Our February meeting once again took the form of the AGM, followed by light refreshments and a chance to socialise before we listened to an illustrated talk from a professional speaker. As always, the AGM itself is only open to subscribed members because it relates to official business, however visitors are welcome to attend the talk or other entertainment that follows. This would be for the normal visitor fee of £5. This year our speaker was Martin Hansen from Melton Mowbray, who gave a fascinating explanation of ‘The Art of Bell Ringing’. The sound of church bells ringing out is part and parcel of life in many UK cities, towns and villages, as it has been for centuries, but it would appear there is far more to the practice than simply pulling on a long rope! ?Clearly dedicated to his hobby, Martin began by describing the history of how church bell construction, and the later emergence of bell ringing as an art-form, had its foundations back in medieval times. We were told how, from the original use of just one bell in a church’s tower, (as a Christian call to prayer), it was the subsequent addition of further bells of different sizes and weights to those towers which enabled the now familiar melodic sound to evolve. The technical aspect of how wheeled bells were hung on their framework, plus the physical technique of pausing and releasing each bell at the appropriate time in order to achieve the required ringing pattern was intriguing, although took considerable concentration to follow. Fortunately, modern computer technology meant we in the audience were aided by photographic and audio examples to help understand the verbal descriptions. The small model of a bell frame and bell was also a valuable aid. The sheer number of quarter, half and full ‘Peals’ achievable, (depending on how many bells a tower has), plus the time it takes for some of them to be rung, was staggering. No wonder it takes two years to learn the basics!