Our new ring of eight bells has now been removed from their moulds and polished to perfection, ready for shipment from the bell foundry in Italy to the UK. They should be arriving in time for Christmas, but before they can be put into service they must be hung in the tower, allowed to settle and tuned.
Ringers Get Ready
In the meantime, St Mary’s bell ringers are continuing to practice (pausing only for lockdown) on the dumb bell in St Mary’s Tower Captain Colin Dixon‘s barn. As their skills develop, they are starting to practice ringing in rounds with a virtual team online.
Additional coaching is being given by two local experts:
Chris Cooper, Chairman of the Wotton Branch of the Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association of Bell Ringers (G&BDABR) and who rings at Chipping Sodbury
James Joynson, Bell Master for the Wotton branch of the G&BDABR and responsible for technical aspects of bells and bell ringing training within the Diocese and training
James has also been really helpful with St Mary’s training to date, including setting up the dumb bell.
Like to Try Bell Ringing?
New ringers are always welcome to join the team, which will need to be at least 8 strong by the time the bells come into use, ideally with some reserves.
No previous experience is necessary as full training will be given. Bellringing is great fun for all ages, with our youngest team member in his teens and the oldest well into retirement. Provided you’re tall enough to reach the rope (minimum recommended age is about 10), you’re never too young – or too old – to give it a try!
As part of the ongoing restoration works of the tower at St Mary’s Hawkesbury by specialist firm Carrek, this ancient hunky punk is seen here being returned to its original position.
Many years ago it had fallen to the ground, and fortunately some wise person stashed it away in the tower for safekeeping. It is good to see it restored to its rightful position at the top of the tower.
What’s a hunky punk?
It’s a grotesque Gothic carving similar to a gargoyle, but it’s purely for decorative purposes -unlike the gargoyle, which includes a water spout to direct rainwater away from the fabric of the building.
Lisa Overton, Secretary of the Friends of St Mary’s, provides this month’s news round-up:
The 2020 AGM of the Friends of St Mary’s will take place on Sunday 22nd November at 4.30 pm in St Mary’s, followed by Evensong at 5 pm. Current restrictions allow us to gather in the church as long as we can be socially distanced, which we believe will be manageable, but if any members are unable or feel uncomfortable about attending in person please let us know and we will try to arrange a virtual connection to the meeting. It would be very helpful if you could let me know if you plan to attend.
Please wear face masks, sanitise on entry to the church, provide your contact details and take a seat where indicated by our ushers.
Friends’ Christmas Service
At the time of going to press, we are still unclear about holding a service for the Friends at Christmas time, and we are very grateful for your understanding about this.
Progress on the Tower Works
As the work on the church tower progresses, the funds raised by the Friends over the last 8 years are being put to a wonderful purpose. We hope to have some photographs taken from the scaffolding very soon, which will show the way in which the stone string-courses and drip mouldings have been cleaned prior to the replacement of decayed stone and new mortar pointing.
This Month’s Services
1st Nov – 9.30am – Holy Communion
2nd Nov – 6pm – Remembering Our Lost Loved Ones
11th Nov – 7pm – Festival of Remembrance
15 Nov – 9.30am – Morning Prayer
18 Nov – 9.30am – Morning Prayer
22 Nov – 5pm – Evenson
25 Nov – 9.30am – Morning Prayer
29 Nov – 5pm – Advent Sunday Service