Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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This Newsletter has appeared fractionally earlier than normal, so that all members can see the Guild Master's Report for 2009/10 prior to the AGM on October 16th at Broadwell. Publication of the Report in the Newsletter will allow it to be taken as read at the meeting, which will expedite the Agenda. The Report contains much that is interesting and all members are urged to read it.

The summer quarter, July to October, is traditionally an active time for the Guild, and things have happened this year. Firstly, there was the Ringing Tour on 3rd July, which, from the account, was very successful in both the numbers attending and the towers chosen. The second event was the revived Mini-Mouse Striking Competition on August 14th at Cold Aston, which attracted 3 teams and two scratch teams: see the report. Lastly, there was the Guild Walk on September 25th, see the report. There must something about FSG events this year, as all had excellent weather! All thanks to those who organised these events. It is hard enough doing this without the weather becoming inclement on the day.

The blockbusting news during this period was of course the discovery of the Guild's Minute Book from 1909 (see contents page and The Guild Minute Book 1909-1924). This is a major find and a treasure on a par with - or even in excess of - the Spencer Jones Cup. It will cast a new and precise light on the formation and the earliest days of the old Guild. Its reappearance and journey back to the Guild is a happy and welcome event. It also shows historical artefacts are still out there to reappear eventually, which fuels the fervent hope the pre-war Shield will one day be discovered.

One item in the Minute Book is slightly topical: the subscription paid in 1909. This was 1 shilling (5p) for Ringing Members. A little delving on the internet told me inflation has risen about 77 times from 1909 to now, so 1 shilling is now the equivalent of 77 shillings. For those not of a certain age this is very nearly £4 - and was paid out from wages that were probably less than today's average wages. It appears the Guild commenced with two meetings per year (the two halves of the Striking Competition) and little else. Current subscription amounts to £3, which covers a practice every Saturday evening, other ringing and social functions, and a Newsletter four times a year. Surely even our most parsimonious members must consider the current sub an absolute bargain! And the Committee is not recommending a rise this year either . . . !! As the Guild Master says in his report, it's all down to prudent management by your committee, of course.

By the time you read this, there will still be enough time to nominate members in writing for the Guild Officer positions, Guild President and Vice-Presidents, and the new positions of Central Council representatives. If you fancy being any one of these, get another member to complete a nomination form and send it to the General Secretary. Additionally, nominations will be taken from the floor at the AGM for ordinary committee members. If you fancy being an 'ordinary' committee member to help manage the Guild, come along and ask another member to propose you in that way.

A reminder and a repeat: don't be put off by the length of the AGM Agenda (see July Newsletter). My experience is long agendas encourage everyone to get on with the business, because it's - 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!

Oh! and if you want to compete in the Striking Comps, let know. The Old Minute Book reveals the Competition to be run at Broadwell in October will be the 100th anniversary of the very first, as the 1st part of the competition in April 1910 (the competition used to be in two parts until recently) had to be cancelled due to bad weather. The winners of this year's competition will therefore have a special satisfaction.

You will notice in Tower News that Temple Guiting's 5 bells are to be augmented to 6 via the generosity of a donor who believes it would be negligent to leave the pit unfilled. This donation does not cover the full cost of the project and other donations will be required before the bell is hauled up into the empty pit awaiting it. The G&B Association have offered a very generous grant towards this project, and therefore that Association will have the pride and satisfaction in taking a share in it - and for G&B members collectively to experience the pleasure and gratitude of Temple Guiting PCC. As we shall be voting at the AGM on whether to have a FSG Bell Fund, this action by the G&B in helping to bring to fruition this and other bell projects will hopefully assist us in voting for a Bell Fund. It will allow this Guild also to give to, and therefore take a share in, such projects; and for Guild members to experience the gratitude that derives.

Although I'm not a regular on the FSG's Mid-week Tours, I attended the 250th Tour to record it for posterity. Tony Brazier, the inaugurator of these tours, would have been proud to witness this milestone. There is a possibility that someone will submit reports of these tours, which have now become a significant part of the Guild's activities. However, the wanted advert is still valid at the moment.

Talking about subscriptions as I was, the 2011 subscriptions become due on 1st January. Yes, the year is rushing through; I remember mentioning the S-word in this august publication a year ago. Subs will continue to be £3. As this has been proved to be an absolute bargain, please pay up quickly when the time comes - and with a smile.

Another reminder and a repeat in case you overlooked - or wanted to overlook - this particular bit in the last Newsletter: 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)

Heard at a local Striking Competition:-

Fred: "Listen! Young Dave ain't set that tenner. How many strikes? . . . six on 'em! Ee'll get 'em marked down fer that!"
Bert: "Ah, I knows what 'ee be at. 'Ee's a cricketer, see? And I'll lay 'ee be on that betting scam thing!"

Thank you yet again John Middleton