73 episodes

Explore the world of bell ringing with insightful interviews, captivating histories, and challenging quizzes. Join us on this monthly podcast as we journey into the lives of multifarious bell ringers, uncovering their passions, favourite towers, and the essence of quintessential English change ringing. Tune in for a unique and comprehensive perspective on this timeless tradition. 

Fun with Bells Cathy Booth

    • Leisure
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

Explore the world of bell ringing with insightful interviews, captivating histories, and challenging quizzes. Join us on this monthly podcast as we journey into the lives of multifarious bell ringers, uncovering their passions, favourite towers, and the essence of quintessential English change ringing. Tune in for a unique and comprehensive perspective on this timeless tradition. 

    Our Podcast’s Fifth Year Anniversary

    Our Podcast’s Fifth Year Anniversary

    In this special fifth anniversary episode, the Fun with Bells Podcast celebrates by turning the tables on host and producer Cathy Booth, as she takes her turn on the other end of the microphone and is grilled by team member Emily Roderick.


    Emily digs into the background to the podcast, its aims, and the entire podcast process from idea to launch. The origin of the name is also revealed. Who knew?



    Cathy and Emily also choose some of their favourite episodes from the last five years and play some great ‘best bit’ clips. There is then a tantalising glimpse into what topics to expect in the future, so stay tuned, and with your support, the podcast can keep entertaining and informing ringers for the next five years to come.



    Links to the episodes mentioned:


    The Joy of Bells: New Ringers Reflect on Their New Obsession: funwithbells.com/ep69Remarkable PhD Study of Cambridge Bellringers Pay and Habits: funwithbells.com/ep23Recording Your Bells: funwithbells.com/ep15What Ringers Wear: funwithbells.com/ep53Thirty Voices, Seventy-five Years, One Story: funwithbells.com/ep26Young Autistic Bell Ringer and Historian: funwithbells.com/ep3815 Tips to Improve Your Striking: funwithbells.com/ep24Sponsor: This podcast is sponsored by the Association of Ringing Teachers (ART).  To find out more about learning to ring, learning to teach or other resources to support your ringing go to bellringing.org

    • 36 min
    David Smith: A Bell Ringing Tutor’s Uplifting Global Perspective

    David Smith: A Bell Ringing Tutor’s Uplifting Global Perspective

    In this episode, David Smith makes a much-welcome return to the podcast for another conversation with host Cathy Booth that’s brimming with insight.
    Find out about about the differences between ringing associations in the UK and those in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. With David’s global ringing teaching experience there are plenty of anecdotes and observations, on all things teaching, learning and mentoring.
    It’s also an episode that poses some philosophical questions about the nature of ringing associations and what it means, as ringers, to connect and belong. Associations may not be the future, but from David’s perspective, ringing itself has a very positive and promising outlook!
    Top tips
    A ringing course might not be for you, but why not think about offering to lend a hand and help outFeeling brave? Why not ask another ringer you trust to observe your teaching session and ask for some constructive feedbackCheck out the NorthWest ringing course website nwringingcourse.ukNow’s a good time to update your website or social media so other ringers can easily find your tower and arrange a visitSound like the ART course might be for you? Take a look at bellringing.org/
    Sponsor: This podcast is sponsored by the Association of Ringing Teachers (ART).  To find out more about learning to ring, learning to teach or other resources to support your ringing go to bellringing.org

    • 35 min
    The Joy of Bells: New Ringers Reflect on Their New Obsession

    The Joy of Bells: New Ringers Reflect on Their New Obsession

    This episode sees host Cathy Booth catching up with three Ring for King recruits to find out what their first year of ringing has been like. And what a year it’s been!

    Jessica, Lindsey and Andy have notched up an amazing collection of ‘firsts’ since starting their ringing adventure. First tower tour, first wedding ringing, first quarter peal and first striking competition have all been ticked off the list. Also worthy of note are their first ringing blisters!

    Find out what they have found hard, what they have found easy and what’s helped. Turns out that ringing is not easy as it looks, but as they enthusiastically point out, if it is too easy, it’s not worth doing!

    Top five takeaways
    If you’re a novice ringer, pop into the beginners bell handling practice - it will make you realise how much progress you have made!Looking for some reading material? Try out Steve Coleman’s books www.ringingbooks.co.ukIf you fancy a challenge and love a list then give 50 ringing things a go https://smartringer.org/50things/Inspired to learn to ring? Find out more at https://bellringing.org/learn-to-ring/On holiday? Fancy a ring? Dive into Dove’s guide to check out a tower and find the tower captain’s contact details  dove.cccbr.org.ukSponsor: This podcast is sponsored by the Association of Ringing Teachers (ART).  To find out more about learning to ring, learning to teach or other resources to support your ringing go to bellringing.org

    • 38 min
    Bells in Her Music: An Interview with Composer Helen Ottaway

    Bells in Her Music: An Interview with Composer Helen Ottaway

    The debate around ringing and music is taken to an entirely new level in this fascinating conversation between show host Cathy Booth and composer Helen Ottaway.
    Deeply inspired by the sound of bells, Helen’s passion for this shared soundscape has led from the creation of individual musical works to an entire bell-inspired festival! It’s amazing to hear what can happen when composers and ringers come together to exchange knowledge and enthusiasm across different art forms, contexts and places.


    Be inspired, listen to the recordings and maybe even download the ringtone - but don’t get so carried away that you forget to turn your mobile off before that peal …


    Top Five Takeaways
    Why not get in touch with existing festivals to see if there’s a way your tower could get involvedGiven the heritage aspect of ringing, the National Lottery is a good source of funding for creative projects www.heritagefund.org.ukCheck out the Ring Out Festival website for more inspiration https://www.rooklanearts.org.uk/ringout/Interested in finding out more about Helen’s work? Here are some good links to start with https://soundcloud.com/helen-ottaway/sets/ring-ring-bell-1 , https://helenottaway.bandcamp.com/album/ring-ring-bell , https://www.artmusic.org.uk/projects/ring-ring-bell/ and  https://helenottaway.blog/If you’ve not already got a bell related ringtone, why not try one of these out https://www.zedge.net/find/ringtones/Artmusic or https://www.zedge.net/find/ringtones/Frome%20Carillon

    Sponsor: This podcast is sponsored by the Association of Ringing Teachers (ART).  To find out more about learning to ring, learning to teach or other resources to support your ringing go to bellringing.org

    • 50 min
    How to lead: An interview with the inspiring Linda Garton

    How to lead: An interview with the inspiring Linda Garton

    Show host Cathy Booth aims high this month in conversation with accomplished ringer and leading light Linda Garton.
    Linda strongly believes that “success breeds success” and, as you’ll hear, this is amply illustrated in both her own ringing career and the winning bands that her leadership has inspired.


    So muster your motivation, make a plan and put some of Linda’s practical ideas on training and development into action. You’ll then be set to celebrate all levels of ringing, from rounds right the way up to the Society of Royal Cumberland Youths* and beyond.


    *Other ringing societies also available

    Top 5 Takeaways
    Planning a striking competition? Open it up to all ringers, put on a picnic and make it a celebration!If some of your ringers need more time to master a skill, consider putting on some intensive all-day courses with small numbersEvolve your practices as your students progressHave a target – give your ringers something to aim forDoes your tower have a set of handbells? Where’s the most unusual location they’ve been rung? Why not take them out for a day trip?

    Sponsor: This podcast is sponsored by the Association of Ringing Teachers (ART).  To find out more about learning to ring, learning to teach or other resources to support your ringing go to bellringing.org

    • 36 min
    Ringing Success: Church History, Fundraising, and Band Building in Nevern

    Ringing Success: Church History, Fundraising, and Band Building in Nevern

    How many bells are enough? Six, eight, ten? As show host Cathy Booth discovers from Peter Heard, once the offers of help and support came rolling in to Nevern Restoration Project, it was easy for their ambitious plan to grow and grow!
    There’s something for everyone in this engaging episode, whatever your interests. Church history, restoration projects, epic fundraising, setting up a band from scratch and the ups and downs of special guests and TV appearances all get a look in.


    Peter feels that ringing has rejuvenated him in later life, but I think this may be the other way about. Judging from the amazing success of this bell restoration and training centre, he has fully reciprocated by doing his bit to breathe new life into an old tower.

    Top 5 Takeaways
    Looking for the perfect holiday location with an excellent ring of bells thrown in? Find out more about Nevern church and its bells here Our Church Bells | Nevern Church (nevern-church.org.uk)If you’re planning a bell project, check to see what talent there is in your church congregation, you might be amazed to discover the expertise that you haveFind out more about the Keltek Trust Helping churches acquire surplus and/or redundant bells to be hung for English-style full-circle bell ringingLooking to hold a ringing recruitment drive? What better place to hold a welcome and introductory session than the local pub!Whilst the Colwinston Trust focuses its funding on projects that benefit Wales, look for unusual connections to your church and local trusts that might be able to help you with any bell ringing project

    Sponsor: This podcast is sponsored by the Association of Ringing Teachers (ART).  To find out more about learning to ring, learning to teach or other resources to support your ringing go to bellringing.org

    • 26 min

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