London 12 bell 2023
The 2023 London 12 bell competition was held at St Magnus the Martyr on Saturday 28th October. While the bells are far less intimidating than the venue for last year's competition (St Paul's), their position high up a largely unsupported tower structure leads to some quirks and foibles, and are not to be underestimated.
The SRCY band was largely comprised of the same members who competed in last year's London 12 bell and this year's national squad. Sadly Geraldine wasn't able to be part of the band this time, so instead we welcomed returning southerner Daniel Page to join our front end. Due to various holidays and illnesses/absences, we hadn't had the opportunity to practice as a complete band for several weeks, which gave us a sense of trepidation in the lead-up to the competition.
A late draw (ninth out of ten!) meant that band members looked to culture and entertainment outside of bell ringing in the city that morning. While some went to visit historical sites, hone their musical skills or catch up on current affairs, a large number of the band – committee members past and present – were invited by Jack to pit their skills at a crazy golf venue nearby. This was hugely entertaining even without alcohol, and a welcome distraction from potential nerves. Also, a new masters' challenge event is born!
We finally got up into the hot, stuffy tower and rang a few leads and the ringing showed promise, with us all agreeing on the speed. Then we went for the test piece, which matched the standard of our practice. Upon leaving the tower and heading over to the pub, a number of listeners commented that it was the strongest ringing of the day.
The Walrus and Carpenter was packed, and we assembled in the upstairs room for the results. Alex Riley was chief judge this year, assisted by Catherine Morley, and both did a fine job in communicating to the crowd without a PA system (maybe not the first time Alex has ever had to shout at a group of bellringers?). Announcing the results in reverse order, our anticipation grew as joint sixth, joint fourth and third place results were announced, and still our names remained in the mix. Could this be our year? IT WAS! A clear 6% ahead of second place, with compliments on our strong rhythmic framework and ability to ring together as a band. As the celebrating began in earnest my recollection gets a bit hazy, but I do remember that it was an extraordinarily fun evening, and it was good to have a fairly relaxed Sunday to get over it. Now on to the National!
The full results of the contest are as follows:
|1||Society of Royal Cumberland Youths||84%|
|2||Ancient Society of College Youths (Marchbank)||78%|
|3||Ancient Society of College Youths (Brad)||74%|
|4||St Paul's Cathedral Guild||65%|
|6=||Southwark Cathedral (Camden)||62%|
|8||Middlesex County Association||58%|
|9||University of London Society of Change Ringers||55%|
|10||Southwark Cathedral (Marchbank)||52%|
- Shirley E McGill
- Jack E Page (c)
- David C Bath
- Daniel J Page
- Ian G Mills
- Mary E Holden
- Ruth E R Corney
- Michael R Crockett
- Douglas J Beaumont
- Benjamin D Constant
- Claire F Roulstone
- Thomas B Mack
The band representing the Society, ringing Stedman Cinques
London 12 bell competition facebook page