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As of the AGM at Helston we now have a new President

Welcome to Owen Borlase


Owen’s statement of aims prior to his election…

Since learning to ring 28 years ago I have gained considerable experience not just as a ringer but also in bell hanging/maintenance, teaching and composing. I have been a member of the TDGR standing committee as Bell Restoration Officer and Eastern District Rep.

If elected as President I would aim to: Maintain the objectives of the Guild

Push forward as previous Presidents have done to focus the Guild in the developing ringing scene

Embrace the current recruitment initiatives within the Guild as a whole

Enhance retention by offering new/different opportunities to our current membership

Work closely with our Officers to develop events/courses etc.

I would also like to state before the AGM that Members should be aware that I am a working man and there will be certain times when I may not be able to attend events etc., but I will do my upmost to fulfill the post to the best of my ability.




Interview with Hayley


Full Name, Current tower(s) you ring at, any current position(s) held.

Mr Owen John Borlase, St Dominic and Pillaton, the current Eastern District Ringing Master

Where and when did you learn to ring, who taught you how to handle?

I learnt to ring at St Dominic, taught by my father Kevan. My first lesson was on Wednesday 5th April, 1995.

Where have you previously rung & have you held any positions of responsibility (e.g. Tower Captain/Steeple Keeper/Secretary)?

I am the current Steeple Keeper at Pillaton. I did many years as the TDGR Bell Restoration Officer inspecting many towers and sitting on the Standing Committee.

What do you love about ringing?

Service to the Church, giving something back to the local community, meeting new people from every walk of life and going to the local pub afterwards! I met my partner Sarah through ringing. And of course good striking!!!

Please name some ringer(s) that have been an inspiration to you or have taught you something. Who were they & what was so inspirational?

Robin Woods – for asking Dad if I might like to try ringing; My Dad –  for teaching me to ring and to conduct Call Changes; Ron Johns – a call change ringer and member of the band who encouraged me to progress; Richard Warwick – this man taught me method ringing; Mary Burn for assisting my method ringing; John & Anne Body for giving me the chance to progress my advanced method ringing and pushing me to call/conduct method peals

Have you ever taught anyone to ring? If so, how many people and what did you learn whilst doing so?

Yes, quite a few but too many to remember! I would say that the biggest thing I have learnt while teaching is that people learn in different ways and you have to be able to communicate information at their levels. It is critical in the early stages of their ringing career

Tell us something that other ringers won’t necessarily know about you…

I played snooker against Steve Davis in St Austell at a charity event for Children’s Hospice Southwest. I have an FdSc in Mechanical Design and Manufacture (with Distinction)

What were you currently learning to ring before the current restrictions and what would you like to be able to learn next?

Nothing really just keeping on top of my Call Change striking and methods on my home made dumbell in my garage using Abel. I have also been doing a bit of Call Change composing on higher numbers trying to get more musical passages out of the touch without being too long!

What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you whilst being involved in ringing?

There are so many stories I could tell you and write a book!!! But probably the funniest is what happened was, Dad and I were on a trip organised by Henry Trewin (a very well known ringer in the Northern District) in a heavy ten somewhere up the line.  We were met by an old gentleman with a walking stick who said, “well then boys and girls, it’s been rather damp up here, the front six are down and the back four is up, here is the key drop it into my cottage when you have finished.”  So I open the Tower door and we venture up the stairs to the ringing room and Henry chooses the band to rise the front six, Dad says to me, “ere they don’t sound too bad I bet the ten’s good!”  Henry says, “Owen can you ring the 9th and Kev can you ring the tenor please?” Dad walks up across the boxes, unties the rope and gets ready, this tenor being well over 35cwt. Meg, the lady ringing the treble says the usual and the front 9 pull out successfully and leave Dad behind.  I then say to Dad, “Come on you’ve rung bells bigger than this, give it a bit of welly!” the rest of the band are in fits of laughter.  We set in and Dad says, “I’ll give her a bit of a bounce”. So off we go again and Dad heaves the great tenor out to the sound of half a ton of water hitting the belfry floor and the stream coming through the rope hole just in front of Dad. The ringing collapses and Dad calmly says, “she goes a lot better now!”

Are you a member of any non-territorial guilds or associations? If yes, please give details of when you joined, how & what convinced you to do so.

Yes, the ASCY. I was proposed and seconded by two local members in 2005. I am very proud to be a member and found it an honour that the members who nominated me thought I was good enough and had given enough back to ringing in my local area and the County. There are not that many of us who are born and bred Cornish members.

What do you consider to be your biggest achievement in ringing?

Call Change ringing wise – helping ringers who do not want to go method ringing to ring a Call Change Peal (ie a 120 of Doubles in Call Changes without repeating any rows). Method ringing wise – Calling my Dad’s first peal at St Dominic in 2006. A peal of Doubles with the majority of the band who helped us with our method ringing

What do you find difficult about ringing?

Keeping everyone happy. Ringing is a very difficult thing to get right and I think some ringers do not realise what organisers of our art go through trying to cater for everyone’s needs!

What can you do for the TDGR and what could it be doing for you?

Very interesting question. I think we need to push ringing and have a massive drive on its status in the world. Recruitment and Retention. We need to recruit ringers and bring people in from all walks of life to our amazing art but this is not the total goal. The TDGR and all ringers need to retain the ringers we have and get ringers back who are lapsed as I do feel this part is missed throughout ringing in general, locally and nationally

Do you have any current or future ringing goals or aims? – please describe them, big or small.

To do all I can to keep ringing going in the County

What is your favourite ring of bells of all time & why?

Hard question! Of the 785 towers I have rung at there are so many to choose from, but I think I would have to say Evesham The Bell Tower. Fantastic bells, audible in the ringing room, easy going, sound cracking inside and out. In Cornwall it would have to be St Stephen-in-Brannel for the same reasons, plus I have done some bellhanging work on them in the past!

Contact the President  president@tdgr.org.uk


Sam presents owen with

the President’s  Badge of Office