Tuesday 23rd January 2018
Last year, BBC Radio Suffolk - and their Suffolk Breakfast show presenter Mark Murphy more specifically - approached the Guild about doing something to celebrate St Edmund's Day on 20th November. St Edmund is the patron saint of Suffolk and Mark has even approached Downing Street about making him England 's patron saint.
The result was more hair loss for yours truly as I organised a total of five peals, including one in each of the Guild's districts, rung simultaneously on the day itself. Although only three peals were scored, they were complimented by a quarter and a tremendous amount of fantastic PR.
So despite the trials and tribulations of organising twenty-four peal ringers on a weekday morning and a peal on Cumberland's Peal Weekend in a land where the vast majority of peal-ringers are of that persuasion, I set about sorting the extravaganza with gusto. Just ask Ruthie, who, as I write this, has seen me for the first time for a while. Lucky girl some might say.
Cometh the day, cometh the nervous look at my phone, hoping not to get any calls or texts announcing that someone hasn't turned up or they couldn't get in the belfry. Work commitments meant I couldn't ring myself and so there was an agonising wait to hear from the bands.
I needn't have worried. Every peal was scored (see below) as was the Saturday peal at Southwold, one of the few churches actually dedicated to the star of the day in our fair county. With a quarter of St Edmund Surprise Major rung at the same venue earlier in the week and one at Ashbocking on the day it was an impressive return.
And once again, we received brilliant publicity. Despite it being Children In Need day, Radio Suffolk gave us ample airtime, as I was spoken to on the phone by Mark and in the afternoon Bruce Wakefield and I were interviewed (see below) at length by Lesley Dolphin, the stations afternoon presenter.
Congratulations to Jim, Louis and Phil for their respective achievements that added further gloss to proceedings.
My grateful thanks to all who rang in peals and quarters, those who were due to before illness and work prevented them (and special thanks to those who stood in for them), to those who allowed their bells to be rung for the occasion and especially to the conductors.
I lost a lot more hair, but it was worth it and I look forward to more of the same next year. As does Ruthie_