Colin and I have been members of the RAF Guild of ringers for more than 20 years. Colin served four years in the RAF in the 1950s, and my father was in the RAF and I spent my childhood moving from one RAF base to another until we ended up at Brampton in 1972, moving to Godmanchester in 1975 where I learnt to ring a year later. The RAF Guild holds quarterly meetings in all parts of the country as its members are widely dispersed around the UK. We go to as many meeting as as we can, and at last year's meeting at Bluntisham we were told that the Guild would be 40 years old this year.
Plans were made to celebrate with a Dinner preceded by ringing at the towers where the founding members formed the Guild in March 1973, Uxbridge and Hillingdon, followed the next day by a special service and peal at the RAF Church, St Clement Danes. We could not miss such an auspicious occasion, so Saturday 23rd March found us on an early train to London, then the Metropolitan line to Uxbridge, where we met up with the rest of the Guild, including another 4 from the Ely DA (see the main Ely DA website for the group photo) and Founder Members Mick and Betty Stracey who are former Ely DA resident members. After some enjoyable ringing to suit all abilities we made our way to the Victory Services Club near Marble Arch for the AGM and Dinner. The AGM was fairly speedily dealt with, allowing us to change into our 'posh clothes' and have a drink before the formal dinner started. An enjoyable meal was efficiently served to the 40 members present, followed by a short speech by the Guild President, Mark Phillipson. Some of us then caught the train home (others stayed at the VSC) and we arrived at Huntingdon to find the car under several inches of snow and had quite a slow drive home on snowy roads.
The following morning we had an even earlier start (luckily there had not been too much more snow overnight) to get to St Clement Danes in time for service ringing and the commemorative service taken by the RAF Chaplain. After a short break 10 of us re-assembled in the ringing room and rang a good peal of Grandsire Caters before catching the train home after a tiring but enjoyable weekend.
(PS If there are any other ringers with RAF connections who are interested in joining, please send me an email)
Below: Colin and Sue All Dressed Up (with somewhere to go)
Older articles >