• Oliver Lee
    20
    Exactly a year ago yesterday I had the privilege of being able to score my first peal on the light eight at Writtle and I hoped initially that it would mark the start of similar opportunities, however apart from loosing a fully muffled attempt at much hadham for the Queen no other opportunities have been forthcoming and this is something I would like to try and remedy as I actually enjoy peal ringing. Does anyone have ideas about how peal bands are formed and how these can be organised
    Many thanks
    Oliver lee
  • John Harrison
    372
    I think there are two sorts of peal band. Many peals are rung by ringers who know and regularly ring with each other, and tend to be self perpetuating, while the bands ringing some peals are more ad hoc, and not a 'regular band'. In either case the key feature is the organiser who gets the band together. That's easier with a regular band, and harder to do from scratch without a regular group, but still possible. Most (tower) bands wanting to ring a peal for a special occasion find they don't have enough members able or willing to ring a peal so the ofraganiser needs to ask around others who might be able to do so.
    An individual ringer wanting to ring more peals therefore has two options: make contact with an existing regular band and see if they will include you, or start organising your own, drawing on any contacts you have, and asking for advice on who else you could ask where needed. You may need to ask quite a few to get enough, but as you build up your contacts it should get easier.
  • Simon Linford
    305
    I agree with John - definitely let people locally know that you are looking for peal ringing opportunities. Tell Andrew Kelso for instance and he might also put you in touch with others. Unfortunately there are not enough peal organisers who will go out of their way to try and include new people in their peals, and it needs you to be proactive.
  • Graham John
    232
    I don't think that we should kid ourselves that something has changed in this regard. I remember it being difficult to get the opportunity to ring a peal when I was learning in the 1970s, and I could ring Surprise Major before I rang one. You had to let the peal bands know that you were interested and then wait for them to be short for an attempt. You then had to ring well, otherwise it was likely you would not be asked again.
  • Alan C
    90
    Unfortunately there are not enough peal organisers who will go out of their way to try and include new people in their pealsSimon Linford

    Perhaps the falling number of peals being rung isn't such a mystery.
  • Andrew Kelso
    3
    Hi Oliver - I'm really pleased to hear that you enjoy peal ringing - so do I! It can be difficult to get started. I think there are 3 immediate options for people in your position:

    • Find out who the peal organisers are in your local area, and tell them that you are interested in ringing more peals. This might not immediately be followed by a flurry of invitations for several reasons, including that peal bands have already been organised for the foreseeable future, the band might be ringing methods that are outside of your ability, or that there are other people who the organiser is also trying to support, but at least they will know that you are interested and potentially available
    • Organise your own peals. This can be tricky to get started with, as you need to have a group of people around you that you get on with that might like to ring with you. Talking to your ringing contemporaries and asking if they would be interested is a good start, but (speaking from experience) organising a tower, conductor and a band that is likely to produce good ringing is not always an easy task
    • Speak to your district ringing master and let them know that you are interested in ringing peals, so that they can keep you in mind if a suitable opportunity becomes available

    Unlike other ringing opportunities, peals are not always arranged to include as many people as possible. They can be a time for ringers that support lots of other ringing training to have some time ringing for themselves (rather than for other people), and as a result can become a bit exclusive. Whether this is right or wrong is another matter, but new peal ringers don't always appreciate this.

    People get quite upset if they meet for a peal and then it is lost, so if you are asked to ring a peal, be absolutely sure that you will be able to ring what you are being asked to, and ring it well, so that there is a high chance of success. The best way to do this is to ring with people that know you (and your abilities) well. If you do get an invitation from someone that you don't know so well, be very honest upfront about what you can and can't ring - don't be flattered into going for something too ambitious. You could use a ringing mentor to help advocate for you in this situation?

    Good luck in your peal ringing endeavours, and thank you for being so enthusiastic!
  • Simon Ridley
    15
    Speaking from personal experince as a late starter for peals, most of my opportunities have come from it being known I was keen and avaliable and then someone being ill or unavailable at short notice. This has given me feet in the doors. However feet in doors is only a start - to find oneself in a regular band (usually the better peals) it is important to capitalise on opportunity by ringing well and within ability. As Andrew says, be upfront about what you can and cannot do and be prepared to receive feedback about your ringing, sometimes during the peal. If you want to attempt something ambitious, arrnage this yourself or ask for some help arranging. Oh, and don't forget to enjoy yourself!
  • PeterScott
    68
    Organise your own peals
    We had a local ringer, he died some years ago, and he was a proficient tenor-behind ringer. He would attend our local practice and ask if the winter slot was available for a peal; it was a hesitant 'yes' in anticipation of the next question: ”can you find the band with a good conductor and I'll ring the tenor behind”.

    So it can work as a peal-organising strategy ...
  • Elaine Scott
    6
    This is the sort of thing territorial guilds and associations ought to be able to help with, putting people together who would like to ring specific things. May be a website to register your interests and find like minded souls in need of a band.
  • Lucy Chandhial
    62
    I think you will find it difficult to ring more peals until you have a wider range of methods to ring for quarter peals. There will be chances to tenor for a peal but there are limited chance for peals of doubles and many more peal opportunities once you can ring varied minor methods or triples methods because these make for more interesting peal opportunities for every ringer in the band. So don’t be too fixed on peal ringing at this stage, look for opportunities to learn more methods as minor or triples and then find the quarter peal bands to cement those methods. You are on the border of Essex and Herts so have two potential district ringing masters to help you find the opportunities but start by looking at the regular practices or training sessions which will extend your methods. This will later lead to peal ringing opportunities and the experience from covering for peals will stand you in good stead for keeping concentration when you ring peals inside.
  • Sue Marsden
    33
    As peal secretary, every year in my report I ask if anyone wants to ring their first peal or first in method to get in touch with me. I have had about one person take me up on the offer. I also ask on Facebook and on the District email lists. In this year's report I have highlighted the lack of new peal ringers, peals in basic methods and also the shortage of organisers. One person (me) organised almost half of the association peals last year.
    So ask your association peal secretary or association ringing master. That should be part of their job.
    Sue Marsden
  • Oliver Lee
    20
    Hi Lucy, whilst there are some particularly strong quarter peal bands in my area there seems to be an all too massive gulf between those who ring surprise major and those who don’t, the vast majority of practices tend to cater for the former type of people but thankfully I do regularly ring with a band who are both inclusive and willing to help people progress in anyway they can. As a matter of fact I am going on a course to learn bob minor next week so already I think I’m well on my way to improving my method repertoire
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