Holding a competition

If your tower is interested in holding one of our competitions, we welcome your invitation!
Your invitation must reach the Hon. Secretary before the committee meeting held prior to the AGM (usually late October) to be considered for the following year’s events. The current Association rules state that the invitation must be written in some form, so a verbal invitation will not suffice, however an email is acceptable.

Once we have received your invitation, all the towers put forward for each event are then voted on at the AGM and the towers notified of the outcome.

Which events can we bid for?

The main competitions that we hold each year, which are:

  • The North Devon Qualifier (6 bell competition held on the second Saturday in May)
  • The South Devon Qualifier (6 bell competition held on the second Saturday in May)
  • The Minor Final (6 bell competition held on the fourth Saturday in May)
  • The Major Final (6 bell competition held on the second Saturday in June)
  • The 8 Bell Final (8 bell competition held on the third Saturday in September)

The three finals alternate between North and South Devon each year – in odd years the Minor Final and the 8 Bell Final are held in the North of the county and the Major Final is held in the South and these all swap in even years.

There are no restrictions as to which towers can bid for which competitions, although we do prefer a six bell tower being used for the Major Final, and your tower does not have to be a member of the Association. We would also prefer towers to be available for both six bell competitions in their region, however we will not penalise any tower that isn’t available for both.
You can in principal offer your tower for the Novice competition (a 6 bell competition usually held on the second Saturday in March), but the committee have a much tighter set of restrictions on what is eligible and will normally approach a tower with a view to holding the Novice event.

Things to consider prior to sending in your invitation:

As the ‘Devons’ are considered the most prestigious competitions of the year, and there is normally quite a high attendance for the events (usually around 10-15 teams depending on the event) – especially the Major Final, so to help us we ask that the following things are considered prior to putting in a bid for any of our events.

  • Judges: There are normally 4 judges and a scrutineer that need to be housed within close earshot of the tower such that the bells can be heard clearly, but ideally out of line of sight of the door the teams go in and out of.
  • Teas: Ideally these should not be held in the church, although if the ringing chamber is isolated so that any noise in the rest of the church cannot be heard in the ringing chamber this can be safely ignored. Ground floor rings and towers with open galleries are advised to check with their local committee member before tendering their invitation.
  • Parking: Be aware that each competing team will likely bring at least 2 or 3 cars with them, and whilst on-street parking isn’t a problem, we don’t wish to cause problems for your local residents!
  • Service: We ask that each competition is preceded by a service taken by the local rector – we have an order of service for our festivals, which the vicar taking the service can modify provided that certain elements are retained.

What happens after our invitation is sent?

The Secretary will acknowledge receipt of your invitation within a few days, and towers that have put themselves forward will be noted in the committee meetings leading up to the November AGM.
At the AGM the venue for each event is voted on by the entire membership present on the day in turn. All bidding towers are warmly invited to send representatives to the AGM, and if you are a member you would be free to vote.

Once the winning towers have been announced at the AGM, we ask that you do not allow visiting teams from Devon to practice before the event.
In the New Year after the AGM, whichever competition secretary will be running the event on the day will be in contact to make the arrangements with you and will be your first point of contact with any enquiries you may have, your local committee member is also good source of information.

On the day:

The timetable for a Devon Association competition usually follows this pattern:
1.30pm – The judges ring the bells prior to the competition
2pm – Ringers gather in the church and the roll call of entered teams is taken immediately prior the service
Following the service – The judges and scrutineer are taken to their position and the draw for the order of ringing is made
Between 4.30pm and 5pm – Ringing stops for tea for around 45 minutes
Once all the peals have rung – The results and prize giving occur

With the exception of the Major Final, host towers can run a raffle if they wish to do so.