Donhead St Mary Bell-Ringers - April 2019 Report

Many will recall that we tried to ring a 3-hour peal last year in celebration of the Wedding of he Duke & Duchess of Sussex; that we didn’t succeed and that I wanted to have another go at it later in the year. Well, we are now hoping to have another attempt, in the week of May 20-27, just after the 4 Villages Fete. The ringing is to celebrate the fete and the coming together of so many people to raise money for ‘good causes’ and to enjoy themselves in the process. We may also have a baby Sussex to congratulate. The date will either be Tuesday 21 May or Friday 24 May.

Thank you to Madeleine Coward who drew my attention to an article in the Daily Telegraph in March, all about the health benefits of bell ringing! We all already know about the benefits of music and singing - in church environments: singing hymns - but a Prof. Narula of London’s St Mary’s Hospital has observed that bell ringing strengthens the extra thoracic muscles. These muscles unsurprisingly are in the upper abdomen. A man reported to the British Medical Journal a number of years ago that ringing bells provided him with excellent relief from his back pain. They didn’t need a survey to do that - we could have told them! It is something we have been saying for years. Another man reported that it had loosened the contractions in his hand and elbow following a road accident. Another benefit is that the rhythmic pulling of the rope encourages the flow of blood and lymph back up the arm.

What they missed out was the social pleasure, when we meet up with good company; the music of the bells; and the exercise - gentle, steady and warming. There is also the non-physical part: thinking about the changes that are rung, learning new routines (known as methods) and the thought that we are doing something for the community by ringing for weddings, funerals, fetes and services.

We are always pleased to see new faces. Do feel free to come up on a Wednesday evening and see what it is all about. (Note that we do not ring on the Wednesday before Easter). In the meantime, we ringers wish you all a Happy Easter.

Christopher Sykes