Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed the Christmas break and that all your ringing was superb. This Newsletter is the last covering events in our centenary year, which was somewhat monumental in containing a number of excellent events. The first was the Centenary Party at Todenham on July 4th, which, helped by the fine weather, developed into an enjoyable occasion. The next big event - and it was big - was the stand at the Moreton Show, which showed the public at large about English bell ringing. Our Centenary Service and AGM was held amid the magnificence of Pershore Abbey. Then, on November 14th, was the peal of Four Shires Guild Delight Major (reported on the front page and Centenary Peal). Bringing up the rear on December 19th was the Christmas Party. Phew: quite a year!
In the last Newsletter's Editorial I signed myself
Guest Editor just this once.
Never say never again comes to mind, as
I find myself guest-editing again. Steve Cadd decided to resign as editor just
before the last issue appeared, but the timescale involved with that issue was
very frantic and it did not seem the right time to publicise this announcement.
Thank you can now be given to Steve for all the issues he produced,
and for the time and effort he put into the job. It was clearly considerable.
I shall edit on an interim basis (see below), as I feel unable to take the job on long-term. Sophia Lewis-Skeath has offered to assist during this time. Sophia managed all the printing side of the last issue, and helped with proof-reading and other necessary work. I am grateful to her for this offer. Sophia will share any plaudits that arise from producing the Newsletters (but not the brickbats, of course: got to be a gentleman!). I shall edit for no more than 4 issues (and this is the second), so there will need to be a volunteer for the post for the Oct 2010 issue. Please start thinking about it now.
Production of the last issue raised two issues that are worth sharing with you. Firstly, I have to apologise to Freda Cleaver and Jackie Hands for failing to include Welford-on-Avon and Lower Quinton on the FSG map. Alderminster went missing, too. I could say I'd heard a rumour these churches were to become redundant, but I am unlikely to be believed! My excuse is rushing the drawing to meet the Moreton Show timescale. The map has now been corrected and appears on the new FSG web-site.
The other significant aspect is production cost. Last time (Issue 122) we printed 200 copies at cost of about £80, which equates to about 45p/member. This amount is less than the £100 reported at the AGM; and I can assure you this is extremely cheap for copies that contain coloured photos. In fact, it is less than we've been paying in the past for non-colour copies. Now, if as previously we have four issues per year, then the yearly cost of these issues per member is about £1.80 - purely Newsletter costs. This gives a surplus of £1.20 from each £3 membership fee - but of course subs have only just risen to that level. In addition to the Newsletter is the cost of the Public Liability insurance, which is about 58p/member, so the surplus reduces to about 62p/member. The committee have agreed that the Guild's silverware, the total value of which is very considerable, should be insured at a cost of about 35p/member. This reduces the surplus to 27p/member. There are other little bits and pieces that arise from running the Guild, so this surplus reduces even further. Now consider what happens if somebody receives all four issues of the Newsletter, but doesn't pay his or her subscription. All of a sudden, there's a £1.80 deficit, which will wipe out the surplus from at least seven paid-up subscriptions. I hope you can see the simple arithmetic here and the message it's giving. The Guild needs your subscriptions. Yes, the Guild should know who's paid and who hasn't, but there's been some confusion over this in the past. This aspect is currently being addressed and hopefully then we can print the requisite number of copies. Latepayers confuse the situation, so the message arising from all this is: (a) please pay your subs, and (b) please pay as early in the year as possible, so everyone knows what's happening. Also, if you are one of the few that receives their Newsletter by post, this may soon cease unless you pay, or continue to pay, extra for the privilege, because the £3 sub can't sustain this profitably. You will soon have a choice: pay extra to cover the postage, or access the Newsletter via the new web-site.
You will see there's a note by Roland Merrick about the new FSG website. While a web-site has operated for some time for the Mid-week Tours, this hasn't included the real business of the Guild. The new web-site will include the Newsletters, so if you prefer to receive your Newsletter in this way (ie save paper, save the planet), please say.
The AGM and Striking Competition went well. Mickleton are to be congratulated on some excellent ringing and are worthy winners of the Shield. The as-yet unconfirmed AGM Minutes are included here, together with the full Striking Competition results.
Allen Turner's Guild Walk took place once again, and for the third year in succession enjoyed good weather. Wendy Mace tells us all about it, together with some photos of what was clearly a very pretty walk.
There was insufficient room in the last issue to include the President's crossword. Unfortunately you haven't got the Christmas cheer, the roaring fire and the sloe gin to help now, but January's cold nights will still encourage staying-in to complete it. And you may still have some sloe gin remaining. . . .
PS: this issue is what might be described as a 'bumper' one: 16 pages. This is due to a lot of things happening in a short time: AGM & Striking Comp (once a year), 2 pages; Centenary peal (once in a 100 years), 2 pages; letters (unusually large this time), 1½ pages. That's at least 5 pages extra to the norm. You - yes, you out there - need to help me keep the Newsletter going by submitting articles and whatever; and photos are well worth having. I can only write so much. . . .!
PPS: you will notice some photos have acknowledgments of ownership where known. As the Newsletter appears on the web-site, photos in it can be copied by non-FSG parties for other uses. This does happen, as I've had one photo 'stolen' from another site in this way recently.
(The views expressed in this Newsletter are not necessarily the views of the Four Shires Guild or its Committee)
Two little gems seen in a Parish Office: