Sponsored Ringing for The Tom Wilson Memorial Fund Charity

On Tuesday 25th June 2019, the bells at St Andrew’s, Hornchurch were rung in memory of Thomas Wilson to raise money for his charity which supports raising awareness of Organ Donation.

Tom Wilson died, aged 22, from an accident whilst hockey training in 2016. Following the accident, Tom’s internal organs and tissues were transplanted for the benefit of others.

A local lad who attended Coopers’ Company and Coborn School, Tom was the son of Lisa, a new bell ringer recruited for the Ringing Remembers campaign.

Fellow bell ringers decided to dedicate the ringing on 25th June to Tom on what would have been his 26th birthday.

The bells were rung continuously for 2 hours with as many people taking part as possible. The bell ropes were swapped from person to person in the form of a relay so that the bells were kept ringing for the whole time.

Everyone who took part made a contribution to the Tom Wilson Memorial Charity raising a total of £588.52 for the fund.

This is a very impressive amount and our thanks go to everyone who took part, supported and gave money. A special thanks to Jeanette and Doreen for organising the refreshments.

Bell Ringers Spring Outing 2019

Just after 7.30am on Saturday 27th April, a coach full of 57 bell ringers and friends left St Andrew’s for Suffolk.

Our first stop was the market town of Halesworth with it’s antique shops and old-fashioned coffee shops. The bells here were heavy and quite challenging but a nice piece of Superlative Major was rung.

The next stop was Bungay, a redundant church in the middle of town with a magnificent tower that can be seen from miles around. Some successful ringing of Grandsire Triples and Lincolnshire Major was achieved.

Our buffet lunch was well received before our stop at Beccles with it’s detached tower and splendid views over the Waveney Valley. The 10 bells here were the heaviest and most musical of the day. We rang well with Hayden and Jane successfully ringing Plain Hunt on 9.

Our final stop at Lowestoft were an easy-going set of 8 bells rung from the ground floor. Eileen, Angela and Val all rang well with Val ringing the 6th of the 8 to rounds and Hayden ringing the tenor well to Plain Bob Triples.

The day concluded with a well-earned dinner in the local pub and back to Hornchurch, tired but happy after our very enjoyable day out.

Photo 1: Val & Eileen at Halesworth

Photo 2: Bell Ringers at Bungay

Quarter Peal Success for Joseph

On Sunday 27th January 2019, young bell ringer Joseph Hurley rang continuously for 45 minutes to complete his first quarter peal on St Andrew’s bells.

He carefully plain hunted the treble to the tune of Plain Bob Doubles whilst concentrating on the order of the bells which were continually changing.

He was supported by fellow young ringer Hayden Musham who kept a steady beat on the tenor for the whole time.

A full record of the quarter peal is shown below:

Hornchurch, Essex
St Andrew
Sunday, 27 January 2019

1260 Plain Bob Doubles

1. Joseph Hurley
2. John W Stephenson
3. Lionel S Woods
4. Philip H Denton
5. Clive J Stephenson (C)
6. Hayden R Musham

For Evensong and to welcome Timothy Pope, born on 25th January, a son for Charlotte & Nick and a grandson for Ray Rogers of the local band.

First Quarter – 1.
300th Quarter – 4.

The photo shows the ringers that took part: L – R: Joseph, John, Lionel, Philip, Clive & Hayden.

Quarter Peal Success for Young Ringer

On Sunday 15th July, St Andrew’s bell ringer Hayden Musham successfully completed his first quarter peal at the first attempt.

Hayden rang the treble to a method called Plain Bob Doubles, skillfully changing the position of his bell for 1260 changes.

This took about 45 minutes and is a big achievement for a 14 year old who has only been ringing for about 18 months.

Well done!

Full details of the quarter peal are:

Hornchurch, Essex

St Andrew

Sunday, 15 July 2018

1260 Plain Bob Doubles

1. Hayden R Musham
2. John W Stephenson
3. Gavin S Carpenter
4. Christopher C M Pain
5. Clive J Stephenson (C)
6. Anthony F Ammerlaan

For Evening Worship

First Quarter Peal – 1

      The ringers who took part: L – R: Hayden, John, Gavin, Chris, Clive & Tony

September Coach Outing to Reading

The bell ringers’ Autumn coach outing, organised by Adam, Gavin and Leonie, took us to some relatively easy-going bells in the Reading area.

Our first stop was Caversham, a busy town on the outskirts of Reading where the bells allowed a good variety of ringing including Plain Bob, Stedman and Double Norwich. It was good to see Margaret (Waller) back ringing so well after her knee and hip replacements.

A long walk from the coach to St Giles in Reading was followed by a welcome lunch break and then on to the 6 bells of South Stoke where we rang a nice course of Cambridge Minor, with John (Church) keeping us right on the treble.

We then went back to Reading for the biggest challenge of the day on the 12 bells of St Laurance. The bells have a tenor of 23cwt but were easy to ring and most of the ringers managed rounds on 12, many for the first time. We finished with Plain Hunt on 11 with 18 year old Alex Blissett keeping a good steady beat on the tenor.

At Shiplake, our last stop, the bells were the best of the day with everyone enjoying the ringing and, of course, dinner together in the local pub afterwards. Congratulations to our organisers, especially Adam (Carpenter) who worked hard to put the day together.

Ringers outside St Peters, Caversham


Jane, Eileen, John & Terry on their lunch-break


Leonie & Chris at St Laurance, Reading


Meeting old friends at South Stoke

Hornchurch Peal For Royal Wedding

A full peal of Kent Royal lasting exactly 3 hours was rung at St Andrew’s for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Saturday 19th May.

The peal was arranged so that the bells were actually ringing during the service at St George’s Chapel in Windsor.

Full details of the peal are:

Hornchurch, Essex
St Andrew

Saturday, 19 May 2018 in 3 hrs

5000 Kent Treble Bob Royal

Composed by Donald F Morrison

1. John A Hall
2. Matthew E Rayner
3. Jillian Laken
4. Jon Waters
5. David E Rothera
6. Anthony J Bloomfield
7. Timothy G M Jones
8. Stephen C Wood
9. Roderic K Bickerton
10. Clive J Stephenson (C)

Rung for and during the wedding of HRH Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex

Here is a short extract of the peal:

Spring Coach Outing 2018 To The Cotswolds

On Saturday 14th April, a full coach of 56 ringers and friends set off for the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire.

After a cold week in Essex, the sun came out and a two and a half hour drive brought us to our first stop in Chipping Norton. A welcome cup of coffee and some good ringing saw us on our way to our lunch stop in Moreton-in-Marsh.

Young Ringers at Moreton

The afternoon took us to the picturesque Bourton-on-the-Water in the middle of the Cotswolds with its many gift shops and tea shops along the River Windrush in the centre of town.

Ringers at Bourton-on-the-Water

Our final stop at Stow-on-the-Wold presented us with a heavy ring of 8 bells. At 27cwt, the tenor weighs one and a half times as much as Hornchurch but we managed well and enjoyed some of the best ringing of the day topped only by an excellent evening meal before our long drive home.

Remembering Joan Peacock (1926 – 2018)

Joan Peacock learnt to ring at Tring in Hertfordshire. Following the war, her long career in the Personnel Department of May & Baker brought her to Essex where she joined the Hornchurch band in 1946 and made rapid progress under the guidance of then master, Frank Gant.

Her cheerful personality earned her many friends including the Salisbury brothers, Dulcie Wright, Lionel Woods, Chris Pain and John Stephenson who remember her with affection. She was helpful to the learners and rang 9 peals at Hornchurch including a notable performance for The Queen’s Coronation in 1953:

The Essex Association
Hornchurch, St Andrew

On 2nd June 1953 in 3hrs 3mins

5056 Plain Bob Major

Comp: D.W.Beard

1. Mrs Dorothy Wright
2. Joan Peacock 
3. Jimmy Carrott   
4. Donald Salisbury   
5. Colin Wright
6. Sid Penfold
7. Andy Salisbury
8. Frank Gant (c)

Rung for The Queen’s Coronation

100th peal – 8

She remained an active member of the Hornchurch band for more than 50 years and was a life member of The Essex Association. Following her retirement from ringing in the late 1990’s, she remained an active rambler into her mid 80’s and could always be found pouring over the pages of The Ringing World for news of her old friends and colleagues.

She passed away on 18th March 2018, just short of her 92nd birthday. The photograph shows Joan at her 90th birthday party. A quarter peal was rung in thanksgiving for her life at Hornchurch on 8th April and is printed below.

She will be greatly missed.

Hornchurch, Essex
St Andrew     

Sunday, 8 April 2018

1280 Spliced Surprise Major (8m)

(Standard 8)

1. Colin Friend
2. John W Stephenson
3. Louise Booth
4. Peter J Joyce
5. Christopher C M Pain
6. Clive J Stephenson
7. Andrew P Barham
8. Matthew E Rayner (C)

For Evensong and in thanksgiving for the life of Joan Peacock, a regular ringer at this tower for at least 50 years.

Ringing for the 100th Anniversary of the RAF at St Clement Danes

History of the RAF
It is entirely appropriate that the Centenary year of the Royal Air Force (RAF) also falls on the Centenary of the end of the First World War.

Indeed it was the events towards the end of WW1 that led to the creation of the RAF one hundred years ago.

In the summer of 1917, German Gotha bombers appeared over London with relative ease. The Prime Minister appointed Lieutenant General Jan Christian Smuts to investigate and Smuts quickly recommended the amalgamation of the existing Army and Navy air arms to form a separate Air Force with its own staff.

Brought into formal existence on 1st April 1918, the Royal Air Force began life as the world’s first and premier Air Force and it has been at the forefront of military aviation from that day to this.

In its first week, RAF aircraft played a leading role in stemming the German offensive and provided crucial support to the Army and its allies as the Germans were driven back to the Rhine and the war was brought to a triumphant close later that year.

At the start of the war in 1914 the Royal Flying Corps had 84 aircraft and the Royal Navy Air Service had 71 aircraft. By the war’s end in November 1918, the RAF had more than 22,000 aircraft.

Second World War
In July 1940, Adolf Hitler planned an invasion of Britain by ordering his powerful air force (the Luftwaffe) to destroy British ports along the coast.

During the next 3 months of The Battle of Britain, the outnumbered RAF resisted the massive German air invasion, relying on the world’s first air defence system, integrating radar, telecommunications and radio. For every British plane shot down, two Luftwaffe war planes were destroyed and in October 1940, Hitler delayed the German invasion indefinitely.

At the end of the Battle of Britain, Prime Minister Winston Churchill said of the RAF pilots, ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.’

Connection of St Clement Danes to the RAF
St Clement Danes Church in The Strand was almost destroyed by German bombs during the London Blitz on 10th May 1941.

The outer walls, tower and steeple survived the bombing but the interior was gutted by fire and the 10 bells fell to the ground. Subsequently they were put into storage and recast after the war.

Following an appeal for funds from the Royal Air Force, the church was completely restored and re-opened in 1958 to become the Central Church of the Royal Air Force.

Connection to Hornchurch Bell Ringers
With the restoration of the bells in 1958 came the need for visiting bell ringers to ring for Sunday services.

Under the leadership of Frank Gant, Hornchurch started to provide bell ringers for Sunday service ringing once a month, a tradition that has continued from 1958 to this day.

It was therefore fitting that the Hornchurch bell ringers organised the ringing before and after the service on 1st April 2018 to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the formation of the RAF.

Coincidently, this was also the 60th Anniversary of the restoration of the church in 1958.

A quarter peal was rung at 10.00am before the service:

Westminster, Greater London

St Clement Danes
Sunday, 1 April 2018
1260 Plain Bob Royal

1. Paul J Bloomfield
2. John W Stephenson
3. Ros C Skipper
4. Simon J O Head
5. Colin Friend
6. Jonathan C Mills
7. James Laken
8. William J Stungo
9. Andrew P Barham
10. Clive J Stephenson (C)

Ringers who rang before the service

Short extract of Quarter Peal

A full Peal was rung at 12.00pm, immediately after the service:

Westminster, Greater London
St Clement Danes

Sunday, 1 April 2018 in 3h 6mins

5021 Grandsire Caters
Composed by A Colin Banton

1. Christopher Ridley
2. Christopher J Cooper
3. Mary Bone
4. Jillian Laken
5. David Holdridge
6. William J Stungo
7. Alan Regin
8. Fred Bone
9. Clive J Stephenson (C)
10. Edward J W Manley

Both rung to Commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Formation of the Royal Air Force.

Also to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the restoration of St Clement Danes Church, funded by the RAF.

Ringers who rang in the peal following the service

Bell Ringers Visit to Purleigh

Undeterred by the snow, a group of St Andrew’s ringers and friends visited Purleigh in Essex on 17th March 2018.

A successful hour’s ringing and enjoyable pub lunch enabled us to catch up with Pauline and Rosemarie who have recently moved away from the Hornchurch area.

From L to R: Jeanette, John, Terry, Rosemarie, David, Pauline, Chris & Michelle