Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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GUILD MASTER'S REPORT FOR THE YEAR 2009 - 2010 (Item 5 of AGM Agenda)

I am pleased to report that your Guild has had another very active year, and the committee elected at the last Annual General Meeting has worked very hard on your behalf to achieve that.

The weekly practices have generally been well attended and they have run by the Ringing Master or someone deputising on his behalf. However, due to other pressures, Steve Bowley has decided not to stand for re-election at this meeting and I am sure all members will join me in thanking him for all the hard work he has put in over the past years.

The Committee discussed the merits of insuring the Guild's silverware, and this was agreed. The total value has been added to the existing Public Liability cover with the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group, set up by our Secretary Andrew Gunn. The website under Roland Merrick is also projecting an active Guild to the web world and the Guild Magazine can now be read online.

The centenary year activities finished in November with a peal of Four Shires Guild Delight Major, a method rung for the first time and named for the occasion. The band comprised members from each of the four Shires, and a peal board has been erected in the ringing chamber at Moreton-in-Marsh to mark the occasion.

Another successful Annual Dinner was held on Saturday 6th February at the The Falcon Hotel in Stratford upon Avon. I am sure the dinner was enjoyed by all who attended, and we were all entertained by our after dinner guest speaker Steve Coleman.

One of the most important things the committee did very early in the year was to apply to become affiliated to the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (CCCBR). The Rules of the Guild clearly state the elected committee have a mandate to manage the Guild affairs, so with this in mind the committee agreed to apply during this year. The application was made in late January for consideration at the CCCBR's Administrative Committee meeting in the mid March. This deadline was important, as failure to meet it would have meant a delay until May 2011 for approval by the full Council. Our application was recommended by the CCCBR's Administrative Committee for affiliation, and we were elected to the Council at its meeting in Derby at the end of May this year.

Andrew Gunn attended the CCCBR meeting in May as our temporary Guild representative and holds that position until the next CCCBR meeting in May 2011 when all the members of the council are elected as representatives of their various associations for a further three years (Triennium), the period for which the Council operates before the Presidency is changed. The size of the Guild allows us two representatives. They will be elected at the Oct AGM to serve for a three-year period and take their position to represent us at the May 2011 CCCBR meeting in Hereford.

The Guild Newsletter has taken on a new dimension since the last AGM, both in editorial content and printing quality. The printing has now been taken on in house via a home-type printer purchased by the Guild specifically for this purpose, as research showed this method of printing is probably the most economical method of production. Chris Povey took over as our Editor at the last AGM and thanks must go to him for taking on this very important role. However to be an effective editor he needs material to edit, and as it is your magazine, the whole of the Guild membership is responsible for contributing to the content of this publication. After all it is an instrument for everyone to have their say in the running of the Guild, and to bring any matter to the attention of the Guild as a whole, as well as interesting articles.

We always publish in the Newsletter an abridged report of the Guild Committee meetings. This allows all members to be notified of any important business, and they can inform the Secretary of any items they want discussed at these meetings, or whether they want more information on any item.

As agreed at last year's AGM, the committee has clarified the Mid-Week Tours money held in the Guild accounts and has reached an agreement with Phyllis Brazier to use it as the basis for a Guild bell restoration fund. This will allow us to offer grants towards the upkeep of bells within the Guild's area of operation, so we can help towers in need directly, rather than as previously through the bell funds of others. I have given Notice that I shall propose at the coming AGM that the Guild set up a Bell Restoration Fund. Since the initial Notice was given, details of the rules of the Fund have been finalised, and these will be presented to the AGM as an Addendum to the proposal (see p.10, Ed). Should these be accepted, the Fund could be operational almost immediately.

The Guild will not need to increase the subscriptions for 2011. This has been made possible through prudent house-keeping and you will see from the accounts prepared and presented by Mike Rees that we are in reasonable shape for the coming year. Mike will be able to answer any question you may have about Guild finances.

Finally I would like to thank all members of the committee for their commitment and hard work, and for the time they have given to attending the many committee meetings which were held during this year.

Peter Quinn