“What – Christmas?”
“No! The Ringing World Centenary Day – Saturday, 26th March 2011!”
“Really? So what are they planning for that then?”
“Quite a lot really. Let me tell you about it …”

So went a conversation in the pub recently. And having shared the news with one avid reader, let us share the news with you too.

Saturday, 26th March is the date when The Ringing World Ltd is planning to mark 100 years of continuous publication of The Ringing World. It was on 24th March 1911 when John S. Goldsmith published the very first edition of The Ringing World. Now seven editors, over 5,180 editions, and one hundred years later, the world is a very different place, but Goldsmith and his contemporaries would recognise much that would be familiar about ringing today. Hopefully he and they would also recognise a magazine which continues to be at the very heart of the Exercise and continues to be “the journal of record” for ringers and ringing in the English tradition, across the world.

So what is happening on 26th March? The plan is for a major day of celebration of all that is good in ringing, centred on the City of Westminster in the heart of London. A range of venues are being booked and arrangements prepared, including venues for refreshments and plans for a Service in Westminster Abbey, as are marketing plans to bring the event and ringing to the attention of a much wider audience. We hope to have more details of these activities shortly.

However, one of the key components of the day will be a striking competition for young ringers. The Ringing World has always sought to look forward as well as to record what has past. So, the vision for this event is to provide a platform for the up and coming generation of ringers. The Ringing World National Youth Contest will be an 8-bell striking competition for bands comprised of ringers aged under 19 on 26th March 2011. There may well be some towers that could enter a complete band themselves and we would encourage them to do so, but The Ringing World would also like the event to provide an opportunity for the wider community of young ringers.

We often hear that ringing is becoming an activity for older people, and that there are too few young people coming into ringing. The Ringing World feels that this is an ideal opportunity for younger ringers to assert themselves. So, if you are a young ringer, please consider with your friends entering a band. We are also hoping that territorial Guilds and Associations will also wish to rise to the challenge of helping up and coming young ringers to form and enter bands.

Nothing would please us more than to be able to bring our centenary celebrations to the wider exercise by means of a series of regional heats to meet the demand! If you are a ‘territorial’ Ringing Master, please consider getting together a band of your young ringers. We are designing the contest to be able to accommodate a wide range of capabilities of bands as we want this to be an inclusive event. However we are also taking the event very seriously and prizes will be awarded for success in each of the various categories with a prestigious trophy for the overall winner.

There will be lots more information and news about this and other aspects of The Ringing World Centenary Day in the coming weeks, as arrangements are ‘firmed up’. If you want to be one of the first to know what is happening, then why not register for an e-mail alert as news of the developing plans breaks.

Phil Watts
Marketing Director

BB BellBoard
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers