Reviving ringing on the Lizard

Lizard Recovery Project

What should you do if the number of ringers is falling, your towers are in dire straits, and you need emergency measures to give ringing any kind of future in your area? 

This was the problem faced in the Lizard in Cornwall prior to COVID lockdown, and in this episode, podcast host Cathy Booth talks to the team who, against all the odds, have turned the situation around. 

The first step, is seems, is to find a Hayley, Miranda, Andy, and someone called Bob who has lots of mojo! By coming together as a tightknit team with the right set of skills, the Lizard ringers have created a successful hub for ringing recovery, recruitment and teaching. 

Once you have someone to work on the spreadsheets and strategy, someone who seems to know everyone in the local community, someone who wants to teach and someone who wants to learn to teach, then everything else falls into place. 

Add Facebook, fun and cake into the mix and local ringing will not only recover but may even experience a resurgence! A very inspiring yet practical podcast for all those struggling with empty towers and cancelled practice nights. 

In a sunny church yard three people stand smiling facing the camera. The person on the far left holds up a mobile phone with the image of another people on screen.
Left to right: Andy Smith, Hayley Young (on video call), Robert Woods and Miranda Penhaligon.

About Hayley Young (nee Barton)

Hayley sees her role in ringing as motivating people to do something, helping them to make a difference.  She feels it is time for her generation to take responsibility for the future of ringing, they don’t have loads of time on their hands, but what they do have is the ability to make what they do fun and have a passion to move things forward. If everyone who feels the same way can take on something small it will make an impact.  Traditionally the focus has been on the hardware, and bells are totally awesome, but now it’s time for the people, positivity and playing to everyone’s strengths.

Hayley was taught to handle by her father Paul Barton, she rang at Dursley in Gloucester as a teenager and rang with the band at Loughborough whilst at university. She is now Truro cathedral Ringing Master and TDGR Guild Secretary. Hayley aspires to be a good 12 bell ringer! 

Hayley stands with her mouth open in excitement holding a silver tankard. She has long light brown hair and wears a black dress.
Hayley Young
Andy stands smiling in a bell tower holding a bright blue sally bell rope. He wears a checked red and white shirt.
Andy Smith

About Andy G Smith

Andy is a retired Chartered Accountant, who worked in local government. He learned to ring at Hordle in Hampshire, progressed his ringing with the Exeter Colleges Guild and then spent many years in Dorset ringing at Charminster and Bradford Peverell. 

He has taught a good number of people to ring and is now teaching using the ART framework.

Andy has held a number of posts within the Dorset CA, the Salisbury DG and has served on the Central Council, most recently as the CCCBR Treasurer.

Currently he is Vice Master at Truro Cathedral and Treasurer of the Truro DG and is heavily involved in local ‘post COVID revival bellringing projects’.”

About Bob Woods

Bob is a recently retired Police Detective having served 44 years in Devon & Cornwall. Bob learned his Bellringing at Paignton, Devon in 1965 and homed his initial skills and bell handling at Paignton, where the team rang Devon Call Changes.

In 1972 Bob joined the Police and was posted to Camborne in Cornwall. He then visited a number of local towers before being posted to Helston in 1974 where he joined the local St Michael’s Church team of ringers. Bob has been a member of the Helston team since this time and enjoys ringing Call Changes and rise/ lower in peal. In 2006 Bob was elected V/ Capt of the Helston ringers and in 2016 was duly elected as the Capt.a post he still holds. More recently in 2021 Bob was elected the Chairman of the Western District TDGR.

Bob has continued ringing as much as he can at his own tower as well as a number in West Cornwall plus Paignton where he has kept contact since moving west in 1972. Bob has taught many persons over his years of Bellringing but being now closely associated with the Central and Western Districts of TDGR he has moved to the ART mode of training  having attended several ART courses in Bell handling.

Bob has taken a lead during 2021 to the current date in the setting up of the Wendron Church 6 Bell Teaching/ Learning Hub which has a total of 10 students all now progressing their skills from Bob and other ART trained Bellringers.

Bob you’ll find is a very committed, enthusiastic Bellringer & Teacher. He is always prepared to lead by example and has the aims & objective of students & other ringers utmost in his charge.
Bob rang his 1st quarter peal in 2017 and has rang 2  since then. He has not received any method ringing tuition much to his regret.

Bob is smiling close to the camera. He wears a blue rain jacket and glasses. He has short grey hair.
Bob Woods
Miranda stands smiling face on to the camera. She wears glasses and a yellow jumper. She has shoulder length grey hair.
Miranda Penhaligon

About Miranda Penhaligon

Miranda is a St Buryan ringer and Secretary of the Western District, TDGR. She learned to ring as a teenager, but on starting uni, the ringers there didn’t engage her, other things did and so she gave up. Instead, for millions of years, she was essentially a researcher and project manager, organising GPs, consultants and anyone she needed, to run drug trails fast (but safe). Miranda has turned out methodical, bossy and pretty well organised.

At 60, Miranda re-started ringing, desperate to make up for lost time.  Frustration! There didn’t seem to be any teaching programme available – just the age-old tower tradition ‘you’ll get it in time, it will come, be patient’.  Well, she didn’t have time, but luckily after several years in the wilderness Miranda discovered ART. She wanted some of that!

Miranda is passionate that others aren’t lost in the wilderness for as long as her. She’s found that she loves training. But after covid, she want to help her lovely Cornish towers get ringing again. Train, train and train!

Top 5 Takeaways

  • Don’t forget the church organist, they’re musical after all! Lure them up the tower and they’ll get hooked. 
  • If you’ve a group of learners, why not set up a Facebook group where you can update them weekly, and share news, learning tips and celebrate their successes. 
  • What are the success factors of a teaching hub? Find a church that’s central to where your learners are, remote enough not to bother the neighbours, with easy bells, a ground floor ring, plenty of parking and electricity for refreshments. Oh, and add cake! 
  • If you have ringers who would make good teachers, then get them signed up to an Association of Ringing Teachers course. 
  • Think strategically – work with your deanery to focus your recruitment efforts on churches with healthy congregations to protect against church closures. 


Click here for a transcript of this episode.

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