Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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Happy New Year! 2011 looms before us. What joys, thrills and pleasures will it bring? Much of these and none of the opposites, one hopes.

The snow came and, eventually, went. It must have disrupted some ringing. The Guild practice at Stow had to be cancelled.

The AGM came and went, too. It included the centenary Striking Competition (see front page and p.5). There were some changes to the Committee, plus the addition of two Central Council representatives. A departure was Steve Bowley, who had indicated previously this would occur, his studies – rightly, of course - having to take precedence. Thank you for your time in office, Steve; it was greatly appreciated. Sophia Lewis-Skeath has stepped into the role of Ringing Master (should this now be Ringing Mistress, or Madam Ringing Master?). New faces are Bill Nash as Committee member, and Keith Murphy as one of the new CC reps. Full details of the changes can be found at Officers & Committee members.

One person who stayed in position is me, as Newsletter Editor. I had warned this issue would be my last and that a new editor would be required from 1st January 2011. However, I was asked if I would reconsider (no, it did not include a rise in salary, nor did it involve my arm up my back) and I've agreed to stay as Editor for one more year. But this agreement includes the proviso that my stay in office will be for that period only, and that a new editor really, really, will be required from 1st January 2012. I shall be putting little reminders about this in the Newsletter throughout the year, working up to a grand crescendo in the October issue, and my farewell in the January 2012 issue. I am neither maestro wordsmith, nor amazing computer operator, so there must be a number of people out there who can at least equal these abilities and is therefore able to do the job equally well. (On-the-job training can be arranged….)

The major proposal at the AGM was to set up a FSG Bell Restoration Fund. It was voted for almost unanimously, with none against. It is a major political (with a small 'p') step forward for the Guild, as we are now able to show clearly to all that we contribute to the upkeep of the expensive equipment we are allowed to use. We have contributed before, but through the county associations' bell funds. Consequently, the Guild received no formal credit for the grants given to bell projects in this way. That can now change. You will see an application to the Fund was made for a grant towards augmenting Temple Guiting to 6, and that one was given by the Committee at its meeting on January 6th.

The recent Committee meeting saw agreement to the Committee's programme of work for 2011. In addition to organising the now-normal events, there will be a revision of the Guild Rules and a concerted effort to find and record details of all the historical paraphernalia relating to the Guild. This will mainly concentrate on the 'old' Guild items, but may be extended forward as thought appropriate. A revision of the Guild Rules is overdue (last done in 2002), as some clauses need updating and some now seem inappropriate. In addition, the rules of the Striking Competition are to be overhauled and made clearer.

The Guild Annual Dinner will soon be upon us. It is to be held this year in what is now known to be the Guild's spiritual home, Moreton-in-Marsh. The Old Minute Book has shown us the Guild started off in Moreton and that many meetings and committee meetings were held in the town. There was, too, a large amount of support for the Guild throughout the latter part of the incumbency of Moreton's Rector, the Rev Spencer Jones. It is almost by design that Moreton is in roughly the centre of the Guild's area of operation, so distances to travel to the Annual Dinner will be as equitable as possible for most members. See the notices for details of the Dinner. Please come!

The 2011 subscriptions became due on 1st January. It's still at the bargain price of £3 (unchanged by the rise in VAT). As last year, please use the renewal slip attached to this Newsletter. It's more convenient for the Membership Secretary and the Treasurer in keeping track of who's paid and who hasn't, and hopefully it's more convenient for you. There was a good response last year. Let's respond at least equally well this year.

Finally, my thanks to those that have contributed to this issue: please continue to do so! It makes my job so much easier.

Chris Povey

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

"Life is like a game of Snakes & Ladders; we all go up some ladders and down some snakes.
We're all looking for the long ladder; and we're all trying to avoid the long snake."