The 43rd Annual Dinner - February 5th - 7th 2010
Report by Steph Hills and photos by Vicky Abrams, Ian Campbell, Matt Hilling, Steph Hills & David Maynard.
The Dinner Weekend began as usual with socialising in the Imperial on Friday evening. This gave everyone the chance to see each other, or, rephrased, to find out as much gossip as possible since the last dinner about the various goings on of the ECG! For me as a Fresher it was especially nice to meet the people you had heard so much about (all good things!) but had never met. Large amounts of food and drink were consumed and members of the ECG gradually piled out of the pub, in order to get some sleep in preparation for the long day ahead.
The next day began bright and early with promising blue skies. We set off to the Sidmouth area and the first tower of the day Sidbury, a lovely ring of 8. For some this was their first grab outside St. David's and they acquitted themselves very well. Ringing ranged from rounds and call-changes to Grandsire Triples. Next came the challenge of the 10 at Sidmouth where work had only recently been finished, the ringing culminated in a touch of Stedman Caters. Kerensa, our current gnome bearer had done a sterling job all day, up until this point! The gnome was kidnapped, hidden in a handbag (by the most unlikely suspect, Hazel!) and a ransom note left... Luckily the gnome was returned to its bearer unharmed later in the day. We stopped for lunch on the beach at Sidmouth, the sun shone and some were even enthusiastic enough to paddle (without anticipating that they'd actually get wet!) From there we moved on to Harpford where an interesting variation of Plain Bob Doubles/Minor was rung, while outside a lucky few were busy perfecting their handbell touches in preparation for the evening.
This year the dinner was held at the Royal Clarence Hotel. The election of the president and general secretary went without a hitch with David Lay and Matt Hilling retaining their positions for another three years. After welcome drinks we passed through to the main dining room for dinner, this year the tables were appropriately labelled as names of daffodils!! Food was enjoyed by all and then it was on to the speeches and handbell touches. We were delighted to welcome Peter Valuks, immediate past master of the Ancient Society of College Youths, as our guest speaker and we enjoyed his interesting and insightful speech. Tom Hinks our president gave us a short and sweet rundown of this year's happenings in the ECG - including the epic trip to Topsham (let it never be forgotten!). The students rang a well executed touch of Plain Bob Minor (even though one of them may have been slightly drunk at the time!), then the pros rang a touch of a new method (created by the wonderfully innovative David Maynard) which we have named Bungle's Little Surprise Royal. I know that Bungle was bursting with pride!! Mr Bennett delivered the annual daffodil toast. After this it was on to drinking and dancing, with music provided by Five Bar Gait. A thoroughly good evening was had by all.
Everybody was up early again for Sunday morning ringing at St. David's, Heavitree or St Mark's. Then there was the usual gathering for breakfast in the Imperial (always well earned after early morning ringing!). The morning of eating and socialising continued with some moving on to Boston Tea Party and then George's Meeting House. However others slightly more obsessed with ringing decided to ring a handbell quarter peal on Tom's new rainbow handbells! We then went on to the Cathedral, where there was the opportunity for those who hadn't experienced 12 bell ringing to do so. Later, those who still hadn't had enough excitement for one weekend went for dinner at Pizza Express, drawing the 2010 ECG Annual Dinner weekend to a close.
I look forward to many more ECG dinners in the future !