Donhead St Mary Bell-Ringers - December 2019 Report

Christmas is almost upon us, with all the festivities! For various reasons, we did not have our annual dinner last year or the year before. Regular readers of this column may remember that we have always held our Christmas dinner in the following summer or autumn. So our Christmas Dinner for 2015 was not held until October 2016. So we are now debating whether our next dinner, which we are having in December is our 2019 dinner or a belated 2016 one! I favour the last view, as perhaps I may get some extra dinners in before next year.

We plan to ring before Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, starting at about 10.45pm. We hope also to keep up the tradition of ringing out the old year and ringing in the new. As in the past, this starts at about 11.40pm with the bells half-muffled; then a pause while we remove the muffles from the clappers; as midnight chimes, we ring the bells loud and clear in celebration of the new year.

Ringing as a hobby is not just pulling ropes and making a loud sound. It includes a strong social side to it. It is a good way of meeting other people in the village, especially if you have newly moved here. It is skill that involves mind and body, and we all know how beneficial that is. It does not need you to be musical, or muscular: if you are tall enough to reach the rope, usually by the age of 10, you can ring even a quite heavy bell, once you have learnt the technique. As I have written before, I’m afraid we don’t sail into the air whilst ringing. It is a hobby you can continue into old age, so it is a good blend of people from all ages and walks of life.

The ringers wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Christopher Sykes