Saturday 23rd March 2019
By the end of Suffolk Guild Peal Week 2010, I felt a little like the manager of a football team who had been way out in front in the title race only for a few defeats to start creeping in meaning they had to settle for second spot in the end. You could say I was the Kevin Keegan of ringing. We did equal 2009’s total of sixteen in the end but after a phenomenal start, several losses meant it was the first Peal Week where we had failed to improve on the previous years total since I reintroduced SGPW in 2007.
However, reflecting back, I remembered why I had decided to resurrect Peal Week. Apart from drunkenness and foolish youth, it was to offer people opportunities they might not otherwise get, to focus people’s minds on what peals can achieve as part of a ringer’s development and fulfilment. The numbers are nice of course, but the fact that people tried was important and that even if they failed on this occasion they might try again at a later date. There were many achievements even in the losses and quarters were scored following some of these.
The first-pealers are often quite rightly the headline act and we had four this year. Congratulations to Alison Evans, George Salter, Alex Tatlow and Michelle Williams who having thought she had rung her first peal for twenty-one years did some research and discovered that in fact it hadn’t been counted and in fact her effort at Reydon was her first peal!
There were also two first conductors, promisingly from two young lads – Tom Britten and Philip Moyse – who along with Tom Scase and Louis Suggett suggest that the future of conducting in Suffolk is in safe hands.
Messrs Britten and Moyse were also part of the impressive peal at Reydon where the entire band was residents of the village. I’m sure someone will tell me, but when did that last happen? Whenever it was, this was a fantastic achievement and a big reward for the brilliant work Helen Price does at this lovely little six.
The North-West District peal at Elveden was also a big achievement and was the first time there had been a resident district peal of Stedman Triples in that corner of the county.
Now for the stats bit that so many – myself included – like.
There were twenty-three attempts at twenty-two towers involving fourteen conductors - Brian Whiting called the most successes with three - and eighty ringers, with Mary Dunbavin and Brian Whiting leading the way on success with six a piece. Peals were lost at Claydon, Debenham, Grundisburgh, Hollesley, Ixworth, St Neots (Cambridgeshire) and Sweffling, with quarters being scored at four of those locations.
All in all a truly wonderful week, if a little stressful to organise. It’s the last one that I am organising next year. I know numbers don’t count, but wouldn’t it be great to score twenty…?Richard Munnings