An interview with Diane Smith
Sparked originally from her interest in family history, the national Ringing Remembers campaign inspired Diane Smith to step forward to learn bellringing to honour the 1,400 ringers that lost their lives during the First World War. But what does it feel like to learn a new skill in order to take part in such a high profile event?
In this podcast, Cathy Booth catches up with Diane after the big day to find out how it all went and hear about all the fun and hard work that’s gone on behind the scenes to becoming a novice bellringer.
Diane went from not really knowing anything about bells at all, to proudly ringing in Sheffield Cathedral as part of the armistice day celebrations – an emotional journey helped along the way by her fellow learners, helpful bellringers and proud friends.
It’s brilliant to hear how far Diane has come as she helps answer some of Cathy’s questions about the basics of bellringing, like rounds and call changes. This podcast is the ideal introduction to what to expect when you decide to take up the art.
About Diane Smith
Diane ‘got into ringing’ because she had done some family history and found 2 great uncles that died in WW1. So when she saw Ringing Remembers advertised, it seemed like a great tribute to learn to ring and as she is from Sheffield, actually ringing the Cathedral bells on the 100th anniversary of Armistice made it extra special.
Association of Ringing Teachers shop http://www.ringingteachers.org/resource-centre/shop
Top five takeaways
- Learning with others is a great way to go – you may get a little less rope time but you benefit from learning from others’ mistakes
- Your teachers and experienced bellringers all want you to succeed – listen to all their comments and you’ll make great progress
- Don’t worry if your friends and family tease you a little, they are actually secretly proud of you!
- Bellringers are a very friendly bunch so just pop to your local tower on practice night and ask if you can watch
- There are some DVDs that can help you – these are available from the Association of Ringing Teachers shop – see links.
Ask the Expert
Pip Penney answered the following questions in this episode:
- Aaron: “I’m getting a bit bored of doing the same thing (ringing rounds and call changes) – what can I do to spice things up?”
- Georgina: “My teacher tells me that I have a problem with the way I catch and let go of the sally. I don’t understand what he is getting at. How can I better understand what to do?”
- Rachel: “Bell ringing sounds like an interesting hobby. How would I know whether I am likely to be any good at it?”