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Central Branch Meeting & Striking Competition, Potterhanworth, 8th July 2017


St Andrew's, Potterhanworth

There was ringing taking place as we arrived at Potterhanworth. Outside the Church in the Churchyard, various games has been set up.

The ringers assemble
Tea, Coffee and Ice Cream is served

Inside the church, Colin Ward, the Branch Ringing Master was getting things organised. There were 3 teams in the competiton, these being teams from Potterhanworth, Nettleham and Washingborough/Waddington.

Nettleham went first and rang a Doubles method and it sounded good. The next team were Potterhanworth and they also rang Doubles. This being their own tower, they abandoned the practice piece and went straight into the test piece. This was also a very good piece of ringing.

Washingborough/Waddington were struggling a bit and only had 4 ringers present, but twisted the arm of Alison (one of the Waddington learners) to ring a bell and co-opted the services of Chris Jackson from Bardney as the 6th ringer. They rang Rounds and Call changes.

Outside the church

While all this was going on, there was fun and games (literally) in the Churchyard as people played assorted games of skittles, coconut shy and others as well as doing the treasure hunt that had been prepared. Inside the church, tea, coffee and ice cream was being served and very welcome it was on such a hot day.

The members get ready for the service

There was then some general ringing to take us up to the service time. The service was led by Sister Maureen from Metheringham who had put together an excellent order of service with some bellringing themed hymns, but not the usual selection out of the "Green Book". The Revd Lorna Brabin-Smith, the local incumbent, gave the address, based on the reading for the day about the 10 lepers cured by Jesus. The sermon was about being thankful. Even on a very bad day there is always something to be thankful for. The church bells are a peal of thanksgiving. She finished the sermon with a quote from Dag Hammarskjöld, the Swedish diplomat who was Secretary-General of the United Nations. "For all that has been, Thanks. To all that shall be, Yes."

The bellows on the organ are in a very poor state and the organ is in imminent danger of breaking down completely. For this reason the organ blower is running on half power and only certain stops can be used. Also only the local organist, Pam Garner, is allowed to play it. Fortunately she was on hand to play for the service. She is nursing the organ along for the next 3 weeks until the last wedding of the season, at which point the organ will be taken out of service while the necessary work is done. The church is currently raising the money to fund the repairs.

Judge Barry Jones (left) with Chris Woodcock

Immediately after the service, the results of the striking competition were announced. The judge was Barry Jones who is the Southern Branch Ringing Master. After some observations on the 3 teams that rang, he announced that Team 2 (Potterhanworth) had won the competiton with 17.5 faults, with Team 1 (Nettleham) in second place with 22 faults and Team 3 (Washingborough/Waddington) in last place with 31.5 faults. Chris Woodcock announced the winners of the various outdoor games with little pots of sweets for the winners and also gave the answers to the treasure hunt.

Tea on the lawn at "The Conifers"

We then made our way down to "The Conifers", also known as the Woodcock residence. Tables and chairs had been set out on the lawn and a buffet of epic proportions had been prepared. There was a small gazebo with an urn boiling away for tea and coffee, which as you can imagine the ringers consumed a lot of.

Colin presents Yvonne Woodcock with the Trophy
Colin presents Yvonne Woodcock with the Trophy

It had not been possible to present the winning team with the trophy when the results were announced, because they had left to make preparations for the tea. However, once we were all replete with food and drink, Colin Ward presented the trophy, which is a pewter tankard, to Yvonne Woodcock. We then had a short meeting (like 10 minutes) just to take care of any business. It was decided that all the proceeds from the day, from the collection taken at the service and money made from the tea, would be presented to the church for the restoration of the organ. Some £150 was raised for this worthy cause.

The Potterhanworth Band with the Trophy, in order clockwise from seated front right to standing back right:
(R - L seated) 1. Chris Woodcock (C); 2. Yvonne Woodcock; (L - R standing) 3. Janet Risdale; 4. Janet Crafer;
5. Paul Sharp; 6. Robert Harvey.

Having thanked the Woodcock family for their hospitality we made our way back to the church, for some open ringing to finish the day off.

Outside the Ringing Room

Jonathan Clark (webmaster)