50 Years of Sheffield Universities' Guild of Change Ringers
The 9th October 2008 was the 50th anniversary of Sheffield Universities' Guild of Change Ringers, a significant year which all SUGCR members felt should be commemorated. The celebrations began with a tour to Moseley and Birmingham to visit the old bells of our home tower, St. Maries. This was then followed by a quarter peal day on 11th October which brought together SUGCR members from past and present. Two further peals were rung by alumni before the dinner in February, showing the continued dedication to the guild by our many alumni members. Many thanks to all those involved in those celebrations.
Then came the both epic and thoroughly enjoyable 50th Anniversary Dinner Weekend!
The SUGCR 50th Anniversary Weekend started on Friday for the usual get-together ringing with all the current and past members mingling in very close quarters! Open ringing at St. Marie's was great fun as usual and it was good to see everyone again. Afterwards we headed to the rather cramped pub and caught up properly over a beer or three and needless to say there was quite a lot of discussion and hasty organisation for striking competition bands for the next day. We eventually headed our separate ways in eager anticipation of the weekend ahead.
On Saturday we were blessed with glorious sun shine and blue skies which gave the striking competition a very relaxed atmosphere as people milled around the church chatting and practicing their handbell ringing for later – even a broken rope on the 9th didn't deter the keen competitors and after a rapid ‘repair' the next band were under way again! The Ranmoor Inn kindly opened early for tea and coffee which we took full advantage of – Sarah even smuggled me up a cup to the tower! Everyone did well in the competition, even those scratch bands of people who had never met which were put together in the pub. There was also open ringing at Walkey during the morning to keep everyone busy when not talking, drinking tea or ringing at Ranmoor.
After the competition most people went their separate ways to have lunch before meeting up at St. Maries for the church service. The service was started with the results from the striking competition which was judged by Tim Peverett – well done to the past masters who won with a score of only 12 faults in their Cambridge Surprise Minor, and a huge thank you to Tim and his family for joining us for the day. The service was written and taken by Rev. Paul Cubitt with help from many of the other SUGCRites so thank you to all those involved.
Rev. Paul Cubitt and his beautiful rope 'repair' – yes, it held!
A quarter peal rung by representatives across all 50 years closed the service and those of us setting up the hotel on the other side of the city could even hear the bells on the wind! Many thanks to all involved there and to Sue Burchell for organising it.
After a few hours apart, everyone dressed in their best outfit and we were reunited at the Royal Victoria Hotel for the evening extravaganza. We started with welcome drinks and were treated to a beautiful handbell performance by an alumni band before being seated in the hall. To really mark the occasion, the current guild members designed a SUGCR logo to be used from this year onwards as one has never been solidly instated. It was on entry to the hall that everyone received their t-shirts and mugs which had the new SUGCR logo, and an Aitch logo kindly designed by Denis Pearson to celebrate the anniversary year. An incredible bell shaped SUGCR birthday cake was also commissioned for the evening to launch the logos which was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. Richard Farnsworth was presented with an engraved tankard from the guild to thank him for 50 years of supporting SUGCR, and each of the winning striking competition team members were given a medal. During the meal we enjoyed anecdotes and memories from each of the 5 decades, and ate far too much as usual before working off a few of those calories in the ceilidh! Thank you to everyone who helped out and contributed that evening, it's one we won't forget in a hurry.
Sunday was another eventful day for some SUGCRites, starting with a tour around the university buildings. It was great for the current students and alumni to share stories and learn how the university has changed – we even visited the empty site where hall blocks once housed some of our alumni!
The tour was led by a representative from the university's Alumni Foundation and a few current students so another thank you to everyone who helped.
After Saturday's eventful evening and a few hours walking around Sheffield, some of the members went to the Fat Cat pub as usual to indulge in a Sunday roast and a lunch time beverage. 8 dedicated past masters however went back to St. Maries where they represented the 50 years in the guild and scored a peal of spliced surprise major to celebrate the 50th anniversary – well done indeed!
This years Annual Dinner was fantastic and I hope that everyone who took part in some if not all of the celebrations enjoyed it as much as the current members. It wouldn't have happened without the help from everyone involved so thank you to everyone who played any part at all. If you are an alumni member and would like to celebrate our 50th year, it would be great if you could take part in some ringing before October– either a quarter peal or peal. Please don't hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will try to arrange a date.
I'm already looking forward to 2018 and the 60th Anniversary!