Celebrating Our Millennium Babes 20 Years On

On Wednesday 27th February we celebrated 20 years since four of our ringers began learning to ring. In 1998 there wasn't any regular ringing at Brinklow, Warwickshire and only one ringer resident in the village. The church took a keen interest in the Millennium project which was to have all the bells across the country ringing on New Year’s Day 2000 and decided they wanted to be part of it. One of the Churchwardens, Jennie Wykes and Hamish Middleton the Church treasurer volunteered and I gather Philip and Sally Mawson were rather nagged into giving it a go!

Over the year the group were taught by Melvyn Howkins, who was the only ringer at the time, with help from the vivacious John Illingworth and the neighbouring Monks Kirby ringers. New Year’s Day arrived and all went well despite a very late night (or late morning) and a few hangovers! A photo that has hung on the ringing room ever since records the event.

What of our four intrepid learners then? Jenny Wykes has stuck with it over the years. Philip and Sally Mawson have recently come back to ringing after a few years break mainly in a bid to overcome a niggling arm injury! Unfortunately, Hamish Middleton passed away in 2012 but not before helping to kick start an augmentation and rehanging project. We still have the simulator he built!

One might think this would be the end of it with mission accomplished. But it hasn't been the case. In fact, in retrospect, it has taken on a larger consequence. We now have a handy ring of 8 bells, two regular practises a week and a healthy-looking band with plenty of promise, the majority of whom live in the village. The Millennium ringing initiative certainly set a seed for us. I wonder how many other similar tales exist?

Brinklow Ringers February 2019 after practice night

Brinklow Ringers

Melvyn Howkins (left) who taught Sally, Jenny and Philip. We were joined by Sheila Middleton,(2nd right) widow of Hamish who is pictured in the photo marking the event.

Tom Griffiths