Nail-biting countdown to Sunday's big contest...for UK's bell-ringers

For centuries the tolling of bells has heralded moments of national togetherness: the end of wars, the crowning of monarchs and the celebration of royal nuptials. But this weekend, the chimes emanating from a Victorian parish church in Melbourne, Derbyshire, will have nothing to do with England's exploits on a football field in distant Kiev.

Yet for those who inhabit the world of elite campanology, the staging of the 37th national 12-bell striking contest will be as keenly observed and the battle as hard fought as that undertaken by Roy Hodgson's men in Ukraine on Sunday.

Ten teams will compete for the honour of being the 2012 winners of the Taylor Trophy. The red-hot favourites are Birmingham but challengers from some of England's finest churches from St Paul's to Exeter, York to Oxford, will be doing their utmost to upset the bookies.

Unlike Uefa, which is refusing to deploy goal-line technology, the centuries-old pastime cannot be accused of failing to move with the times. This year's contest will be largely judged by HawkEar, a hi-tech listening device that will mark each band for their accuracy in performing the demonstration piece.

The development has proved popular with ringers, said competition chairman Peter Sanderson. "As the standard has increased, it has become more and more difficult for the judges to separate the teams," he said.

Each band will be given 30 minutes to perform the test piece Stedman Cinques. and their efforts will be streamed live on the internet.

According to Tim Everett of the Melbourne 12-bell band, which is playing in its home tower, the music represents a complex "knitting pattern" that will put each of the hopefuls the opportunity to showcase their skills.

"It is not just about getting the notes in the right order: it is getting it so that the striking is perfect so it seems like a machine without any gaps," he said

But although there have been reports in the past of gamesmanship – such as deliberately leaving the bell ropes up out of reach of rivals – all are anticipating a convivial mood. It is a pretty friendly atmosphere, said the 47-year-old accountant, "but everybody wants to do as well as they can".

Competitive bell ringing remains as popular as ever, say supporters. Ringing also remains a central feature of our national way of celebration. Earlier this month a 12-hour cascade was rung to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. In July, bells will again be sounded across the whole country to mark the start of the Olympics.

"The appeal is that in many ways it has remained unchanged for centuries," said Mr Sanderson, 51, who has been ringing since he was seven.

And, of course, whatever happens in Ukraine, on this occasion the winning team will definitely be English.

News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits