The dedicated team of bell ringers at St Peter’s Church in Petersfield have been praised for their unstinting commitment to the role.

The bell ringers’ annual general meeting was chaired by the Rev Canon Will Hughes, the vicar of St Peter’s Church and acting archdeacon of the Meons.

He welcomed the 18 ringers present and thanked them for their commitment, especially to Sunday morning ringing, and for their enthusiasm in supporting other towers in the district and their focus on improving at all levels.

It had been a busy and specially important year with the Platinum Jubilee and then, sadly, the death of the Queen.  

The tower captain, Mary Broadbridge, as a thank you gave a special presentation of flowers, card and a voucher to Madeline King, who has retired from being the tower’s secretary, a post she has held for four years.

Madeline has also been ringing at the tower for more than 40 years and had been in the past tower captain for ten years. 

Madeline has offered to continue as liaison officer with the church office and to let visiting ringers into the belfry. Madeline will also continue as church and PPC secretary.   

The following officers were elected to service the tower and thanked for their past work: 

Captain Mary Broadbridge, thanked for guiding the tower through the Covid years and especially for the last busy year of 2022.

Secretary/social secretary Alice Kidd, who was thanked for organising a brilliant Christmas meal event with Nick Halder providing the quiz, and the table decorations supplied by Katherine Wilkins.   

Treasurer Susan Walker, who was thanked for her work with the tower finances.

Ringing master Brian Underwood, who has agreed to take up the post and has produced The Way Ahead development plan for the coming year for the tower.

Steeple keepers Duncan Wilkins, David Malone, Malcolm Wigmore and Oliver Stubbs were thanked for their meticulous maintenance of the bells. Malcolm, who has retired as steeple keeper, was thanked for all he had done and sent the best wishes from everyone in the tower.  

Oliver Stubbs related that on the day after the Queen’s death when the tenor bell was tolled, people stopped in The Square to listen and said how moved they were to hear the bell.

Archivist Caroline M Welsh was thanked for recording the bell ringing events and for publicity, and Melanie Moore and Malcolm Wigmore for all their work in preparing the facsimile copy of the old St Peter’s Church Belfry Book which should be ready for publication this year. 

Without their dedication and hard work, this would not have been possible. 

The meeting was closed with Rev Hughes thanking the band and saying the church, its bells and ringers were in a “living place”.

Caroline M Welsh