afternoon in 1966, a local rural Warwickshire boy, studying at the boarding school in
Worcester, was persuaded to visit the school bellringing society in preference to going
for a run. He was hooked immediately. The boy grew up to become the Master of the Ancient
Society of College Youths, and 36 years after that fateful afternoon, he returned to
Worcester to share his happy hunting ground with his Society, and host the largest
gathering of its members since his term of office begun.Chris Pickford might have foregone his run that
afternoon, but on this occasion, he was able to join a group of members who elected to
walk to the host city from the venue for last years Country Meeting, Oxford. This
was inspired by the achievement of Chris Kippin the previous year, who walked from London
to Oxford to commemorate a similar walk made by members in 1733. Robin Hall led one group
of walkers on the two day trek, while Chris Kippin chose the single overnight route which
avoided the occasional pub visit enjoyed by the other group.
For those who preferred ringing, two
days of peals were arranged by Dickon Love at various towers in the area, while Simon
Linford organised a day of golf at the Worcestershire Golf Club (where Tony Daw managed to
beat the rest morning and afternoon).
The participants of two days of
activities came together at The Salmons Leap in Worcester on the evening of Friday
26th July, where they were joined by a large crowd of members and friends to
sample the wide range of real ales laid on. Some did a little more sampling than others,
as was evident the following morning from the number of delicate heads and, in the case of
one former Central Council Secretary, a dislocated shoulder!
Saturday saw general ringing at
three very fine, yet very different rings of twelve. The first tower was Evesham where the
Tower Captain, Chris Povey, beamed all the way through some well struck Orion S. Maximus.
Following lunch at The Trumpet Inn in Evesham, ringing continued at All Saints, Worcester
where members were welcomed by David Beacham. The days ringing culminated at the
Cathedral where the sound of the bells thundered across the city to a number of touches,
finishing with one of spliced Ariel, Rigel, Orion and Bristol. The stewarding of such a
large number of ringers was carried out by Stuart Piper and his band.
The Master chaired a Business
Meeting of the Society in the bar of the County Cricket Club, hearing the results of peals
rung so far and welcoming four new members to the Society. This was shortly followed by a
dinner in the Foster Room at the Cricket Club. There are probably few places more
picturesque to hold a dinner, where diners are able to enjoy their after dinner drinks
gazing at the awesome sight of the floodlit cathedral and Worcesters other fine
spires and towers across the expanse of the cricket pitch.
The weekend attracted the
involvement of at least 150 members and guests, some of whom travelled from all over the
country to be in Worcester. Thanks are due to our hosts in Worcester, to those organising
the pre-weekend activities, and especially to the Master (Chris Pickford) and the
Secretary (Phil Rogers) for all their hard work in making the weekend as enjoyable as it