Roger Bailey Memorial Weekend 2016

In terms of quarter peal attempts scored, this was a very successful weekend – although we mustn’t, of course, forget the prime function of this event, which is to celebrate the legacy of the legendary ‘R Bee.’ Unfortunately I never met Roger, but there were many ringers taking part on the weekend who knew him well and have happy memories of ringing with him.

Friday evening was Holborn based, with successful quarters at both St. Andrew’s, and St. Giles-in-the-Fields. It was extremely cold that night – so cold that I had to wear two coats. I wasn’t allocated to ring in either of the attempts, but was in the vicinity as a ‘spare part.’ Intending on having a grab on the reputedly fine bells of St. Andrew’s, before a quick listen outside followed by a Mc’Donald’s tea, I met the band outside the church. However, the St. Giles band (who should have started their quarter 30 minutes earlier) had met one short due to a communication error, so I had to get a train from Chancery Lane to Tottenham Court Road at top speed (thank goodness that T.C.R station had recently re-opened), running all the way. I eventually found St. Giles after running in completely the wrong direction, and we swiftly rang a quarter of Yorkshire, conducted by Adrian Udal. I was extremely hungry during this – almost to the point of delirium – as my tea had been delayed by this mix-up. Both bands then met up in the Penderel’s Oak, High Holborn, for drink and long awaited food.

On Saturday morning, bands met at Putney, Clapham Common, and West Hill. Two of these were successful. It was a pleasure to ring on the fine bells of Putney. Unfortunately, Garry Barr was less enthusiastic, having had to travel all the way from Barking on the District Line – a fact he very readily informed me of when he arrived. Sorry Garry. The three bands, and others, then met at The Queen’s Arms, near Imperial College, for luncheon, before general ringing on the mighty bells of The Queen’s Tower. This is an important part of the weekend, as Roger was the official Handbell Instructor at Imperial College (he was also a senior lecturer in the computing department, in his spare time). A couple of ringers had not been here before, but they coped very well on this very challenging and loud ring. It was sometimes difficult to run the ringing here, as people wanted to go onto the cupola to drink in the views of London. They are spectacular views, I have to say.

Afterwards, an attempt for Stedman Caters at St. Mary Abbots, Kensington, was unfortunately unsuccessful, but a quarter of Oxford Bob Triples was scored at St. Saviour’s, Pimlico. In the evening we had an evening of convivial merriment and jollity in The Crosse Keys. Well, some of us did. The St. Mary Abbots quarter peal band refused to come all the way from Kensington (a journey that some of us used to do every single week!), so they stayed in The Prince of Wales. A party then walked around London to see the January lights.

On Sunday morning we had some nice service ringing at St. Olave’s. An off-the-cuff handbell quarter of Bob Major was rung in the ringing chamber of St. Olave’s at lunchtime. This was particularly appropriate, as Roger was a famous handbell ringer and mentor. In the afternoon, the attempts at Spitlalfields and Bermondsey were both successful. A good weekend all round.

Richard Pullin