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Final Contest

Southwark Cathedral

Saturday 17 September 1977

Test Piece: 399 Stedman Cinques (first course not marked)

Judges: George W Pipe (Chief), David E House, John H Fielden

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National Twelve Bell Striking Competition

What has rapidly become a major event in the ringing calendar was staged on Saturday, September 17, when the third National Twelve Bell Striking Competition was held at Southwark Cathedral, the hosts on this occasion being the Ancient Society of College Youths.

There was a record entry of eight bands, and the members of these teams and their supporters included many of the most prominent personalities in the Exercise. By twelve o'clock, there was a large crowd inside and outside one of the pubs in the Borough Market, close by the Cathedral waiting for the draw. The bands were drawn to ring in the following order: Reading, Bristol, London CA, AS College Youths, Leicester, Birmingham, SR Cumberland Youths, Derby.

The competition got off to a prompt start at 12.30pm and, thanks to some good work by the stewards, there was no difficulty in getting through the eight teams within the time available. Indeed, so smoothly did the proceedings run that there was time for some general ringing at the conclusion of the competition.

Each band rang the test piece of 399 Stedman Cinques and, in order to save time, it had been agreed that the bands would not be allowed a practice touch, apart from two minutes' rounds, but that the first course would not be marked. Supporters and listeners, from their various vantage points, heard a most interesting afternoon's ringing.

For those who could no longer stand the suspense of listening, or who were simply hungry or thirsty, a magnificent buffet and bar had been arranged in the Chapter House (formerly St Thomas's Church). At the end of the ringing, about 200 people were gathered there, indulging in much lively speculation as to the result of the contest.

Eventually the three judges - Messrs. George Pipe, David House and John Fielden - took their places on the platform, accompanied by Rev. Peter Penwarden (Vice-Provost of Southwark), Rev. David Hutt (Succentor), and the Master of the College Youths, Mr Nigel Thomson. Mr Thomson opened the formal proceedings by welcoming, on behalf of the College Youths, all those present, especially the Vice-Provost.

George Pipe spoke first for the judges. He commented on the difficulty the judges had had in arriving at their final decision, and outlined the system they had used in awarding marks. They had decided to award a maximum of 70% for the actual striking, with a maximum of two faults per change, and 30% for the general impression of the ringing. David House, in typically witty vein, then commented on the ringing of each band in the order in which they had rung. Finally the results were announced by John Fielden, and the conductor of each band came up to receive their certificates, which were presented by the Vice-Provost.

Mr Roderick Pipe, the conductor of the winning band, was also presented with the Taylor Trophy for the contest. He moved a vote of thanks to the Vice-Provost for the use of the bells and the Chapter House, and to all who had been responsible for the arrangements for the day. In conclusion, John Anderson extended an invitation for the contest to be held in Birmingham next year. After this, the truly magnificent day was brought to a conclusion in the customary manner.

W.T.C.

[RW Pg 884 October 14 1977]

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