Tower Captain's Report 2019-2021

 Tower Captain’s Report 2019 – 2021

Since my last report over 2 years ago so much as happened so I have decided to cover it in sections. 

Our augmentation started at the beginning of December 2019 by having everything removed from the belfry.  We had two more trips to Loughborough to see the last three new bells being cast.  The bellhangers returned in March 2020 only for COVID to hit.  Work started again at the end of May and on a lovely sunny morning in June the bells arrived back.  We invited our ringers in to see the bells at the back of the Church, all under the Covid restrictions.  At the end of July, the four ringers in our Covid bubble, rang to mark the marriage of our curate, Suse, to Tobie Osmond, vicar of St Mary’s Taunton.  I would like to thank Richard and John Hallett, from Westonzoyland, for their hard work in supporting the bellhangers.  The Sound Control was completed by end of December.  The clock chimes were re-contacted in March 2021 by Simon Gilchrist ably assisted by Richard. The replacement lighting to LED’s happened in July and the replacement carpet was fitted in September, this means that most of our project is now complete.  I would like to thank those who came in and helped either in the belfry or in the kitchen.

During covid restrictions we embraced technology by setting up a WhatsApp group, celebrated St George's Day, and having a special practice using different bells to ring rounds via Zoom.  In August, 2020, we rang for the last Sunday service for our vicar Revd Trish Ollive as she retires and moved to Taunton and then there was another national lockdown.  Easter Day, 2021, saw four bells being rung under strict Covid restrictions.   Normal practice night resumed at the end of May for 45 minutes and limited numbers.  In July we were requested to ring to open the Bridgwater Quayside Festival.  The inaugural ring on our 12 bells by some of the ringers and towers who have supported our project took place in August.  In September our monthly 12 bell practice started, with support of our friends from St Mary’s Taunton. Also our U3A group resume ringing.  At the beginning of October we rang 8 bells for the licensing service of our new vicar, Rev Suse Osmond.  We have taken part in many national events, tolling on Remembrance Sunday,  tolling 100 times to mark the life of Captain Sir Tom Moore, a half muffle bell for the National Day of Reflection.  A single bell tolled half muffled on the day of the death of His Royal Highness, Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, also the following day and on the day of his funeral. In October we marked the eve of COP26 conference.  Six bells, half muffled were rung for the Remembrance Sunday.

During the year we have welcomed children from St Mary’s School, Eastover School and St John’s and St Francis School which is always an enjoyable experience.

We finished the year with an enjoyable Christmas Lunch at the Old Vicarage and welcomed members of the Bridgwater Branch of Bellringers for their Christmas practice which included Mulled Wine and Minces Pies.

I would like to thank, Isabel for Facebook, Gina for Twitter and Richard for our website and keeping everyone informed outside of our tower walls.

These last 2 years have been exciting times, we started lockdown with an empty tower and finished with 13. What a privilege to see history in the making.  Thank you all for your support, friendship and sense of fun.

Margaret Lee

Tower Captain