Society of Royal Cumberland Youths

Promoting excellence in ringing around the world

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SRCY Anniversary Dinner 2012

A glass of champagne in the evening sun, enjoyed on the promenade deck of the SS Great Britain, prior to dinner in the first class dining room. Bell-ringing rarely produces such glamorous moments and so, three years after that memorable evening in 2009, as members and friends of the Society of Royal Cumberland Youths once again donned their finery, the 2012 Anniversary Dinner had a big act to follow. Birmingham was the city of choice this time and the grand Council House the venue for the evening.

The day began in traditional fashion with peals rung at St Paul's, Jewellery Quarter, Edgbaston and Chaddesley Corbett. Other members and friends opted for a more relaxed approach to working up an appetite, joining general ringing at some interesting local towers.

With the necessities out of the way, freshened up and looking significantly more respectable, 107 SRCY members and friends from near and (in some cases very) far made their way to the magnificent banqueting suite for what again promised to be a fine evening. As champagne, beer and wine flowed, conversation developed quickly from the usual analysis of the morning's performances. Over an excellent dinner one table seemed to be engrossed in the finer points of tying a bow tie (even drawing on the apparent expertise of a certain former Master and Central Council President, more than happy to offer a master-class) while another table was overheard in deep discussion, attempting to identify the accurate Polish translation for the word "floozy"...

With coffee came a break in proceedings allowing guests to circulate, study the historical Society peal books on display, buy more wine to counter-act the coffee, or view the impressive firework display over Victoria Square - the superbly timed culmination of a nearby ‘Last Night of the Proms' Concert. The Birmingham equivalent of the SS Great Britain (in SRCY terms at least), though somewhat less sea-worthy, was definitely pulling out all the stops!

Fireworks finished, peal books studied and plenty of wine purchased it was time for the speeches. David Sparling offered an entertaining toast to the Church, drawing on various amusing quirks of ringing and ringers. The Very Reverend Catherine Ogle, Dean of Birmingham, gave a gracious reply including some interesting thoughts on the Exercise and what she had found out about our Society. The Master of the Ancient Society of College Youths, David Maynard, toasted the Society in highly entertaining fashion to which the Master of the SRCY, Shirley McGill, responded thanking everybody for all the effort that had made the evening what it was. Notable thanks were given to those who had travelled far, particularly those from the USA, Australia and New Zealand. Fresh from her daughter's wedding the previous day, Shirley remarked there had been "some serious speech focus" in the McGill household during the last week. I don't doubt that one bit!

The speeches were each greeted with well deserved appreciation and, with over an hour left of drinking time, there was still plenty of socialising to be done. With last orders finally being called and the prospect of morning ringing at the Bullring looming, the sensible guests started to make their way back home or to their hotels. The rest, heeding the beckoning call of more beer and deciding that enough maybe wasn't quite enough, made for a bonus pint (or two and maybe a cheeky "Jagerbomb" for some of the younger contingent) in the Briar Rose. Alcohol induced merriment and Cuban Cigars featured before, finally, bed really did seem the best way forward.

As we made our journey back north the following morning, it was great to reflect on another superb Anniversary Dinner. Once again it was great to see so many friends and enjoy the fun, friendly atmosphere that being a member of the SRCY is all about. It just seems a long time to wait until the next one!

Matt Hetherington

View photos from this event in our gallery.

BIRMINGHAM, West Midlands
St Paul
Sat Sep 8 2012 2h53 (12)
5040 Cambridge Surprise Royal
Comp. P M Mason (No. 3)
1. Michael H D O'Callaghan
2. Patricia O M Hitchins
3. Joanna K Dorling
4. Elizabeth A Coke
5. Janet E Menhinick
6. Edward R Mack
7. Janet E Archibald
8. Peter J Waterfield (C)
9. Barry D Mack
10. Alan Regin
On Society Dinner Day.

St Cassian
Sat Sep 8 2012 3h (16)
5056 Spliced Surprise Major
(8m: 704 Lincolnshire & Superlative, 672 Rutland, 608 Cambridge, Pudsey & Yorkshire, 576 Bristol & London: 139 com, atw)
Comp. A N Tyler
1. E Jane Sibson
2. Jessie H Hetherington
3. Katherine E Young
4. Geraldine R Forster
5. Russell A Brown
6. Derek E Sibson (C)
7. Matthew D Hetherington
8. Nicholas D Brown

EDGBASTON, West Midlands
St Bartholomew
Sat Sep 8 2012 2h48 (10)
5024 Cambridge Surprise Major
Comp. S Jenner & D F Morrison
1. Thomas B Mack
2. Nicola J Beaumont
3. Gillian A Leale
4. Simon Read
5. Mary E Holden
6. Michael J Stone
7. Matthew J Sorell
8. Ian Butters (C)
First peal for the Society - 2 & 3.
100th tower bell peal - 7.
For the Society's Dinner Day.