The Ancient
Society of
Est. 1637

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Thurs 25th - Sun 28th July, 2002
(Click image to enlarge)

One Thursday 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 year’s 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 Salmon’s 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 day’s 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 Worcester’s 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 was.

Photo Chris Poole Three of the walkers: Paul Carless, Chris Poole and Robin Hall, taking a short break before the next stretch.
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Not to be outdone by the Oxford to Worcester walkers, four of the peal band struggle back to The Dragon on Friday lunchtime.

Thursday evening in The Dragon.
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Saturday lunchtime in The Trumpet Inn, Evesham.
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In the Worcestershire County Cricket Ground after the Meeting. Simon Wilmshurst and Colin Newman. The perfect setting for pre-Dinner drinks.
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More pre-Dinner drinking and socialising at the Cricket Ground.
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Laura & James Leyland on the balcony. Dill Faulkes, Steve Waters and Clark Walters. Chris Kippin in the foreground in the dining room.
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Heather and Chris Pickford and Jenny and David Beacham. Rod Pipe, Mary & Mike Mears and Heather Pickford. The Master takes wine with those who walked from Oxford: two of them were Robin Hall and Chris Poole: the Regans applaud.
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Chris Kippin completed his second Country Meeting walk. And Paul Carless also celebrates after the walk.
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Vicky Halliwell and David Baverstock. The Master addresses the diners. The Senior and Junior Stewards.

All Photos by the Web Master apart from the walkers (Chris Poole).

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