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Chair's Chat June/July 2021

Dear Ringers,

I’ll start with an apology. This should have been the June newsletter,

and Valerie sent it to me towards the end of June, but then the end

of term happened! For anyone who is or knows any teachers at the

moment, you will know exactly what this means! Needless to say, I now

have brain space to actually do things again now – hence the

newsletter becoming a June/July edition.

As you will see, there are not many pages in this newsletter, as we

have received no articles or photos from anyone! I’m hoping that

some of you are managing to get back to ringing – there are plenty of

photos of teams across the country getting together in small groups in

gardens (weather permitting!) to ring again.

I also know that some of you have been attending some of the

National Virtual events – maybe you could give us a short write up

from something you have been doing online?

My school team has been back up and running since just before Easter

– although with some restrictions due to the “bubble” system which

schools have had to work with this year. They were able to learn and

record a short arrangement of Cader Idris, a Welsh folk song, for our

summer showcase recording. It was always touch and go as to whether

we would be up to performance standard, but when it came to their

recording time, they managed to pull off their best performance of

the piece!

The Wandle Ringers have also started back rehearsing. We started

with a meeting to discuss whether we wanted to and the health and

safety measures we would need to go through each time, but

unanimously agreed that we would like to re-start and go through the

summer with whoever is available each week.

We thought it might be useful to share how we are able to rehearse,

with social distancing and not sharing anything so the others kindly

agreed to me taking some photos at our last rehearsal.

You can see that we are using the big hall at Sanderstead so that we

have plenty of space. The bell cases and other equipment is all placed

in the middle, and we wear masks and gloves while moving around the

hall. We only touch our own bells and we each have a 3ft foam and a

riser (some ringers bring their own, so we have enough).

Once we have everything, we can then take our masks off if we want


As we have some duplicated bells in the middle 2 octaves, we have 4

rows of tables, so the bass bells are behind the tenors, but with a 2m

gap between the tables. The tables and chairs are all set up by the

caretaker, who then cleans everything down when setting up for the

next booking.

All the windows and doors (except the fire doors!) are open and we all

sign in. And – yes – those are chocolates on the tables – Wandle does

not function without at least one chocolate break per rehearsal!

And you can play spot the empty space where all my bells are!

Libby asked me to share the following (which is echoed by the entire


"It was lovely to return to rehearsals after a gap of 15 months. Everything

ran smoothly because of all the preparations Sandra and Martin had

made. Collating the music so that we all had our own copies, spacing us

out to comply with Covid rules, and sorting out the bells must have been a

logistical nightmare. The end result was a thoroughly enjoyable evening

where we could make music together."

Here's hoping lots more teams are starting back now or in September.

Please do send us your ‘first rehearsal’ photos – it would be fantastic

to put a large photo spread into the next newsletter.

Stay safe!


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