London 12 bell competition 2014 – St Mary le Bow

The London 12 bell competition this year was held at St Mary le Bow, providing a significant challenge to all the bands on these less-than-easy bells. The pub arranged for the day was the Fine Line, and so it was that bellringers from all over London gathered for bacon sandwiches and the first drinks of the day prior to the draw at 11am.

In a twist of fate, the two Southwark bands were drawn to ring first and second which I think made them very happy… Once the draw was over (UL ringing slap in the middle of the day), the bands were summoned together at the bottom of the tower for team photos, and the first team made their way up. Those waiting to ring dispersed – mainly heading back to the pub to fortify themselves for their test piece, whilst others decided to take advantage of nearby shops to get a bit of retail therapy in.

The UL rang immediately after lunch at 1.30pm, and I think I can say we were all very pleased with how our test piece went. Initial nerves gave way to a confident piece of ringing that was about as good as we had ever rung the test piece, so it was a happy group of bellringers that retired to the pub to while away the hours until the result. As usual, the pub owners had failed to believe it when they were told how much beer they could expect to sell, so there were several people on bottled beer by the time the judges were ready to deliver their verdict.
Back in the Church, we listened to David Dearnley (Chief Judge), Jennie Town, and David House giving their expert feedback on the day’s ringing, and settled in to receive the order. The standard of ringing throughout the competition had been extremely high, so we were very pleased to be placed 6th out of 10 teams, and congratulations went to the CY’s Steward Team for their victory.

The Old Watling became the centre of post-competition drinking, before heading to the Sugarloaf where Hills got very drunk and Tim H saw more than he bargained for…

Groups of hard core partiers went on to Camden and the BEM to continue the evening’s celebrations, providing a fitting end to a great day!

Role on next year’s competition…

By Rosemary Hill