I started ringing at the age of 7, and was lucky to have a ‘prolific’ tenor ringer as a father. He was always keen to push me to ring the bigger bells, or just the ‘problem’ bells at towers we visited. A performance on such bell normally began with doubt of the people we were
not familiar with, normally locals at the tower we were visiting, and ended up with surprised sounding positive comments. Our friends we toured with found this completely normal, so I was lucky to have the opportunity to build on my skills in the company of familiar faces, but visiting somewhere on my own as I’ve grown into an adult saw me revisiting the same scenarios of doubt and surprise. I don’t mind now that I am valued as a good front ender, but it’s always nice to go back round the back!
A more recent example: my (now) husband was tower captain at a central London tower, and would frequently place me (and other female peers) further round the circle. When he stepped down from this, it very quickly went back to women being told ‘oh no you can’t ring the 8th (of 12), that’s far too big for you’. We stopped going along shortly after this.