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ART Conference 2024

The ART Annual Conference is an inspiring and enjoyable weekend, with leading speakers sharing best practice from their ringing as well as ideas from other activities and professions.

The second day of the conference is being organised in partnership with the Ancient Society of College Youths. A series of workshops will be run for ART Members to improve their own ringing. Places will be limited so book early to avoid disappointment.

Conference booking is now closed

Conference speakers

Swaz Apter − The view from the capital

Susan Apter (known as Swaz) learnt to handle a bell with a school society when she was 13 and then went on to learn to ring at Wheathampstead her local tower. She soon got involved in local ringing. She was St Albans District ringing master for 10 years and ran regular surprise and learners’ practices. She started ringing in London in the early 90s where her 12 bell ringing started.

Swaz was the first woman elected to the St Paul’s Cathedral Guild in 1999 and also joined the Ancient Society of College Youths that year. She became Master of the ASCY in 2019 and will become Master again in November this year.

She became a Freeman of the City of London in 2019 and a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Founders in 2022.

Having worked most of her life in the NHS, Swaz now spends a lot of her time ringing and encouraging others to develop their ringing ability at all levels. She is also keen on gardening, travelling and looking after her two young cats.

Lesley Belcher − How smart is SmART Ringer

As both a volunteer and in her job, Lesley has always taken an interest in IT, particularly the user experience. She has worked in project management, process improvement and stakeholder management. Most importantly, whilst serving on the ART Management Committee, she witnessed the difficulties that users had using SmART Ringer and saw how the ART Administrators worked so hard, hiding problems behind a wall of business-as-usual high-quality service.

SmART Ringer’s problems mainly result from ART’s growth – in user numbers and in new programmes. It was never designed with such a high number of users in mind, causing it to become painfully slow and impossible to add new programmes such as 50 Ringing Things for Teams.

Lesley is the Project Sponsor for the redevelopment of SmART Ringer. She is responsible for championing the project, resolving issues and managing stakeholder expectations. The new SmART Ringer will be released in stages throughout the year. The first release will support ART’s core programmes – teacher accreditation, ART membership, and the Learning the Ropes scheme – doing the same things the current version does. Future releases will build up to a universal teaching and learning package.

To find out more and to have your say, sign up for the Son of SmART Ringer presentation.

Cathy Booth − Engaging non-ringers

In 1999, Cathy Booth married Roger, an enthusiastic bell ringer.  Cathy enjoyed her pub conversations with bell ringers and wanted to share their stories more widely.  Therefore, although not a ringer herself, her connection to Roger sparked an unexpected venture. Utilising her IT background and knack for interviewing, she launched the “Fun with Bells” podcast. So, since its inception in 2019, the podcast has offered a peek into the diverse and tight-knit bell-ringing community.

Cathy’s goal, for the podcast, is to share the low down on bell ringing and inspire those joining its community. She hopes by doing this she will support the continuation of this wonderful tradition.

Marcus Booth − Insurance and risk management: what you need to know

Marcus has worked in insurance for 38 years and been with Ecclesiastical Insurance since 2005. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute and a Chartered Insurer. Since 2012 he has been in the role of Church Underwriting Manager, dealing with churches and cathedrals on a daily basis. Whilst being a ringer is not a pre-requisite for his job he believes it helps!

As well as regular meetings with the CCCBR he writes articles for the Ecclesiastical website and publications and advising on ringing queries and claims within the Company.

Nigel Dick − Teaching hubs: alone we can do so little, together we can do so much

Nigel’s ringing career started in 2011 at the age of 61 after he and his wife Sally  moved to Lighthorne in Warwickshire.

The bells at Lighthorne had been rehung and augmented in 2006 and a band of 12 villagers had started to learn to ring. Unfortunately, by the time of their arrival in the village the band had dwindled to 5 or 6. A member of the band, who Sally knew, asked whether she would like to learn to ring. She agreed and was soon followed by Nigel. Both were taught by Graham Nabb at Kineton.

Like many late starters, Nigel has found change ringing difficult and it was not until he joined Mike Rigby (Lighthorne’s tower captain at the time) as a support ringer at Graham Nabb’s regular Thursday lessons at Kineton that things fell into place. It was these sessions that inspired Nigel to learn to teach. He attended Module 1 courses in 2017 and again in 2022 and became an associate member of ART in 2023. Having learnt to ring fairly recently, he feels that he can relate to the difficulties that new ringers face.

Sadly, Mike Rigby died in June 2020 and his memorial took place a year later when Covid restriction allowed. At the memorial, funds were raised for the Lighthorne bells by Mike’s widow Jane. These funds enabled the Lighthorne ringers to purchase a Bagley simulator system for all six bells. With the encouragement of Annie Hall, Nigel decided to set up a ringing centre to help ringers from all over the Coventry Guild area develop their skills. The centre started in April 2023 and has recently become an ART hub to be Known as The Mike Rigby Ringing Centre.

Outside of ringing, Nigel is a keen yachtsman.

Max Drinkwater − The view from the pulpit

Max is currently priest-in-charge of St Mary’s, Haverhill (6, around 12½ cwt) and St Mary’s, Withersfield (5, chiming apparatus only) on the edge of Suffolk in the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich. He is still an active ringer when time allows, having learned to ring as a teenager in Leckhampton on the edge of Cheltenham.

In Cambridge, he read Classics as an undergraduate and then trained for ordained ministry at Westcott House, as well as ringing with the University Guild. He is interested in encouraging good relations between church leaders and ringers, as a member of the Guild of Clerical Ringers.

Steve Farmer − Teaching with a simulator: thinking out of the box

Steve is a late starter when it comes to ringing, he first held a rope in October 2016 at the age of 54 after to going along to a Tower Open Day that was being held as part of the English Heritage Weekends at Tilston in Cheshire, where he lives with his wife, a ringer of over 20 years.

Not satisfied with the slow progress of learning “15 minutes before a practice” in his usual enthusiastic way, he designed and built a simulator to allow more access to learn, this became a commercial product and the Simbell Wireless system is now installed in towers from Australia to Quebec, and across the UK and his experience in their use for training and development of all levels of ringing is now well known.

In 2023, Steve was elected Chairman and Ringing Master of the Chester Branch of the Chester Diocesan Guild, and has managed to ring his first two peals.

In his talk, Steve will provide a whistle stop tour of around the innovative use of simulators in teaching, and will aim to open your eyes to the 80% of the functionality at your fingertips that you may not even know existed. 

Always the enthusiast. Steve will bring to your attention some ways of using simulators when teaching in a tower when you have a simulator available, from group ringing to games, from simple exercises to in depth analysis of performance, but all with an emphasis on fun for those taking part!

Sonia Field − How to keep the momentum going

Sonia’s ringing journey began when  she joined a band of (tune) handbell ringers at St Mary’s, Harrow-on-the-Hill shortly before the Millenium. Several years later, her teenage sons began tower bell ringing at St Mary’s and, after a few years of resistance, she joined them. Sonia attended practices at several towers during her initial learning period and noticed that the quality of teaching varied enormously. This was the trigger to attend the ART day courses and to follow these through to accreditation.

After Covid restrictions eased she was appointed Ringing Master at All Saints, Harrow Weald where they promote ART teaching methods to underpin ringing development in a band with a high proportion of new ringers. Additionally, Sonia runs the eKenton training band, which provides structured learning for ringers from both the local area and further afield, and a monthly zoom group to connect ART day course attendees to discuss aspects of teaching bell handling.

Ringers form an international network, of often unconnected, dynamic groups. Each may encompass a wide age range and represent all walks of life. However, the aims and objectives are fairly uniform throughout the ringing world. They give their time (often oodles of it) voluntarily to try to achieve these. One week everything is going well, the next it’s not.

So how do they keep the momentum going? In this workshop we will discuss approaches that maintain motivation, involvement and progress. Come ready to hear ideas from others and to share your own too.

Linda Garton − Transforming your guild: from the past to a sustainable future

“We’ve always done it like that!” … 

Transforming your Guild; from the past to a sustainable future?

Linda learnt to ring at Barton Seagrave, Northants in 1972. She is a Past Master of the Society of Royal Cumberland Youths and organiser of the RWNYC for several years. Since 2001 Linda has lived in the small village of Campton, Bedfordshire, where together with her husband John, she has been instrumental in installing a new ring of 8 bells and teaching a local band. 

Linda is currently in her third year as President of the Bedfordshire Association, an organisation with a proud history but which, until recently, had seen little change since it was founded in 1882. A phrase which she has heard so many times since moving to Bedfordshire is “We’ve always done it like that!”

The COVID-19 pandemic brought unique challenges but also provided an opportunity to reassess and redefine the objectives of the Bedfordshire Association. In this session Linda will share her experiences of trying to reinvigorate a change-averse organisation, to build on the successes of the past and to ensure a thriving and sustainable future for ringing in Bedfordshire.

Jessica Hay − Engaging with non-ringers

Jessica Hay is an agile coach with many years of professional experience which includes facilitating workshops. She started to ring early in 2023 in response to a local group’s Facebook post. She has always loved the sound of bells but did not realise that ringing them was an option that was open to her.  

Jessica rings in the Winchester District and has reached Learning the Ropes level 3, attended an open towers tour, rung in the Coronation, been in the winning band of a striking competition and featured in the Fun with Bells podcast. She is working through and has completed 24 of the 50 Ringing Things!

Pete Mackreth − Burnout: putting out the fire

Pete Mackreth is the Dean of the Carnegie School of Sport, Leeds Becket University.

Susan Read − Teaching hubs: alone we can do so little, together we can do so much

In 2010 the main teacher of ringing in Abingdon (Oxfordshire) warned the band that he was moving away. Susan, ringer for five decades but with no experience of teaching ringing, was prompted to attend one of the first ART Module 1 courses and subsequently Module 2.  With Graham Nabb’s help she became ART accredited and later an ART Assessor.

Since ART membership, Susan has specialised in organising ringing for school aged ringers: a weekly after-school ringing club for a local public school, a weekly young ringer practice for local children, several outings each year for young ringers from all over Oxfordshire, and helping to run practices for the ODG youth team.  Susan has had a hand in motivating and teaching at least 100 young ringers.

A few of those Abingdon young ringers were encouraged to attend ART courses.  They have become excellent Ringing Teachers who teach a great deal in the ringing school. 

From 2014, Susan organised ART day courses and ran ringing courses where she could mentor the new teachers whilst offering extra bell handling lessons to learners from nearby towers.  In the last two years, she and Steve Vickars have developed the ART Hub, Oxon Ringing School, which currently operates in four branches of the ODG and is run by a committee with a lot of help from volunteer administrators, ART teachers and other experienced ringing teachers.

Becca Ridley − Insurance and risk management: what you need to know

Becca has worked for Ecclesiastical for a little over four years, in the Risk Management Department. Her day-to-day job involves undertaking remote surveys of churches and offering risk management advice to ensure the well-running of the building and reduce the likelihood of incidents occurring. Becca learnt to ring when she was four years old and has moved around the country – starting in the north west, growing up in the south east, with the benefit of the London ringing scene on her doorstep, and latterly moving to the south west, where she now lives. As a relative novice to the insurance industry, Becca learns a lot from working closely with Marcus when ringing-related queries or claims come in to Ecclesiastical.

Benefact Group is an independent, specialist financial services group that gives all available profits to charities and good causes.

Mark W Sayers − Starting a band from scratch

Mark started to learn to ring at Adderbury, Oxfordshire when he was 12 years old and rang his first peal inside of Plain Bob Major at the age of 13. Moving to Warwick in 1981, was the start of a more intensive ringing period with the excellent Surprise Royal Warwick Band, along with the opening of Coventry Cathedral in 1987.

Teaching of new ringers became an important part of Mark’s ringing path, when he took control of Leek Wootton 5 bells in 1995. This developed into having the bells augmented to 6 as part of the centenary for the end of WW1. As Coventry Guild Ringing Master for eight years, Mark ran a number of training courses for learners of all abilities. On moving to Stratford upon Avon in 2020, he has spent time building bands at Clifford Chambers and other local villages.

Elaine and Peter Scott − Using handbells to assist learning on tower bells

Peter and Elaine Scott met and learnt to ring at Southampton University in the early 1970’s. The University Guild had lots of ringers then, and, even with ten towerbells, limited rope time on practice nights. Changes on handbells were rung in parallel with the towerbells and Elaine learnt to ring methods in hand before confidently handling a rope.

They now live in Sheffield and help learners at both Ranmoor (16cwt ten) and with the recently- recruited band of St. Marie’s Cathedral (RC, 24cwt eight).

Their first set of thirteen Whitechapel handbells was purchased in 1986 and they have gradually increased the set to 45 bells, from size 24 in A# across three and a half octaves to size 06 in E. Of these, fourteen are now kept in Warrington in Cheshire by their son Iain,  who occasionally wears a teeshirt with the logo “Always Carry Handbells”

They ring regularly in hand, usually Major or Minor, and have encouraged many ringers to try method ringing on handbells, several of whom have gone on to join handbell-peal bands. It is both a challenge in itself, and a good way into a deeper understanding of method structure. It’s also a useful introduction to new ringers on achieving a good rhythm and appreciation of how bells interact during change ringing.

Elaine and Peter joined the Central Council in 2000 as representatives of the Yorkshire Association, and when not ringing enjoy navigating our narrowboat on the inland waterways.

Andrew Slade − The view from the HeART

Andrew graduated with a BSc, MSc and PhD, in mathematics. He brings to ART an understanding of how to work through others to achieve strategic and tactical goals and an in-depth experience of the world of quality assurance of education programmes and activities. He has also devised and delivered many change management processes as universities have evolved over the last 30 years.

Andrew was introduced to bellringing through handbells. Having been shown how to ring Christmas Carols on handbells at his Church Youth Club in Turnford, Hertfordshire (no bells!) Andrew spotted a sheet of numbers which proved to be Plain Bob Minor. The rest is history. He learned to ring a bell at Cheshunt, Herts and learned to ring at Waltham Abbey, Essex. Andrew was elected to the College Youths as a youth and rang regularly in London and elsewhere with people who gave him an excellent tutelage which has sustained him throughout his ringing career. Now living in Richmond, North Yorkshire, Andrew has held many posts in his branch of the Yorkshire Association of Change Ringers and is currently President of the Yorkshire Association and Librarian and Archivist of the Association. He is a Trustee of the Taylor Bell Foundry Trust who are completing a major development of the buildings and the associated museum. This work will preserve the last remaining full service Bell Foundry business in the UK and provide a heritage asset for both bell ringers and others interested in the industrial history of the UK.

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. A firm believer in theory and practice both being necessary to develop ringers, he welcomes the opportunity to bring the skills and experiences of his work and his hobby to bear on the task of maintaining and developing the Art and Science of Bellringing in the UK way, as practised across the world.

Tina Stoeklin − The view from the bridge

Most of us in ART will know Tina as she has been a loyal and supportive member since 2013, having taught many people to ring. She has been ringing for over thirty years, has run a bellringing after school club and co-written two books on handbell ringing.  All of that started when she attended a lecture on the mathematics of change ringing at Kalamazoo College, and never looked back. 

 

She has held several roles and offices including Editor of The Ringing World, Publicity Officer for the North American Guild, Secretary of the Scottish Association, and ringing master for both Glasgow Cathedral and Inveraray bell tower.  She was part of the Women in Ringing Working Group which benchmarked the lack of women in leadership roles in ringing and collected stories about the experiences of women ringers.   


Outside of ringing, Tina has a successful career as technical project manager, and currently works in delivering software platforms for the Scottish Government.  

 

In 2023, Tina was elected as President of the Central Council of Church Bellringers.

Steve Vickars − Teaching hubs: alone we can do so little, together we can do so much

Steve’s active ringing career spans some ten years across five decades, with a 40-year break between first learning as a teenager in the ‘70s and his return to ringing in 2015 when his local band was re-formed.  Since then, he has dedicated much of his time to learning method ringing and conducting.

He attended ART M1, M2F and M2C courses and became a full member of ART in 2018, is now an ART Assessor, and is currently in the process of becoming an ART Tutor.  Steve is Training Officer for the Bicester Branch of the ODG and does a great deal of teaching handling, foundation skills and basic methods.

Steve runs two general practices per week, organises and runs monthly focussed skills practices and has led methods courses organised by the ODG.  In 2022, Steve joined Susan Read in forming ART Hub, Oxon Ringing School and runs the Kirtlington Ringing Centre.  

Steve and his wife, Judith, are currently leading a project to analyse and implement an app to automate some of the administration of the Ringing School.  This will need the full cooperation of all the current 30 plus teachers and the 20 or so learners.  The new software is vital because without that help, the Ringing School administration team could burn out and the Ringing School itself could fall apart!

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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The ART Supporters programme provides a framework and benefits for those who support our work financially.

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£5 per month or £50 per year

Package includes recognition on the Supporters page of the ART website, 25% off a ticket for the ART Conference, statement of our thanks posted on ART’s social media pages and an annual Supporter’s certificate.

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All of the above, plus an extra ART Conference ticket at 25% off, the opportunity to host a stand at the ART Conference, and acknowledgement of thanks in Chairman’s Chatter.

Patrons

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Package includes 50% off two tickets for the ART Conference. In additon to the benefits enjoyed by Friends and Sponsors, Patrons will be recognised on all ART Teaching Scheme and Learning the Ropes materials and certificates, and on every page of the ART website.

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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.