Ripon to host national bellringing contest

NARG 1305222AM1 12 Bell striking contest preview. Ringing master Martin Davies with the Ripon Catherdral bell ringing team.  (1305222AM1)
NARG 1305222AM1 12 Bell striking contest preview. Ringing master Martin Davies with the Ripon Catherdral bell ringing team. (1305222AM1)
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Ripon Cathedral has been selected to host the National 12-bell Striking Contest, where bellringing teams across the country will battle it out to win the Taylor Trophy.

The contest, on June 22, will be a day of competition and celebration for the city, as the family friendly event will feature a range of activities, from a beer tent to a bouncy castle.

Ringing master Martin Davies with the Ripon Catherdral bell ringing team.  (1305222AM1)

Ringing master Martin Davies with the Ripon Catherdral bell ringing team. (1305222AM1)

Ripon bellringer Robert Wood told the Gazette in the bellringing room of Ripon Cathedral: “The top competition for bellringing in the country is the National 12-bell Striking Contest.”

Although Ripon’s bellringing team will not be competing in the contest this year, two teams from Yorkshire – York and Leeds – have made it through to the final, and Mr Wood said it is a “great platform for the city”.

Talking about his “life-long” hobby, Mr Wood told the Gazette: “It is a peculiarly English activity.

“And we have three main reasons to ring. We ring for the church services; we ring to support events such as the Royal wedding, the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee; and we ring because it’s a great hobby.”

Mr Wood, who practises with the Ripon team of 15-20 cathedral bellringers on a Wednesday evening, said it is “a great hobby in many ways because gender and age is not important”.

Mr Wood added it is a “great social activity” as the team spend 90 minutes practicising their ringing – and then 90 minutes in the pub!

But there is one talent you may need if you want totake up bellringing.

“We play lots of popular tunes,” Mr Wood said. “And you have to have a conventional musical ear to sense the notes.”

The Ancient Society of College Youths, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds, Melbourne, the Society of Royal Cumberland Youths, Towcester, and York will contest the final next week. For more information about joining the Ripon bellringers, contact the cathedral office on 01765 603462.

lWatch our video: www.ripongazette.co.uk/community/your-community/video-bellringing-at-ripon-cathedral-1-5685242