Tower Captain’s Report 2018/ 2019

Wow what a year, I have no idea where to start.
November saw us opening the tower for Carnival Day, a busy and successful day it turned out to be.
Remembrance Sunday 2018 will stay with me forever, after attending the service I walked into the tower room to be met by a sea of smiling faces all wearing their blue tops. We were all taking part in the national celebration of the ending of the Great War and ringing the bells at 12:30. This was a very moving time for us, Trish came up and said a prayer, visitors came to join us, including a couple from America, to be part of this historic event.  In our normal ringers way we finished of by a glass of bucks fizz and cake.
At the end of November we had a table at the Frost Fayne in Glastonbury, another successful event for us.
We enjoyed a delicious Christmas Meal at the Great Escape, thank you to Isabel for her organisation.
In April it was a now or never moment for our project so for the third time of asking we applied to the Heritage Lottery Fund, within four weeks of our application being submitted we were successful.
We also hosted a training day for ART, Roger Booth took a course on Using a Simulator, we catered for a dozen candidates, my thanks goes to Mary and Hasu for their help.
Later in the month the Ladies and Gentlemen of the tower took part in the annual branch striking competition which was held at Fiddington, I will not dwell on who won out of our teams needless to say the Gentlemen retained bragging rights for several weeks.
We rang for St George’s Day celebrating in our usual manner.
At the beginning of June we said goodbye to Jane Cooke, who bravely lost a battle with her illness and sadly passed away.  Many of us attended her funeral, we rang a quarter peal in the evening, which was Rob’s first quarter peal, Rob was taught by Jane and I know she would have been very proud of him.  Jane supported us in many ways, baking such lovely cakes and making items for our craft table to name just two.
In June we had a day out visiting five local towers, some may say interesting, rounding the day off with a lovely meal at the Compass Inn.
July saw us open the tower for the Quayside festival and the start of our guided tower tours, thank you to Gina for writing the guide and leading the training.
September saw 10 of our members join the branch ringing outing to Dorset, a very enjoyable day was had by all.
Heritage Day saw the tower open on the Friday, which was usually busy with many visitors.
In October some of us visited Taylor’s Bell Foundry to see the first two of our new bells cast, what an experience, to see history in the making.
At the end of the month we opened the Tower on the Bridgwater Hospital League of Friends Fayne.
During the year we have rung for 6 Weddings, given a talk to the Bridgwater Civic Society, given private tours to Bridgwater Air Cadets, Shapwick Cubs, St Mary’s School, St Mary’s Brownies, Bawdrip History group, Bristol Civic Society and Bridgwater Homberg link group,  I would like to thank those who helped.
I still find this hard to believe, as we look forward to the bells being augmented to 13, it a very exciting time for us.  I would like to thank Richard for his support and hard work to get to where we are today.
And finally I would like thank you all for your support, friendship and fun over the past year and I look forward to ringing our 12 bells in the spring.

Margaret Lee
Tower Captain

Ringing for England - and Tower Open Day!

We had a lovely time - and a lovely cake - Ringing for England on St George's day!
We joined towers aross the country at 6pm on April 23 ringing in honour of the patron saint. A delicious cake break followed, then more ringing before finishing up an hour later. As you can see, a strict dress code was enforced!

Then on Saturday we welcomed visitors young an old to our tower as part of the Bridgwater Food Festival.
The incredibly windy weather was certainly magnified on the parapet at the top of the tower, but the views were definitely worth it for those who braved the centuries-old spiral staircase.
Thank you to all our visitors for letting us share our tower with you.

Our Augmentation Fund - can you help us?


The bells of St Mary's have rung out across Bridgwater for generations - the oldest bell still in weekly use at our tower was cast an incredible 400 years ago!
We feel our bells are a link to our shared past, and it's good to know the bells you hear every Sunday morning are the very same ones calling out to our parents, grandparents and older ancestors for generations.
It is this link with our shared past - and our hopes for the future - which have spurred us to reach out to you.
Our tower is looking to expand. Recently awarded training tower status, our bells are in use more than ever. And to help more people learn this rewarding skill, we need more bells!
Although we are a forward-looking tower, we are very proud of our Bridgwater past. We are looking to commemorate that past in a fitting way as an integral part of our projecct to increase the number of bells in the tower from eight to 13.
In our ringing room is a record of past ringers who have completed 'peals' - marathon ringing sessions several hours long! It is a constant reminder and link to those who went before us. On those boards are names that also appear in the St George Chapel of the church, as three of our ringers sadly perished fighting in the Great War.
We have already managed to raise around £86,000 of the £194,505 needed to expand our tower.
We are asking anyone with links to our church, tower and town to help us with a donation to make the new bells a reality. We are suggesting a donation of £100, however all sums will help us reach our goal.
For example, a single bell costs around £9,000, whereas equipment to make them function such as stays and sliders cost around £50, so as you see everything will be put to good use!
If you are interested in our project or our ringing tower, please visit our website at www.stmarysbells.org.uk - if you would like to contribute to our fund to commemmorate an Great War ancestor in our new bells, please contact Margaret Lee, Tower Captain, on 07811244093.
Thank you.

Tower Captain's Report 2017/18

Tower Captain’s Report 2017 /18

This has proved to be a year of highs and lows.
Our project is moving ‘slow but sure’ in the right direction; in July the PCC stopped us fundraising locally but still allowed us to continue with our craft table in the Church. November saw the crafty members have a table at the Glastonbury Frost Fayne, we were blessed with a dry cold day so many
visitors to the town. Jane made Christmas decorations which were a overnight success. In September Gina opened her house as part of Somerset Art week and raised a brilliant amount for our project.
In November the tower was open for Carnival Day, what a fun day that turned out to be, I lost count how many times we climbed the steps and to finish the day Kate, Richard and I had a celebratory supper in the Blake Fish bar.
We have rung for six weddings during the year and marked the wedding of Prince Harry to Megan Markle. St George’s Day saw us celebrate in the normal way and our picture can be found on the Ringing for England website for all to see.
On a very hot day in June we had a tower outing visiting five towers locally finishing at a pub for a evening meal.
In September we opened the tower for Heritage Day which was a success more visitors climbed the steps than in other years.
We have welcomed new ringers from the national campaign ‘Ringing Remembers’ and from our recruitment week.
So I am pleased to say we have more highs than lows this year.
This year Keith has decided to stand down as secretary, I would like to thank him for his hard work and support over the years, he will still stand as Deputy Tower Captain, Tower Correspondent and a valued member of the team.
Next year looks like an exciting time for us all in St Mary’s with new and old friends hopefully enjoying our new bells.
Together we can achieve anything.
Thank you all, I am very proud of you.

Margaret
Tower Captain

Tower Captain Report 2015-17

When I look back to 2015 it seems a long time ago and you may ask what have we
achieved in this time? We have seen the launch of our appeal ‘and 5 makes 13’, more
about that later, the Church has been reordered and after returning in May of this year, we
have held a successful recruitment week and started the stand alone group from U3A. We
have also held a tester session for two pupils from Blake School, along with their teacher
an existing ringer from Brent Knoll.
While the Church was closed for the reordering we joined local towers for their practice
nights and to keep our spirits up we were known to meet for the odd pint, or two. In
October we marked Keith’s 80 th Birthday by throwing a party in his home, some of the
members rang in a quarter peal which was interesting ringing in semi darkness because
the electricity was off.
Our appeal got off on a brilliant start having 3 out of the 5 new bells been donated, we
have received grants from our Association, the Central Council of Bellringers, the Town
Council and Sedgemoor District Council. Our fundraising have seen us holding a Jazz
Supper, a Quiz, Car Boot Sale, Opening the tower and providing refreshments for the
Quayside Day, Heritage Day and a steady stream of sales from our Craft Table – I do
apologise if I have forgotten anything.
So as you can see we have achieved quite a lot.
I would like to thank you all for your help, support and laugher over the past two years and
I look forward to moving our ringing forward, it is a very exciting time for us in St Mary’s.
Together we can achieve anything.
Margaret Lee
Tower Captain
November 2017