Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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The 2009 AGM and Striking Competition at Pershore

The 2009 Guild AGM and Striking Competitions were held at the Parish Centre, Pershore, on Saturday October 17th, everything being organised outstandingly well by Steve Bowley, our Ringing Master, to whom the success of the day must be attributed. Thank you, Steve. In addition, the weather was very kind. The striking competition took place first, on the back 6 of the Parish Centre's bells. Tea was available at Steve's house only a few paces away, and, as ever, this was a tasty spread.

The Centenary Service was held in Pershore Abbey and was attended by a number of members. Service sheets had been prepared by Steve and this professional touch added to the splendour of our surroundings.

The AGM was held in the Abbey after the Service and was chaired by the President, John Nicholls. Unconfirmed Minutes of this Meeting follow:-

Minutes of the 2009 Annual General Meeting.

The AGM of the Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers was held at Pershore Abbey on Saturday 10th October 2009 starting at 1722 hrs, with the President John Nicholls in the Chair. About 25 members attended. Prior to the Meeting, the Striking Competition for the Newing Shield and Spencer Jones Cup was held, with three towers entering.

  1. Apologies: Apologies were received from David Adams, Mike and Sally Austin, Freda Cleaver, Bill Sabin, Ken Wakefield and Robin Walker.
  2. Minutes of the Last Meeting: At the request of the President, the Secretary read these out. These were accepted as a true record.

    Matters Arising from the Minutes: None

    Membership fees: were discussed. Mike Rees reported that we are running at £100 a year loss, but the reserves would cover two years without any new income. Bill Nash repeated his previous concerns of getting the subs in. It was agreed that it was difficult to raise the subscription amount this year, but that the Committee should look at this matter for the long term.

    Public Liability Insurance: The Secretary reported that Public Liability Insurance with the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group had been obtained for the Guild. EIG also offer Personal Accident cover to members at an additional amount. John Nicholls said that some of the adjoining Ringing Associations have it as part of their membership and as most members also belong to these, this may not be necessary, but the Committee would look into it further.

  3. Confirmation of New Members: The following new members were elected:-
    David Adams (Moreton). Prop: Peter Kenealy; Sec: Sophia Lewis-Skeath. Anne Stott (Evesham). Prop: Chris Povey; Sec: John Nicholls.
  4. President's Report: John Nicholls felt the Guild is in good health. He reported that the Centenary celebrations at Todenham were a great success, though the incoming towers attendance was a little disappointing initially. He thanked the Guild Master and the Secretary for their organisation. He then thanked the Committee for the many meetings concerning this and the Moreton Show Stand. After some misgivings, the show stand went ahead with great success. The display was well attended and hopefully some new ringers will follow up in the months ahead. John thanked the following: Mr Gardner for Moreton Show's support; Mr George Dawson for the loan of the Mini-ring; Peter Kenealy for collecting and returning it and overseeing the stand's erection, Richard Lewis-Skeath for the use of his lock up in which to store the Mini-ring; the Secretary for his efforts; and all the others who assisted on the stand during the day, which included those from the Coventry Diocesan Guild. It has been a very busy year with numerous Committee Meetings. He finished by thanking Freda Cleaver and Ken Wakefield for all their support over the years, neither of whom are seeking re-election at this AGM.
  5. Guild Master's Report: Reported that Saturday attendance is very good, despite the occasional tower lock out and an unexpected complaint at Tysoe. Sophia Lewis-Skeath said average attendance is sixteen. She is including new towers that have been over-looked in the past. Steve Bowley reported on the use of the attendance sheet, that the Guild is very active and, unlike other Associations, Saturday practices are well supported. Bill Nash asked about having more 10/12 bell practices. This was discussed and was supported, despite concern that it could dissuade some, but Chris Povey said that there are benefits from ringing just rounds/call changes on 10/12. Sophia agreed to organise this.
  6. Treasurer's Report: Mike Rees presented the Accounts and a discussion took place concerning various aspects. Dinner expenses for the guests: it was agreed that the Judges and Speaker to receive a free dinner (not their partners), as £120 is expensive. Newsletter costs are lower, due to having only three issues in 2008. Chris Povey mentioned the present costs of the Newsletter at about 55p each (£2.20 per year per member for 4 issues), leaving c.80p to cover insurance and any other expenses. This aspect needs discussion as to a future subscription increase, as we may only be able to afford 3 issues with the present £3.00 subscription. But overall, 2008 about average. Replica shield costs will be added to 2009. The expenses for 2009 will also be higher due to the Centenary and Moreton Show stand and this was highlighted with the provisional expenses of about £300. The Vice-President's Tours fund was then discussed (£1425). Mike said that Mrs Phyllis Brazier runs it and forwards the profit to the Treasurer. Previously these funds were divided four ways to the respective County Associations. Peter Kenealy suggested it be split five ways, with a fifth to the Guild. Chris Povey asked whether this money was Guild money, and, if so, why wasn't it controlled by the Committee? He was told it was Guild money, but that its control had been a matter of custom for some years. Peter Quinn said the Committee should look at this aspect with a remit to clarify and formalise the arrangement, and this was agreed. Chris Righton asked why these funds are detailed as a liability. Mike Rees said that they are being held, for eventual distribution. Bill Nash mentioned subscriptions again. Peter Kenealy said out of 238 listed members only 136 have so far had paid (119 in 2008). John Kinchin said it is the Tower Captain's responsibility to collect the subs and get them paid, but some don't have a Captain. Chris Povey said that it is the responsibility of all Members to settle up. Peter Kenealy said it is so much easier to have it in one lump sum from a Tower. Chris Povey suggested a Newsletter cut-off date if subs aren't paid by then. The Committee will continue to look at this aspect.
  7. Election of President: The Guild Master took the Chair for this Election. John Nicholls was proposed by Chris Povey and seconded by Mike Rees. This was carried unanimously.
  8. Election of Vice Presidents: John Nicholls resumed the Chair. Following last year's AGM, no change or additions were necessary for Mrs Phyllis Brazier and the Rev Peter Newing. It was said that we can have more than two, but no further proposals were made.
  9. Election of Officers:

    Guild Master - - Peter Quinn was proposed by Chris Povey and seconded by Peter Kenealy: carried.

    Ringing Master - Steve Bowley was willing to stand for one more year. Proposed by Sophia Lewis-Skeath, seconded by Peter Kenealy: carried.

    Secretary - Andrew Gunn was proposed by Chris Povey and seconded by Steve Bowley: carried.

    Treasurer - Mike Rees was proposed by Chris Povey and seconded by Peter Kenealy: carried.

  10. Election of the Committee and Honorary Auditors: The election of the remaining members of the Committee took place. Michael Haynes, Chris Povey, Sophia Lewis-Skeath and Peter Kenealy agreed to continue. With Freda Cleaver and Ken Wakefield not seeking re-election, and Steve Cadd resigning as Newsletter Editor, volunteers were invited to fill these three vacancies. John Nicholls said it would be useful to have somebody from each of the four counties. Jackie Hands was proposed by Sophia Lewis-Skeath and seconded by Steve Bowley, and this was carried. Stuart Cummings was proposed by Michael Haynes and seconded by Jackie Hands, and this was carried. It was agreed that one additional member could be co-opted at a later date. Bill Nash asked whether we have a Newsletter Editor. John Nicholls asked for a volunteer. John thanked Chris Povey and Sophia Lewis-Skeath for stepping in at the last moment with the last issue. Andrew Gunn asked whether Chris would he be willing to continue doing it with Sophia. Peter Kenealy also offered to assist. Chris will consider this request.

    Auditors: no election, but the existing auditors (Doug Carr and Mike Fairfax), proposed by Mike Rees and seconded by Jackie Hands, agreed to continue.

  11. Results of the Striking Competition -

    Newing Shield. This was judged by Chris Povey and Richard Lewis-Skeath.

    1. Mickleton
    2. Ilmington
    3. Moreton in Marsh

    The Brazier Competition: no entries this year.

  12. AOB: Bill Nash said the Saturday practice lists lack tower contacts and telephone numbers. He said these have been useful to him in the past. Sophia Lewis-Skeath replied that many of the contact numbers are not for general distribution, but that the Ringing Master has a copy. Mike Rees suggested listing all members contact details, following the old directory. John Nicholls said many don't want them published. Chris Povey also raised the Data Protection Act, which may require individual permissions to publish such data. Bill Nash asked about being required to assess the risks for ringing tours, as none had been requested in his previous forty years of organising them. A varied discussion took place, where it was explained that if an accident were to occur and there was no Public Liability in place, he as the organiser could be held personally liable for any claims. It is unsafe to assume that a tower's insurance will fully cover any accident without seeing the details of the policy. Without cover, the Guild and its Officers would be left exposed to potential claims, in addition to any member-to-member claims.

    John Nicholls thanked Mr Steve Bowley for all his hard work in organising the day.

    Stuart Cummings asked that letters of thanks be sent to Freda and Ken for their work on the Committee.

    The Guild Dinner will be held at The Falcon, Stratford-on-Avon, on February 6th 2010.

The Meeting closed at 1855 hrs. Ringing then commenced on the Abbey bells.

Andrew Gunn, Hon Secretary.

These Minutes are subject to final acceptance at the 2010 AGM

2009 Striking Competition Results

There were no entries for the Brazier Trophy this year, which was a little disappointing, but the Newing Shield was contested by three towers: Mickleton, Ilmington and Moreton-in-Marsh, plus a scratch band. The judges were Chris Povey and Richard Lewis-Skeath. The results of the contest were:-

Mickleton - the Winners and awarded the Newing Shield.
Rise: 4½ faults; Method: 1 fault; Fall 1 fault. Total 6½ faults.
1 John Kinchin; 2 Jackie Hands; 3 Chris Righton; 4 David Clark; 5 John Nicholls; 6 Fran Chapman

Ilmington - came 2nd and awarded the Spencer Jones Cup.
Rise: 4 faults; Method: 7½ faults; Fall 11 faults. Total 22½ faults
1 Andrew Gunn; 2 Fran Chapman; 3 Chris Righton; 4 Michael Dane; 5 Bill Nash; 6 Jackie Hands

Rise: 17 faults; Method: 15 faults; Fall 8 faults. Total 40 faults
1 Andrew Gunn; 2 Sophia Lewis-Skeath; 3 Peter Kenealy; 4 Jane Gilbert; 5 Michael Haynes; 6 Nick Allsopp

Chris Povey gave the results and said nobody disgraced themselves in this contest, as all the ringing was of a high standard. It was just that the standard of some of it was higher than others! Mickleton's performance on the day was outstanding, as their results testify. Competition nerves can affect performances; and of course the errors that inexplicably arise during the test piece are 'just one of those things'. That's all part of the fun - and 'fun' it should be, because no-one will be put against a wall and shot if they muck it up, no-one will have their salary reduced or their job taken away, or even be paid a bonus if they win (unless it's at the pub afterwards).

Chris brought to the attention of the gathering one part of the competition rules, which states: The Judges shall take into account the following points in preparing the competition results: ... (b) the selection of methods used in method ringing. He said he'd noticed Grandsire Doubles had been used by all the teams in this competition, and that to his certain knowledge this method had been used in the first of the revived Striking Competitions over 30 years ago and throughout the intervening period. He acknowledged we've all been weaned on Grandsire Doubles and love it to bits, but he challenged the frontrunners of this competition to 'push the bar up a bit' by trying something a bit more complicated - Stedman for instance, or Bob Minor even (yes, the competition has had this before with a real, ie non-scratch, team, so don't be afraid you'll break new ground) - to provide a more level playing field for the back runners. The relevant teams should note the method ringing part only contributes one-third of the total marks, so the 'risk' is still relatively small. This rule wasn't taken into account this time (were the judges deficient in not doing so, one might ask, particularly as the operative word in the rule is 'shall'?); but next year . . .?

(The Striking Competition Rules now appear on the FSG web-site for those interested. Ed)