Our new President, Rev Paul Cubitt, the 18th since the Association was formed, tells us a little about himself and a little about how he see the Association and the challenges that will be faced during his term.
Paul learnt to ring at 6, tenor 5 cwt in B
Tuesday 19h30 1st OnlyNorwich All Saints (aged 10) and then 6, tenor 9 cwt in G#
Wednesday 19:30 Norwich Colegate before joining the 8, tenor 15 cwt in E
Thursday 19:30 Blofield. When urgent tower repairs were needed he and his eldest son Oliver did a sponsored parachute jump.
Paul is now a regular at 6, tenor 10 cwt in G
Monday 19:00 Coltishall on Monday evenings with the absence of bells at North Walsham. He has served as Bishop’s Bells Advisor since Paul Cattermole’s death.
There are several challenges ahead for the Association
- an increasingly elderly membership
- a decline in the number of bands able to ring regularly for Sunday services
- a number of unfilled posts (Ringing Master)
- and what looks like an excessively large standing committee.
So, I am now president. What have I inherited? I am not too sure, if I am being honest.
I am in the process of making a list of all towers by deanery and benefice noting that some towers are in different branches but the same benefice (e.g. 6, tenor 10 cwt in F#
Thursday 19:30 Shipdham in the Northern Branch is in the benefice with 8, tenor 22 cwt in Eb
Monday 19:30 East Dereham which is in the Western Branch). I am also recording, from the annual report, which towers have regular practices and Sunday ringing, who has none and the large number of ‘by arrangement’.
In addition, using bellboard, the peal and 1/4 peal totals over the last 10 years for each tower. None of this will fully tell a picture but it suggests some benefices have had silent towers for a long time; some towers are ‘hot spots’ e.g. 8, tenor 10 cwt in G
Tuesday 19:30 Loddon who have clocked up 342 quarter peals in the last 10 years and others, like 6, tenor 10 cwt in A
Wednesday By arrangement onlyBunwell, once a flourishing tower, have had no peals or 1/4 peals in the same amount of time.
There will be some towers where ringing only takes place on a 5th Sunday benefice service (on rotation) which may only be once or twice a year.
I wonder how often these mainly silent towers receive any attention to the condition of their fittings.
None of this will be unfamiliar to you but it is good to look at a global picture and not just the local.
In 11 years time (2027) the NDA will be 150 years old; if we are going to celebrate that anniversary in good heart we will need to be training a lot of ringers and maintaining our bells and their fittings.
There are clearly challenges ahead if the Association is to fulfil its constitutional aims. The chief objectives of the Association are:
- the advancement of the Christian religion, principally within the Diocese of Norwich, by the ringing of bells for Christian worship and on other appropriate occasions; and
- the advancement of the education of the public in the art and science of bell-ringing, by promoting and encouraging the practice of bell-ringing and by supporting the recruitment, training and development of bell-ringers.
I can only hope during the time of my presidency that we can see the advancement of our hobby/art/worship/sport in the Diocese and look forward to a brighter future.