June 17th at Great St Mary, Cambridge
The Stewards Report
Trad but true, a good day was had by all. In this case the day started very early indeed for competitors from Lincolnshire who mustered troops at 06:30 so as to be ready for their 10:00 slot. The decision to hold the competition in the morning took account of the afternoon crowds in Cambridge, and the narrow staircase at Great St Mary’s where visitors climb by the hundred to see the Famous View from the roof. The morning format was judged a success but even so we will probably revert to the afternoon for next year.
Happily the beer arrived early too, even as the judges were adjusting their sound-feed and strikeometer, competitors were signing the licence statement and receiving the Stamp of Authority to permit them to purchase (thanks to GSM and to George Unsworth for making this possible). The weather also cooperated encouraging competitors to loiter in the churchyard enjoying the company, the hospitality, and the uniformly high standard of ringing.As has been said, Cambridge city centre is a popular place on a summer Saturday, and therefore popular indeed with the busking trade, which threw up a few un-anticipated problems for some of the bands: the pitch directly outside GSM’s west door is very much sought after by artists who come these days with amplification. There could be a challenge to establish a rhythm against the thump of the street artist’s accompaniment. This issue was raised in the committee discussion at the end of the day; bands graciously accepted the challenge in the spirit of “rubs of the green”.
We were privileged to have David Hull and David Richards as judges for the day. Their discussion at the award ceremony included an appreciation of the strikeometer programme which had been a helpful resource. The judges commended the standard of ringing of all entries. The chief distinguishing factor was the ability of teams to match the back bells and the little bells: often the back bells would work well together, and the front bells would also, but a slight mismatch between those elements would prevent the settled feel that distinguishes the excellent from the good. The Ely Diocesan Association unambiguously defended their title.
Many thanks to all whose efforts created a very pleasant day. We are particularly indebted to the Rev. John Binns and the PCC of Great St. Mary’s church for the use of the bells and their support in using the church as venue for the day, to the Cambridge University Guild and the Society of Cambridge Youths who joined together in planning and running the event, to all who supplied cakes and coffee, and especially George Unsworth for engineering the stamp and licensing for the beer supply. Cheers!
Marg B Winter
Date for next year’s diary: Sat June 16th 2018 at St Peter's, St Albans, ringing Stedman Caters.