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Sonia Field

The ART Award for Inspiring Leadership in Ringing

Highly Commended: Sonia Field

Nominated by: Charmian Baker

Sponsored by: Talent Innovations

Sonia established eKenton as a virtual training band in April 2020. As soon as the relaxing of lockdown was announced for 17/5/2021, Sonia began planning a graded return from virtual to ‘real’ eKenton ringing. With the Vicar’s permission she measured distances between ropes and organised a steeple check at All Saints, Harrow Weald (ASHW), a previously almost silent tower, then created a rota for Sunday service ringing.

To increase available rope time, Sonia arranged ringing for the midweek service too, a totally new initiative. Now, after some initial teething problems, it’s an established and popular part of ASHW life. Sonia also immediately reinstated the ‘third Sunday’ foundation skills training that she had introduced just prior to the lockdowns.

Simultaneously, Sonia was planning how to cater for eKenton members belonging to other local towers that were now silent, or likely to become so. With the Ruislip Tower Captain’s support, she established monthly training there. By adjusting the timing to an afternoon, and encouraging a social dimension over lunch after ASHW morning service ringing (non-ringing friends, family and church members all welcome) she capitalised on support offered by the Association Master and other experienced non-local ringers.

Next, Sonia approached Bushey-Heath and re-established a monthly practice there. See Derek Croxall’s supporting statement. In June 2022 she approached a fourth also now silent tower (Edgware) and included this in eKenton’s monthly training circuit. By utilising pre-existing practice timings at both towers, consent was easy to obtain and potential conflicts reduced. Her vision for the training circuit was to:

  • Keep otherwise silent towers ringing
  • Enable local ringers with no active band to ring at their ‘home’ tower
  • Create a collegiate pool of ringers that support local towers and attract recruits
  • Promote experience of a variety of bells and towers


A monthly circuit of towers can be confusing. To address this, Sonia clearly communicates information by publishing a rolling calendar with monthly overviews, and monthly newsletters. Reminder e-mails are sent out before each session, with lists of those who have committed to attend, with details of methods/training activities planned for that practice, so that participants can revise beforehand. Follow up e-mails thank participants and summarise what has been practised and individual/band milestones achieved.

eKenton and ASHW membership is growing steadily with several ringers travelling some distance to participate in the training that Sonia provides. Tristan Lockheart (Leeds university student) reports: ‘Sonia was most helpful in directing me to suitable practices in North London. My initial experience at eKenton was so welcoming and organised (thus useful for my progression), that I now travel for a considerable time to attend her practices.’ Celia Workman says: ‘Sonia always has a plan for everything, whether it’s progressing the band as a whole or for the progress of individual members of the band. Her plans are delivered with imagination and a huge element of fun and enjoyment.’ She uses the Learning the Ropes scheme as a teaching framework, setting high standards and organising events with the best possible outcome in mind. See Dave Bassford’s supporting statement.

Sonia is passionate about providing quality teaching in a supportive learning environment. Teaching a band of almost entirely new ringers is challenging. So she recruits experienced ringers to assist her, deploying their strengths to promote progress…providing a different voice in initial handling, tips for specific skills, supporting developmental Quarter Peals. Two of these have appeared in Ringing World’s ‘What’s Hot’! Sonia wants to promote top quality teaching within her locality and shared responsibility for the delivery of this, so she organised an M1 day-course in April 2022 for six attendees whom she is now mentoring. She runs a monthly zoom teaching/mentoring discussion group to support this, which has attracted participation from further afield too. See David Smith’s supporting statement.

Sonia’s wider activities include: co-tutoring at the inaugural NW ringing course, see Chris Rimmer’s supporting statement, delivering interactive bell ringing talks to community groups, helping to lead a local tune handbell band, representing her Association as a CCCBR rep, co- editing Tower Talk and the Education Column. Networking and insights from these activities support Sonia in encouraging others to assume responsibilities and immerse themselves in wider aspects of ringing: steeple keeping, Association training, residential courses, leadership. See supporting statement from Jo, Wendy, Jean. Tristan Lockheart says: ‘Her guidance as to the ways of the Central Council has got me involved with leading a team within a Central Council workgroup.’

Sonia encourages two-way interaction between the church and ringers. Initiatives include awarding Birthday Certificates to members of the ASHW community thus raising the profile of ringing and the ringers, and issuing Thank You Certificates to ringers supporting ASHW during the year. Both are well received. Caspar Kennedy wrote: ‘My Mum loves this [birthday certificate] thank you; thanks from me too. We are a credit to your teaching and so you can be rightly proud.’

To conclude, since 17/5/21, Sonia has established a circuit of first-class training in our local area which has an outreach far beyond the confines of our community. She delivers quality training with regular ringing at towers (in two Associations and three Districts) that would otherwise be silent, and supports the development of ringing at other established towers. From Jan – Nov 2022, she has delivered 62 training events with 452 attendances from 62 participants, ringing at ASHW on 97 occasions with 576 attendances from 39 participants, and led her novice band to second place in the District striking competition (see attached ‘Favourite moments’ pdf).

As tower captain of Harrow Weald, I have no hesitation in saying that Sonia fully deserves this award in recognition of her dedication and commitment to the development of individual ringers and ringing within the wider community. Sonia came to Harrow Weald at a time when the band was very diminished and the bells rarely rung. She has re-established a regular Sunday band here, augmented by many other ringers for the Wednesday service and at the weekly training events, and this has given many of us the opportunity to improve our handling skills and our method ringing, in a situation which is great fun and very sociable.

Additional supporting statements

Father John; Vicar of ASHW

When I arrived as Vicar of All Saints Harrow Weald in June 2019, I inherited a skeleton bell tower team that was able to ring once per month before our Sunday worship. Everything changed when Sonia volunteered to join the team as Ringing Master. We very quickly found that we could have bells before each Sunday service, and then also for our Wednesday morning services.

Put simply, Sonia has been an inspiration for the ringers. We now have monthly training sessions that are very popular for beginners, and we have regular quarter peals.

Of particular pleasure for me is the improved mutual understanding between the tower team and the congregation. Full credit for this goes to Sonia who has become a regular member of the congregation, with her family. She has also introduced an initiative to ring peals to mark birthdays and other memorable occasions for congregation members. This is much appreciated.

The renaissance of ringing at All Saints has coincided with two sad milestones of national significance; the passing first of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh and then of our beloved monarch. Sonia was of indescribable support to me on both occasions, organising a full programme of ringing which involved regular muffling and demuffling of the bells and ensuring that we had full teams of ringers throughout the periods of mourning. I cannot over emphasise my appreciation of Sonia’s energy, enthusiasm, and organisational ability in support of worship at All Saints and I commend her without reservation for an ART Leadership award. She is a natural leader, leading by example and with respect for the differing abilities of her team.

Jo Harris, Wendy Crampton, Jean Power; ASHW & eKenton members

Sonia has been the driving force behind building up a thriving network of active towers from ones which were previously mostly silent, some with only one member on the books, so that we now enjoy ringing at a circuit of towers: Harrow Weald, Bushey Heath, Ruislip and Edgware – with a practice at a different tower each week, which not only keeps the bells ringing for the community to hear, but also affords us a huge range of experience on vastly different bells, which has increased not only our ringing skills but also our confidence in ringing in different towers.

She has helped ensure that not only is there training taking place at the towers, but that there is also support for ringing for services, weddings, funerals, Christmas and Easter, and major national events such as the Queen’s funeral.

She has led our team from strength to strength over the very difficult period of Covid by immediately starting online training sessions using Ringing Room and Zoom when physical ringing was not available. This not only increased our theoretical knowledge, but also ensured that we all kept our usual ringing time for ringing, so once we were able to ring physically again we all returned.

Many team members that Sonia has been training over the last two years have gone forward and moved into leadership roles in other areas of ringing, for instance two of our team have taken on leadership team roles with the Ladies Guild Central District, which we gained the confidence to do due to Sonia encouraging us to start to help to run practices, which is something she encourages from all the ringers in the Tower, thus ensuring future resilience and strength within the bands at the towers we ring at.

Sonia is also involved in organising the ART M1 training, which several team members have attended, and which others of us hope to do in the future. This will allow her to extend the capabilities of our team, and allow for an increase in the numbers of students within the towers, as the initial teaching at least will be shared among those she has taught.

Sonia at the same time continues to successfully recruit, and retain, new ringers, and provides excellent training and support for them, whilst ensuring that they feel a part of the team and are encouraged to progress, and even at the earliest stages take part in calling changes etc as their ability allows, building a skill set which is not often found in novice ringers.

Derek Croxall; Bushey Heath Tower Captain

With the covid lockdown, bell ringing at Bushey Heath came to a halt. Up until then we rang for a Sunday service with a weekly practice. However, many of our ringers were elderly and ringing never resumed after lock down. Sonia Field came to our rescue bringing a band to Bushey Heath once a month for a practice and to ring for special occasions such as the funeral of one our previous ringers and for the Bushey Acoustic Festival. She has done amazing work in training new ringers. The sessions we have at Bushey Heath are well attended, enjoyed by everyone and ringing abilities are noticeably improving. The ringing fraternity could do with more people like Sonia.

Dave Bassford; President MCALDG

From a chance online encounter with Sonia and her gang early in lockdown I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing both her and her ever-expanding team grow in confidence and skill.

After 42+ years as a ringer, starting with being tower captain at age 14 and holding leadership roles in a variety of ringing bodies since then – there has barely been a time in this 40-odd years when I haven’t been an officer of something – I think I have probably seen the best (and worst) that ringing has to offer but I have literally never seen such a thoughtfully run, thoroughly organised and, above all, highly effective long- term training programme as that which Sonia is running in NW London. Since the easing of lockdown, I have travelled over to ASHW and Ruislip as often as I can – at least once a month – to be a part in the training. This is a journey of over two and a half hours across London and means a very early start for me. I wouldn’t do this if it were not for the hugely positive experience that awaits me at the opposite end of the Jubilee Line: a friendly and happy group, all keen to improve and happy to celebrate their own and others victories and, above all, high quality learning which takes place during every session. Sonia provides the most rigorous training of the Association.

It’s also worth noting the fact that Sonia’s group has a strong female demographic and as a result of this and being run by a woman there is a culture of mutual support and understanding that is not always present in more male-dominated ringing environments. A number of the women in this group have recounted bad experiences in other towers as a result of their gender – being patronised and put down at best, sometimes much worse, and this sort of behaviour simply does not exist in the culture that Sonia has created for her group. Equally, this is no women’s-only group and all men are welcomed but there is none of the traditional behaviour so often found in towers where it is assumed that the men will take the lead, ring the bigger bells and generally be in charge simply because of their gender. This is incredibly refreshing and always a real pleasure to see.

Above all, it is vital to note that, while there are many people involved in this and putting in much hard work, Sonia is absolutely the driving force behind all of it, from hours of work co-ordinating training sessions, networking and building strong links with other towers and their clergy to planning each session to ensure learning is maximised for everyone every time and above all, setting the tone of friendly, supportive but extremely focused and driven learning that everyone is part of.

Chris Rimmer

I co-tutored with Sonia at the North West Ringing Course in August of this year in the ‘Moving on in Minor’ group. I was left genuinely impressed by Sonia’s ability to galvanise our group into a supportive, friendly unit, in which everyone including the volunteers felt included and excited to make the most of the time we had together. Sonia clearly demonstrated she knew exactly when, and importantly when not, to push students a bit outside of their ringing comfort zone. Another example of Sonia’s dedication to the students’ learning was that she would hold a one-on-one conversation with each of them, every day to discuss their goals and progress. She achieved all of these things and more over just a few days at the ringing course and clearly has a lot more to contribute with her leadership to the wider ringing community.

David Smith

It has been great to observe how eKenton, Sonia’s creation in the early stages of Covid, has blossomed during the last year or two as restrictions have eased. Not only is there now regular practice and service ringing at All Saints Harrow Weald, which had been without regular ringing for several years, but many other towers in the area have benefitted too. Instead of the post-lockdown decline in numbers and enthusiasm that has plagued some regions, this area of Middlesex has seen fresh recruitment, heaps of enthusiasm, and towers that were struggling being actively inspired to re-start and then increase their ringing. Sonia even managed to convene one of the first-ever ART modules for Middlesex, held at Harrow Weald in April 2022. While many people have played a part in all this, it is unquestionably Sonia’s vision for what could be achieved post Covid, followed up by her leadership and hard work, that have been the catalyst and the main driving force. I therefore have no hesitation in strongly endorsing Sonia’s nomination for the Leadership award.

Rebecca Odames

In her own words…

I learned to ring at the age 42, after my sister started ringing a few years earlier at her local tower in the Cotswolds. At first I couldn’t understand why we had to find out when the local churches were ringing during family holidays, but since I started ringing, we are now finally on the same page!

I was quite a quick learner when it came to bell handing but was advised on a course a few months later that my handling wasn’t right and I needed to count my place and not just learn the numbers. It was a breakthrough moment when it all became clear and I then turned my attention to other new ringers who had been in the same situation as me just a few months before. 

Someone mentioned ART to me a few years later and I went on a Module 1 course in 2018. It provided me with all the tools to start teaching and I was keen to get started straight away. I taught my first learner in 2019 and soon after Covid stuck. Not to be deterred, I started again in 2022 with two new ringers and when more people wanted to learn, I encouraged other experienced ringers at my tower to attend a Module 1 course. Ringers from surrounding towers have also attended the course and we now have an active group of teachers and new ringers within a few miles of each other. 

Being a mentor has provided me with further experience and I find that every new ringer, has something new to teach me too.

Having come to ringing later in life, I find it easy to relate to new ringers struggles. Seeing them succeed has been a great achievement. 

I am an Operations Coordinator for a large high street retailer and in my spare time I like exploring areas of historical interest and natural beauty in my spare time. I am also a keen hill and mountain walker. 

Claire Penny

In her own words…

‘I learned to handle a bell as a teenager because I was intrigued, and it was the best ‘after-school’ club on offer. College, and then working in Tennessee where, at the time, they had no bells meant a 5-year hiatus from ringing. It wasn’t until I mentioned in passing at a University evening meeting that I had done some ringing that half an hour later I found myself at a practice night not far from York, and by the end of the evening had remembered how to plain hunt – sort of.

My first foray into serious teaching was in 1999 when I became heavily involved in teaching two brand new bands in time to ‘Ring in the Millennium’, and teaching has really been my focus ever since. I find it both challenging and rewarding, and as much a learning experience for me as it is for the person I am teaching. I went on one of the first M1 and then M2 courses at Kineton and became an accredited member of ART in 2013′.

Josclyn Sloan

Awaiting biog

Phil Tremain

Phil learned to ring at the age of 11, having initially only gone to watch. This was at St Columb Major, Cornwall where he still rings and has been tower captain for almost a quarter of a century. They are primarily a call change band, some of whom also ring methods, and have taken part with some success over the years in the traditional Cornish rise-rounds-fall striking competitions. The tower is equiped with a Higby training bell connected to Abel.

After a career in IT working for Cornwall County Council, a reorganisation enabled Phil to take early retirement; the Kernow Old Codgers mid-week group soon followed. He also organises Pydar Improvers practices (affectionately known as PIMPS!) for ringers across the Pydar Deanery and beyond, and with the support of other teachers in the area recently registered the Pydar School of Bellringing as an ART Teaching Hub.

Despite having been teaching ringing for decades Phil firmly believes that there is always something new to learn, and so attended an ART Module 1 course some ten years ago. He has since also completed M2F, and in recent years has been an ART Assessor and is now an ART Tutor.

Roger Booth

Now living in Hampshire after spending 40 years in London, Roger has held various posts within local ringing societies. For a long time Roger was a member of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers and served on its Ringing Centres, Towers and Belfries, Redundant Bells and Administrative Committees.

As a Chartered Surveyor, Roger combined his professional career with pleasure and played a leading role in major bell restoration projects at Bermondsey. Isle of Dogs, Limehouse, Rotherhithe and Walworth, as well as many smaller projects, and the transfer of redundant rings of bells from St Stephen Ealing to Aberdeen Cathedral and Homerton to Stone next to Dartford. He therefore has a wealth of knowledge about tower maintenance issues.

To help ensure there were adequate numbers of ringers to ring these restored bells, Roger then turned his attention to issues of recruitment and training. Roger is currently a member of the ART Management Committee and an ART Tutor. He is particularly interested in initiatives to improve the quality of teaching and make more effective use of trainers through the use of simulators.

Lesley Boyle

Lesley Boyle has been ringing for over forty years and has a wide breadth of experience from multi-doubles peals to peals of maximus in hand and tower. She was a participant in winning bands in the National 12 bell competition in her youth, and is now a Tower Captain teaching young and not-so-young learners. She is also local District Ringing Master, serves on the Ely Association Recruitment and Training Committee, and helps with group teaching at the local ART hub. She says “I’ve gained a lot of pleasure out of ringing over the years and want to pass this on to others. I’ve realised through teaching many people to handle that everyone benefits if they’re taught well – the learners progress more quickly and the band is supportive with less frustration. I want ART module attendees to have confidence in teaching handling and foundation skills, and get that buzz out of seeing their own learners’ achievements.”

Nick Brett

Nick started ringing when 8 years old in a small village in north Bedfordshire. The church bells had an old oak frame, old rotting wheels and a single old ringer, with whom he chimed the five bells by tying ropes to provide foot loops. When he was 10 years old, a ringing family moved to the village, Michael and Jill Orme, and their son Phillip. Michael decided to fund raise for a new ring of six bells, and Nick was invited to learn to ring properly. By the age of 12, Nick had learned to plain hunt and ring the second to Plain Bob without the numbers, although he still remembers thinking: ‘Yes I’m doing it, but I still don’t really know what it is I’m doing’.

After university Nick’s ringing career continued in Kempston, Bedford. He was Ringing Master for a while at Kempston and for the district and rang at various local towers. Two years and a change of career later Nick moved to Leighton Buzzard, where Mark Regan was fund raising for a new ring of twelve bells. He learnt to ring on twelve and even reached the national twelve bell finals.

Nick lived in Leighton Buzzard for 35 years with his wife, Lindsay, and their two daughters, both of whom learnt to ring. They ran Linslade tower for some years and taught several young ringers towards Bedfordshire Association’s run of success in the RWNYC. After further job changes, they resettled and are now enjoying life in Rugby. All four are ART teachers and Lyndsey and Nick have been mentors since ART first began.

They have taught a new band at nearby Stretton on Dunsmore and are proud of how well they’re doing. They’re the holders of the Rugby Deanery Rounds and Call Changes cup and after two short years are learning to ring simple methods inside.

Nick has been an ART Assessor for about 5 years and is now an ART Tutor. He says that his experiences with ART have been positive, as he can see that students appreciate the way it breaks the teaching down into manageable targets.

“Bellringing is a unique and amazing hobby in many ways, it’s certainly the strangest musical instrument I know, and it produces such an iconic sound. I wish to continue to help others enjoy ringing at whatever level they are at.”

Gill Hughes

Gill learnt to ring as a teenager at a church with a single bell hung for full circle ringing! It was a few years later that she rung with others.

Involved with Scouting and young people all her life, she organised Scout and Guide visits to the tower and so began teaching many young people to ring. Young ringers camping trips followed and she became a tower grabber, open days and outings to start with, then organising her own ringing holidays and days out with other grabbers. Over 6,000 towers later she still enjoys travelling to new towers.

A member of the CCCBR Education Committee for many years she delivered the Teaching the Teachers Course. When Pip Penney a member of the same Committee proposed the forerunner to ART, Gill was keen to get involved, becoming a founder member, and with working in accounts she took on the role of Treasurer. 

Gill particularly enjoys ringing quarter peals on both tower and handbells. She likes teaching all aspects of ringing and finding ways of introducing ringing to young people. She has taken the Lichfield Mobile Belfry, on four occasions, to the International Scout &and Guide Camp at Chatsworth Park, giving thousands of young people an introduction to bellringing. 

Outside ringing Gill has a mentoring role in Scouting and is a keen gardener with a love of the countryside. 

Frank Seabright

Frank lives in Herefordshire and rings at his home tower, Bosbury, as well as ringing and teaching in the surrounding towers where most of the teachers are ART accredited or working towards it. Frank has been involved with ART from the beginning − being part of the management team for a number of years and as a Tutor from the early days.

Christine Richardson

Christine learned to ring in 1981 at Christ Church, North Shields and it’s safe to say she was smitten from the first lesson. “How hard can it be?”, quickly became a challenge to get it right. A house move to Sunderland soon meant that she was ringing at five practice nights per week, with weddings on Saturdays and service ringing on Sundays. A wide variety of methods (and bells) as well as a keen nucleus of local ringers who took her under their wing, gave her a good grounding in basic methods as well as the chance to progress to more complex methods when appropriate.

David Smith

David is an Australian ringer, resident in Brisbane but a frequent visitor to UK. He helped introduce ART to Australia and New Zealand and was one of the first antipodean ART Tutors to be appointed (2014). He is a past president of ANZAB, was a member of the ‘CRAG’ review team and then served on the Central Council Executive from 2018 to 2022. He writes ‘The Education Column’, published in The Ringing World. As a true ‘international’, he recently (Summer 2023) undertook a tour that included running eight ART modules in North America.

Kathi Downs

Kathi learnt to ring as an adult in the early 1990s at Christ Church St Laurence in Sydney, Australia. She went on to become a member of the St Mary’s Basilica Society of Bellringers in Sydney and over time have held the roles of Secretary, Ringing Master, Vice Captain, Tower Captain and Treasurer of the St Mary’s Society. She has also acted as Ringing Master at St Paul’s Burwood and St James’ Queens Square.

She has been actively involved as a helper and session leader at the annual Sydney Ringing School for many years. She has held the roles of Secretary, Newsletter Editor, and Education & Training Officer in the local branch of ANZAB.

In her first stint as Education & Training Officer, she was responsible for the E&T needs of 11 towers across NSW, with travelling distances of almost 500 km north, 500 km south and almost 600 km south-west of Sydney! A great way to see the country and meet all the regional ringers.

Currently she lives in the Blue Mountains where she is using Learning the Ropes to teach a new local band from scratch at St Hilda’s Katoomba and ringing as a member of the Lithgow Bellringers. She is now Education & Training Officer (West) with a much more reasonable travel range of only 160 km!

Leslie Boyce

Les learnt to ring as an early teenager at Bournemouth and developed his ringing with the Oxford University Society with whom he rang his first peals.

He moved to Tiverton in 1981 and has been captain at St Peter’s, a fine Taylor ring of 8, at various times. He is active in the local N E Branch of the Devon Guild, being their current Ringing Master. He is also the Librarian of the Guild. In the past he was a member of the Central Council for 15 years, a member of the Ringing Centres Committee and Secretary of ART.

Currently he is a Trustee of ART with responsibility for governance, an ART Tutor and a tutor and trustee for his local Troyte Ringing Centre.

Judith Frye

Judith learned to ring at Leeds University as a student, making rapid progress with a good band.

Her career took her to Nottingham where she rang at St Mary’s and then to South Wales ringing at Llandaff Cathedral. The past 35 years have mainly been spent in Dunblane, with a few years in the south of France (great fun but a barren time for ringing!) Judith has been Tower Captain at Dunblane since 2005 and is the Training Officer for the Scottish Association of Change Ringers. She met her husband Chris at University (in the tower naturally) and their 4 grown up children are all ringers too.

Aside from ringing, Judith is a keen musician playing violin with the Stirling Orchestra and handbells with the Dunblane Cathedral Handbell Ringers. Since her recent retirement from IT project management she has more time for all her hobbies.

Neil Donovan

Neil Donovan lives in Beverley, and rings at the 12-bell St Mary’s Church.

He learned to ring in Rotherham in late 1959. His tutor was Norman Chaddock, one of the founders of the CCCBR Education Committee. Another formative influence was Wilfrid F Moreton, founder of the Hereford Ringing Course.

Neil is a Vice-President (and former President) of the Yorkshire Association of Change Ringers. He has been involved with ringing education in Yorkshire for over 30 years, organising and tutoring on many day courses and a residential course which ran for 27 years.

Neil has been a group leader and tutor at the Hereford Course since the mid-eighties. He prefers beginner groups, and takes great pleasure in helping students to take their first steps in plain hunting and beyond.

Moira Johnson

Moira started ringing in 1990 at the age of 11. Already an active member of St. George & St Mary’s church, she started to ring as a hobby for her Duke of Edinburgh awards. She rang until around the age of 16, although less frequently and then disappeared from the ringing scene for around 20 years to concentrate on college, university, family and her career.

The bells of Church Gresley were out of action for around 8 years, in which time Moira was ready to return to ringing but didn’t really know anything about the world of ringing outside of Church Gresley or know any other ringers. In 2014 the bells were ready to ring again and Moira was asked to take on the task of getting them ringing again, probably because she had pestered the PCC for the duration of the bells being unringable. Not knowing where to start, Moira agreed to do something.  Thankfully by chance Moira had become friends with John Cater on Facebook some months before so asked if he would help her. Moira and John had not seen each other for 20+ years, but John kindly agreed to help. John introduce Moira to ART and they both quickly went through M1 & M2 and taught a new band from scratch. Unfortunately the bells at Gresley are out of action again, but that’s another story.

Moira is now a teacher, mentor, Tutor and Assessor for ART and runs the South Derbyshire Ringing Centre with John.

If Moira isn’t ringing then she’s busy doing something else, DIY, tending to her allotment, working away, spending time with her dog, cats and family, running or going to bootcamp. If there ever is time to relax though, it’s with a large glass of Sauvignon!

Clare McArdle

Clare learned to ring, aged 12, in the 1970s at Harborne in Birmingham and has rung there ever since. From a young age she began helping with teaching there, but it wasn’t until much later, when she became Tower Captain at Harborne, that she really developed her teaching skills.

A varied career began with 15 years making stained glass windows, followed by 19 years as a front-line paramedic with West Midlands Ambulance Service. Clare has just started a new venture, becoming a freelance First Aid Instructor.

In 2013 Clare came up with the crazy idea of a bell ringing school to centralise training in Birmingham and spread the load and responsibility of teaching, thereby supporting towers without teachers and distributing new ringers to towers within the St Martin’s Guild. Having presented the idea, she was surprised, but extremely grateful, that it was immediately supported by key figures in the Guild and thus the Birmingham School of Bell Ringing was born.

Involvement with ART came about in 2012, when one of the ringers at Harborne asked Clare to mentor her through Module 1 of the teaching course. Having attended the course and mentored several teachers Care became an ART Assessor and subsequently, in 2017, a Tutor for ART.

David Sparling

David Sparling learned to ring at St Michael’s Kirby-le-Soken in Essex at the age of 10. He was introduced to handbell ringing and also given the opportunity to ring on 10 and 12 bells with the University of London Society of Change ringers during his studies at Imperial College.

David served as Tower Captain at Kirby-le-Soken from 1985 to 1997 and he is a past Master and a Life Vice President of the Essex Association of Change Ringers.

As well as teaching at his home tower, David has been a regular tutor on the annual Essex Ringing Course since its foundation in 1991. In addition he has run a number of District and Association training events over the years and now helps teach at the ART Hub at Ardleigh.

He was appointed as an ART Tutor in April 2019 and also serves on the ART Management Committee.

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Matt Lawrence

Matt started ringing in Walsall as a teenager in the mid 1980’s when a school friend persuaded him to have a go. Although he has been ringing for over 30 years it is only since moving to Lilleshall, Shropshire in 2013 that he started (out of necessity) teaching people to ring. Building and developing the band at Lilleshall resulted in a particular interest in recruitment and retention.

Matt is currently the recruitment and retention lead for CCCBR’s Volunteer and Leadership Group and has helped develop the Recruitment and Retention Workshop in partnership with ART.

Roger Booth

Taught to ring in Gloucestershire as a teenager, and now living and ringing in Hampshire after spending 40 years in London, Roger has held various posts on committees and as an officer within local ringing societies including Master of the London County Association. For a long time Roger was a member of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers and served on its Ringing Centres, Towers & Belfries, Redundant Bells and Administrative Committees.

As a Chartered Surveyor, Roger combined his professional career with pleasure and played a leading role in major bell restoration projects at Bermondsey. Isle of Dogs, Limehouse, Rotherhithe and Walworth, as well as many smaller projects, and the transfer of redundant rings of bells from St Stephen Ealing to Aberdeen Cathedral and Homerton to Stone next to Dartford.

To help ensure there were adequate numbers of ringers to ring these restored bells, Roger turned his attention to issues of recruitment and training. Roger was a founder member of the Docklands Ringing Centre and Director of the former Ringing Foundation, which led to the establishment of ART. He was also a member of the review group (CRAG) which led to the current reforms of the Central Council.

Roger is currently a member of the ART Management Committee and an ART Tutor. He is also the owner of the Charmborough Ring and particularly interested in new initiatives to ensure that systems are in place to adequately follow up new ringers, and maximise retention, as well making more effective use of trainers through the use of simulators.

Dee Smith

Dee learnt to ring in North Herts in the 70s as a teenager. She was very lucky to have a teacher who insisted on good handling and ringing with a gang of teenage bell ringers – they enjoyed lots of ringing based adventures!

Going to University in Nottingham to study Applied Chemistry, Dee joined NUSCR and was introduced to course bells, ringing surprise methods and ringing on higher numbers. She still maintains close links with the Society and was proud to hold the post of NUSCR President for 5 years.

In the 80’s Dee’s parents retired to Cornwall and during school holidays she had the privilege of ringing Call Changes with the local ringers and going on tour with the Cornish Choughs. She started her teaching career in the Midlands before finally settling to live in Burwell Cambs.

Dee is a very active ringer. As well as being the Burwell Tower Captain, she is the Ely DA Recruitment and Training Officer and Chair of Stretham REC. At the REC she enjoys the weekly Saturday morning teaching sessions with their buzzing atmosphere. The ART resources and her ART training are put to good use in her ringing activities.

With her teaching background, Dee finds being an ART Assessor extremely rewarding. She enjoys visiting different practices and guiding teachers and mentors. As a member of the ART Management Committee, she looks forward to supporting and developing the area of ART Assessment.

Clare McArdle

Clare learned to ring, aged 12, in the 1970s at Harborne in Birmingham and has rung there ever since. From a young age she began helping with teaching there, but it wasn’t until much later, when she became Tower Captain at Harborne, that she really developed her teaching skills.

A varied career began with 15 years making stained glass windows, followed by 19 years as a front-line paramedic with West Midlands Ambulance Service. Clare has just started a new venture, becoming a freelance First Aid Instructor.

In 2013 Clare came up with the crazy idea of a bell ringing school to centralise training in Birmingham and spread the load and responsibility of teaching, thereby supporting towers without teachers and distributing new ringers to towers within the St Martin’s Guild. Having presented the idea, she was surprised, but extremely grateful, that it was immediately supported by key figures in the Guild and thus the Birmingham School of Bell Ringing was born.

Involvement with ART came about in 2012, when one of the ringers at Harborne asked Clare to mentor her through Module 1 of the teaching course. Having attended the course and mentored several teachers Care became an ART Assessor and subsequently, in 2017, a Tutor for ART.

Arthur Reeves

Arthur learned to ring as a teenager at his local tower, Theale, in West Berkshire. Following his time as a student at the University of York, He moved to Birmingham where he still lives and rings today. Arthur is a teacher by profession, with leadership responsibilities for curriculum and teacher development. He is thus excited to be working with ART as their Education Officer. Arthur believes that ringing teachers can learn from the wider research into educational pedagogy and has written a series of articles in the Ringing World on this topic.

Arthur has served as both Ringing Master and Secretary to the St Martin’s Guild. He has supported the development of the Birmingham School of Ringing as well as being an active supporter of ART since its inception.

Monica Hollows

Monica started ringing in 2017, having been inspired to have a go by Ringing Remembers. She was hooked from day one and quickly worked her way through the Learning the Ropes scheme, ringing her first quarter less than a year later and completing the scheme in just under two years. She attended the ART M1 day course in March 2022 and is now an accredited ART Member.

Monica has undertaken a number of voluntary roles in bellringing, including Administrator for the LtR Facebook group, Treasurer for the North West Ringing Course, Secretary of the LACR Fylde Branch and the Lancashire Lads & Lasses group. She is also Tower Secretary at her home tower, St. Anne’s-on-the-Sea, Lancashire.

After university, Monica spent 18 years working in IT, initially in technical roles, but quickly progressing to project and programme management. After taking four years out when her children were small, Monica has worked in schools for the past ten years, latterly as a secondary school Bursar. She is keen to use all the transferable skills she brings with her to benefit ART.

Lesley Boyle

Lesley is Tower Captain of Swaffham Bulbeck, a tower of 8 bells, near Cambridge and has been ringing since she was a teenager. Although Lesley has rung all sorts over the years ranging from Doubles to Surprise Maximus, she says that one of the most fulfilling things she has done is to teach people.

Lesley has been an ART tutor for a few years now and has had the pleasure of introducing many people to the structured ART approach − no matter how experienced people have been at teaching handling when attending her courses, there has always been some very useful tips they have been able to take away with them, and ultimately some learner has benefited, giving Lesley so much satisfaction.

Paul Lewis

Like many ringers of a certain age Paul was a teenage starter − part of a completely novice young band brought together in 1977 by a newly installed rector to provide ringing at a near silent tower. This was at Pontesbury in mid-Shropshire, top end of the Hereford Diocesan Guild territory, and there he stayed (not making much progress) until a move to the University College of Wales in Aberystwyth. Paul initially didn’t ring at the single available tower in the locality (Llanbadarn Fawr) for fear that the student band would be too high-powered! However, he eventually plucked up courage and needn’t have been worried. This was really the start of his ringing commitment which has accompanied life ever since and a return back to Shropshire over 30 years ago.

Paul’s home tower is Edgmond, in the Shropshire Association, but he still retains links to the Hereford DG through ringing regularly at Much Wenlock. He is a committed member of the Welsh Colleges’ Society and is proud to be a member of the Cumberlands too. Paul had a period of eleven years as the Hereford DG’s Education Officer and places ringing training, teaching and education in his list of ringing priorities alongside local ringing commitments.

Residential ringing courses have been a mainstay of Paul’s ringing life and he has enjoyed student, helper and tutor roles at the Keele, Whirlow and Hereford Ringing Courses over many years. As a university senior lecturer, education, teaching and training are uppermost too in his professional work life – he has a passion about learning development, knowledge transfer and student engagement and is keen to bring these skills to ringing standards through ART and its work.

David Sparling

David learned to ring at St Michael’s Kirby-le-Soken at the age of 10. He was introduced to handbell ringing during his university studies at Imperial College, London by the late, great Roger Bailey and also given the opportunity to ring on 10 and 12 bells as part of the University of London band.

After university, 12-bell ringing continued under the guidance of George Pipe at St Mary-le-Tower, Ipswich. David served as Tower Captain at Kirby-le-Soken from 1985 to 1997. He is a past Master and and a Life Vice President of the Essex Association of Change Ringers and has been a regular tutor on the annual Essex Ringing Course since its foundation in 1991. In addition he has run a number of District and Association Training events over the years.

David was appointed as an ART Tutor in April 2019 and acts as the Tutor Coordinator.

Michael

TESTING

Sue Dixon

Sue has been ringing since 2010 following an appeal in the local parish magazine. Four years later she was appointed Southern District Secretary of the Surrey Association, taking care of the membership records and preparing the accounts and annual report entries. Soon after she became Tower Captain of her local tower, St Margaret, Ockley.

Sue qualified as a chartered accountant in the 1980’s but gave it up a few years later due to family commitments and now lives on a smallholding, gardening on a large scale as well as running a walking group and acting as treasurer to a local charity.

Sue has been associated with ART since attending Module 1 in October 2015 and is ART’s Treasurer.

Annie Hall

Annie grew up in a family where it was ringing on a Friday evening and a rugby match on Wednesday and so was set the pattern and passions of her life. She learnt to ring in Leicester and has spent time ringing in Staffordshire, Kent and Dorset. Currently she rings in Warwick, where the band rings at both towers.

Following a career in HR, Annie is now retired and spends much of her time with her family and helping with grandchildren. She is General Secretary of the Coventry Guild, a member of the Central Council and has been a member of ART since its inception.

Enjoying ringing and feeling part of a team are important for Annie and reflect the values she brings to her role as Secretary of ART.

Andrew Slade

Andrew joined the ART Management Committee as Chairman in 2023. Having worked in the university sector for over 30 years, Andrew brings an understanding of how to work through others and an in-depth experience of the world of quality assurance of education programmes and activities.

Whilst new to ART, Andrew has taught many people to ring, principally during his 28 years as Ringing Master of St. Mary’s Richmond, North Yorkshire, his home tower. He is a firm believer in theory and practice being necessary to develop ringers, and welcomes the opportunity to bring the skills and experiences of his work and his hobby to bear on the task of maintaining and developing bellringing through the Association of Ringing Teachers.