The Christchurch District of the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild ringing festival occupied three days, beginning with a short tour of some of the District towers on August 26th, followed by tea in the Priory Church Hall and ringing on the Priory bells in the evening. Sunday, thanks to the kind permission of the Vicar (Rev. Leslie H. Yorke), was observed as “Ringers’ Sunday” at the Priory Church, and it was around this day that the festival was built.
Sung evensong at 6.30 that day, with special festival music by the Priory choir, under the direction of Mr. Geoffrey Tristram, organist and choirmaster, was a memorable service. It was conducted by the Vicar; two ringers read the lessons and the president, Canon Gilbert Thurlow, preached to a full congregation, which included the Mayor and Mayoress of Christchurch A crowd of holidaymakers also gathered outside the open west door of the church to listen to the service. Service ringing took place on the Priory twelve during the day and again after Evensong.
On Monday, Bank Holiday, a party of 30, which included some visiting ringers on holiday, left the Priory by coach to visit Wimborne Minster, Yeovil, Sherborne Abbey, St. Martin’s, Salisbury, and Fordingbridge for about an hour’s ringing at each place. The weather was warm and sunny and the roads travelled through the beautiful countryside were surprisingly quiet. Bill Cheater, of Ringwood, had a strenuous three days for he acted as Ringing Master throughout the festival and managed to coax some passable ringing out of a very mixed band of experts, visitors and “beginners at all stages”.
Sincere thanks are accorded to the clergy who so readily gave permission to ring the bells at 11 different churches, and to all those who contributed to the organisation of a most successful festival.
During the week-end a large floral bell was hung on the south wall of the Priory opposite the entrance to the church. It was the work of Mrs. Leslie Yorke and Miss Morris, who decorated a framework made by Arthur Davis with golden rod and red button dahlias. The bell was complete in detail, having headstock, stay, wheel and rope. Mrs. Yorke is the wife of the Vicar of Christchurch and is also chairman of the Highcliffe Floral Society, which has been responsible for two outstanding flower festivals at the Priory in recent years.
The Ringing World No. 2944, September 22, 1967, page 675