About 40 members and guests attended the Guilds Annual Dinner at The Falcon Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon on Saturday 6th February. Not quite as many as last year, but nonetheless a goodly number. Our room was smaller than last year, but it was much cosier and with more character. At one end was an alcove with fireplace, on the mantelpiece of which the Guild's trophies were displayed prominently.
The proceedings opened with grace said by Charles Wilson. The meal was good - some thought better than last year.
Over coffee, our President, John Nicholls, introduced this year's Speaker, Steve Coleman, who was accompanied to the Dinner by his wife, Sue. Both Steve and Sue are well known in ringing circles nationally through their
Companion ringing books (and an outstandingly good read these are, too, being written in Steve's inimitable style and giving excellent down-to-earth advice), and of course locally via the considerable assistance they have provided in recent years in the G&B's North Cotswolds Branch.
Steve is an extremely good speaker and is well known for it. He has an amazing knack of speaking in such a way that people cannot help but listen. His easy, informal manner is accompanied by a clear, up-beat delivery. He said the Guild had great strengths, in particular its weekly meetings, which give general practice to members. Of practices in general, Steve advised those who are shy of making mistakes to view them in a more positive light as
developmental opportunities! He mentioned our recent Centenary and noted that the Guild's formation and early activities didn't appear in
Bell News at the time, although the
Evesham Journal carried a number of reports. He'd heard the Guild was applying to become affiliated to the
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers and suggested this was long overdue. It was encouraging to hear him say the G&B heartily welcomes this application, particularly as the G&B has the biggest
interest in the area in which the Guild operates. He mentioned our Newsletter, which was a cue to quote from some of the funny literary gems that he has encountered in association magazines over the years - although happily none from ours. It was an effective warning to newsletter editors to be more careful in their writings!
After this, the President presented the Striking Competition trophies to the relevant towers. The winning tower was Mickleton and John Kinchin accepted the Newing Shield on its behalf. The Spencer Jones Cup is presented to the tower coming second, which this year was Ilmington. Jackie Hands accepted this on Ilmington's behalf.
Bill Nash, Tony Mann, Vivienne Pitts, Sylvia Carroll, Jo Langford, John Carroll and Michael Haynes
John Kinchin, Linda Beach, Veronica & Peter Quinn, Sue & Steve Coleman, Ann & Chris Mew, and John & Pat Nicholls
Robin Walker, Sophia Lewis-Skeath, Mark Wilson, Keith & Isobel Murphy, Maureen Adams
Ann & Charles Wilson, Ted Copson and Freda Cleaver
Andrew Gunn, Michael Dane and Nicola Amphlett
Jackie Hands and Chris Righton
Helen Povey, Stuart Cummings and Michael Cummings
John K receives the Newing Shield for Mickleton
and Jackie receives the S J Cup for Ilmington
Steve giving us the full benefit