Guild Festival, AGM & 8-Bell Striking Competition in Chester Branch: 9 September 06 The attractive setting of the village of Eccleston, situated on the Duke of Westminster’s estate on the outskirts of Chester, proved an ideal venue for this year’s Chester Guild Annual Festival and 8 bell Striking Competition, especially given the sunny afternoon and the magnificent 26 cwt eight which was to host the competition touch. Whilst general ringing took place at Tarvin and Backford, teams from four of the Guild’s five branches (Wirral were unable to field a team) assembled for the draw ready to ring a 240 of Stedman Triples. Judges for the afternoon were Dan Vernon and Barry Hale from our neighbouring Lancashire Association. Once the teams had rung, there was time for some open ringing before the Guild Service, where the Rector of Eccleston, in his opening remarks, confessed that he had once started to learn to ring whilst holding the position of Minor Canon at St David’s Cathedral, but had given up on the idea when he found himself rising rapidly into the air, cassock flailing around, and felt duty bound to heed the calls of “Let go!” from those below him!

Guild members then adjourned to the village hall for tea, after which the competition results were given.

In giving their verdict, Barry commented on the general performance of each team before announcing the faults.

Team 1 was declared the winner, the Mid Cheshire Branch, whose practice had been rather nervous, but had settled to a good piece of ringing in the test piece, nice to listen to, taking the Ken Lewis Shield. Close behind was the local team, Chester, who, after a shaky practice, rang a good, settled test piece, with most faults in the first sixty changes.

RESULTS Position Rang Branch Faults 1st 1 Mid Cheshire 53.5 2nd 2 Chester 60 3rd 4 East Cheshire 76 4th 3 South Cheshire 82

Clockwise from bottom right: Pam Thomson (Weaverham) 1, Mike Thomson (Grappenhall) 2, Liz Helliwell (Grappenhall) 3, Ray Helliwell (Grappenhall) 4, Ian Taylor (Middlewich) (cond) 5, Peter Wilkinson (Weaverham) 6, Nick Thomson (Grappenhall) 7, Gordon Birks (Lymm) 8

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