Following on from the earlier article about those who have been members of the Guild for over 50 years, John Holmes has provided this lovely story of his ringing career.

I started ringing a (then) newly installed chiming apparatus at Great Doddington, aged 12 in 1965 ringing rounds and Stedman’s Old Twenty following numbers on the top of the chiming frame.  I am not sure what the attraction was; possibly just the opportunity to legally annoy the neighbours!

Anyway, I must have enjoyed it, as being the chimer for Evensong became a weekly ‘job’. In 1969 a gentleman came to Church at asked me if I had ever considered ringing properly.  That October a schoolmate of mine and I started to learn to handle a bell under the instruction of Brian Vickers, who had moved into Great Doddington, having learnt to ring at Mears Ashby.  A team of regular visitors made up from Mears Ashby and friends made a practice each Monday evening and we started to learn how to ring rounds and then call changes.  My mate didn’t come back after Christmas ’69 but I carried on and later that year we went to Wollaston each Monday evening.

Once I could drive, regular Sunday evening ringing at assorted churches across the north and east of the county and a pie and a pint afterwards became the norm with a group from the Thrapston and Peterborough areas

Meanwhile Brian and I kept looking for other new recruits back at Doddington and by 1972 we had a band strong enough to start regularly ringing for service, which continued weekly into 2020 being stopped finally by Covid. Due to lack of personnel, we have only chimed for service at Doddington since ringing resumed, apart from an occasional ringing with other ringers from our benefice.

Between joining the Guild in 1970 at Higham Ferrers, and marriage and a new family in the mid 1990’s I was on Branch Committee for 20 plus years and have held most branch offices at some point during that time. Since the early 90’s I have been much more a back bench guild member and most of my ringing has been very parochial.

I am starting to get out and about again and have recently re-joined the Wellingborough Branch Committee. Ringing has brought me my wife, many friends, and hosts of acquaintances all over the country.  It has also brought me innumerable hours of pleasure and fun and not a little plain hard work across the years. After 50 years I am still learning, and I still recommend it as a lifelong interest, and past time to all.