Young@Herts. For young ringers. By young ringers.

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Young@Herts is the official group for young bellringers in Hertfordshire. Anyone aged 18 or under is welcome at our monthly practices. All abilites are catered for. Our only request is that you are able to handle a bell in rounds without assistance. At our practices we aim to give everyone an opportunity to work on whatever they're learning in their tower, and progress, or try something that their tower can't offer. In addition to our monthly practices, we enter teams in two bellringing contests: The Ringing World National Youth Contest (RWNYC), and the South East England Youth Contest (SEECON). The RWNYC is a major event in the national ringing calendar, with 30+ teams of young ringers from all over the UK coming together for a fantastic day out. SEECON is a smaller and more informal version. We also have occasional days out, either for a day of ringing, or to somewhere like the Taylors Bellfoundry Museum in Loughborough.

We meet on the last Sunday afternoon every month, from 2.00-4.00pm. Details of each practice are circulated to all towers, and via a mailing list. The practices are run by Jen Johnson and Mike Below, with a few adult helpers (often ex members of Y@H), who are strictly by invitation.

Young@Herts was formed in 2013. In 2010 The Ringing World organised a contest for young ringers as part of their centenary celebrations. Herts entered a team and won! The event was such a success that it was decided to make it an annual thing. Herts entered again in 2011, but couldn't repeat their win. By 2012 all the team members were too old, and it proved impossible to get a team together, so in 2013, it was agreed that we needed to be organised, and Young@Herts was established. We have a good track record in the contest, always being in the top half of the results. Our best result to date was coming second in 2016, by winning the Call Change Category.


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This outing had been postponed for two years! We had a trip to Loughborough, and Taylor's Bellfoundry back in 2017, but went on the wrong day for bell casting, and at a time when the Carillon Tower was closed for renovation. We attempted to rectify this omissions on this trip!

Holy Week is the ideal time for this outing. It's in the school holidays, and as the foundry campanile is a secular building, there is no restriction on ringing.

We met in Queens Park outside the Carillon Tower. This is a WW1 memorial, dedicated to the men of Loughborough who lost their lives in the Great War. This included three from the Taylor family, who owned the Bellfoundry, and they cast all the bells in the carillon. The lower floors are a museum of war memorabilia, and above that is the clavier room, where the carillon is played from. At the top are the bells. 47 in total, the largest weighing about 4 tons (roughly the same as the tenor at Liverpool Cathedral). Euan was persuaded to have a go at playing the carillon, and we all now appreciate how hard it is!

A very convenient Wetherspoons (The Moon and Bell) is just outside the park, and we had a leisurely brunch/lunch in there, before assembling at the foundry just before 1pm for our tour. This lasted about an hour, and took us around all the sections of the works. Bells everywhere! You won't take your bell wheel for granted after you've seen one under construction!

We were due to see a bell casting at the end of our tour, but staff illness ('rona again....) meant that couldn't take place. Next time....

We concluded with a good session on the bells of the foundry campanile. 12 bells with a tenor weighing just 2cwt. Mike did a splendid job running the ringing, and made sure that everyone got several goes. It was great to give two of our younger ringers their first try on more than 8 bells. They did really well considering how light the bells are. With some assistance from a few local friends, including two from the Leicester Young Ringers group, we were able to ring Stedman Triples and Grandsire Caters.

A great day out, and one we'll be doing again!

2nd April: SEECON 2022

This year's SEECON (The Southeast England Youth Striking Contest) was hosted by the Essex Association at Writtle on Saturday 2nd April. The contest is in it's 7th year now, having only missed 2020. It is a more relaxed version of the RWNYC, for teams from the South East. Potentially about nine teams could take part, but this year we had just five. Everyone has suffered from reduced numbers and several teams were a combination, enabling everyone to take part.

The day was perfectly organised, and ran smoothly. We started with three towers available for open ringing between the M25 and Writtle, along the A12. Bobbingworth, Moreton, and Fyfield. We gathered at Writtle Christian Centre, our base for the day, where refreshments were available. There was a Mini ring in the churchyard, and handbells to try in the hall. The contest ran over lunchtime, with food being available from various places in the nearby town centre. The chippy seems to have had a very good day!

Young@Herts were represented in two teams. East Berks/South Bucks, included Euan, who conducted call changes on eight, and Sussex were able to ring Grandsire Triples with the addition of Lucas, and a ringer from Kent on the tenor behind.

The day finished with three more open towers heading back to the M25. Margaretting, Ingatestone, and Fryerning.

Worcester Ringing World National Youth Competition 2021

Photos of the Young@Herts team in action at the Worcester Ringing World National Youth Competition 2021. Photo credit: Tom Cubitt.

Practice at St Alban's Cathedral (+parents/supporters)

Herts' valiant Ringing World National Youth Contest band & supporters!

Young@Herts YouTube Video

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