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2012 - SD Centenary Outing

A Weekend of Ringing on the Isle of Wight to Celebrate the Centenary of the Southern District:
21 to 23 September 2012

On Friday 21 September, some members of the Southern District (and four members of the Northern District) gathered in a rather lovely pub in Freshwater where, after a hearty lunch, their Isle of Wight weekend of ringing began. What followed was a weekend of beautiful churches, glorious pubs, exceptional scenery, and wonderful ringing. A few members had arrived on the Thursday, whilst others joined us on the Saturday.

All Saints, Freshwater, mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086 was a beautiful ring of six where everyone, of all ages and levels of ringing, rang in turn. The second and third churches of the afternoon were equally beautiful, dating from 1610 and 1100. We were pleasantly tired after our journey from the mainland, and looked forward to a pub supper and an early night.

On Saturday the ringing started at Ryde, a proud Victorian tower overlooking the sea. Brading followed (with an outdoor step ladder to gain access to the ringing room, not for the faint-hearted!). After Newchurch, a pub lunch was had before going on to Shanklin, Whitwell, Niton and finishing in Shale with its glorious back drop of the English Channel.

It was a wonderful weekend for meeting up with fellow association members, enjoying the excellent ringing and seeing the beautiful Isle of Wight especially if, like myself, it was your first time on the unspoilt island. The sun shone for the majority of the time. Members of the Association all seemed to gain an awful lot from the trip, from beginners who had only rung at their home towers before, to the more experienced who were visiting various churches for the first time.

A well-deserved special mention was given to the youngest member of the band (James Goodship) at the end of the ringing at the last tower, and to the distinct improvement in the ringing of two of the Leigh band. It really was a wonderfully friendly and well organised weekend. Richard Wallis supplied us with a highly informative guide to the island's churches, history, places of general interest and good pubs. This must have taken some research and was much appreciated. There are fourteen towers on the Isle of Wight, and we rang at ten of them, with an option of Sunday service ringing at churches of our choice on the last morning. I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and for one am keen to go back and ring at the remaining towers on the island.