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Wedding bells: Bisley ringers return after Covid restrictions end

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All eight bells of All Saints, Bisley rang out for the first time for 16 months when they were rung for the wedding of Rosalind Cowen and Giovanni Casimirri, writes Ian Bucknell.

The Cowen family who, of all the Bisley villagers, live closest to the church tower, have always been great supporters of the bell ringers of Bisley and so it was a great pleasure to the ringers that they were not only allowed able to ring for the wedding but could do so by ringing all the bells. 

From March 2020 to May 2021 national  Covid restrictions meant that no bell ringing was allowed in any of England’s churches. At the end of May 2021 the ringing of church was permitted once more, subject to the Rule of Six meaning that only 6 bells could be rung and this only changed after restrictions were eased on 19th July. 

Jenny Gardiner

Bisley bell ringers have been practicing on 6 bells twice each week since the end of May and have also been ringing for Sunday Services but it was wonderful to take another step closer to normality by ringing for this happy occasion.

The Cowan family chose to have the bells rung both before and after the service so the bells were rung to a touch of Grandsire Triples, a plain course of Plain Bob Major and some very tuneful Call Changes. 

Later in the evening, 20 Bisley bell ringers were joined by the Vicar of Bisley, Rev’d Sue Murray, at a social event arranged to celebrate being allowed to return to ringing after such a lengthy and enforced break. 

Whilst it was wonderful to be all together again, there was a tinge of sadness in that Mrs Jenny Gardiner had very recently announced her retirement from ringing. Jenny learned to ring at Coaley fifty years ago. In the late 1970s Jenny and her husband, Bob, moved to live in Oakridge and Jenny then began to ring at Bisley. Jenny has been a stalwart member of the Bisley team of ringers for all these years – always reliable and quietly enthusiastic. Jenny has also been a great supporter of the Stroud Branch of the Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers.

During the social gathering, Jenny was thanked by the Vicar for all that she has contributed to Bisley ringing and the ringers presented Jenny with flowers and a card expressing their affection and appreciation.

Bisley ringers will now resume their weekly Thursday evening practices and hope to attract and add new members to their enthusiastic and friendly team. 

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