Having discussed some potential arrangements for an annual  LUSCR tour at the last AGM, I think many of us were a little sceptical as to whether this tour may head the same way as the last few years, which have unfortunately had to be called off due to lack of numbers.  Perhaps this year the combination of a number of people who felt the tour needed to go ahead, alongside the offer by the Heatons to organise the tour (and throw in accommodation too) meant that on the 11th August, a few of us had a very early start, and headed across to Derby. Meeting at the first tower which was Breadsall, a rural church with a 13cwt ring of 8 bells.  We started the day in a manner which set the tone of the weekend by ringing Little Bob, Grandsire and Spliced Surprise Major.

Saturday took us to West Hallam, Ilkeston, Eastwood, Ripley, Belper and Duffield with a nice Wetherspoons lunch in Eastwood (which wasn’t quite opposite the church).  Throughout the day, the standard of ringing was consistent, and at each tower there were a great cross section of methods to suit all abilities. A fortunate bride and groom in Ilkeston must have been delighted to have their photos taken at the Town Hall opposite, to the sound of a touch of Stedman Triples on a lovely 19cwt set of bells.

Saturday evening was dinner at a Slice of India, which I think some of us would agree was quite a unique place on the outskirts of Derby, but suited everyones needs perfectly. It had everything from popadoms to pizza, and an endless supply of ice cream & chocolate sauce (much to Hamish’s delight!).

Sunday morning was service ringing so we divided ourselves into 2 groups, some rang at the Cathedral, and some of us made our way to help the band at St Peters Church where we were warmly welcomed.  Following that, we went to Little Eaton and the garage / ringing room which contains a mini ring of 12. We were all really delighted to have the opportunity to ring there, and very appreciative of the tea & biscuits kindly provided.  We managed not to break anything, however, we did have a slip wheel which meant Paul Jopp heading up to free the rope. He put his ladder away, informing us that this rarely happens, only to have to get it out a few minutes later when another bell slipped wheel. (The ringer proudly announcing, it hadn’t just slipped wheel, but had completely wrapped itself around the wheel a number of times. I am not allowed to tell you this was Len!)

Sunday roast lunch was had (with a nice vote of thanks from the Master of LUSCR – Hamish) in the village of Melbourne which was the venue of our post lunch ring. These were a nice 15 cwt ground floor set of 12 bells, in a place where history oozed out of the fabric of the building, and you sense the ringers who have gone before over the years.  Fortunately, the church is well located opposite a fine wine shop so some of us went in to sample some of their produce, and buy a souvenir of the day to enjoy another time.

We then rang at Ticknall and Repton before having to head home. It was agreed by everyone we had had a fabulous weekend, and this has set the bar for next year’s tour.  There were about 22 people who attended the tour, and our thanks go to everyone who attended, both from LUSCR as well as Derby ringers too. Thanks to Corrine for the use of the house, John & Elizabeth Heaton (not forgetting Stuart too) for their excellent organisation and coordination, and to all the people who kindly opened up for us to ring in their towers on the tour.

Claire Mitchell

(General Secretary)

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