Pam Brock OAM
Pam Brock OAM has been ringing the bells at St Paul’s Burwood in Sydney for almost 60 years and she is keen to keep going.
“I love the teamwork involved, working together combining physical coordination and mental alertness to produce the unique sound of bells. It is inclusive, we have young and older members - there is one lady in Sydney who is 91 years old and still ringing. We have had younger children learn as well, they can ring the lighter bells”.
A combination of rhythm, memory and concentration is involved to produce good striking. Bell ringers usually stay involved in the art for lengthy periods and in some cases have returned after many years away.
“I have met people from all walks of life; you are always welcome in any bell tower and can join in with their team to ring. It’s a great way to make friends.”
Mrs Brock started ringing when she was 19, encouraged by one of the mostly all male members of the band at the time.
“I wouldn’t have done it without his support. It was very male dominated and quite scary”.
She says there is always something to learn. “New methods to ring and keep practicing to improve the striking of the bells. There are occasional striking competitions between towers and states and longer lengths called peals which involve approximately three hours of non-stop ringing.” Quite an achievement of stamina and concentration.
Mrs Brock thinks it is important to ring the bells every week. “It calls the congregation and lets them know there will be a service at the church”. Although there have been complaints from time to time, the community is broadly supportive, with regular correspondence thanking the bell ringers.
She is amazed and humbled to receive the Medal of the Order of Australia, and thanks the community of St Paul’s, and especially the person who encouraged her all those years ago.
“It’s been a life-time of enjoyment”.