On Saturday July 6th 2019, 24 teams of young bell ringers from all over the country descended on Liverpool to test their bell ringing skills in the annual National Youth Striking Contest.
Local young ringers from Hornchurch and North Ockendon were part of an Essex team of 8 ringers that were drawn to ring at St Francis Xavier, a Roman Catholic church in Everton, Liverpool. The church has 8 bells with a tenor of 16cwt or ¾ ton. (See picture below)
The Essex team consisted of 2 girls and 6 boys with William Beech (North Ockendon) ringing the 4th bell, Ethan Musham (Hornchurch) ringing the 6th and Sam Beech (North Ockendon) ringing the 7th and conducting the changes.
Each team had 15 minutes in the tower; 6 minutes were used to practise (and make adjustments) and then the competition piece of 160 changes followed.
Sam called the bells to swap places with each other (Call Changes) so that the musical combinations of Queens and Whittingtons were achieved, with the bells starting and finishing in rounds. This took about 7-8 minutes.
The accuracy and evenness of the ringing was judged from outside the tower and each team was awarded a score.
The Essex team rang extremely well finishing in an amazing 3rd place out of the 17 teams in the Call Change Category.
Many congratulations to everyone who took part!
Following the competition, each team had the opportunity to ring at churches in and around Liverpool including Penny Lane (8 bells), Pier Head (12 bells; tenor 41cwt or 2 ton) and Liverpool Cathedral (12 bells; tenor 82cwt or 4 ton). The tenor at Liverpool Cathedral is so heavy that 2 people are needed to ring the bell at any one time!
The photo shows Sam and Ethan ringing the 5th and 7th respectively at Liverpool Cathedral.