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West Lindsey Open Towers Day - 31st May 2014

It all came about because, in order to avoid writing a quiz, Barbara Rand suggested that the Branch should organise an Open Towers event to boost the coffers of our Bell Repair Fund. She threw in this idea but then found herself very quickly sitting on the organising committee because enough others thought it was a good idea too. There hadnít been such an event in our branch for a very long time.

Members of the committee looked through what other Guilds were doing, how they were organising such an event, how much they were charging and what weekends looked possibilities. Seasoned tower grabbers were consulted and a plan of action was formulated. We identified 4 groups of 4 stewards who would rotate around the towers to collect money, organise bands of ringers, organise the ringing etc.

From there on the amazing organisational skills of branch secretary, Tracey Black, came to the fore. All towers in the branch were contacted to find out if they would be willing to have visitors for up to an hour on the chosen day. A few unusual towers from just into Nottinghamshire were contacted to increase the attraction of our event. A route was planned and timings agreed. Notices went into the Ringing World, on the Guild website etc.

The morning of the Open Towers day arrived and the weather forecast was good - dry but not too hot. We had no idea about how many ringers would turn up. It could have been 10 or 110. In the end, around 50 visiting ringers rang at some point during the day at the 21 towers on offer. They came from all over the country, from as far afield as Essex and Lancaster, as well as LDG members from other branches. At their first tower they were issued with a spreadsheet with postcodes for sat navs, info about availability of toilets and refreshments, weights of bells etc.

As a result of this meticulous organisation by Tracey, everything went completely smoothly. Tracey popped up at every tower to make sure there were no problems, she donned a hi-viz jacket at Saundby to direct traffic and kept a smile on her face throughout. Visiting ringers commented on the well run day. They werenít queuing anywhere for very long and found plentiful refreshments en route. The Stewards also enjoyed the day and some managed to grab a few very interesting 3 bell towers.

Altogether about £600 was raised for our branch, after donations to the Notts towers had been taken out. This is an excellent boost to funds because we have made quite a number of sizable grants to towers recently. But if Barbara thinks that we have forgotten about the quiz....

Susan A Faull