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Press release, Stretham ringing centre

Stretham, 15 April 2014

St James, Stretham to become Ely Diocesan Association’s first Ringing Education Centre

As part of a new recruitment and training strategy agreed recently by the Committee of the Ely Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers, St James, Stretham is to become the first of what it is hoped will be a network of Ringing Education Centres across the Diocese. Having now received approval to proceed from the St James PCC, the Recruitment & Training Sub-committee will be making every effort to have the Stretham Ringing Education Centre operational as soon as possible this year.

St James, Stretham was selected because it meets all the criteria for an ideal Ringing Education Centre with the minimum of additional facilities or adaptation being required. Its ring of six bells (9-2-21), re-hung and augmented to six in 1952 by Taylors of Loughborough, are in very good order and ideal for learners. To facilitate silent teaching and practice, a ringing simulator will be installed and other teaching aids provided. 

The first-floor ringing chamber is a good size and easily accessible, as is the belfry for showing beginners how the bells work. Below are excellent kitchen and toilet facilities, and St James also has a ground floor glass-partitioned lecture room for theoretical instruction. Stretham is easily accessible from most parts of the south-eastern area of the Diocese of Ely, being on the A10 and having a regular bus service between Cambridge, Ely, Chatteris and beyond.

The Stretham Ringing Education Centre will be open to all and the Association’s Education Officer, Phil Bailey, hopes that as many towers as possible will wish to bring their new recruits, learners and developing ringers to take advantage of instruction from experienced and/or qualified ringing teachers. Towers will also be most welcome to book the Centre as an occasional alternative location for their own practices and individuals or small groups of ringers can use its simulator for specific skill-sharpening purposes such as perfecting striking when ringing on ten or twelve bells. Phil says: “We are delighted that Stretham’s PCC have given their agreement to develop a Centre at St James and the newly-formed Recruitment & Training Sub-committee will work hard to get it open a soon as possible. However, to function successfully, the Centre will need a greater number of experienced ringers to come and share the teaching load. I am therefore keen to hear from anyone willing to give their time and expertise to help us in this new venture, in particular those who have recently qualified under ITTS Modules 1 & 2.”

For further information please contact Phil Bailey, Association Education Officer on 07968 788425 or e-mail education_at_elyda.org.uk, or Peter Binns, Association PR Officer on 01353 649428, 07889 712098 or e-mail  pro_at_elyda.org.