Yesterday was the SACR AGM and striking competition, held at Haddington. The Glasgow band won the striking competition, followed by Paisley in second place, which was a double triumph as the Paisley band all ring at Glasgow too. After that, I was elected as association ringing master.
One thing I want to do is encourage more handbell ringing throughout the association. The handbell days are one way of doing this, but another opportunity is to include handbell ringing at association meetings. The striking competition is ideal, because everyone has a lot of waiting around when they aren't ringing. So yesterday we took a set of handbells and I spent the whole afternoon ringing with various combinations of people - about a dozen altogether. There were at least another six or seven handbell ringers present who I didn't manage to drag in. We rang various things from rounds up to Kent Maximus, including a course of Wembley (more about that later in the week).
It was especially good to be able to follow up on the introductory handbell sessions that Tina ran at the association training day in March. Yesterday I rang with a couple of the youngsters who had been in Tina's session. In one case we refreshed plain hunting on 6 with a girl who had only rung it once before, and in the other case we rang a course of Bob Minor with a lad who had previously only rung plain hunting on a coursing pair.
The question is how to combine handbell ringing with a standard association meeting, when there isn't as much down time as at the striking competition. Also, from now on I will need to be up the tower running the ringing sessions. Probably we can just start early for those who are interested, and have a handbell session in the church or in the ringing chamber. To be able to efficiently get complete beginners going, we need to decide on exactly what the sequence of teaching steps is, and make sure we have the necessary charts and diagrams collected together and stored in the handbell case.
The next association event is the Inveraray ringing festival in July, which we will doubly have to go to because Tina is now Inveraray ringing master. Of course people go to Inveraray to ring the tower bells, but maybe we can fit some handbell ringing into the programme too.