60th Anniversary - Worle Bellringers

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60th Anniversary

Bellringing at Worle – 1949
Denis Hawkings, one of our Ringers recalls his early memories:-
“It was probably January or February of 1949 that the Vicar of Worle, Vallance  Cook, put an appeal in the Parish Magazine for persons to learn to ring the bells.
There had been a team of Ringers before the Second World War but as ringing had ceased during hostilities the band had disbanded. (The bells would have only been rung as a warning of an invasion).  It appeared that there had not been any resumption of bell ringing in Worle even when peace had been declared.
Volunteers were asked to get in touch with Walter Weadon (known as Jack) who lived in Hill Road East. I was invited to the Tower, along with two or three others and we all had a lesson in handling a “tied bell”. A tied bell means that the clapper is tied in a position so that the clapper cannot strike the bell and therefore no sound is made while the learner is practising. Jack Weadon was an excellent teacher and I was able to handle a bell after an initial long session.
Along with the other learners we gradually became more experienced during the following weeks. However we were not allowed to ring the bells open until the morning of Easter Sunday, 17th April 1949. We were fortunate that we had received a lot of help from other ringers, notably George Prescott, and some ladies who had been taught previously although they were not in sufficient number to constitute the band.
From this time onwards, particularly with the help of Jack and George, we progressed to quite a good standard. We benefited by joining practices at Kewstoke and Locking and we became proficient to maintain Sunday ringing at Worle. One peculiarity, which does not happen these days, was that practice night ringing ceased for many weeks during the summer because of haymaking!
I continued ringing at Worle until March 1952 when I was married and we went to live in Bristol. We returned to live in Milton during 1955 but by that time ringing at Worle had lapsed. Eventually in the autumn of 1957 ringing recommenced, thanks to Wilf Ballam from Wick St. Lawrence who became captain. He only agreed to be captain for one year and eventually Wilf Kingsbury became Captain. He retired in October 1982 and Jim Lambard became captain and he continues in this position at the present time. Sadly, at some point, Jack Weadon left the tower but George Prescott continued to help us and rang at Worle very regularly. George was always a Kewstoke ringer, despite that he lived in Worle”.
To commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the bells being rung open on Easter Sunday 1949 we are proposing to ring a Quarter Peal on Friday 17th April 2009. We will also be celebrating Denis’ sixty years of Sunday Service Ringing. A wonderful achievement. We are all very grateful to Denis for all his help and encouragement over the years to further the achievements of the Worle bell ringers.
Chris Swatton.
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