PDG 100 Open Day - an organiser's view.    


Early morning queues at Aynho (Cathy Dixon)


The newly augmented ring of 5 at Yarwell (Laura Parker)


Ringing at Nassington (Laura Parker)

Back at the start of 2020 when the small committee first gathered to plan the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the Guild, one of the events high on the agenda was a tower open day.  Some general discussion was held about which towers to include and so on.

Simon and I then got down to the nitty-gritty.  Selecting many of the recently augmented or refurbished sets of bells, planning routes around those that included mainly ground floor rings so that bands could easily swap over, enough churches with toilet facilities and then a few where simple refreshments could be laid on.  We decided on 30 towers, basically three from each of the ten branches, going from one end of the Guild to the other. 

Once we had our route, we went out on a couple of occasions to check the timings need for getting from one tower to another and where were sensible places to park.  Armed with this information, setting a start time of 9am and allowing one hour at each tower we could plan the whole schedule.

I think we were very lucky that we obtained permission to ring at our chosen time at all of the towers – thanks to all the local contacts and church incumbents for granting that permission.

We published the tower list with navigational information and parking advice and offered booking of day tickets in advance.  Only ten people took us up on that offer but as we were not aiming to make a profit from the day, we needed thirty to forty attendees to break even and cover the cost of the tower donations and other costs.

Other preparations included the production of badges for the stewards at each tower who were sent detailed guidance about what to expect on the day, and the recruitment of six pairs of “super stewards” who leap-frogged each other to cover all the towers on the route, delivering the badges and tower donations and collecting any cash taken as fees at the tower.

The weather on the day was brilliant, bright and warm so no need to worry about coats being left behind (although one pair of sunglasses had to be passed on).  Some intrepid souls arrived an hour early for the first tower, Aynho so we were able to get the first band registered and ready to ring for 9am.  Although some groups decided that they need to miss out the odd tower during the day to keep up with the timings, most seemed very happy with the arrangements (especially the cake?) and were wearing (weary) smiles at the last tower, Thrapston.

Because of the high turnout – probably about 100 people touring round with another 100 involved in stewarding, and I think we can record that this, our fifth centenary event, was a great success.


Cathy Dixon

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Feedback has been generally positive, with this comment received from a new ringer attending their first open day:

Everyone was welcoming, friendly and helpful.

I didn't feel we were rushing between towers and we were moved through quickly and efficiently. 

A good mix of towers and having ground floor meant we didn't need to wait too long.


 If anyone has any more photos or feedback please send it in.


Harpole - Not all the bells had an easy access! (Laura Parker)


Waiting to ring at Mears Ashby (Alison Merryweather-Clarke)