An Interview with the TDGR Treasurer: Andy G Smith
Full Name, Current tower(s) you ring at, any current position(s) held.
Andrew Graham Smith… the ‘G’ for Graham being very important in identifying me from other Andrew Smith’s!
Truro Cathedral and Kenwyn, but I’ll go ringing anywhere.
TDGR Treasurer.. I opened my big mouth about understanding accounts so got given the job!
Where and when did you learn to ring, who taught you how to handle?
Hordle in south west Hampshire, taught by David Pelham (who still rings at Wimbledon) and Tony Webster (who still rings at Hordle and still cuts my mum’s hair).
Where have you previously rung & have you held any positions of responsibility (e.g. Tower Captain/Steeple Keeper/Secretary)?
Homes towers include…
Hordle .. see above.
Exeter St Marks, while at university.Charminster and Bradford Peverell in Dorset. Plus about 1300 other towers ranging from Inverness to Dunedin, in New Zealand.
Treasurer or auditor of just about every ringing organisation I’ve been involved with..once your fellow ringers know you can count (sometimes!) you soon get volunteered…Plus tower captain, branch secretary, association secretary / treasurer, association ringing master and central council representative at various stages in my ringing career.
What do you love about ringing?
Ringing has provided me with many friends, holiday opportunities and visits to the pub, as well as the more traditional opportunities to ring for church services and ringing lots of different methods; it’s great when staying away to be able to join a local practice. I’ll never forget the line, while on a cricket tour in Australia, “where’s Smithy?..He’s gone bellringing!…he’s what!”
Please name some ringer(s) that have been an inspiration to you or have taught you something.
Who were they & what was so inspirational?
Tim Collins from Dorset, a brilliant ringer and larger than life character, who has given me many opportunities to ring all sort of bells and methods.
While I was in Exeter, Tony Crabtree, who taught me a lot of the bellringing techniques that I still use today. Mike Mears, who called my first peal and quarter peal and the late John Longridge who
just seemed to be able to ring anything, included two bells at once.
Have you ever taught anyone to ring? If so, how many people and what did you learn whilst
Yes, quite a few (I don’t know the exact number), which included both of my daughters. The teaching experience has made me realise what a disparate lot humans are. Teaching a ten year
old stroppy daughter is a different experience from teaching a retired tax inspector.
Tell us something that other ringers won’t necessarily know about you:
I’ve played over one thousand games of cricket up to county league standard, mainly as a dogged opening batsman, although I did once hit Botham for six (it was his brother).
Do you have any particularly favourite methods and any that you dread ringing.
Bristol Surprise Major, Double Norwich Court Bob Major and Grandsire Caters, they can all be so musical, if rung well….and not forgetting well struck closed hand stroke call changes which can be
so mesmerising. I don’t dread ringing anything. It’s all good fun and a great challenge.
What is the best thing that’s ever happened to you whilst being involved with ringing?
Jo (Wenborne) said that I had to say that meeting her was the best ringing related thing that has happened to me.. I can’t say that I disagree!
What do you consider will be your biggest achievements in ringing?
I once managed to ring a peal of Bristol Surprise Maximus but I don’t think my brain has been the same since. I found that really hard.
If I can retire from ringing having said that I’ve contributed to some sort of post Covid ringing revival, by teaching and mentoring other ringers, then that would be very satisfying.
What do you find difficult about ringing?
I’m not a natural conductor and wish I could call more complex compositions and understand more about keeping others right… and then there is handbell method ringing, which just about fries my remaining brain cells.
What can you do for the TDGR and what could it be doing for you?
In the short term I’ve obviously got to do the TDGR accounts, but more importantly ensure that it is relevant to the requirements of ringers in the Diocese. If the members of the TDGR can keep me
enthused to continue bellringing until I’m no longer able then that would be great.
Do you have any current or future ringing goals or aims? – please describe them, big or small.
Having rung a number of peals, lots of quarter peals and rung at loads of different towers my aims are now about helping others to advance their ringing. At the time of writing I’m helping to run a
teaching project at Wendron involving new recruits from the Lizard area.