Through our experience, the middley ringers tended to stagnate most and only advance when they realised the learners were catching them up!
To improve our striking we tried a variety of methods. Grandsire doubles was always rung well, but we had a problem with Grandsire triples so we made the same band ring plain hunt on 8 to help with rhythm and rope sight. This seemed to help, although plain hunt was by no means struck perfectly!
We tried ringing rounds and calls on 8, with someone in the middle telling people when their striking was bad. There were mixed reactions to this as some members felt it may be a little intimidating, and others felt it really made people concentrate on where their bell was.
In a final attempt to get people to listen to their bell, we made everyone ring facing outwards, so they couldn’t see the bell that they were supposed to be following. Most of the band found ringing by ear alone very difficult, whether they were an advanced ringer or a novice. We got good feedback about this, but people feel that ringing like this every week may be detrimental.
As we have had several complaints about our bells being too noisy, we feel that encouraging good striking may be one way to combat this.
Alongside all our learning efforts we have been conscious that ringing is a voluntary activity and pushing people too hard may cause them to give up ringing. The balance between progression and enjoyment is not clear cut, and it very much requires a personalised approach.
LUSCR has progressed, and as turn outs have not declined, I would like to think that we have not pushed anyone too far and that everyones learning experience has been enhanced. Thank you very much to everyone who has helped.
26th July, 2007. 4:38 pm. Hat Walk(theelephant)
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On Sunday March 6th another intrepid bunch of Leeds University ringers set out on what will go down in history as The Second Annual LUSCR Silly Hat Walk. Faced with the appealing prospect of clambering up onto the mountainous Ilkley Moor and completing a ten-mile walk through snowdrifts and suspicious smelling puddles, many members came up with passable excuses and stayed away. Yet there were still nine of us committed enough to catch an early morning bus to Addingham in an attempt to raise funds to replace our bell wheels at St. Matthias Church in Burley.
It took approximately two hours to reach the top of the moor; I spent most of this time grumbling and stumbling along at the back. Huge amounts of respect are due to the rest of the team for managing to persuade me I did not want to go home and that I was actually having fun (I suspect brainwashing). The considerable lack of taxis in such quiet, hilly fields also added to my resolve to stay.
After completing the assent and having a very well earned rest we scrambled onto the top of the moor. My mood changed instantly as the ground flattened and beautiful views appeared in every direction. Our silly hats soon became indispensable as what had been a cooling breeze on the way up developed into a rather biting wind. After consulting the map we set of towards Ilkley and the promised pub lunch.
Surprisingly many walkers seemed quite confused at the sight of a collection of students prancing about in strange hats. We received several wary glances, especially from a passing group of elderly ladies. One mother pointed us out to her child as if we were mentally ill and out on day release. After explaining that it was all in the name of fundraising, however, most people decided to wish us well instead.
We continued walking for several hours on the top of the moor. Highlights of this part include me losing my shoe in a bog and several people disappearing up to their knees in puddles. Somehow Sam (our Treasurer) managed to stay spotless despite walking in new jeans and slip-on shoes. I, meanwhile, fell over the grand total of seven and a half times.
The climax of the walk came at approximately three p.m. as we came to the top of the rise and saw the Cow and Calf Inn beneath us. We had finally returned to civilisation. After eating the biggest and tastiest lunch in existence we ambled slowly down the hill to catch the bus back to Leeds.
Even though I spent most of the day either grumbling or falling over I still enjoyed myself and would (probably) do it again. Although the sponsorship money is still coming in it looks likely that we have raised over £200 to go towards replacing the wheels.
LUSCR Fundraising Officer