St Bridget’s Bridekirk open afternoon

What an afternoon! Despite all our best efforts the day clashed yet again with the parish school summer fayre.  The local Cockermouth/Bridekirk band was not put off and enthusiastically came to the tower ready to offer a fun filled afternoon.

It was lovely to welcome Gillian Powell, all the way from Penrith, back into the tower.  She duly donned one of our tower T-shirts and rolled her selves up ready for action at 1pm.

Our first enthusiastic visitor arrived at 12:20pm – we were on our way.  The afternoon never stopped with a steady flow of people arriving into the church room, where we had a display of bell ringing plus tea and cakes.

The room was abuzz with lively chatter, lots of laughter as adults and children tried using the newly purchased tuned handbells by Gear4music and there was much interest in the ringing display.

Although not all visitors went up the tower, we estimate we had 40 adults and 10 children in the ringing room throughout the afternoon.  Each tour started with a short talk downstairs.  This covered topics such as a brief history of bellringing, how a bell works, ringing techniques plus a bit about health and safety before each group was escorted upstairs.

Talks in the ringing room

In the ringing room the group were given demonstrations of bellringing.  Cameras positioned amongst the bells allowed them to observe the interaction between ringer and bell.  Most agreed the highlight of their tour was the opportunity to have a “hands-on go” at ringing.

All in all it was a fabulous and exhausting afternoon.  It was a huge relief to some of our ringers to discover that two bellringers from Peterborough had popped in to see what we were up to and were able to give some of our ringers a short break. They were interested in the format of the open day as they are struggling with ringer numbers and would like to run a similar recruitment event in their area.

We would like thank Gillian for her support, the Guild for advertising the event and most importantly the local church members who mingled with the visitors and especially those who supplied copious amounts of free tea and cake all afternoon.

We are pleased to say that the profile of bellringing in the area has been promoted and we have gained two prospective ringers.

Diana Green