The importance of University Ringing Societies
…the following article was written in 2016 for the Ringing World edition around A Level results day. It would be great to have something similar happen again so please think about what you’d like to write this time & ASAP. A couple of sentences would do – maybe a photo too. This is your chance to promote your university ringing society!
I’m sure that anyone who was present at the Ringing World National Youth Contest held in London on 2nd July 2016 will agree that it was absolutely fantastic to see so many young, keen and enthusiastic ringers gathered in one place. They were all under 19 and university societies could play a big part in developing the ringing careers of many of them in the near future.
When I went to university it was not until my third year that I discovered the University of London Society. I had been ringing for 8 years, yet as a fresher I did not even know that university ringing societies existed! When I did join the ULSCR, my life changed. I was introduced to a vast number of young ringers who made me feel welcome at everything university societies have to offer: practices, opportunities to progress, tours, dinners, Lundy Island, but most importantly a brilliant group of friends. For all this and more, I will be eternally grateful.
Leaving home for the first time can be daunting. Everyone at university is looking to make friends, but the easiest way is to join a ringing society where you will be warmly embraced by a ready-made group of friends and presented with a calendar of ringing and social events to fill every spare minute.
Focussing on university ringing and on youngsters approaching university age will produce a win-win situation as their enthusiasm will filter down to other young people, and up to the generations above.
We must not forget that many young ringers will not be going to university and towers, districts and societies must continue to do all in their power to welcome and encourage them!
I believe we can do more to promote university ringing:
- Download the University Ringing poster from www.universityringing.org (bottom of homepage) and keep it on your tower notice board;
- Tell your young ringers about the opportunities to continue ringing at university suggest they look at the website (www.universityringing.org), and encourage them to go along to university practices.
- Update your society entry to get the most benefit from students who may be coming to join you. Please check the information we hold on the website. If it’s out of date, or you wish to add anything then please send an update: www.universityringing.org/update-your-entry.
- Promote university ringing by putting a link to www.universityringing.org somewhere on your website. We want the site to be easy to find – and (broadly speaking) the more links there are to a website, the more likely it is to appear at the top of a Google search. Your link will make a difference! Also, “Like” our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/universityringing & keep up-to-date with university ringing news.
It’s not just that students have a lot of fun when they ring at university: we all know of highly competent ringers who have abandoned ringing when they go to university, and never restarted.
The exercise cannot afford to lose ringers when they become students, so it is in all our interests to keep ringers involved as they move on to a new and different stage of their lives.
And finally, one for the university ringing societies themselves: make sure that you have a stall at your Freshers’ Fair and a good publicity campaign going. It’s up to you to embrace not only your existing ringers but also the new recruits who will be our future.
Jacqueline Brown – University Ringing Webmaster, ULSCR Webmaster & CC Rep (PR Committee)
www.universityringing.org, facebook.com/universityringing, twitter.com/uniringing
UNIVERSITY RINGING SOCIETIES IN THEIR OWN WORDS: www.universityringing.org
Birmingham Universities Society Change Ringers
BUSCR is currently a thriving university society. We welcome students from all of the universities in Birmingham, and we have a dedicated university practice night at St. Bartholomew Edgbaston on Wednesdays from 19:30-21:00, followed by not inconsiderable pubbage in a nearby Wetherspoons. Most students also attend the St. Paul’s Birmingham practice on a Thursday night, because one night of banter per week just isn’t enough. Like many other university societies, BUSCR have an annual dinner, as well as a summer tour, which this year took us to Loughborough.
BUSCR is just a small organ in the behemoth that is the ringing scene in Birmingham, which has maintained the very highest standards of method ringing and striking over the last century. Every level of ringing is accessible to students, from the Birmingham School of Bell Ringing to the Monday night 12-bell peals at St. Philip’s Cathedral, and practice nights on the ring of 16 at St. Martin’s in the Bullring. Crucially, all ringing is within walking distance of the University of Birmingham. Despite their sometimes fearsome reputation, ringers in Birmingham are always incredibly friendly and welcoming to students, and can certainly give incoming undergraduates lessons on drinking beer!
Jack Page ( / universityringing.org/buscr)
University of Bristol Society of Change Ringers
UBSCR is the bell ringing society for students of both the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England. Bristol is a great place to go bellringing because of the high density of towers (and pubs!) within the city centre all within walking distance of each other and all the lovely friendly people that are here.
Our home tower is St.Matthew’s in Kingsdown where we practice every Tuesday night 7.30pm-9.00pm and we sometimes practice at St. John on the Wall on Saturdays. We welcome people of all ringing abilities from complete beginners (like I was myself in September) to more advanced ringers and we have lots of social events throughout the year including pub crawls, Christmas market trips, our annual dinner in January and ringing tours. We are also the only society that has attended both NUA and SUA; so more fun!
We would love for you to join us – if you have any questions feel free to email us.
Ellie Talbot ( / bris.ac.uk/Depts/Union/UBSCR)
Cambridge University Guild of Change Ringers
The CUGCR welcomes ringers of all abilities studying in Cambridge. We are an active, friendly society with regular weekly practices, invariably followed by a pint or two in one of Cambridge’s many excellent pubs. We organise plenty of outings, quarters and peals throughout the year, complemented by an even more extensive social calendar ranging from punting, film nights, and rounders to curries, formals, and the annual Guild dinner. Come find us at the freshers’ fair, pop along to a practice, or email us.
Oliver Bardsley ( / cugcr.org.uk)
University of Chicago Guild of Change Ringers
The Guild of Change Ringers at the University of Chicago (Mitchell Tower) consists of a healthy mix of undergraduate and graduate students as well as community members and university staff. Our tower generally hosts practices twice weekly during the school year, though open ringing is restricted to once monthly. Our main annual event is the Illinois Tower Bell Bash, the only student-focused change ringing event in the US. This event usually attracts visiting Ringers from Kalamazoo, Michigan as well as from other towers across the Northeastern and Midwestern US, in addition to occasional visitors from the UK. The Bell Bash usually entails ringing from 10 to 5, including two full hours of open ringing, tours of the belfry, and opportunities for visitors from across Chicago to witness a change-ringing practice first hand.
We also make twice-yearly trips to Kalamazoo for their fall and spring ringing weekends. Within the tower, other highlights include open houses (with homemade focaccia!) that accompany open ringing at the end of each month, as well as a small end-of-year ice cream social.
Noah Kahrs ( / uchicagochangeringers.wordpress.com)
Durham University Society of Change Ringers
DUSCR is a friendly group from all backgrounds, from complete learners to seasoned ringers. We practice weekly from 7.30 to 9pm on a Wednesday, of course followed by a trip to the pub! We go on tour at least once a term – for day trips in the first two terms and a longer tour in the summer. This year we’ve been to Newcastle, York and Birmingham, which were all great fun. Our annual dinner is also a social highlight, with fantastic food and a ceilidh! We ring regular quarter peals and peals can be organised on request. In short, there’s something for everyone! Please have a look at our website for more information, and send the master an email if you’d like to come along to one (or more!) of our practices.
Elizabeth Hopper ( / community.dur.ac.uk/change-ringers.society/index.php)
University Edinburgh Guild Change Ringers
The student band in Edinburgh is building on the many developments made in the last years. We hold student-exclusive practices fortnightly during term time, with the opportunity to join the local bands at their weekly practices. Our newly reinstated handbell group has flourished this year, culminating in successful busking in multiple locations around the town, ringing a variety of Christmas carols. We also plan to move forward with our recent resurgence in change ringing on our handbells in the new academic year. Besides our practices, we host a variety of socials, having seen this year an unconventional Christmas curry, a build-your-own sandwich lunch, and a more formal annual dinner, along with informal after-practice drinks. We look forward to welcoming ringers enrolling at the universities in Edinburgh when they join us in the coming weeks!
Craig Robertson ( / uegcr.wordpress.com)
Exeter University Change Ringing Society
EUCRS is a small but lively student society that teams up with the local ringing community for our handbell and tower bell practices every week. We cater to a wide variety of abilities from beginners, with early evening practices to help you learn the ropes, right through to the most experienced, with regular quarter peals and the occasional peal to keep you challenged.
Our flagship event is the Annual Dinner in February where we visit a variety of towers across Devon, enjoy a black tie formal dinner and ring at the Exeter Cathedral all in one weekend. We’ve also had success with local ringing competitions, already winning some call change competitions in 2016. We’re all set for another exciting year with more outings, socials and ringing festivities to come in 2016/17 so if you’re heading to Exeter in September, be sure to join us. You’ll be most welcome!
Evan Jones ( / empslocal.ex.ac.uk/change-ringing)
Kalamazoo College Guild of Change Ringers
The members of the Kalamazoo College Guild of Change Ringers include students, college faculty and staff and residents of the Kalamazoo area. We are proud that at the end of last term we were able to stand an all-student major band for call changes.
We host twice annual ringing weekends which are open to all visiting ringers and also welcome visitors to our Monday and Wednesday evening practices. As the only change ringing tower in the state of Michigan, our nearest neighboring tower is at the University of Chicago. We usually see members of their band a couple of times a year, either in Kalamazoo or in Chicago.
Kit Almy ( / reason.kzoo.edu/ringers)
Manchester University Guild of Change Ringers
Here in Manchester the MUGs are not only very active ringers, but also enjoy a great social scene. Over the last year we’ve enjoyed Sunday lunches, bowling socials, ringing tours and of course the infamous annual dinner weekend – guaranteed to include plenty of ringing, eating, speeches, lots of drinking and a tower sleepover!
We also love to get involved with local branch practices and their events which range from post-practice pints to Christmas dinners and from ringing teacher training to summer barbeques, there really is a lot to offer!
So if you’ll be studying in Manchester in September we’d love to see you!
Laura Turner ( / mugcr.co.uk)
Nottingham University Society of Change Ringers
NUSCR are a lively bunch including ringers from both universities in Nottingham. Our Tuesday night practices at All Saints’ in Nottingham (7.00 to 8.30pm) range from teaching new learners to Surprise Royal, followed by a lengthy session in the pub of course! These practices are watched over by our faithful mascot Scruffy, who also oversees service ringing, peals and quarter peals rung at All Saints’.
We always attend the Annual NUA where we have the opportunity to mingle with the other northern societies. Recently, we had a joint tour to Birmingham with BUSCR, it was a huge success!
2018 is our 60th Anniversary! Our Annual Dinner will be bigger than ever in the University of Nottingham Campus’ Great Hall.
We’d love you to join us at our practices and outings – visit our website or email us for more information!
Emily Hall ( / nuscr.org)
Leeds University Society Change Ringers
Leeds has an active and welcoming student society with social and ringing events throughout term-time. Highlights include the annual dinner and ceilidh and the NUA as well as film nights and the infamous Leeds pub crawl – the Otley Run. Practices cater for all abilities from complete beginners upwards and are always followed by a sociable trip to the pub! If bell ringing one night of the week is not enough there are also plenty of other towers in Leeds which welcome students!
Mariko Whyte ( / luscr.wordpress.com)
Liverpool Universities Society Change Ringers
The Liverpool Universities Society of Change Ringers is a very active society. Along with regular ringing we organise a number of quarters throughout the year to further improve our standards and abilities. We hold a number of socials, including pub crawls, beer festivals and our Christmas meal. The largest social of the year is of course our annual dinner weekend, held in the third weekend of February. This includes a number of peals, a tour and, of course, the dinner itself. Another big event is the NUA in November which provides a great opportunity to meet fellow university ringers from across the north. After last year’s NUA, we participated in a collaborative tour of Liverpool with both the Manchester and Sheffield University societies.
We have a strong relationship with the ringers of St Nicholas, Pier Head, the local 12 bell tower which allows our ringers to develop their abilities on higher numbers. This relationship includes the occasional joint practice, most recently for BBC Music Day 2016. If you’re coming to any of the universities in or around Liverpool, or already study at one, then please send us an email and we look forward to seeing you in September.
Russell Scudamore ( / luscr.org.uk)
University of London Society of Change Ringers
The ULSCR offers a unique experience to its members.
There really is nothing else quite like it. Obviously we have the weekly practice nights and service ringing, but over the year there will be more ringing and social events than you can cram into your diary. These include the Summer Tour, a fantastic annual dinner (and disco!), Freshers’ Pub Crawl, Christmas Party, and much more. There are so many students in London, and plenty of other young ringers who are not UL members but regularly ring with us. The night life is terrific, and you will have happy memories of crossing London Bridge at 1am while trying to find a bus home. The ringing opportunities are plentiful, and the social dimension virtually unrivalled. It will change your life!
Richard Pullin ( / www.ulscr.org.uk)
Oxford University Society of Change Ringers
Beyond normal practices and service ringing in term-time, the OUS does its best to ring a couple of quarters a week, the band being anybody who wants to ring and the method being whatever’s considered fun. Peals are organised according to resident demand both in and out of term, with help from the Badgers (old student members) almost always forthcoming. You will (perhaps) be relieved to hear that ringing is not all we do! Trips to the pub after a practice are very much the rule rather than the exception. We have breakfast with, and occasionally play rounders against, elements of the non-university societies in Oxford, and our annual dinner always involves good food, good drink and good fun. There is also generally a strong OUS contingent at the dinners of our colleagues in London and Cambridge. At the end of term, someone hosts a cheese and wine party with plenty of both, and out of term time, we have a 4-day-long tour and quarter peal weekend somewhere away from Oxford.
Wilf Lewis ( / www.ouscr.org.uk)
Portsmouth Union of Bellringing Students
PUBS (Portsmouth Union of Bellringing Students) is a friendly and fun university society actively involved in all three churches in the city of Portsmouth and the rest of the district.
We attend the Portsmouth Cathedral practices on Thursday nights from 19:30 – 21:00 and always go to the pub after! While the word ‘cathedral’ sounds scary, they are a welcoming bunch who cater for all abilities. We also ring at Portsea once a month on the second Tuesday and regularly organise practice nights at the city’s newest tower, St Agatha’s. Our recent members range from complete beginners through to Surprise Maximus ringers.
We all look forward to our annual dinner, held in January, where our members (both current and alumni) have the opportunity to attempt a peal on one of the city’s rings of bells, tour some of the towers in the district, catch up on old times and make new memories!
We always look forward to meeting new members! Contact if you have any questions or would like to join us at one of our practices.
Lizzie Hough ()
Sheffield Universities Guild of Change Ringers
Over the next year, SUGCR has a number of exciting events to look forward to including the dinner day and the NUA which we will be hosting in November with plans already well underway. Sheffield is a city with many ringing opportunities at a wide range of towers, including our home tower of St Marie’s Cathedral where we are supported by ringers from local towers. We look forward to welcoming both new recruits and those who already ring to join the guild and to enjoy the events and practices we have planned. Look out for our give it a go session which we have planned on the 10th October at St Marie’s Cathedral, for students to come and meet us to see what we do!
Joe Waters ( / universityringing.org/sugcr-sheffield)
St Salvators Society of Bell Ringers
The St Salvator’s Society of Bellringers is a mixture of town and gown ringers. We have several members who have learnt to ring from scratch while at the University, as well as more experienced ringers. We are privileged to ring at the University’s Chapel. We practice regularly on Tuesday evenings and ring for Chapel services on Sundays, as well as graduation ceremonies. See recent edition of the Ringing World for featured article (page 700).
Rachel Williamson ( & st-andrews.sacr.org)
Southampton University Guild Change Ringers
SUGCR has regular ringing throughout the academic year. We have a regular practice preceded by a learners practice. This helps new ringers, or those wanting to focus on something new. We ring regular quarter peals to help everyone improve, as well as a lunch time practice with some members of staff. We also have a regular handbell practice for those wanting to ring handbells, and we aim to ring some more handbell quarter peals this coming year.
We are friendly with the Southampton City Ringers who have regular practices which our members can attend which helps our ringers to improve, and gives us more opportunity to ring on higher numbers. We have many socials throughout the year, ranging from regular pub visits, to Quiz Nights, and cinema trips. We have an annual dinner every year, attended by a large number of past and present members. Dinner weekend involves a number of peals, a tour, and of course, the dinner itself, which for many is the highlight of the year. We have three tours every year, with a tour to Bath planned for October this year.
If you are planning on coming to Southampton to study, or indeed if you are studying at Southampton already, then please email us and we look forward to seeing you soon!
Clare Merivale ( / sugcr.susu.org)
University of Surrey Society of Change Ringers
The University of Surrey Society of Change Ringers (USSCR) would love to welcome any ringers coming to the University of Surrey in September. We are a small society that is currently made up of past students and current students are always made welcome at the local practices in Guildford. The society holds two events a year, a summer tour and an annual dinner. These are both well attended and are a great place to meet other university ringers. Our summer tours have been organised by past students in their local area. This has let us explore lots of areas of the country from Northumberland to Wales to Somerset. This summer we are going to Essex and our dinner is being held in September on the University Campus. Please do contact us via the contact on universityringing.org/usscr if you are coming to Surrey so that we can send you our event information. We hope you enjoy your time at Surrey as much as we all have!
Charlotte Ellis (universityringing.org/usscr)
Walsgrave Society of Change Ringers
We’re the Walsgrave Society of Change Ringers (WSCR), formerly the Warwick University Bell Ringing Society. We’re a group of friends & ringers that get together every Monday evening at a lovely ring of six, followed by a pint at the nearby pub. It’s an easy commute from Warwick and Coventry universities. For any more details, join us on facebook (Look for WSCR)!
Jim Eisenberg ( / http://www.walsgrave.com/)
Welsh Colleges Society of Change Ringers
The Welsh Colleges Society of Change Ringers is open to all ringers attending Colleges of Further Education in Wales. We are a thriving friendly society embracing ringers at all levels, from those learning to handle a bell with supervision, right through to the clever types who can ring spliced surprise maximus! As we are not based in a single tower (or even a single town), we arrange tours to various areas of Britain. The summer tour is normally a cycling tour and we’ve had brewery trips, steam train tours etc. to add variety.
The annual dinner is always a very well attended event, usually in a hotel with a full black-tie dinner, speeches and a disco or barn dance. There is always plenty of beer!
York Colleges Guild of Change Ringers
This year has been another great year for the York Colleges Guild. In September, we welcomed many new members, including six complete beginners who are now very competent ringers. Over the last few years we have seen the society thrive, with regular towerbell and handbell practices, quarter peals, socials, outings, dinners, and even the occasional peal! We have been everywhere from Busking in York, ringing at minsters and cathedrals, to sleeping on the floor in the church hall in Leeds at the NUA.
One of the highlights of the year was our annual dinner in June, which saw YCG past and present come together for a weekend of ringing, and an evening of food, dancing, and good company. We are all looking forward to another year of YCG, and are excited to welcome many new ringers at our Fresher’s fair on the 1st of October! (keep an eye out for our mascot, Bob the badger).