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National Youth Contest, London, 2nd July 2016

It promised to be a nice day as we made our way down on the train from Newark to London Kings Cross for the Ringing World National Youth Contest.

The day started out pretty much like all the other competitions which involves going to one of the local churches for registration. Today the church was that of St. Mary le Bow, which houses the famous "Bow Bells". Once we had registered however the day followed a different format from previous years.

With 24 teams taking part, it was not possible to have just one striking competition. At a conservative estimate of 15 minutes per team the contest would take 6 hours and that didn't allow for the judges having a break. Instead qualifing rounds were held at 3 nearby churches, 8 teams at each church. The churches were St James Garlickhythe, St Dunstan in the West and St Saviour, Pimlico. The teams from Lincolnshire (the Lincolnshire Poachers and the Lincolnshire Gamekeepers) were both drawn to ring at St. Dunstan, which is a short walk from St. Mary le Bow. On the way we had to pass St. Paul's Cathedral and a tour had been arranged for each of the teams to accomodate their time slot in the competition.

Once the test piece had been rung we made our way back to St. Mary le Bow to learn if we had made it thorugh to the final. In the case of the "Poachers" an obligatory stop at McDonalds had to be fitted in on the way. Before learning the results of the qualifiers, there was an opporunity to ring on the famous bells of St. Mary le Bow, a 41cwt ring of 12. At about 1:15pm we learnt that niether of the Lincolnshire teams had made it through to the final which would be held later at St Olave, Hart St. Only 2 teams from each of the 3 qualifiers would go through to the final, 6 teams in total.

The Gamekeepers ringing at St Mary le Bow

In many respects this was a good thing as we had the rest of the day to wander about and ring on some of the other rings of bells in the area. From what is perhaps one of the oldest rings of bells at St. Mary le Bow, we went to ring on what must be the very newest set of bells at St James, Garlickhythe. These are the Jubilee bells cast for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and were seen being rung on a barge sailing down the Thames during the Pageant. They were later rehung in St James, Garlickhythe and a very fine set of bells they are too.

The Poachers (and a Gamekeeper) ringing at St James Garlickhythe

Visits were made to St Botolph, Bishopsgate and Christ Church, Spitalfields, before returning to St. Mary le Bow for the final results. It was quite a squeeze to get all the teams and their supportors in to the church and it was literally standing room only. The Revd George Bush opened the proceedings before head judge David Pipe said a few words on how the results would be announced. In the past I have often found the announcement of the results to be a bit labourious, but this year it was done quite slickly. Firstly the assistant judge for each of the 3 qualifing towers said a few brief words about the ringing each team had done. Then the results were announced in reverse order, the last 6 teams annouunced being the 6 in the final.

The Lincolnshire Poachers
Front, left to right:
Bridget Jones-Crabtree (Washingborough),
Laura Watt (Welton), Tierney Rayment (Washingborough),
Melissa Lannigan (Stow)
Back, left to right: Luke Boreham (Sleaford),
Ellie Sargeant (Messingham), Nathan Williams (Belton),
Hannah Watts (Welton)
The Lincolnshire Gamekeepers
Front, left to right: Clare Barker (Ingoldmells),
James Barker (Ingoldmells), Archie Stanley (Barrowby),
James Thorpe (Stamford Baron)
Back, left to right: Bethan Stanley (Barrowby),
Stephanie Henshaw (Wymeswold),
Adam Muspratt (Market Deeping),
Will Gray (Market Deeping)

The Lincolnshire Gamekeepers came through with a solid 'B' grade while the Lincolnshire Poachers were slightly ahead of them with an 'A'

The Qualifiers
GradeTeam NameRingingQualifier Tower
A*Bedfordshire Young RingersPlain Bob TriplesSt James Garlickhythe
AFen TigersCall ChangesSt James Garlickhythe
AGuildford DG Young RingersCall ChangesSt James Garlickhythe
AOxford DGPlain Bob TriplesSt Dunstan-in-the-West
AThree Spires (Lichfield & Walsall)Call ChangesSt Dunstan-in-the-West
ALincolnshire PoachersCall ChangesSt Dunstan-in-the-West
AThe G&BPlain Bob TriplesSt Dunstan-in-the-West
ASussex Young RingersGrandsire TriplesSt Saviour Pimlico
AYoung @ Herts Hot BunsCall ChangesSt Saviour Pimlico
BTartan Spartans (Scotland)Call ChangesSt James Garlickhythe
BWorcester CathedralCall ChangesSt James Garlickhythe
BYorkshire TykesPlain Bob TriplesSt James Garlickhythe
BEssex Young EaglesCall ChangesSt Dunstan-in-the-West
BKent Young RingersCall ChangesSt Dunstan-in-the-West
BLincolnshire GamekeepersCall ChangesSt Dunstan-in-the-West
BDerbyshire Young RingersCall ChangesSt Saviour Pimlico
BSuffolk Young RingersCall ChangesSt Saviour Pimlico
BYoung Sussex RingersCall ChangesSt Saviour Pimlico
CSt Martinís YouthCall ChangesSt James Garlickhythe
CYouths of the South CoastCall ChangesSt James Garlickhythe
CSurreyCall ChangesSt Dunstan-in-the-West
CYoung @ Herts Ringing Chamber of SecretsCall ChangesSt Saviour Pimlico
CBath & WellsCall ChangesSt Saviour Pimlico
CCoventry SpiresCall ChangesSt Saviour Pimlico


Final at St Olave, Hart Street
Call Changes Category
AYoung @ Herts Hot BunsWinners of Gold Medal for the Call Change Ringing Category
A-Fen Tigers 
A-Three Spires (Lichfield & Walsall) 
Method Ringing Category
A*Bedfordshire Young RingersWinners of Gold Medal for the Method Ringing Category
and winners of the Whitechapel Trophy
AOxford DG 
ASussex Young Ringers 

After the results for each team were read out, they went up to the front of the church to receive their medals.

The Gamekeepers receive their medals
The Poachers receive their medals

Eventually the presentations were complete and all that was left to do was announce the location of the 2017 Ringing World National Youth Contest, which will take place in Birminhgham on Saturday 1st July 2017. We were all very tired and made our way back to Kings Cross station for the trip back to Lincolnshire. The webmaster almost made it back to Lincoln unscathed, but was "forced" into another visit to McDonalds (that's twice in one day!) for coffee and chips!

Jonathan Clark