Tea time treats at Richmond ringing meet

Bells and baking came together at St Mary’s at the end of November when the Richmond bell ringers hosted their colleagues from across north Surrey.

Ringing has always been known as thirsty work and on this occasion the afternoon included a splendid tea break with sandwiches, biscuits and a variety of cakes made by members of the Richmond band.

There were two sessions of ringing plus a business meeting that gathered nominations for officers of the northern district of the Surrey Association of Bell Ringers. Around 30 ringers represented towers that included Kingston, Barnes, Battersea, Addington, Epsom and Twickenham.

Members of the tea team: Jennie Carter, Amanda Adams, Sarah Percival, Claire Toberty

A busy day’s ringing in Berkshire

The full complement of Richmond bell ringers took part in their first outing with a day of ringing at five Berkshire towers. For the eight Richmond ringers it was an opportunity to wear their newly designed polo shirts and to experience the pleasure of an intensive day of ringing.

The team was supported by more than a dozen friends made up of former Richmond ringers and ringers with whom we often ring in other local towers, including All Hallows, Twickenham, St Mary’s Twickenham, St Mary’s Barnes, St Mary’s Mortlake.

One of the great benefits of a day’s outing is the opportunity that ringers of all levels of experience get to ring together and share in a sense of mutual achievement.

There was a reunion element as we were delighted to be joined by former Richmond ringers Martin Crick, now in Southampton, and Kate Willis and Asher Kaboth who now ring at Battersea.

Richmond tower captain Jackie Harrison said the turnout of 20 ringers was a measure of the camaraderie among local ringers and thanked everyone for contributing to a most enjoyable and productive day.

The Richmond team was Jackie Harrison, Andrew Harvey, Sarah Percival, Amanda Adams, Jo Kitson, Richard Reger, Alison Jackson, Thomas Ashwin-Siejkowski.

The towers visited were St Mary, Twyford (8 bells), St Lawrence, Waltham St Lawrence (6), St John Baptist, Shottesbrooke (6), St Michael, Bray (8), Holy Trinity, Cookham (10).

Our thanks to the churches where we rang and to everyone who took part.


Shirt parade, Richmond ringers in their new kit: Amanda Adams, Thomas Ashwin-Siejkowski, Jackie Harrison, Sarah Percival, Andrew Harvey, Richard Reger, Jo Kitson, Alison Jackson

Quarter Peal to Welcome Revd Joe Moore

On Saturday 7th August, a quarter peal was rung to welcome Revd Joe Moore to the Richmond Team Ministry as Vicar of St John The Divine

The quarter peal was conducted by Thomas Ashwin-Siejkowski whose father was formerly vicar at St Johns.

A recording of some of the ringing is available on U tube  Plain Bob Doubles at Richmond, Greater London – YouTube and quarter peal was logged on BellBoard  BellBoard (

The ringers will be attempting to ring a quarter peal on the first Saturday afternoon of each month.


Progress – with certificates to prove it

New Richmond ringers Alison Jackson and Richard Reger have progressed to Level One bell handling. This is the first stage of ringing proficiency as designated by the Association of Ringing Teachers. Both Alison and Richard joined the Richmond band as beginners with the aim of taking part in ringing for King Charles’ coronation. They both rang on the big day, May 6, and now regularly take part in Sunday morning ringing.


Barbara Hicks –Memorial Service

The order of service for Barbara’s Memorial Service

The church was full on 8 July to celebrate the life of Barbara Hicks and to hear the bells that she so loved to ring. Her ringing friends rang a quarter peal of Grandsire Triples before the service followed by a sequence of call changes.

For the Richmond ringers, the occasion was an opportunity to show their affection and to pay tribute to Barbara’s contribution to the team over the years. The Rev Canon Wilma Roest, Rector, complimented the quarter peal band on their ‘delightful’ ringing.

In her memoir during the service the Richmond Tower Captain Jackie Harrison recalled the support and encouragement Barbara showed to other ringers. She also explained how determined Barbara had been to conquer the complexities of ringing Stedman.

‘Although she struggled with it, succeeding at about one attempt in three – not helped by the rest of us going wrong – she persisted with cheerful determination,’ said Jackie. ‘She once told us that ringing, and Stedman in particular, was the most difficult thing she had ever done. However, she continued with this challenge until the last few months of her life.  She took such joy when she succeeded, and always came back for another go when she didn’t.’

The quarter peal ringers included Martin Crick, former Ringing Master, who came from his new home in Southampton. Jackie Harrison and Andrew Harvey represented the Richmond team and were joined by Barbara’s friends Malcolm McAlister (Mortlake), Michael Uphill (Putney), Gill Tomlinson and Tony Nunn (Streatham). The conductor was Paul Flavell (Kingston). Jo Kitson, a Richmond ringer, also took part in the pre-service ringing.


Barbara Hicks – a loyal and sparkling friend

Barbara Hicks

We remember with great affection one of our most loyal bell ringers who has died at the age of 84. Barbara Hicks learned to ring as a schoolgirl, she rang for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth and had it not been for illness she would have joined in our coronation ringing in May for King Charles.

Barbara Hicks on her allotment in Old Palace Lane

Barbara had been a member of St Mary’s church for many years and lived in a flat nearby in Church Court. She loved ringing and rang frequently on Sunday morningsand often rang a single bell to mark the start of Evensong.


She was brought up in Denham, Buckinghamshire where she continued to ring on occasional visits. Barbara was also a member of the band of ringers at St Andrews in Fife where she liked to spend summers.

We remember her for her support of ringing in Richmond and for her determination to keep on extending her repertoire. She rang a number of quarter peals here and at St Andrews. Always modest about her achievements in the bell tower, she was nevertheless an accomplished ringer and above all a gracious and sparkling friend to us all.


The sound of Bells Signals the Coronation and May Fair

Thomas Ashwin-Siejkowski, Sarah Percival, Richard Reger, Chris Gould, Steve Mitchell, Mary Gow, Clare Toberty (l to r)

Coronation Day started early in Richmond on May 6 when the bells of St Mary Magdalene rang out in celebration at 9am. The streets were relatively quiet so the ringing could be heard clearly around the town centre.

The St Mary’s regulars were augmented by ringers from both Twickenham towers, St Mary’s and All Hallows in a collaboration that saw a total of 18 ringers taking part in relays.

The newest recruits to the Richmond band all rang for the special ringing that lasted for an hour. This was Richmond’s contribution to the call for bells nationwide to be rung for King Charles.

Tower captain Jackie Harrison, who was unable to ring because of an injured hand, said: ‘I was delighted that our new ringers all had the opportunity to play a part in this historic occasion alongside experienced members of our team. I want to extend a huge thank-you to all our ringing friends and supporters who came to join us and make such a memorable Coronation Day in Richmond.’

There was more to celebrate on 15 May when the Richmond May Fair resumed following a two-year break caused by the pandemic restrictions. Stalls reappeared around the church and across Richmond Green and the bell ringers were in action to open proceedings with half an hour of general ringing.

This was the 50th May Fair and to mark the occasion a team of local ringers and supporters rang a quarter peal of Plain Bob Triples conducted by Paul Flavell from Kingston lasting 47 minutes. The ringers were: Loretto Puckey, Malcolm McAlister, Mike Bangham, Andrew Harvey, Paul Flavell, Chris Gould, Fraser Storie, Dylan Thomas.


Inspired by Bells

New ringers ready to ring for the King

The coronation of King Charles III and the opportunity to Ring for the King has sparked new interest in bell ringing around the country. Here in Richmond we are delighted to welcome three new learners and one ringer who is returning after a break of 40 years.

Jo Kitson at St Mary Magdalene

Jo Kitson at All Saints, Allesley in 1979

All our new ringers will be taking part in celebratory ringing on and around coronation day, May 6. This is one of those occasions, like the dawn of the new millennium and the centenary of the end of the Great War, when hundreds of people nationwide have been inspired to learn the ropes.

Our returning ringer is Jo Kitson who has been active in the life of St Mary Magdalene and who learned to ring as a girl living in the midlands in the 1970s. Like many teenagers, Jo drifted away from ringing and has now rediscovered the skills she built up during those early years at Allesley near Coventry. ‘It’s true what they say. it’s like riding a bike, you never forget.’

Starting as complete beginners and making excellent progress are Alison Jackson, Clare Toberty and Richard Reger. Their ringing has been supported by training sessions at All Hallows, Twickenham and St Mary’s, Barnes.

Alison Jackson, Clare Toberty, Richard Reger (l to r)

Clare first made contact with the All Hallows team and she now rings with them regularly. She is on the cusp of basic change ringing and like all learners she can measure her progress against the target of more challenging objectives.

‘St Mary’s is a lovely friendly tower,’ says Clare, ‘and they have a rule that you mustn’t say sorry on a practice night.’

Alison has lived in Richmond for 40 years and understands music. She teaches piano and trumpet and says she has long been fascinated by bells. ‘I loved the rhythm of movement as well as the sound and wondered how easy it would be. I played a small part in ringing for the Queen’s funeral and I’m looking forward to playing a larger part in ringing for the coronation.’

Richard has also enjoyed the sound of church bells and when he read about the drive to recruit more ringers for the coronation ‘it gave me just the nudge I needed to give it a go’ he says. ‘Controlling the bell has been a lot harder than I expected but I’m getting the hang of it now and I’m looking forward to moving on to the next stage.’

All the ringers say they enjoy the social side to ringing and the debriefing discussions afterwards in the pub.


Ring for the King

We are actively seeking to train new bellringers who will be able to Ring for the King when he is crowned on 6 May and after that.  Bell ringing is a wonderful hobby for people of all ages and there is something of interest to everybody, including for example:

  • Teamwork – working as a team to ring changes together
  • Physical and mental exercise – ringing is a technique that doesn’t involve brute strength but coordination and technique to control the bell in split second timing
  • Music – creating the changes and permutations bellringers call music
  • Social – bell ringers are very sociable people enjoying going for coffee and to the pub after ringing sessions.
  • Friendship – bellringers have friends all over the UK and the world where bells are rung English style

This website will give you some more information and a flavour for what’s involved:

Contact your local tower captain, Jackie Harrison, and come along and watch to get an idea of what is involved.  Learning to ring church bells is a structured process that takes a number of one-to-one sessions to be competent at ‘handling’ a bell.  Once mastered, practice enables the ringer to become more confident and gain greater satisfaction from ringing alone to start with and then with the team. You don’t have to be a churchgoer, there is no compulsion to stay for services.


Richmond Ringers complete rare quarter peal

Five members of St Mary’s bell ringers completed a quarter peal on 2 November as part of the Surrey Association’s quarter peal week. This was the first time since 2015 that so many local ringers had taken part in a quarter peal on St Mary’s bells.

On this occasion the ringers rang Grandsire Doubles which is a method of changes for five bells, with three bells following in 7-6-8 order. The quarter peal consisted of 1259 changes and took 52 minutes.

Tower captain Jackie Harrison said she was pleased that St Mary’s had made a contribution to the county-wide celebration of ringing and thanked Paul Flavell from Kingston for conducting the quarter and Paul Newton and Stephen Mitchell (both from All Hallows, Twickenham) for supporting the Richmond ringers. These were: Sarah Percival, Jackie Harrison, Andrew Harvey, Martin Crick and Amanda Adams.


Richmond Ringers in solemn tribute to the Queen

Sarah Percival, Trisha Shannon & Edward Bucknell

St Mary Magdalene bell ringers took part in the national mourning for the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Responding to the request from Buckingham Palace for solemn ringing as a mark of respect for the late sovereign, the bells were rung with muffles at midday on Friday 9 September, the day after she died at Balmoral.

Andrew Harvey, Jackie Harrison & Martin Crick

Muffled ringing is the traditional way of marking sombre occasions such as funerals and the annual Sunday services of Remembrance.

A number of people gathered at St Mary’s to hear the bells and watch them being rung via a link to a big screen in the church from the bell tower.

Friday’s tribute was led by ringers at Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral and at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. Hundreds of towers across the UK also took part.