New ringers are given a safety briefing and a guided tour of the tower. In the belfry a demonstration is given of a bell ringing and on returning to the ringing room, of a bell being rung.
Initial training on understanding the mechanics and how to handle a bell is on a 1:1 basis or in groups (with supervision as appropriate). Training is usually in one hour sessions. During these sessions the bell(s) is silenced and the sound reproduced via a simulator. This enables a single (or more) bells to be rung without disturbing the neighbours, but the student will be able to hear when their bell sounds. Once the student is able to safely handle a bell they can ring with others on a practice night, although they are encouraged to attend practice nights from the outset to meet the other ringers and familiarise themselves with the routine of ringing. The student will be closely supervised until they, and their tutor, are confident in their safe bell handling.
Training is continuous and small group sessions are held most weeks to improve bell control skills and to introduce change ringing. All ringers, whatever their experience, are welcome to attend these sessions.
The tower is also equipped with cctv positioned in the belfry and this is used during training to show the connection between the action of the bell and bell rope. We also use it to help explain ringing to visitors. A two-dimensional model bell is also used.
A national training programme is followed and training is given by accredited tutors. The system in use is called Learning the Ropes, which has been developed by the Association of Ringing Teachers. This is a progressive system which enables the student to move from one stage to another in logical steps. Logbooks are used to record progress and certificates are awarded on completion of each stage.
Fees for Training
Local ringers are taught free of charge. New/existing ringers from other towers may receive training at Great Gransden at a mutually convenient time, for which the following charges will apply.
- New ringers with little or no experience – £60 for six one hour sessions. The training will be 1:1 (Under 18s must be accompanied by parent/guardian) and will include an understanding of safety in the tower, safeguarding (if appropriate), the basics of bell handling. A progress log book will be provided together with access to further reading and training aids.
- Duke of Edinburgh award scheme. A plan should be agreed between the tower and the candidate in order to achieve the relevant award. A negotiated fee will be charged.
- New ringers – further training. Further lessons to be negotiated according to progress in the initial six sessions.
- Improvers – those who can ring but wish to develop their bell control. £5 per hour. This will be taylored to suit the needs of the ringers and might include excercises such as dodging, place making, ringing up and down.
- Listening Skills – £5 per hour. The use of the simulator to develop listening skills using short touches or a quarter peal.
For further details please contact Phillip George – Tower Secretary and LTR Teacher by email bells-at-nutbells.plus.com
All fees are payable to Great Gransden Bell Fund
More information on bell ringing can be found on our Learning Resources page.