Rope-sense not rope-sight : Rebecca Legowski

An interview with Rebecca Legowski

Rebecca Legowski being taught to ring tower bells
Rebecca has rope-sense when ringing tower bells

You may have heard of rope-sight but have you heard of rope-sense? Podcast host Cathy Booth discovers that this highly developed sense of rhythm is just one of the many tools and techniques that has helped Rebecca Legowski on her ringing journey.

Rebecca, who has been blind from birth, is learning to ring on both tower bells and hand bells, and is already lighting up Bell Board, scoring her first handbell peal in March 2019. Rebecca talks to Cathy about both the extra pressures she faces to perform, given that peals by blind ringers are so rare, and the emotional highs, such as ringing for the Armistice celebrations in November 2018.

Rebecca Legowski ringing handbells - with 2 other ladies also with their handbells
Rebecca has just rung her first peal on hand bells

Although ringing presents some specific challenges to blind people, some of the secrets to Rebecca’s success are things that every ringer can learn from – great technique, good listening and lots of practice on a ringing simulator.

So, if you want to give ringing a go don’t be afraid – as Rebecca says, just go for it!

About Rebecca Legowski

Rebecca is 30 years old and totally blind, was originally from Greater Manchester but has lived in Hull for over 2 years. Her hobbies and interests are making jewellery, listening to and playing music (she plays flute) and now tower and handbell ringing.  She describes herself as a new ringer, having started ringing on tower bells in November 2017 and handbells in January 2018.  She got her ART level 1 certificate in October 2018 and has managed a number of quarter-peals and one peal on handbells.

Top five takeaways

  • If you’re visiting a new tower or ringing a different bell, ask if you can test your bell out to feel if it’s light or heavy so you’ll be able to tell how slow or fast the rope will come down.
  • Always pull off in a straight line and have a long, smooth pull on the handstroke and then the sally will come down in a consistent place.
  • Need some practice outside of the tower? There are several bell simulators you can use – for example, Rebecca mentions Tad Hill, Abel, Mabel and Mobil and an Android app called Methodology.
  • If you’re looking for tips for teaching a blind or partially sighted person to ring there’s an article about teaching Rebecca to ring in the ART WORKS magazine
  • Ringing is a great team activity so is the perfect way to widen your social network.

Ask the expert

Pip Penney answered the following questions in this episode:

  • Jon: “Do you have to be a Christian to be a bell ringer?”
  • Rob: “What is the main difference between a bob and a single, when called when methods are being rung?”

1 thought on “Rope-sense not rope-sight : Rebecca Legowski

  1. Mary Jones says:

    Rebecca, I am in awe as to how you do it. I have just been writing something about rope-sight and how difficult it is to start learning methods without it, but now I am determined to develop rope-sense in case the rope-sight takes too long to manifest itself. Thank you for your interview. You are inspirational. On days when ringing all seems rather difficult, I will remember that some people have more challenges to overcome than a flappy right hand and the inability to remember their own phone number.

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