President : The Rt. Rev. Bishop of Chichester
Charity No 268588

Congratulations to our Essex Trophy team!

Tuesday 19 September 2017, 20:00

Congratulations to the Sussex team who came first in the 10 bell Essex Trophy Striking competition held in Hertford earlier this month. This competition has been running since 1979 and has been won by Sussex on no fewer than 8 occasions now (the last time being in 2007). Superlative S Royal was the chosen test piece, not the easiest method to strike and the standard was high. 6 teams took part - Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex.
Thanks to Jeremy Alford who organised the band and practices this year. We look forward to welcoming teams to Sussex next year when it is our turn to host.

The Sussex band was included regular 10 bell ringers from across the county:
Jeremy Alford, Warnham (C)
Simon Alford, Warnham
Sandra Alford, Warnham
Caroline House, Brighton
David Perkins, East Grinstead
David Kirkcaldy, Steyning
Jonathan Spencer, Lindfield
Stephen Beckingham, Laughton
Alan Pink, St Leonards on Sea
Simon Meyer, Shipley.

What can YOU do for ringing? Call for volunteers for CC Workgroups

Saturday 16 September 2017, 21:11

The five Sussex reps voted in favour of reform of the Central Council (CCCBR) in April, as requested by the majority of ringers in Sussex. Now the reforms are going forwards, and the new president of the CCCBR is asking for “grassroots” ringers to get involved! This is a fantastic opportunity to make a difference; to give something back to ringing; to build and secure a bright future for ringing.

Volunteers are requested to get involved in the new workgroups (as members or leaders):

  • Volunteer and Leadership Development (working with David Smith and Alison Everett)
  • Tower Stewardship and Management (working with David Kirkcaldy and Ernie de Legh-Runciman)
  • Communications and Marketing
  • Historical and Archive
  • Direct membership channel (helpers working with Phillip Barnes)

More details in this week’s issue of The Ringing World (5551 15th September), or on the Central Council website.

Please have a think about how you could get involved in the new workgroups. The equivalent positions in the committees were open only to the elected Central Council representatives, but the workgroups are open to all ringers!

Barn Dance (Annual Social event)

Thursday 7 September 2017, 18:41


Saturday 30 September 2017,18:30-22:30 at the Rawson Hall, The Street, Bolney, RH17 5PF
Tickets on sale NOW! – download the poster here for your noticeboard.
£11 adults, under 18's £6 (includes supper)
Free parking. Raffle. Please bring your own cutlery, wine glasses and drinks.
For tickets and more information, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or your District Secretary. It was a great night out last year - let’s get a few more toes tapping in 2017!



Celebratory Ringing - 100 years of Girl Guides

Monday 28 August 2017, 20:09

This September marks 100 years since the formation of the 1st Lower Beeding Guides.

Mandy Wicking, one of the ringers at Lower Beeding, who is also a guide leader, is organising a range of celebrations one of which is a service there on Sunday 24th September at 3.00pm.

We would love to get together a band of former or present guides to ring before the service. If you are suitably qualified, interested and available to ring, please contact the tower captain, Graham Burling : This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

UPDATE2: Death of Robin Green (former Henfield ringer)

Wednesday 9 August 2017, 21:42

We have just heard that Robin Green has sadly unexpectedly died. He used to be a ringer at Henfield before he went to live in Oxfordshire, though he still regularly visited Sussex.

Robin passed away in early August, while out travelling around the country in his boat. He peacefully in his sleep on 7th August 2017, aged 67.

All are welcome at the funeral if anyone would like to attend - to take place at Worth Crematorium (Sussex & Surrey) at 3.15 pm on Friday 8 September.

Family flowers only, but if you'd like to make a donation, please make payable to The Bluebell Railway Trust, and send to :

C&T Radmalls Funeral Service
2 Stanmore House
High Street

Taking forward CCCBR reform (message from CCCBR President)

Saturday 1 July 2017, 06:37

Many people will be aware that the proposed CRAG reforms were welcomed by the Central Council at their meeting in Edinburgh last month. Now they are looking for a wide range of people - but all passionate about ringing - to help take reform of the way ringing is organised nationally forward.

Read more on the CCCBR website if you would like to get involved (deadline for applications 14 July).

Master's Mutterings Summer 2017

Friday 30 June 2017, 00:00

Since my last Mutterings, those of us on the Central Council, or who were part of the CRAG (Council Review Action Group) travelled to Edinburgh for the Annual Meeting. Of course the main item on the Agenda was the proposals from the CRAG team. For those of you who don’t already know, all of the motions were passed, and now for this coming year, the Central Council will have to work with the old format whilst starting to implement the new.

Chris Mew, President of the Central Council stepped down this year, to be replaced by Chris O’Mahony who has been the Vice President. There was a vote for the new Vice President between David Kirkcaldy from Steyning and Peter Wilkinson from Cheshire (not Westbourne). Congratulations to David on winning the vote, and now being the Central Council’s new Vice President.

On our way north to the CC meeting, we met up with Marion Hollands ringing tour around York for a couple of days. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and stayed near York after the others had returned to Sussex, this meant that we were able to go to Ripon Cathedral, and join in their practice. We were made very welcome, and in fact I don’t think either of us sat out all evening.

As I write this, our Young Ringers are looking forward to their trip to Birmingham this coming weekend. There they will be taking part in the Ringing World National Youth Contest, hoping to beat the Bedford team. The result for the previous 2 years has been Bedford 1st, Sussex 2nd. Good luck to them all. No doubt there will be a "Stop Press" for the result somewhere in the Summer 2017 edition of Soundbow.

I am pleased to say that Jonathan Spencer from Lindfield has taken on the role of "Membership Co-ordinator", one of the secretary's previous jobs. We now just need someone to take minutes at the meetings (AGM, 2 General Committees and Finance). Editing the Annual Report / Handbook ready for printing is another job that needs to be undertaken. Sue Gadd our Treasurer is also looking for help. She needs someone to look after the Association's Insurance, and someone to help with the Gift Aid and Small Donations Schemes.

Graham Hills

Master's Mutterings Spring 2017

Saturday 8 April 2017, 10:00

Well, the individual Annual District Meetings have come and gone, and not without some problems, mainly concerned with not enough people volunteering to be on a committee, and therefore help to run their District, or even the Association itself. However, saying that, we now do have four district committees, albeit with too few members for a couple of the districts.

Remember, we are all partaking of a hobby, which I hope the majority of us enjoy, but we do need some form of structure, and it really would be nice to see more varied people involved, rather than the same faces the whole time. Even if you are a new member, you must have some ideas about what could be done, and your input would be most welcome. It was good to see a couple of the Young Ringers willing to help out with the South’s committee, and even prepared to put together the newsletter.

Talking of Sussex Young Ringers, I have just heard that they have once again triumphed in the South East Youth Competition. Many thanks to Anne Franklin and Sandra Alford for helping to organise practices and the teams. The contest was held at Kings Langley in Hertfordshire, and this year, Sussex managed to enter 2 teams, so it was only right that they came first and second. Well done to all our young ringers, even if you were not in one of the teams this year, you may be there next year.

The next big item on our agenda is the Annual Meeting for the whole Association. This is to be at Billingshurst. Open ringing starts at 10-30, followed by a service, in which I hope you will all attend, even if you are not Church of England. Your hobby is to ring church bells, the least you could do, would be to attend a service especially when it is an Association service.

Talking about the AGM, during the past year when Sandra Alford has done an absolutely marvellous job as association secretary, even though she had not even been on the General Committee beforehand; has decided that for personal reasons, she is unable to continue as secretary beyond the AGM. I thank her most sincerely for all she has accomplished, and now we must look for a new secretary. Please do consider yourself for this role within OUR Association, or ask someone who you think would be good, and let either Sandra ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) or myself ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) know. This role could quite easily be split into 2 parts, thereby reducing the commitment.

I look forward to meeting many of you at the AGM on 13th May.

Graham Hills

Master's Winter Mutterings

Monday 9 January 2017, 19:11

The New Year has started, and I wonder how many of us have made New Year Resolutions. This seems to be a tradition that has slowly died, and this year I don't know of anyone who has made a resolution, probably because it used to one of those things we did, but after a very short while it slipped by the wayside.

Perhaps a good New Year's Resolution that I hope would last, would be to try and improve your ringing skills and ability. Unfortunately this cannot always be done within your own tower. I remember that not long after I started ringing, my "home tower" was almost a "call change" tower, with Plain Bob and Grandsire Doubles thrown in occasionally. I started going out to other towers, and persuaded one or two others to come with me, and we were then able to take our new found abilities back to our home tower. This also showed other towers that we were trying to get on, and so other ringers started coming to us as well. Remember, it is a two way thing, if you want to get on, you cannot always expect help to come to you; you have to be prepared to get out and help yourself.

However, saying that, I know that time is very precious these days, and a lot of ringers cannot afford additional time for more ringing. This is especially so when your spouse is not a ringer. I am lucky in that respect, as obviously both Moya and I are ringers, but even that sometimes has its drawbacks, as we end up finding ourselves out ringing most nights of the week, and usually Saturdays as well.

May I take this opportunity to thank the many people who rang quarter peals and peals of "Julie Mc Donnell" in any format, and helped to raise many thousands of pounds for "Strike Back Against Blood Cancer". Of course, I also congratulate Julie McDonnell herself for her own fantastic personal achievements.

By the time you read this, those of you listed for e-mail correspondence should have received a poster from OUR Association listing the vacant posts around the County. Do please give thought to how you would be able to help and put your name forward at your respective Annual District Meeting. Please contact your District Secretary; Sandra Alford, the Association’s General Secretary ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ); or myself for more information.
Happy New Year to you all, and KEEP ringing.

Graham Hills, January 2017

Master's Autumn Mutterings

Saturday 12 November 2016, 00:00

Firstly, as no doubt the majority of you will already know, our Sussex Young Ringers came equal second in the Ringing World National Youth Contest held in London early July. There were 24 teams entered this year including our two from Sussex; the method band ringing Grandsire Triples – Sussex Young Ringers, and the call change band – Young Sussex Ringers. Many, many thanks to all those who took part, and to Anne Franklin and Sandra Alford for keeping the teams together whilst visiting many other open towers in London, and for organising the practices beforehand. Thanks also go to the supporters, who appeared to be the picnic carriers.

The second striking contest was for the Essex Trophy. This is a 10 bell contest which this year was held at the lovely village of Writtle in Essex. Once again, many thanks to all those who took part, and especially to Jeremy Alford who organised the team and the practice sessions. The test piece was Grandsire Caters, but next year the test piece will be Superlative Royal No 2.

Any tower somewhere in Sussex could at any time require financial assistance from our Bell Restoration Fund. The fund is always in need of more cash, even though it may look as if we are OK at the moment. A typical low cost project could cost about £8,000, but this could easily run into the £20,000’s if the bells have to be removed. I am therefore asking all towers and Districts to do their bit and help to raise funds. Just recently, the ringers at Thakeham raised over £1,100 for the BRF by holding an evening with the Brighton Welsh Male Voice Choir. This was a very good evening, but the marvellous part was that they managed to get sponsorship for absolutely everything; so all monies raised went to the BRF. There’s a challenge – see what you can do. You never know when your tower may need assistance !!!

Another good fund raiser was when the KIPHRA hand bell ringers entertained us at Grafham. Another good evening, and this time, the cash raised went towards work required at Grafham.

Towards the end of June, I ran a Ropesight and Plain Hunting Course at Kirdford. The course had a full complement of Students, in fact I unfortunately had to say NO to a couple of people; so at the next Training meeting we shall be discussing having a similar course. Since then, Christine Baldock has run a Kaleidoscope course at Hailsham, and there is a call change course at Seaford in a couple of weeks. The final course this year will be a Bob Doubles course at Lower Beeding in December. If you would like to go, contact Steph, the Northern District Secretary.

Graham Hills

Master's Summer Mutterings

Saturday 13 August 2016, 07:44

The second Saturday in May, saw the Association’s AGM at Ardingly. A slightly different format this year, in that the open ringing was in the morning, followed by the service, a ploughman's lunch in the old school, and then the AGM. Many thanks go to Steph and Richard Pendlebury and to the Ardingly ringers who helped organise this event. However, I think that a lot of those present, including myself, were disappointed at the poor turnout. Out of an Association of over 1300 members, only 42 came to the AGM. I think this low figure is terrible. If you care about YOUR Association, come and JOIN a Team, or at least let those on a Team know your ideas about what is needed etc. Sandra or I would welcome hearing from you.

Marisa Hayes stood down from being the Secretary, and many thanks to Sandra Alford who has stepped forward, with assistance from my wife, Moya. Jack Burton from Westbourne has replaced Mike Wake as one of the Trustees, and there are some changes in the representatives from the individual Districts. At the ADMs, there had been only 2 nominations for Central Council Reps starting from May 2017; these being David Kirkcaldy for the West and Roy Cox for the East. Due to the number of members in our Association, we are entitled to 5 Reps., and there were no new nominations at the AGM. I shall therefore be raising this matter at the next General Committee Meeting in November.

Everything seemed to happen in May. This was also the month when Sussex was invited to ring in the Tewkesbury Shield striking competition. 7 teams entered and the Sussex team organised for me by Stephen Beckingham came 6 th. Many thanks to all those who took part and represented Sussex.

Following on from the Young Ringers success at Epsom, Anne Franklin and Sandra Alford organised 2 teams of young ringers to enter the Ringing World National Youth Striking Contest, which was in London on 2 nd July. This year 24 teams entered, so there were 3 separate heats. Both of our teams rang at the heat at Pimlico, with our method team, “Sussex Young Ringers” being one of the 2 teams to go through to the final. Standing outside listening, Moya and I believe that our 2 nd team, the "Young Sussex Ringers" came 3 rd with their Call Changes. In the final at St. Olave’s in Hart Street, our team came equal second to Bedfordshire – exactly the same result as last year. Well done to both teams. You did Sussex proud, and thank you to everyone for taking part. Also thank you to Anne and Sandra for their hard work, and to all parents and friends who accompanied the teams.

Earlier this month, at the Communications and Events Team meeting, Alison Everett agreed to be the Team Leader. Her generic e-mail address is This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Also during the meeting, we discussed holding a ceilidh as an Association event. Watch out for more details.

On 22 nd June, Moya and I went to the Redoubt Fortress at Eastbourne to join a gathering of Royal Sussex Regiment Veterans, the Mayor and some Councillors from Eastbourne, the Mayor of Richebourg, again with several dignitaries and several cyclists, from the Richebourg Cycling Club who had cycled all the way to Eastbourne, and by now, they will have cycled all the way back home. There were also some ringers from the Surrey and Middlesex Associations.

Peter Whisker, a ringer from Surrey, had a small piece of a church bell that his Grandfather, had brought home as a souvenir from the town of Richebourg. Peter presented the piece of bell to the Mayor of Richebourg watched by us all, along with Gary Baines from "The Royal Sussex Living History Group", who requested as many church bells as possible throughout Sussex to be rung for  at least 15 minutes at 5pm on Thursday 30 th June.

Graham Hills

Master's Spring Mutterings

Sunday 24 April 2016, 14:00

Well, spring is definitely here, and in fact looking at the way some of the spring flowers are dying off, it looks as though spring is virtually over. Talking of spring, the wedding season is upon us, although at Goring, we have fewer weddings booked than this time last year. I now collect the bells fee for weddings direct from either the bride or groom, and I know that many other churches operate in this way.

So far this system has worked well, but strangely enough, because I end up talking to one of those getting married, it seems to make the whole thing more personal, and I feel very guilty if the ringing is not to a reasonable standard. Let's face it; the general public won’t know the difference between 3 leads of Bristol, 360 of Bob Minor, or just Grandsire Doubles. What they can tell is whether the bells are clashing or not, and I believe that in many instances, it would be far better to ring well struck rounds and call changes, than to make a hash of a method.

I expect many of you have noticed on Facebook that our Young Ringers took part in a South East Region Striking Contest at Epsom on 2nd April and they came first with a score of 76%. Well done to the whole team. The other teams that took part came from Essex, Guildford, Herts, Kent, and Winchester & Portsmouth.

Now, you could not have missed noticing that there was something big going on in Horsham on April 9th. Of course it was the Festival of Bells to mark the 250th anniversary of the first peal being rung by an all Sussex band. A big thank you goes to the whole of the organising committee, spearheaded by Mike Cattell. I believe that over 120 people took part in helping to run the event.

There were many different displays of ringing, and I was present to guide the Mayor and the official party round. We met at the Bandstand, where George Francis's (a.k.a. Bell Meadow) mini ring was set up, and had already attracted plenty of volunteers to have a go. When it was time to move on to see the KIPHRA handbell ringers, the mayor and the councillors were ready to move, but it was proving to be nearly impossible to prise Jeremy Quinn the MP away from ringing.

Time to then move on to the rope making exhibition’ before walking down The Causeway to St. Mary's Church to see the bells being rung. Again, the MP showed a great deal of interest, and even threatened to go back up in the summer, when Parliament was in recess. Others in the party were not up for the stairs, so Moya took them back to the Barn for coffee, where we all met up later, and the Mayor then remarked how heavy the SCACR chain was compared to hers. I did point out that although hers was gold plated, mine was solid silver.

The day continued by walking continuous loops from the church to the mini ring, to the rope making, to the handbell ringers (who were walking around Horsham, then stopping in the street, for a course of Plain Bob, or some other method ), then back to the church.

During one of these walkabouts, I was only accosted once by a lady who wanted to know what I was going to do about the parking situation in Horsham. It was only when I pointed out that my chain had churches on, that she realised that I wasn’t the mayor.

The day finished with a well attended and enjoyable quiz in the Barn, complete with a fish and chips supper. A great event.