The Robert B Smith Trophy is a 12-bell competition aimed at developing 12-bell teams across the country.
Robert B Smith (Bob) learnt to ring at Marple in the 1950s, taught by Jack Pryor. He rang his first peal in 1956. He went on to become one of the finest ringers of his generation, ringing in many of the landmark peals in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
He conducted and rang in the extent of Major rung at Loughborough foundry in 1963. Other notable achievements included long lengths of Stedman Cinques and Cambridge Maximus at St Philip’s Cathedral, Birmingham as well as several other long lengths on both tower bells and handbells. In total Bob rang 3572 peals, conducting 1902. Of these 1478 were rung in hand. Bob was a member of the ASCY, and also rang for Leicester in the winning bands for the first two national 12 bell competitions.
During 1978 Bob, with Ray Ayres founded the Bell hanging company Eayre and Smith. As well as re-hanging and augmenting many rings in the UK (including the twelves at Melbourne, Derbyshire and East Grinsted, Sussex), the work for Eayre and Smith took Bob and his wife Ruth to parts of Australia and America to hang many rings of bells there.
Wherever he went, beginning with his time in Cheshire, later in Leicestershire and Derbyshire, he taught and encouraged ringing beginners young and old. He gave young ringers the opportunity to learn and ring new methods particularly on twelve. He was a tutor and adviser on a number of ringing courses, and spent time teaching new ringers after the installation of bells overseas.
Bob and Ruth settled in Melbourne, Derbyshire, where this competition was first held, and they were instrumental in their augmentation to twelve and the teaching of many new recruits for the local band. He was one of the greatest all round ringers ever. Capable of composing, conducting, any bell to any method, heavy or light, tower bells or hand bells. He was friendly, welcoming and encouraging and he will be sadly missed.