One of the best aspects of bellringing is the socialising it encourages. As a result of ringing together at St Bartholomew's over the years, we've all become good friends and have been out and about as a group on many occasions. There have even been two marriages between Colne ringers! In recent years we've taken part in the Lancashire Association quiz nights and treasure hunts, had quite a few Christmas meals, and been on several walks. Here you can also discover how we celebrated the new millennium.

22nd October 2005 Kevin & Karen
A second wedding between ringers at St Bartholomew's in two years was a great occasion, this time our long-standing tower captain Kevin Pickup married Karen Redmayne, originally a Padiham ringer thus cementing the already strong ties between our two towers. The ceremony took place at St Bartholomew's and most of the Colne band - including members of the Mother's Union - rang before and after to celebrate the event. There was plenty of rain on the day but fortunately it held off at the important points. All concerned had a superb evening at the reception, which was held at the Old Stone Trough in Kelbrook, where the newlyweds stayed over and rest of us left in a merry state!

 
click for larger image Kevin and Karen during
the wedding ceremony
 
click for larger image The new family together
outside the church
 
click for larger image Group photo of the people
who rang on the day
 

19th June 2004 Paul & Joanne
The biggest bash of the 2004 social calendar was the wedding of Joanne Pickup and Paul Brown, two members of the St Bart's band, which took place on 19th June. As most of us are actually Catholic, the wedding itself was held at Sacred Heart R.C. Church in Colne and not St Bartholomew's. A commemorative peal had been planned for the morning of the wedding but unfortunately not enough ringers were available since most had to be in attendance at the service. Though the weather threatened to spoil proceedings, we were very lucky and just had enough time for the photographs before the heavens opened. The reception was at Mytton Fold Hotel, Langho, where we enjoyed the wedding breakfast and evening buffet with disco. A wonderful day was had by all and now there are two Browns in the tower!

 
click for larger image Paul and Joanne tied the
knot on 19th June 2004
 
click for larger image All of the St Bart's ringers
pose for a photo on the day
 
click for larger image Phil's looking very pleased
after finding the beer!
 

During the past few years we have indulged in the festive tradition of a hearty Christmas meal. Much merriment, jibing and general good humour is usually enjoyed by all and so far the food has always been top notch at our chosen venues. Our first Christmas meal was arguably at the Langroyd pub in Colne in 2001, though it wasn't billed as such since we went after a ringing trip, but it was close enough to Christmas to count! The following year we ate at the Hare & Hounds at Black Lane Ends where we savoured a three-course classic festive roast with crackers and free mince pies to boot. In 2003 we sampled some Indian fayre at the local and then newly refurbished curry house by the name of Massala Rooms where no-one left without a full stomach.

Two weeks before Christmas 2004 we once again sampled the cuisine of a different culture, this time Turkish at the Istanbul Restaurant in Colne. The food was excellent and service very good. We had initially planned to eat at the Original Greek Restaurant just down the road, but their customer service (and repuation from other friends) seriously let them down. For our 2005 festive meal we ventured to another part of the culinary world, this time the tried and tested Wellsprings Mexican restaurant above Sabden. Kath Redmayne and Brian Sutcliffe from Padiham joined us for an enjoyable night filled with fine spicy food, drink and plenty of good humour as usual.

click for larger image Indian cuisine and a
party mood at the
Massala Rooms

click for larger image Turkish fare is on the
menu at Istanbul

click for larger image Brian and Kath joined
us for a Mexican feast

Colne has a proud tradition of attaining the accolade of Booby Prize at the annual LACR quiz, something we achieved two years running! Unfortunately, in the December 2000 quiz we could only manage seventh place, so we missed out on the magnificent tinted glass pike! An unfilled space remains on our shelves awaiting another booby prize in the future... At the quiz in 2001 we narrowly missed out on another glass fish booby, though the cheer we got for finishing second to last was quite amazing!

At the 2002 Quiz Night - Anthony's last as LACR Fund Raising Co-ordinator - Colne resumed normal service and entered two teams to try and thwart the opposition. This time we were attacking on two fronts: one team going for the booby (yet another glass fish), the other vying for top prize. Ninety-eight tantalising questions and a filling supper later, it was time for the results. As usual "The Mafia" amalgamation of Blackburn and Preston ringers (also including James Hustler, an ex-Colner, this year) finished first with 79 points. Anthony was momentarily lost for words as Colne "A" came second with a very creditable 75 points, though nothing to show for it other than a round of applause. Not so Colne "B", who propped up the other teams and finally got their mitts on the elusive glass fish for our tower!

click for larger image Our trio of Quiz
Night booby prizes

click for larger image Folding raffle tickets
as usual in 2002

click for larger image Our losing team
with their boobies :)

In the summer of 1999 Colne entered two teams into the car treasure hunt organised by other members of the LACR. As usual we came nearer to last place than first. In 2000 the treasure hunt started at our tower so you could say we had a head start! We faired better than the previous year but still came away empty-handed (though not empty-stomached thanks to Anthony Helliwell's barbecue).

The 2001 treasure hunt was once again based more or less on our patch. Starting from Thornton-in-Craven (just over the Yorkshire border) our lone team weaved its way around the country roads between Earby, Foulridge, Colne and Barrowford, searching for solutions to Anthony's clues. After yet another filling barbecue we emerged a more than creditable second to Rishton with 78 points!

Two full teams from Colne entered the Hunt in 2002, which started at Gisburn and passed through Bolton-by-Bowland and Waddington en route to Accrington. Our top team finished third (technically joint second) to Gisburn. After the results some of us tried our hand as barbecue chefs (see photo right).

click for larger image Colne let loose on
the barbecue

Each Good Friday many people from the surrounding area walk up Pendle Hill, the local high spot at 557m, a prominent hill in the beautiful Forest of Bowland. As well as being linked to many folkloric tales through the infamous Lancashire witches, the summit of Pendle was where George Fox had a vision that inspired him to found the Quaker movement in 1652. Over the past few years the ringers at St Bart's have been accompanying the masses by walking from Colne to Pendle Hill and back, a round trip of no less than 14 miles. We usually time our ascent to coincide with the three o'clock service held at the summit.

In April 2003, Andrew and Paul kick-started the St Bart's bell fund (and got in some training for Good Friday) by undertaking a sponsored walk to Pendle from Colne by a slightly different route than usual. We raised over 100, a respectable sum, mainly thanks to Andrew's arm-twisting tactics and perserverance. Only another 40,000 or so to go now...

click for larger image St Bart's band
and co on the 2003
Good Friday walk

click for larger image Andrew and Paul
at Pendle's summit

As midnight came on 31 December 1999, bells rang throughout the country to mark this special occasion - the dawn of a new millennium - as part of the Central Council's RING in 2000 campaign, and St Bartholomew's was no exception. Following a torch-lit procession through the streets of Colne, we gathered together to ring in the New Year. The Lancashire Evening Telegraph covered the procession and took a photograph of us outside the tower just before midnight (right).

A party continued in the tower into the small hours with food, drink, karaoke and even fireworks from the tower roof! The following day, hangovers bravely ignored, Colne's then nine regular ringers gathered to ring the bells once more for the New Year's service at midday.

During the New Year's Day service a local film maker took some footage of six of us ringing to complete his "Bells of Colne" short film depicting ringing in Colne and the surrounding area over the past couple of centuries.

click for larger image Outside the tower
on Millennium Eve
(courtesy of Lancs
Evening Telegraph)
click for more info Party in the tower!
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