The Western Branch is one of the nine branches of the Yorkshire Association of Change Ringers (church bell ringers). The branch represents towers and ringers within the old West Riding of Yorkshire from South Huddersfield through Calderdale (Halifax), Bradford, and into the Yorkshire Dales. At the last count, we have 62 churches with a ring of 5 or more bells, and over 400 ringers spread amongst them.
Latest from the Ringing Master
The branch's Ringing Master is Andy Sutherland
I’m Andy Sutherland and I was elected Ringing Master of the Branch at the AGM in March 2015. Your Newsletter Editor has suggested [actually, I think it was a bit stronger than a suggestion, and there have been several reminders…] that I introduce myself. In particular to say a bit about my path to ringing, my aims and objectives and, because it’s not just about me, to encourage you to join in with the exciting programme of activities the Branch has for you. So here goes.
Path to Ringing. I learned to ring in 1979 at St Cuthbert’s Church, Edinburgh whilst pursuing a research degree (in Animal Genetics, if you’re interested). The University Society were at the time very active, and I was interested in trying something new. Despite there being few local towers we did lots of ringing, and my first peal was at the then 2cwt 5 at Fettes College. Although ringing in Scotland was very much a minority pursuit the Scottish Association was very active, and meetings were well attended, despite sometimes involving round trips of a couple of hundred miles.
Work then took me to Warwick (statistics in vegetable research this time), where there was a very active local band and ringing scene. Interestingly the local branch split at this time, as it was reckoned that Warwick to Rugby (20 miles) was a bit far for people to go for branch meetings – an interesting contrast with Scotland!
After 12 years, including 3 as Warwick tower captain, the next move was to Ilkley (health statistics), where I’ve been for 20 years or so. With a young family ringing took a back seat, particularly after the death of my wife, but latterly I have been more active and, with the initial support of the late Roger Green, got more into conducting, although it still feels very much like bob calling with occasional insight into what might be happening elsewhere.
Aims and Objectives. Although I don’t really do excitement, I am quite excited by the possibilities inherent in being Branch Ringing Master. That the Branch exists allows us to do things which might otherwise be difficult at a purely local level. We need to continue to build on that, by
Providing opportunities for people to learn, and to ring, things they would not otherwise have the opportunity to do;
Encouraging skills and supporting standards, so that the ringing we do sounds good;
Building a wide sense of community, so that we understand where help is wanted, needed, or can be found, and are enabled to support each other to develop.
My role is to work with the Branch Committee and you generally to try to deliver this. To which end…
Please do support Branch activities. As well as the regular programme of meetings, training courses, social events etc., we run a monthly 10/12 bell practice at Halifax. We ring everything from Call Changes upwards and one of these days, if enough people who know it come, we may manage London Royal. Something for everyone.
If you have comments on the ringing in the Branch; what the Branch could do, how the Branch can help your tower, or how you can contribute to the Branch, do please get in touch – either via the Committee or via my email which is firstname.lastname@example.org I hope to get round many of the practices in the branch over the next year or so, and will be interested to hear your views. I look forward to meeting you then, or at one of the Branch meetings.
15th June 2017
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13th March 2017
The latest Newsline should be coming to your tower soon.
You can also download the PDF...Newsline February 2017