Anyone from about the age of eight years can learn to ring, and many disabilities can be accommodated. Learning to ring is very much like learning to ride a bike; once you've learned to stay on the bike, you can pretty much go wherever you like, and keep on enjoying it for as long as you live. The initial stages of learning to control a bell take around eight lessons of between 30-60 minutes. It's helpful (but not essential) if those lessons can be arranged close together, ideally a few days in a row. We can teach at any time of day to suit you, and lessons are free. We do ask people who are learning to commit to being a part of our team once they have learned. That involves a weekly practice at 17:00 on Saturdays and ringing for service on Sundays, at 09:15. Of course, we appreciate that there will be times when you can't be there, but actually, if you get the ringing bug, you're not going to want to miss it. It's a mentally fascinating and physically satisfying activity. There are no particular abilities needed for you to start learning, just the enthusiasm to try something new and, in France, unique.
Learning to ring in Vernet is not typical, because of our location. Our nearest ringing neighbours are 1000km away in the Channel Islands. There's nowhere else nearby to go for a bit of extra practice. That said, we have a steady stream of visiting bands from the UK who are very ready to help, and we have an annual two-day Summer School (last week in August) supported by a number of overseas ringers. Once you've learned, you'll be welcomed into virtually any belfry in the UK, as well as anywhere else with bells (mainly Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa). We are just one of three rings of bells on mainland Europe, the others being in Dordrecht (Netherlands) and Ieper (Belgium). If you learn to ring in Vernet, as a European ringer, you'll be a bit special!
Please contact us if you'd like to be part of our team.