Ringing World National Youth Contest
RWNYC write-up competition runner-up
by Caroline Pawley, Bedfordshire
This year, I entered the RWNYC for the first time and I have found the experience exciting and amazing. Although it was a long day, everything was really well organized and we enjoyed ringing at new churches. Unexpectedly, our team won and now, a couple of weeks after the event, we are still trying to get over the shock!
We started the day very early, driving up to York, then waited for the rest of our team to arrive outside the Minster. We sat and listened to the peal being rung on the wonderful Minster bells in the background. When the others arrived, we were given our new lovely T-shirts and official RWNYC wristbands. We also collected our leaflet where – after the draw – we learned that our team, Bedfordshire, would be last to complete its test piece. This had advantages and disadvantages. It was good as we had all day to try out new bells and to get to grips with the sort of things we should expect from the tower running the test pieces. On the other hand, we had all day for our nerves to shred! Next, we walked to St Helen, Stonegate, where we had a drink and snack, and met up with some friends from Leeds who were also ringing in the competition, we also got to watch the incredible mini ring which we were all desperate to have a go on!
We trekked back to the Minster where a guide was going to take us around the towers, we saw many fascinating things such as the old ringing chamber, Great Peter (weighs around 11 tons and has a deeper pitch than Big Ben!) and we even went into the belfry while the peal was still ringing. The extraordinary sound trembled through you – we stood on a mesh type platform so the bells were ringing below our feet, it was very scary but an incredible experience. The last part of the tour was standing on the very top of one of the South West tower, the view was unbelievable!
Later on, we went to St Olave, Marygate and got a very pleasant practice and a nice sit down. After some lunch and a drink, we quickly went to another open tower where we just managed to get the last ring of the day there. Some interesting call changes were called, but it was still nice to try out new bells. We visited St Wilfrid’s, but not many of us rang as the methods were tricky and it was very busy!
The wait for our test piece was nearly over. Despite only being a reserve, I was just as nervous as my teammates.
We made the nerve-wracking walk to St Lawrence, which was quite a distance from the other towers; when we got there we congratulated the two teams that rang before us and had a quick sit down before going into the tower to complete our piece.
In the tower, I was not allowed to say anything, but I didn’t have to, I knew they would do well. They made excellent use of the time given to practise and when the real test came, stayed calm and focused. It was clear that they had practised hard and their effort was really paying off. The final round was struck, and from now until the results, all our team could could do was wait.
To pass the time until the results, we went back to St Helen Stonegate and finally got a go at the mini ring, which was very good fun and was a nice way to relax. After more drinks and cakes, the staff rounded all the teams up to go to St Michael-le-Belfrey church near the Minster, to read the results.
Inside the church, the tension grew more and more as the judges gave each team their feedback. We had to wait to the end because we were the last of the sixteen teams to ring, so we couldn’t have been more surprised to find that we were not given too many criticisms, and later we also found that we had scored an A grade along with one other team.
We were amazed to find out that in the end our team were the winners by a tiny amount. When the results were announced we were incredibly excited and so were the adults who came with us!
It was a fabulous experience, we enjoyed the whole day and next year I’m hoping I’ll be in the main team for the competition at Worcester.