Donhead St Mary Bellringers - February 2016 Report

Commemorative ringing has been a feature of the sound of the bells in the Donheads recently. Frequently, a special ring is organised to mark an occasion, an anniversary or special event. However, from time to time, a ringing performance can be dedicated to commemorate something, although the ringing had been organised separately.

In one week in November 2015, the Donhead villages lost three people: David McLean, Angela Roberts and Marian Stephens. A visiting band of ringers had arranged to ring the bells at St Andrew’s when they would attempt to ring a quarter peal. As it turned out, the date coincided with the day of David’s funeral at St Mary’s. Rather than cancel it, Chris Kilner and I asked them if the ringers would dedicate their ring to commemorate the life of Angela Roberts. Angela was a major figure in the village, and played an active part both in the WI and in the creation of Amity. Their ring was successful and the commemoration has been published in the ringers’ magazine ‘Ringing World’.

I then also arranged with the band that they would come and ring St Mary’s bells later in the afternoon, with a dedication to both David and Marian. David was Life President of the Village Hall in honour of all the work he had done for it, was well known for his ‘Then & Now’ pictorial history and closely involved with much of village life. As part of his record of village activities, he took a series of photos of the ringers in action.

Marian was one of the bell ringers in the late 1980s to mid-l990s and I think rang for our wedding. She always brought a good sense of humour to the ringing chamber. One enduring memory is of her using a length of baler twine to keep her skirt out of the way of any errant bell rope! This quarter peal was successful and has also been published.

Christopher Sykes
www.donhead.sdgr.org.uk