Acting Education Officer’s First Guild Education Day

After a good few weeks of organisation, planning, booking rooms and bells, the day of the first Guild Education Day hosted since before COVID-times arrived.

When I first opened this “First Steps in Plain Hunting” day to applications, the amount I received really was overwhelming. I only wish I could have taken everyone. However, a limit had to be set to ensure those students who did attend received adequate rope time during the practical session.

And so, 6 students were selected – then I had to get the helpers! I drew on my existing bellringing circle whom I ring regularly with. I must thank them whole heartedly for giving up their Saturday afternoon to come along and ring almost nonstop at Stithians to support the students. And for ringing (mostly) without error….!! Thank you all.

The students arrived keen at the Stithians Centre to begin our hours theory session. A few technical hitches with the technology (isn’t there always!) but we got there in the end. Plenty of time as well for them to ask questions, clarify terminology etc. What we realised during the hour was that there are lots of different words and phrases used in bell ringing, many of which mean the same thing! We also had a good chat around the concept of open and closed hand stroke leads.

Our theory session came to a close and then we were off a few steps up the road to Stithians church. And my goodness, what a treat to welcome us! Christine Illes, absolutely out-doing herself with the most wonderful ringer’s tea! From sandwiches to savoury snacks, cakes, chocolates and more! Tea and coffee were plentiful. She kept our brains fully sustained throughout the afternoon so a HUGE thank you from all of us, Christine!

And so, up to the tower we went! I could detail everything, but the most important thing to know is that these students went from non-plain hunters to plain hunting on 3,4 and even 5 in the space one afternoon. They did so to methods, including Bistow, Stanwell and Plain Bob – not an easy task – and they did so exclusively by counting place, listening, rhythm and ropesight. There was certainly no learning of the bell numbers (my No. 1 rule for the day, as well as having fun!)

They have come away from the day with more knowledge and skills than they arrived with, having had, I hope, an enjoyable experience.

I am pleased that they will now be able to return to their towers and put these newly acquired skills into practice – because after all, it is only with frequent repetition that we truly learn something.

I look forward to being able to welcome more of you to the next education day run by the Guild, which is currently in planning stages.

Happy ringing to you all!


Acting Education Officer


First Steps in Plain Hunting at Stithians