Southwold hosts bell ringing contest

Bell ringing competition at St Edmunds Church, Southwold. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Bell ringing competition at St Edmunds Church, Southwold. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

A coastal town was alive with the sound of bell-ringing as a keenly-fought competition took place.

Suffolk Guild of Ringers Striking Contest held in Southwold . PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Suffolk Guild of Ringers Striking Contest held in Southwold . PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Chimes, courtesy of the annual Suffolk Guild of Ringers striking contest at Reydon and Southwold, could be heard for miles around.

With recent media debates on whether bell ringing is a sport, Neal Dodge - public relations officer for Suffolk Guild of Ringers - was keen to put forward the event's sporting credentials.

'Today we have had a wide range of teams taking part in a competitive display demonstrating that this is a sport,' he said as the competition got underway on Saturday (May 21).

'All the teams are judged by an impartial judge, who judges the time intervals between each ring and to make they sure are not delayed or overlap one another.

St Edmunds Church, Southwold. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

St Edmunds Church, Southwold. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher


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'It is not just an art - it is about scientific measurements between the rings which takes real skill and method.'

He even said that in national competitions 'hawk ear', much like Hawk-Eye used in tennis matches, is used to measure the difference and time between the rings.

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A striking contest is the bell ringing equivalent of a sporting match and the two contests were held at St Margaret of Antioch Church, Reydon and St Edmunds Church in Southwold.

A six-bell contest, held in the morning at Reydon, saw nine teams competing.

The more advanced eight-bell contest, which took place at 4pm in Southwold, had seven teams participating, with a total of more than 120 ringers representing all four areas of the Suffolk guild.

'There is always something new to learn it is the ultimate team activity you always have to have other people with you for it to sound right.

'It is not physically demanding; I have heard people say the most challenging thing is climbing the stairs!' added Mr Dodge, 20.

Following a successful day of competition teams from St Mary le Tower, Ipswich enjoyed great success in winning the six bell Method Contest and eight bell vontest.

Meanwhile Hollesley bell ringers championed the in six bell Call Change Contest.

For more information visit www.suffolkbells.org.uk

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