An interview with Christopher O’Mahony
Christopher O’Mahony, President of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringing,
says that the good thing about ringing is that there is something for everyone. So just
like this brilliant podcast with Cathy Booth then.
Find out more about the CCCBR, with its long history, ambitious vision for the future
and huge raft of essential services. Now you’ll know exactly where to turn to for help
when the neighbours come knocking on the tower complaining about the noise!
And you’ll definitely be making a beeline for the Council weekend in September once
you hear Christopher reel off the wonderful line-up of activities that are going to be
The message from Christopher comes out clear and loud – by getting involved,
striving to do our best and contributing our skills, together we can transform bell
ringing. Just look what he’s already achieved by stepping forward and giving
something back. Not bad for a boy from Sydney who took up ringing to supplement
the income he was getting as a choir boy.
About Christopher O’Mahony
- 1977 – started to learn ringing in Sydney;
- 1981 – First peal;
- I’ve rung over 850 peals, of which conducted over 100;
- I’ve rung over 1000 quarter peals, of which conducted 430;
- 1987 – elected to membership of the Ancient Society of College Youths;
- 1989 to 1995 – served as Tower Captain at St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney;
- 1990 to 1991 – served as President of ANZAB;
- 1991 – Attended my first Central Council meeting (as an alternate);
- 2004 to 2007 – Ringing Master, NSW Branch of ANZAB (with an emphasis on teaching, training, recruitment and retention);
- Since 2007 – represented ANZAB on Central Council;
- Since 2007 – served on the Tower Stewardship Committee of Central Council (and Chairman of TSC 2009-2014);
- 2007 to 2008 – served on the Public Relations Committee of Central Council;
- 2008 to 2010 – Ringing Master, Rutland Branch of Peterborough Diocesan Guild of Change Ringers (with an emphasis on teaching, training, recruitment and retention).
- 2011 to present – Ringing Master, St Mary’s Harrow on the Hill
- 2014 to 2017 – Vice President of CCCBR
- 2017 – President of CCCBR
Christopher learned to ring in Sydney, commencing in 1977. Since then, he has rung all over Australia and New Zealand, as well as England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, North America and Belgium. He served as tower captain at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, and is currently ringing master of a thriving team at St Mary’s Harrow on the Hill. Christopher has also held positions as branch ringing master in NSW and Rutland (not at the same time), and was President of ANZAB in the 1990’s. Christopher became a CCCBR representative in 2007, serving predominantly on the Tower Stewardship Committee. He was elected Vice-President of the Council in 2014, and President in 2017. A major focus of his tenure as President is to encourage renewal and reform across all of CCCBR’s services for ringing. He occasionally has time to ring peals and quarter peals, and particularly enjoys change ringing on handbells.
When not ringing, Christopher is currently Director of ICT at Harrow School.
- Central Council of Church Bell Ringers: https://cccbr.org.uk/
- Council weekend https://cccbr.org.uk/about/annual-meetings/2019-meeting/
Top five takeaways
- Don’t miss the Central Council meeting weekend, 6-8 September at Goldsmith’s College in London.
- Need advice and guidance on insurance, risk assessment, fire risk, tower safety, safeguarding, child protection or more? Go straight to the CCBR.
- Think about using the skills you have in your day job to support your tower and the wider ringing community.
- The key themes for the CCBR are to recruit and develop new learners and leaders, engage more maturely with the church and stakeholders, raise positive public awareness, celebrate and promote historical legacy, promote excellence in standards and increase participation in the work of the council.
- Ringing is a great privilege and if you want to give something back there are great opportunities for leadership, teaching and service.