Last year the big ringing events where the Olympic torch, we rang in advance of the torch but decided to stop before it came so we could watch from the roof and let everyone hear Theale Church of England Primary school steel band play.
Unfortunately we were unable to participate in the ringing for all the bells to mark the opening of the Olympic or any major ringing for the Queens diamond jubilee due to lack of numbers. But some of our ringers did go to over events to participate in these.
We have welcomed some occasional visitors to practice nights and on Sundays. We have attended practices of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers in a number of other towers in the Reading Branch area, though this was not as many as in the last few years. We have joined the weekly practices at local towers, in particular Englefield, which helps our learners to progress by ringing on bells that are of different character to ring than our own bells. On occasions this arrangement has provided a substitute practice when there have been too few of us to ring at Theale, which has become more common as the year went on.
During the year the bells were rung for all requested weddings. We have assisted neighbouring towers when requested and we have been grateful for their assistance when we have been short of ringers, in particular during the holiday season.
We had 3 groups visit this year from all over the country with some favourable comments made about the bells.
For the Diamond Jubilee we lit the beacon to celebrate the occasion along with a number of other places throughout the commonwealth. We also lit it for the 180th Birthday celebrations. I would like to thank Noel for help lighting it and getting Theale Church and the occasion published in here internal work magazine that went to every employee around the world. Lindsey and some Boy scouts for helping to carry the equipment which included two 25kg gas bottles up the stairs to the top of the tower.
The other highlight of the year was Theale sings in which we had over 30 people climb to the top of the bell tower and a number of people have a go at ringing..
The accounts show that the Tower Fund remains healthy with very little out goings and income mainly due to Wedding and group visits. This dedicated fund is to be used for repairs to the bells, together with their fixtures and fittings, and for the training and support of the bell ringers.
This year we had some maintenance to repair one of the stay’s that broke during ringing for the 180th Birthday celebrations, with some quick thinking this was brought under control but gave everyone in the bell tower a shock. This curtailed our ringing for this occasion and made for some unusual sounds coming out from the bell tower which hopefully will not be repeated.
We have not managed the clock this year as it has not been working.
We regularly clear the gutter on the tower roof to prevent water ingress to the bell chamber. We frequently litter pick around the tower area on Sunday mornings.
With the magazine that went out to every household we attracted one person to come and give it a go but they did not stay so we have not gained any new ringers.
During the course of the year we have a number of people coming to visit to ring and we also ring for special occations such as reading.
Special rining coming soon:
Branch Practice July 13th 10-11:30.
At Theale bell tower we have a band of bell ringers (known as campanology) and we are part of the Reading branch of bell ringers who are part of the Oxford guild. We ring both method and change ringing here
Theale has 6 bells which were first put up in the 1868. These weight from 120 kg's for the treble to 750 kg for the tenor.
Though the bell’s are heavy you do not need to be Geoff Capes to ring the bells. Ringers come from all walks of life and all ages from eight to over eighty.
We practice every week from 7:00- 8:00 every Wednesday at Theale bell tower. So why don’t you come along no experience is needed or contact Chris Burnham for details