Ringing World National Youth Competition 2019
In the 5 years that the Coventry Spires have entered the Ringing World National Youth Competition, Liverpool was the furthest away. An early start was necessary and 11 of us met on Coventry Station at 7.15am. Alec and Mark had already boarded the train (and secured seating for us all) in Rugby so a promising start for our merry group. Also, on our train were the teams from Lichfield and Birmingham. There was great ribbing between the teams. We took one of the Brumdingers, Robbie, hostage and sent Chris Mew to negotiate his release. I was slightly anxious about this approach as being the “responsible adult”, I thought taking an 11-year-old hostage might invalidate my credentials. One of our team, (who will remain nameless), seemed to form a close friendship with the captain of another team, but that’s a different story.
It had been a beautiful week prior to the competition, but arriving in Liverpool it was raining. We spent a while in the museum visiting the stars and the aquarium before setting off for St Francis Xavier for the competition piece. 24 teams had entered the competition and for the first time, with this number, there were no heats. All teams rang at the same tower and the decision was to be made by the strikeomieter and the opinion of 4 judges on the structure of the ringing. Even the best laid plans can go wrong and unfortunately, we got lost on the way. However, we arrived bang on time and the team ascended the tower. They rang their test piece and the striking improved with each minute. They stopped, made the starting signal, and then rang their competition piece. The sound control is so good at SFX, we had to gather at the foot of the tower to hear the bells. The team rang well and again, their striking improved as they progressed.
The team came down to applause from the supporters and posed for photos. There was a sigh of relief from all concerned then it was off to grab some towers. First it was St John Tuebrook, a lovely peal of 8 bells and the team wished the competition had been here as the bells went so well. We had a really good ring, with each team member ringing at least 3 times.
The next tower was St Barnabus Mossley Hill better known as Penny Lane. Again, these were lovely bells, easy to ring and sounded sweet. We had over 30 minutes here on our own and rang a number of different touches, including 3 leads of Bristol. When the next team arrived, they were short so Ruby and Ria stayed to ring with them and rang a course of Plain Bob Triples.
We caught the bus again and headed for the river front. Millions of pounds have been spent on the regeneration of Liverpool and the whole area is now a wonderful tourist area. We took a ferry along the Mersey which has a great way to relax and see the sights. We saw the Liverbirds, Birkenhead and the view towards the coast. You could hear the bells of Pier Head very clearly across the river.
No trip to Liverpool would be complete without a glimpse of the Beatles, and although the team were too young to remember who they were, this was certainly a highlight for the oldies.
The last tower of the day was St Nicholas Pier Head, a 41 cwt 12. Bertie and Alec both rang the tenor with great professionalism and all our young people performed well on these mighty bells. We had about 30 minutes ringing and then had the opportunity to ring on a mini ring and attend handbell workshops. The chance to sit down was much appreciated.
The award ceremony was in Pier Head and each year the organisation improves. It is always rewarding to see so many keen young ringers in one place. Speeches were made, grades given and medals awarded. This year the scoring was based on the GCSE grading scheme of 9-1. Coventry Spires were awarded a 4 and the judge commented:
Your ringing got better and better as it went on. Some rows were particularly well struck and the rounds and back rounds worked well. There was a sense of structure to your ringing. Well done.
Bertie then took the helm and guided us back to Lime Street for the journey home. The train was very busy so we had to wait to get out the picnic and let the party begin. However, by the time we got to Crewe we were all sitting together and could laugh and joke together. We got back to Coventry at 9.30, said all our farewells and went home. Not until, however, Ruby finished off the day by stealing a Policeman’s helmet.
The annual trip to the RWNYC is now one of the highlights of the year. If you know a young person who would like to join the group, please let us know. Next year’s competition is on 4th July, location to be confirmed.