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How to become a Bellringer

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You may often hear church bells ring out across the country. Have you ever been interested in learning to ring a bell yourself? Campanology is an unusual and exciting hobby. Nearly anyone can learn, there are no age barriers and you need to be just of average physical fitness. And you don't need to be a church goer to learn, but you will need to commit to turning up regularly on a Sunday to ring.
What you'll need: 
A bell tower near you.
Find a ringing tower. If the bells ring out from a church near you, you will know there is a band of bellringers there. If you are unsure where your nearest tower is, email your location to - at the Central Council for Church Ringers and they will tell you.
Contact the Tower Captain. Look on the church notice board, or parish newsletter or church website for their contact details. They will have one evening of the week as their practice night. Perhaps you would like to go along just to watch and find out more. Call, or just go along. Generally, bellringers are a welcoming friendly bunch.
First Lessons. Initially you will learn how to handle the bell. A tutor will teach you, one to one with the clapper (the thing that makes the bell make a noise) tied up. You will need around a dozen 30 minute sessions to learn to manage the bell and get it to ring evenly and in a controlled way.
Ring in rounds. You will then start ringing with the other ringers, beginning with 'rounds' which is where the first bell (the treble) is pulled first,closely followed by the second around to the last (there could be 6,8 or more bells), followed closely again by the treble. This is all about timing and control and takes practise.
Once you can ring in rounds, the whole world of ringing opens up to you and you will never stop learning. Depending on the band you are part of you will learn 'call-change ringing' and 'method'.
When you ring 'Call Changes' bells begin in rounds until the caller shouts out a 'change' so the bells will be rung in a different order. For example the caller may say 2 to 3 which means instead of following the treble, bell 2 follows bell 3 so the order of ringing in now 132456 instead of 123456. More changes will be called as the ringing progresses.
Method ringing is a prescribed pattern of changes which the ringer will learn. Some methods are fairly straight forward and others are very complex taking time and practise to learn. A method comes to an end when the 'conductor' shouts 'That is all' and the bells fall back into rounds. Ringing ceases on the call of 'stand'.
Call changes and method ringing can also be done on hand bells too, which can be a fun way to extend you skill.
Once you learn to ring, you can visit bell towers all over the country where you will find a welcome as a ringer. Many bellringers arrange annual outings where they ring at six or seven other towers in a day. Learning bellringing may well be starting you on a lifelong hobby.
It takes to time to master handling a bell, so persevere
Take heed to the safety advice as there are some hazards to be avoided.


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