The 2000 Summer Meeting was held in Suffolk on Saturday 20th May. Seven towers, three of these having been restored for the millennium were very kindly organised by Stuart Harrison.
A number of members had arrived in Suffolk on the Friday evening in time to find their accommodation and join some of the local practice bands at such places as Rushmere St. Andrew , Bredfield and Bure where they were made most welcome.
The Saturday began as a beautiful crisp sunny morning as members gathered at the 8 of St. Mary the Virgin in the quiet centre of Woodbridge. Many members had travelled some distance that morning and had not at that stage fully completed their homework, so our attempt at Double Norwich, the method of the day, was thwarted.
The next tower was the beautiful church of Ufford – Assumption, and 8 with its 15th Century gilded wooden font cover and the stocks and whipping post outside. We had woken up a little by then and had more success with the Double Norwich. We then travelled on to the 8 of All Saints, Hollesley, thought by many to be one of the best octaves in East Anglia. Next stop was Iken where lunch was interspersed by ranging as successive bands made their way up into the small tower to ring on the newly augmented 5. A picnic meal was very kindly provided by the Orford band and we perched ourselves around the churchyard which had a wonderful view over the river. It was rather cool but the rain was kind enough to hold off.
We had a journey across country to the 6 of All Saints, Hacheston, the most recently restored bells of the day. We were very fortunate to be able to ring here as there were still a number of problems to be sorted out with the contractors and normally only local bands are allowed to ring. We retraced our steps to the 6 of St. Michael, Tunstall and then the final tower of the day was the pleasant 8 of St. Bartholomew’s, Orford, which again had been recently restored. We had a longer period of ringing here which enabled us to ring such methods as Spliced surprise and Bristol.
Dinner was held at The Old Rectory, Campsea Ashe, a pleasant country house. We had 39 members and 5 children for dinner and were joined by some of the local ringers which swelled our number to nearly 50. This proved a challenge for the hotel. We had pre-dinner drinks, including Pimm’s in the living room and then sat for dinner in two rooms. However, between courses some male members of the assemble swapped rooms, giving ample opportunity for mingling. We were also entertained between courses with hand bell ringing.
We were delighted to have been joined during the day by a number of potential new members and we looked forward to electing them at the short meeting after the dinner.
Fiona and Martin Clode were congratulated on the birth of their son Robbie on Burns night. Our thanks were extended to Susan and Stuart Harrison for all their hard work in arranging lunch and a very enjoyable days ringing. The meeting closed at about 9.50 and members gradually set out on their journey home or to their local accommodation.
On the Sunday morning, a number of members rang a quarter peal of Grandsire Triples after the morning service at St. Bartholomew’s, Orford, this completing a successful and enjoyable weekend.