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Arms of St John's College, Cambridge COUNTRY MEETING IN CAMBRIDGE
31st July - 2nd August, 2003
(Click images to enlarge)

Report by Eleanor Kippin. Pictures by the Web Master

The College Youths country meeting is the annual opportunity for the Society to focus some events outside its usual base of the City of London. It is traditionally held in a place of significance for the current Master – this year’s Master Dickon Love therefore took the Society to his University city of Cambridge. The main constituent parts of the day are ringing, beer, a Society business meeting, some more beer and a dinner. In the last few years the day has been extended into a long weekend with peals and other leisure activities to keep members and guests entertained.
Senior Steward Colin Newman, who had spent most of the days leading up to the weekend on the phone organizing peals, was amazed when on Thursday morning every peal had a complete list of personnel. In all six peals were rung with over 40 members taking part in the attempts.


The Roman Catholic church of Our Lady of the Assumption and the English Martyrs ... a peal was rung on this heavy eight on the Thursday, and general ringing took place on the Saturday.



Drinking in the Panton Arms
on the Friday evening.

General ringing started on Saturday morning at St Andrew the Great. This was the first opportunity many ex-Cambridge residents had had to see the refurbished church buildings and ringing room. A rather smaller number of people went to ring at the "Catholic" – whether people were put off by the long walk or the long draft is open to debate.


The church of St Andrew the Great.

David Town, Ian Hill, John and Stef Warboys in the Ante Room of St Andrew's.

Ringing at St Andrew's.

Those put off by the distance from St Andrews to the Catholic were put to shame when Chris Kippin arrived having walked overnight from central London (50+ miles on his own, straight up the A10) – despite complaining about sore feet he still managed to climb the stairs and ring the tenor to three leads of Bristol. (He was later seen struggling to stay awake during the meeting – it’s not known whether that was related to the lack of sleep or the contents of the minutes.) The walking bug also bit Messers Halliwell, Wilby (Jr) and Poole (Little) who had enjoyed a gentle 16 mile stroll to the City from Newmarket.

The officers on top table at the meeting in the Palmerston Room, St John's College.
Below: members begin to leave after the meeting.

The afternoon business meeting was held in the Palmerston Room of St John’s College. We were welcomed to the City and College by Chris Johnston, President of the Cambridge University Guild, who was also extending the welcome on behalf of the Cambridge Youths. After an entertaining description of the geography of the College by the Master the vast majority of those present walked across the famous Bridge of Sighs to ring on the 12 at Great St Mary’s. As those who rang in the peal earlier in the weekend had discovered, Great St Mary’s are a challenging twelve, but the Master would have been pleased with the standard of ringing achieved with methods up to Orion being rung.
The University Church of St Mary the Great.


As a senior member of the Society remarked on Friday afternoon, getting reading for a College Youths dinner used to be a relatively simple affair – a quick squirt of deodorant and a comb through the hair before rushing back to the bar. These days things are somewhat different with the slightly grubby and sweaty selection of people who left Great St Mary’s being transformed into an elegant and groomed group in St John’s College bar.

The Country Meeting dinner has been in some impressive venues recently – the Observatory at Green College Oxford two years ago, and Worcester Cricket Club with its views across the Severn to the Cathedral last year. This year was no exception with the splendid surroundings of the Hall of St John’s College. The Master opened the event with a little of the history of the room – his pride in being able to chair a dinner in his old college was evident for all to see. Before the meal itself started the College grace was said in the original Latin - a bit of a shock to the vast majority of the diners who’d studied at rather less high-brow establishments. The dinner itself was excellent and everyone managed to cope remarkably well with the South African table wine despite the weekend’s humiliating events at Lord’s. The magnificent surroundings of the Hall made for a fairly formal occasion, but there were no speeches – instead the Master kept the diners on their toes by taking wine with groups of people who had played a particular part in the weekend. Finally a toast was proposed to the Master to thank him for all his hard work in preparing the weekend which was drunk with great gusto by all.
Drinking in the College Bar prior to the dinner. The view from top table down the Hall.
The dinner is underway.
Two views of top table. L-R: Colin Newman (Senior Steward), Caroline House, David House (Trustee), Phil Orme (Master of the Cambridge Youths), Dickon Love (ASCY Master), Chris Johnson (President of the Cambridge University Guild), Andrew Stubbs (Treasurer), Eleanor Kippin, Simon Linford (Junior Steward).
Supping College port after the dinner.
Andrew Keech, Val and Jim Clatworthy.
A contingent from York. Heather Kippin converses with the Junior and Senior Stewards.
The Master with the Secretary and Chris Johnson. Chris welomed the Society earlier in the day on behalf of the Cambridge University Guild, the Cambridge Youths and the Ely D.A. The walls were adorned with very old and impressive portraits.

Topics of conversation in the bar after the dinner were varied and included how much physical activity was required to burn off the desert and precisely what you were and were not allowed to do on the lawn of the College’s Second Court. A noisy, highly competitive, and somewhat inebriated game of bar billiards was being held in the corner – the final result being lost in the mists of time.

Each Country Meeting has its own individual character, in many ways reflecting the character of the Master of the year. Members attend not only to enjoy the ringing and socialising, but also to share and support the Master’s pride and association with the venue. Cambridge provided a first class back drop for a first class weekend.

A view of the Hall with its impressive ceiling.

Stef Warboys and George Brown in the Bar afterwards. Paul Mounsey and David Town.
A game of bar billiards. Paul Williams and Jim Clatworthy.
Drinking in the bar. Heather and Eleanor Kippin, John Warboys and John Hughes D-Aeth.
Michael Orme looking after Christine Potter. Philip Saddleton, Steve Jones and Ian Hill.
Mark Jones and Lucy Weston. The Master gets to pose with Lucy.
Attempts to leave the Bar ... Phil Orme opens the door for George Brown, joined by his Dad and Steve Jones.
Success! The overnight walk from London to Cambridge takes its toll on Chris Kippin.
Gwen Rogers and John Camp share a moment. Dickon Love and Colin Newman.
Stef Warboys, Ros Keech and Chris Kippin. The Management.


Adam Greenley chats to Phil and Gwen Rogers.

Having left the College Bar, those who were left were photographed in Second Court.


Outside St John's College, Nigel Bailey, Chris Poole, Betsan Criddle and Chris Rusby. The party did not finish when the bar closed ... but the photo gallery sadly does...

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