Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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Congratulations to Rob Harvey on reaching 92, and for ringing so well in his birthday quarter!!!

The Notice of the 2010 AGM and Striking Competitions at Broadwell on October 16th 2010 appears on page 3. By any stretch of the imagination, the Committee was inadequately prepared for the 2009 AGM. Although not an excuse, there had been two major events in the months before and a lot of committee time and effort went into organising and running them. Resources were strained by the AGM. The Committee does not intend a similar situation to occur this year, and organisation of the event and the Notice to members are consequently earlier.

Also, the Guild Rules (yes, we have some!) state that proposals for the Guild Officers should be made in writing and be received by the Gen Sec not later than 2 weeks prior to the AGM. The Committee agreed to revive this system. Please see - and please use - the pull-off proposals sheet attached to the back of this Newsletter.

Additionally, a proposal is to be being made at the AGM by the Guild Master, on behalf of the Committee, to form a bell fund, from which grants can be made towards bells within the Guild's area of operation (see p.12 for details). A bell fund? Certainly! The Guild can then be seen to be helping towers in need directly, rather than as previously through the bell funds of others.

Oh, one last thing: don't be put off by the length of the AGM Agenda. My experience of long agendas is that they encourage everyone to get on with the business, because they're - er - long. Short agendas can be the problem: lots of time in hand, so can keep chewing over each subject to the bitter end! SO, PLEASE COME TO YOUR AGM!

As the President's message [above] states, the Guild entered a new era at the end of May. The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (CCCBR) voted overwhelmingly to accept the Four Shires Guild as one of their own at the meeting on May 31st. The Guild is allowed two CCCBR representatives, who will be elected at the Guild's AGM in October. Our General Secretary acted as a caretaker rep and took a seat at the meeting when the President of the Council formally welcomed the Guild.

A CCCBR rep is normally chosen for the triennium, the 3-year period for which a Council operates before the Presidency is changed. In case triennium and Presidency sound ominously similar to European Union language and the gravy-train that seems to attach to that organisation, please erase such thoughts now! I can tell you nobody gets rich out of the CCCBR. If anything, its representatives get monetarily poorer; and if those reps do as they are intended to do - that is, work as members of the committees that churn away in the background shifting business - then they will end up poorer timewise, too. But that's the way it is - and has been since the CCCBR came into being in 1891. Nominations for the permanent reps (ie for the 3-year period - the triennium - of the new Council) are included on the proposals sheet attached to this Newsletter.

By the time you read this, the 2010 Guild Ringing Tour to Rutland on July 3rd will probably have taken place, and hopefully a report of this will appear in the October issue. There are two other FSG events within the coming 3 months: the Walking Tour on September 25th and the Mini-Mouse Striking Competition on Aug 14th, both of which await your presences. Please come to them.

In the past the Newsletter has carried adverts for activities at the Harry Windsor Ringing Centre at Kineton, even though it is outside the FSG area of activity. The seminars offered there are wide-ranging and open to all. Not only is the subject matter relevant and therefore beneficial to FSG members, but the Centre is very local. I interviewed Graham Nabb, who runs it, to report on his future aims, and the facilities and courses he is offering and hopes to offer.

You will see this issue carries an advert (for our caring, sharing, local and ever-lovable Whites of Appleton). The Committee has agreed that adverts can be accepted for ringing-connected subjects, although inclusion of any advert will not signify FSG endorsement of the product or service. If you wish to advertise, please contact the Newsletter Team for rates, etc.

Lastly, I hope the very last paragraph of the Committee meetings report [p.5] doesn't escape the notice of the more cost-conscious members . . .

A reminder: as previously advised, I am editing the Newsletter for 2010, and another Editor will be required from January 1st 2011 onwards. Editing's not dreadfully hard, although - yes - a little time is required. You won't need to apply in writing (just telephone or email me). You won't need to send a CV. You don't need to hold a degree - although one from the University of Life & Hard Knocks is always useful. A working knowledge of ringing would be good. Yes, computer skills will be required. The most important thing is a desire to follow Pam Copson's vision of the FSG Newsletter (make it readable and interesting for everyone - and the best). Lastly, there's a fixed rate for the job, so the nightmare of negotiating a salary won't occur . . .

Chris Povey

(The views expressed in this Newsletter are not necessarily the views of the Four Shires Guild or its Committee)

A country Parish was raising money for some badly-needed repairs to its Church. The money was being sought from within its reasonably well-heeled congregation, but, as ever in such circumstances - the rich being rich, largely because they know how to hang on to it - the total collected was rising painfully slowly. The Vicar, anxious to accelerate the process, ascended the pulpit to bring the state of play to mind, and, after the usual introductions to the sermon, began thus:

'Brethren, I come to you today to update you about our Appeal for money to undertake the repairs to our much-loved church.
The Good Lord allows me to tell you there is abundant good news, but there is bad news, too.
The good news is that I have all the money we need. (Pause for rousing and prolonged applause from the congregation)
The bad news is . . . it's in your pockets . . . . . . !!'

(Another little gem. . . Thank you yet again John Middleton)