2021 has been a slightly more “normal” year than 2020, the latter being spent almost entirely in lockdown due to the Covid pandemic. Covid social distancing restrictions were eased on Monday 17th May 2021 but we were only allowed a maximum of six ringers in the tower and we had to sanitise our hands and wear face coverings. We also needed to make sure we had all doors and window opened to improve ventilation.
We returned to the tower immediately, starting with tied bell practices using the simulator, and making sure that everyone had an opportunity to ring over the following few weeks. This helped us get back into ringing. We recommenced open ringing in early June and by July there was no restriction on numbers which made our ringing much easier to organise.
Since June we have rung for 14 services and practiced on 23 occasions. The average attendance has been 7 ringers (including an occasional visitor) and it is pleasing to have this support.
We have also had 18 simulator practices which continue to be a valuable time for extra practice and theory. The sim has certainly come into its own in the last 2 years, enabling more bells to be rung and supporting our learning. A total of 19 quarter peals have been rung on it this year.
One quarter peal was rung on open bells, the first since March 2020, and we have rung four lots of 120 call changes, celebrating marriages and births.
We had plans for ringing over the Christmas period but decided at the last minute to postpone most of them because of the sudden emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid which is highly infectious and which, we felt, put us at higher risk. However, plans have already been made to carry out this ringing in the New Year.
We have ten resident ringers, but as with all towers not everyone can be there all of the time, so we need to continue to use social media and word of mouth to make our presence known so that we can increase our team and grow in experience.
A team photo taken in August was the only time we were mostly all present. It is included in a design for a jigsaw puzzle which represents our group in 2021, surely a landmark year, but we are looking forward to an even more successful 2022 with many exciting objectives to be achieved.