Yorkshire goes to Worcester

by Nathan Cox, Yorkshire Tykes

They do say that good things happen when you least expect them to. This was definitely the case for me as the weekend of 5th & 6th July 2014 will be two dates I will probably never forget.

Having rung with the YACR Western Branch team (The Blue Lines) at York last year, I had resigned myself to being absent from the Ringing World National Youth Contest this year. Understandably some members of The Blue Lines decided that the Tour de France in Yorkshire was a bigger attraction than youth contest ringing. Plus two members had an unavoidable school event to attend. So we were half a band short and unable to enter a team.

Then about eight weeks ago David Hull contacted our team leader Jane Lynch and asked if we had any spare ringers. Their team too had suffered as a result of Le Tour.

So it was that four of our team and four of the Yorkshire Puds team combined to form the Yorkshire Tykes. With six weeks to go David hastily arranged three practice sessions at Burley, Harrogate (St Wilfrid) and Ossett. On each occasion someone could not make it, so it was not until we arrived in Worcester that the whole team was together at the same time.

GV interior

Following a three hour drive from Yorkshire we arrived at the Cathedral to register just as the food was being put away at 11am … bad timing. Then we were issued with our wristbands and team T shirts and headed to the Teaching Centre for a session on the dumb bells. They took a bit of getting used to but I can see the great benefits of the system, which I hope we can use on our simulator back home.

We did have time before our slot in the 12 bell workshop at All Saints, so we decided to walk across to St John in Bedwardine for a quick ring there. It was as we were walking along that I realised we had a ringing celebrity in our team. Ewan Hull seemed to know everyone we met with a “there’s so and so from Oxford, and such a body from Cambridge ...”. It took a bit longer than we thought to get to St John’s and back so it was a quick dash to our session at All Saints.

GV flowers

After the workshop at All Saints we then made our way to Old St Martin’s to sit in the garden and eat lunch, whilst listening to the teams drawn just before us. News filtered down that one of the stays had broken at lunchtime and I feared that I might have to ring a ‘stayless’ bell. I was glad to find that a stay from another bell was being used, however it was slightly ‘spongy’ and couldn’t be left up and needed to be held on the balance. Thankfully Fraser, one of our more experienced ringers, was going to ring that bell. Then it was photo time and into the tower to ring. The practice plain course went well and we went straight into the test piece. Again it seemed to go reasonably well, and when we finished our fanatical supporters could be heard cheering from outside the open window. They all said it sounded really good, but it is hard to compare when you don’t hear all the other teams ring.

Perhaps it would be our lucky day? As we walked back to the Cathedral for the afternoon ringing David Hull had an unfortunate incident with a passing sea gull, resulting in him having to change his T shirt. Jane did say to me after the incident that this was meant to be lucky. However my thoughts were that bird poo falling on you was more of a misfortune rather than luck. Could I have been wrong? Someone said that King John’s tomb was in Worcester Cathedral, to which Chris, one of our supporters, replied: “Oh, I didn’t know he’d died when did that happen?” News really does travel slowly to Yorkshire!

Ringing at the Cathedral was a fantastic experience, the ringing room was packed when we arrived so we waited a while to get a go. Then we went up onto the roof to look at the view. When back down in the ringing chamber again Dominic, a fellow team mate and I rang 10 and 11, before Dominic excelled himself by ringing the tenor. I was really pleased when Mark Regan asked me to return at 5pm for the service touch. Three of our team, Andrea, myself and Ewan, had the opportunity to ring for the service.

Then it was down to the College Hall for the Contest results. All three of our team members had managed to go down different ways. We nearly lost Ewan who successfully managed to get locked into the Cathedral Café having gone down the wrong staircase from the ringing room. The staff managed to rescue him, and we took our seats in the hall. As the results for the method section were read out we were anxiously counting down all the method teams, expecting that each time we were going to be next. When they announced we had scored a Grade A we heard our supporters start screaming and shouting wildly, we realised we had won gold. Unfortunately it was not quite enough to clinch the Whitechapel Trophy as Bedfordshire must have done really well in the Call Changes section. We were pleased to get gold medals though, adding to what had been an incredible day.

gold medals winners

The hog roast smelt delicious, but we could not stay on as we still had a three hour drive home. As we approached Yorkshire it was good to see the familiar rolling hills and dry stone walls. Yet the weekend wasn’t over and we all had a massive event to ring for the next day – but that there is another story.

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