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

Death of Jean Blackman (former Western district ringer)

Thursday 4 May 2017, 07:59

It is with regret that we have to inform you that Jean Blackman (wife of Peter Blackman) passed away on 21st April after a long illness. Prior to her illness she had been a long standing member of the West District of the SCACR.  Her funeral will be at Chichester Cathedral on Monday, 15th May at 12.45pm.  All welcome

Association AGM - 13 May 2017

Wednesday 3 May 2017, 12:14

You are invited to the 132nd SCACR AGM being held at Billingshurst on 13th May 2017. The Agenda and details are available here and also in the website calendar. I would ask that names for lunch and any apologies for absence are sent to me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by Wednesday 10th May.

The SCACR Annual Reports are being picked up from the printers this week (more details can be found on the attachment). The District Secretaries and I will endeavour to get these out to you all asap. If you can help in anyway with distribution, please do get in touch.

Some good news on the General Secretary vacancy – we have been approached by someone who is willing to take on the Membership side of the role, thank you to them. If you are interested in the Administration side of the role or would like to find out more please do get in touch with either Graham Hills or myself.

Hope to see you at Billingshurst,

Sandra Alford
SCACR General Secretary


Reports to be presented at the AGM:

CRAG publishes proposal for reform of Central Council

Wednesday 3 May 2017, 07:49

CRAG’s long-awaited final report is now available in three parts!

The first, sent out with the printed Council papers, is a short summary of the CRAG report containing the background and CRAG recommendations. The full report (on the CRAG website) contains a lot more background and provides the context and rationale for the recommendations.

This proposal is a radical and far-reaching plan for change that lays the groundwork for modernisation in the Exercise, by suggesting a slimming-down and re-focus of Council to become more responsive to change and more effective. It is controversial and all of our CC reps (see below) will need to make their minds up how to vote – please lobby them with your opinion!

CRAG have produced a list of Frequently Asked Questions, which will be updated regularly.

All Papers for this years CCCBR meeting in Edinburgh can be found here (including CRAG summary):

Over the late May bank holiday weekend, up to 200 ringers will assemble in Edinburgh for the Central Council annual meeting. This Association will be sending five representatives:

  • Stella Bianco ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )
  • Graham Hills ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )
  • Rob Lane ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )
  • Steph Pendlebury ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )
  • David Kirkcaldy ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

Suspected Phishing emails

Thursday 27 April 2017, 15:07

27 April 2017

Several ringers within SCACR have received a suspicious email which appears to be from another SCACR ringer. This suspicious mail invites us to click on a link for Dropbox or a similar file sharing website to retrieve a "large attachment". We strongly suspect the linked website carries malware and/or may attempt to steal your contact details etc. and use these to propagate another set of emails.

The emails received directly from "SCACR - Sussex County Association of Change Ringers" are unaffected by the malware.

Richard Pendlebury

Death of Anthony Balchin (Keymer ringer)

Saturday 8 April 2017, 09:55

We've just heard the sad news that Antony Balchin, a ringer at Keymer for many years, died on Monday 3rd April (aged 83). He was a ringer for over 50 years.

His funeral is on Tuesday 25th April at 2.30pm in St Cosmas & St Damian, Keymer. There will be open ringing after the service..

Sussex Quarter Peal Week 1 - 8 April

Saturday 25 March 2017, 18:11

It’s Sussex quarter peal week this year 1 - 8 April, leading up to the “Songs of praise service” at St Swithuns Church East Grinstead Saturday 8th April from 3.30pm, remembering Sussex Bellringers of the First World War. Quarter Peal week serves to raise the profile of ringing and gives ringers opportunities to progress.

The aim is to have as many quarter peals as possible rung in the Association during the week, with as many ’firsts’ as possible, 1st quarter peal, 1st in method, 1st at another tower, 1st for Sussex Quarter Peal week, 1st Julie McDonnell?

See the poster for more information. Please also please read this article you may find interesting: Quarters are good for you!

Remember to link your performance to the Sussex County Association — Quarter Peal Week on Bellboard! Follow this link and if you’re not sure how to do it, please ask! ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

What is Quarter Peal Week…?

Why bother?
It’s really nice for the District to come together to help each other achieve personal goals and targets, and help each other progress. Ringing Quarter Peals gives us that shared aim and that shared target for us to aim for.

Quarter Peals are the ideal ringing that really does help ringers learn a method they are focusing on. Ringing something for a longer period than just a touch at a practice night really gives time to familiarise ourselves with the method.

The main focus of the event would be to give people the chance to ring/call something for the first time, or to ring something they’ve been wanting to ring for a while but haven’t had the local band to manage. Not everyone feels able to organise Quarter Peals and sometimes a tower may be one short for something they have been wanting to try. This special period of ringing will ensure we all work together to achieve something we have been wanting to achieve.

How would it work?
Quarter Peals during the period could be in one of the following ways;
a) Organise your own attempts during this period and put it on Bellboard where it will be picked up or let your newsletter editor know if you are unsure how to put it on Bellboard.
b) You may start to organise a Quarter Peal and find they are short a few ringers, or a conductor, and in this instance the Association Officers (see below) will work with you to help complete the band from other willing district members.

If you require help Your District Secretary, Graham Hills ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) or Sandra Alford ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) may be able to help by putting you in contact with other ringers in your area who may be able to help.

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.

Master's Winter mutterings

Wednesday 13 January 2016, 22:42

As soon as I read the last issue of Soundbow, I realised that I had made an omission in my mutterings.  I’m afraid that I had totally forgotten to thank the team who travelled to Guildford to represent our Association in the Essex Trophy striking competition  A total of 6 teams entered, and Essex won, so in 2016, the competition will be taking place in Essex.  Many thanks to those who gave their time to ring, and watch out as Stephen will be looking out for ringers for this year’s event.

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas, and are currently enjoying a Happy New Year with plenty of ringing.  I expect many of you rang in the New Year, and I hope local people heard you above the noise of all the fireworks being set off.  For us, it was one of the few occasions that both our sons and their families descended on us, and we made the most of it.  It is very rare these days that we can all get together.

The first Saturday in February will see the start of the ADMs, the first being in the Northern District, followed in turn by the West, South and then the East.  It is at these meetings that committee members for your District are elected, and please do remember that all positions are up for grabs, and must be proposed and elected at these meetings.  Also, you get the opportunity to nominate people for positions on the General Committee, even I have to be nominated for re-election.  Please do not forget that if you wish to nominate a person for something, you must obtain their permission first.

Marisa has indicated that she no longer wishes to be Association Secretary, so this is the main post that we need to fill, as fairly obviously, the Association cannot function properly without a secretary.  Richard from Horsham has taken over as Webmaster, and if someone else can take on the task of running the Membership Database, then the Secretary’s workload will be vastly reduced.

I am looking forward to seeing many of you at your respective ADM but in the meantime – Happy Ringing.

Graham Hills