Ridgman Trophy Ten Bell Striking Competition 2002

The fourteenth annual competition for the Ridgman Trophy was held at the Norman Tower, Bury St. Edmunds on Saturday, 8th June 2002, hosted by the Suffolk Guild. The weather was extremely kind in the unpredictable summer, and members of the eight competing teams were able to mingle outside the Tower whilst awaiting their turns to ring the test piece, 257 Stedman Caters.

An innovation this year, much appreciated by those teams travelling any distance, was the draw taking place in advance of the competition and teams being allotted a specific time to ring. The 30 minutes allowed for the test piece and practice for each team turned out to be appropriate and the programme was adhered to throughout the day.

At the conclusion of the competition, a tea was provided at the Unitarian Chapel, where approx. 80 ringers and friends gathered to hear the results.

The two judges, Messrs. John Loveless and Paul Flavell, were introduced by Mr Stephen Pettman, the Master of the Suffolk Guild. It was stated by the judges that seldom had they heard so much Stedman rung with so few trips! They gave the scores, with brief comments on each team’s performance, as follows:-

Place Team Score
1st Leicester Diocesan Guild 86.8%
2nd Bedfordshire Association 81.5%
3rd Essex Association 80.3%
4th Suffolk Guild 78.7%
5th Cambridge University Guild 76.9%
6th Hertford County Association  74.3%
7th Ely Diocesan Association 70.8%
8th Lincoln Diocesan Guild 69.9%

The Trophy was presented to Mark Boylan, conductor of the winning Leicester hand, by Bill Ridgman. Stephen Pettman thanked the judges and the local ringers and helpers for the excellent arrangements, and introduced Canon Cedric Catton. who welcomed all on behalf of St. Edmundsbury Cathedral. and apologised for the unavoidable absence of the Dean, the Very Revd. James Atwell, who, as a ringer himself had been looking forward to attending. However, Canon Catton was enjoying immensely his first experience of the social side of ringing, and had composed a grace appropriate to the occasion which he gave as follows:-

We have rung our changes, kept our place, 
Laid our blows with skill and grace.
Our ropes are still, the bells are silent
Our throats are dry and our intent
Is now to thank you Lord for this our tea,
For which our hearts shall grateful be.
Bless the cooks and all who serve us,
From indigestion, Lord preserve us. Amen.

So ended the 2002 Ridgman Trophy - a very enjoyable day, renewing old acquaintances, making new ones, and with some excellent ringing in between.
Ian M. Holland
(Published in the Ringing World, issue 4760, page 734)