A Striking Competition

Learning to ring at Whittlesford, I was always impressed with the large framed certificate hanging on the wall, headed "Invitation Ringing Competition" and dated 30th September 1966. It also featured a photograph of Meldreth church, which is where the competition was held. Having ended up ringing at Meldreth myself, many years later, has added to my interest in the story. Sorry, I haven't got a photograph of the certificate, but that sounds like a good excuse to ring at Whittlesford again, sometime, once we are able to do such things.

Then, on a Little Shelford ringing outing in 2007, I happened to discover another similar certificate, at Little Munden, in Hertfordshire. So it clearly wasn't a Cambridge District Striking Competition. (Click on image for larger version)

And more recently, on a District Outing in 2014, I came across another matching certificate, at Wendens Ambo, in Essex. And this one was for First Place. There are also some names on this one which may be familiar. (Click on image for larger version)

By now, the Ringing World had been published in a DVD edition, so it was possible to find out more about the competition (RW 1966 p. 705):

What a brilliant idea!

I did visit Cottered church, as well as trying to contact the authorities there, but haven't managed to discover their certificate. But since my visit, a new band has been formed and their bells have now been augmented to 6, so perhaps another research visit is due. I'm sure they'd be interested to hear about the tale, even if they did come last. (Click on image for larger version)

Jean Sanderson and Barry Couzens were both active in training ringers in the area at the time, particularly at Whittlesford. Another Ringing World extract from 1966 describes a report in the "Cambridge News" about the young Harston band, being trained by Brian and Frances Threlfall.

As well as her interests in training, Jean was also a librarian by profession and served on the Central Council Library, as well as editing "Change Ringing: The History of an English Art". She was involved with the Ladies Guild and with the Handbell Ringers of Great Britain. Her Ringing World obituary is here.

Barry was much involved with the Saffron Walden band. He had articles on the subject of teaching ringing published in The Ringing World, as well as a report on Kilifi in Africa. However, he was unfortunately killed in a road accident in France in 1972, while travelling on business, at a tragically young age. The appreciation below, from the Ringing World, was written by Charles Jones, Vicar of Whittlesford.

I assume the following obituary of Barry was written by Jean. (Click on image for larger version)