June 7th at Coggeshall
Storms were threatened but mostly kept clear, so eight ten-bell bands and their friends enjoyed the ringing (and the catering, and the pub) in this self-proclaimed Village of the Year: who would say the title is undeserved? The Coggeshall band made local arrangements on behalf of the Essex County Association for the 27th edition of the Ridgman 10-bell striking competition.
Two and a half courses of Stedman Caters offered challenges for conductors and ringers, very different from Surprise Royal, and two bands did not complete. From them, as well as from the others, there was excellent striking at one of the nicest towers we have visited.
Judges Alan and Mark Ainsworth gave their opinions in pithy (and helpful) terms, and then announced:
1 3h05 20 faults Essex County Association
2 3h06 36 faults Hertford County Association
3 3h16 38 faults Ely Diocesan Association
4 3h13 50 faults Suffolk Guild
5 3h08 52 faults Lincoln Diocesan Guild
6 3h16 65 faults Cambridge University Guild
As usual we had held the draw a couple of weeks early to cater for wedding ringing and the like. Sixty remained to hear the results at the end of the day and a good number went on to the local afterwards. One disappointment, however, was a low attendance at the three towers open for general ringing. The Committee discussed holding the draw on the day of the competition (with the aim of promoting a more sociable day out) but the majority view (strongly held by some) was to retain the current arrangement.
The Committee agreed the date for next year as June 6th, and we would strongly welcome suggestions or offers for a tower, with the method to be Cambridge or Grandsire. It now remains to thank the judges and the local organisers (especially the caterers!) and Emily Russell for acting as steward and photographer. It was an excellent day and I look forward to next year.