Meet the band

Some of the Ring for the King band, Coronation Day, 6 May 2023

Our Tower Captain

Paul © James Bell

Paul learned to ring in the 1960s to get his scout badge. He has rung over 1,400 quarter peals and conducted nearly 950, so the retirement target is conducting 1,000. 

Paul moved to Kingston in 1985 when he met Kate and has been Tower Captain since 1988. He’d quite like to hand the reins on to somebody else now!

His favourite bell at Kingston is the 9th. Memorable towers include Liverpool and St Paul’s Cathedral and ringing for the Queen’s birthday at Westminster Abbey.

Paul is the current Master of The Surrey Association.

Kate

Kate

Kate is the Kingston bell ringers’ chief organiser and ringing teacher. She is married to the Tower Captain, Paul.

Kate learnt to ring at Stoke D’Abernon, Surrey (3cwt 6) while still at school. In 1978 she moved to Kingston and has rung there ever since. She met her husband Paul (our tower captain) through ringing and they married in 1985.

Kate has been Vice President and President of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers as well as Chairman of first the Bell Restoration Committee and later the Public Relations Committee. She has also been General Master of the Surrey Association, a post now held by Paul.

She has rung nearly 150 peals but now prefers to ring quarters for pleasure and for special occasions as well as to help learners. She is a qualified ART teacher (Association of Ringing Teachers) and is enthusiastic about teaching new ringers.

She also loves tower grabbing and has rung at over 3500 towers, including all the English Cathedrals and towers in the USA, Australia, France, Holland & Belgium. One of her favourite towers is Ditcheat in Somerset – a glorious 8.

Favourite method is probably Stedman on any number but particularly well-struck Stedman Cinques.

Chris T

Chris fixing the muffles on the bells for Remembrance Day ringing

I’m self-employed and work online, at home, and all alone – which can be quite isolating. My wife spotted an ad for bellringing and, concerned that her husband was turning into a hermit, gave me the details.

I’ve been ringing now for a little over two years, and my hermit days are long gone. Through ringing, I’ve met dozens of genuinely interesting and delightful people. And – what with beers at pubs, coffees at cafés, ringing road trips, social events, extra ringing classes, practice sessions, and actual bellringing at Sunday services – my social calendar is now as pleasantly full as I want it to be.

As for the ringing side of ringing, I love it. The sound of church bells has always moved me, but learning how those sounds are organised and how to perform them myself has been a revelation. Bellringing is both mentally stimulating and good physical exercise. It’s also a form of focused meditation in that it as good as shuts down your inner dialogue and keeps you very much in the moment. I generally leave our ringing sessions feeling fantastic!

Chris with minder Kate for Plain hunt practice

Colin

Colin is a master baker and celebrates his ringing anniversaries with delicious brownies.

Colin with his ART Level 2 certificate

Ed

Ed’s first go at PH6, under the tuition of Chris

I am Ed and I have taken up bell ringing for my Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award. I chose bell ringing because my grandma does bell ringing and I was always fascinated by how the bells worked so I saw this as my best opportunity to do it. 

Some highlights of bell ringing are being able to ring plain hunt on the treble, second and third bell. Another highlight of bell ringing would definitely be going to all the different churches with the Surrey Association young ringers, the Surrey Strikers, and ringing the bells.

One of the things I like about bell ringing is the sociability of it, just getting to know everyone in the tower was very fun for me as everyone is so nice.

Judith and David

Judith and David

Taken from article in March 2023 issue of The Diocese of Southwark’s newspaper, The Bridge.

David, “Well, the story for me started at the age of 18 when I went to university. I heard two of my fellow students talking about bell ringing. It sounded fascinating and I decided to learn. After several years, at the University of London Society of Change Ringers Annual Dinner, I met Judith.”

David likened bell ringing to riding a bicycle and said: “Once you can do it, you don’t understand quite why other people can’t.”

Judith, “I was about 15 and went to an all girls school. I came from an all girls family and I wanted to meet some boys. A request was put out for young people to come and learn bell ringing. I thought, ah, that might answer my question! I wasn’t part of a church, but it sounded fun. I first learned to handle a bell and then to ring methods. Then I went off
to university and went to my first annual dinner and sat opposite me was this young man – David – and we had quite a lot of the same interests.”

Judith describes bell ringing as “an art and a science, it’s physical and intellectual. You never stop learning: it requires coordination, listening, rhythm, and it’s very much about teamwork.”

For the last 30 years they have rung with the Kingston band.

Max

Pictured in the middle, between Kingston regular Fraser, and fellow DoE, Ed

I started learning bell ringing for my bronze Duke of Edinburgh award. The Duke of Edinburgh award is a youth programme set up to encourage self-reliance, responsibility, social interaction and teamwork and is active in over 144 countries. I chose to start learning bell ringing for the Skills element of my Bronze award.

Along with my friends Max and Ed, whose grandmother is a ringer and introduced us to the tower captain at All Saints Church in Kingston. I have really enjoyed learning to ring, and my favourite part is going to different
towers across the country and meeting new people. In the future I hope to learn more methods and visit more towers.

Mike

Mike © James Bell

Pip

I returned to ringing in March 2023 in response to the Ring for the King call up, having learned initially in the late sixties at Winchester Cathedral where my Dad was captain. Initially I was just interested to see if I could still ring a bell but now I am thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to do something that is ‘just for me’ and excludes all other thoughts while I am concentrating on where my bell should be!

I never expected to meet such an amazingly friendly group of people, thank you Kingston regulars for making me feel so welcome and thank you Paul and Kate for your patience.


Roshan

Roshan trying to beat the simulator on a listening course with John Harrison

About Roshan: A gardener, a novice bell ringer and a Churchwarden at All Saints, Kingston.

I have always loved the church, music and bells since my childhood days. After moving to Kingston, I used to come early to the Church to listen to the bells ringing out on Sunday before the morning service and Evensong. While attending the AGM meeting as a Churchwarden on Sunday 20th February 2021 in the ringing room, decided to join the band as a learner and to join other friendly ringers. 

I started learning on 12 March 2022 and after three lessons, there was a break as Kate and Paul were on holiday. Lessons were continued from 14th May 2022. Now I’m confidently ringing rounds of 12 and practising call changes and dodging. I also achieved my Level 2 in handling the ropes.

Especially for me, the sound of the bells and ringing in a band is always soothing and calms down the mind and is a perfect example of teamwork. I do appreciate and am thankful for the patience of my teachers Paul and Kate and the support and encouragement from all the other bell ringers. 

So-Shan

So-Shan with her ringing teachers, Kate and Paul Flavell for the Big ideas Ringing Remembers blog
So-Shan getting expert feedback from one of the experienced ringers © James Bell

So-Shan started to learn to ring for Ringing Remembers – a campaign to recruit 1400 new ringers to ring for the First World War 100 commemorations on 11 November 2018.

She is now addicted and ringing Plain Hunt on 7 and inside for Plain Bob Doubles, although progress is rather slower than she’d like!

She looks after this website and does our social media for us.

Ringing for the big day