Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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Minutes of the 2010 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

The AGM of the Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers was held at Broadwell Village Hall on Saturday 16th October 2010 starting at 1517 hrs, with the Guild Master, Peter Quinn, in the Chair. Twenty-two members attended. Prior to the meeting, the Striking Competition for the Newing Shield and Spencer Jones Cup was held, with five teams entering.

The Guild President, John Nicholls, welcomed everybody to the meeting and thanked the Committee, particularly Sophia Lewis-Skeath, Peter Quinn and Andrew Gunn, for making the arrangements. He thanked those that had brought food.

  1. Apologies: were received from Michael Haynes, Sue Bacon, Robert Hall, Michael Fairfax, Robin Walker and Mark Wilson.

  2. Minutes of the Last Meeting: Bill Nash said his request that the Minutes were not released until approval by the President was not included. The Meeting was asked to take the Minutes as read and then be signed-off at the first Committee meeting when this aspect, and its need or otherwise, could be discussed. Agreed.

  3. Matters arising: Bill Nash asked whether it was necessary for the Guild to have insurance cover, as all Churches are covered under public liability and employees liability cover. It was explained to him that such insurance covered only negligence by PCCs or accidents caused to third parties by circumstances within their control. It did not cover events organised by the Guild, or damage caused through the Guild's activities or its negligence. The meeting agreed the need for insurance cover.

  4. President's Report: John Nicholls reported that the Saturday practices have been well attended and that the ringing standards have improved. He said the Committee has worked very hard this year for the Guild's benefit and therefore for members. The Guild's application to join the CCCBR had been successful. No quarters have been rung before any Committee meetings, but that wasn't necessarily the most important aspect.

  5. Guild Master's Report: Peter Quinn referred to his report in the October Newsletter. Some highlights of this were: the successful Central Council application; the well-filled Newsletter, the printing of which is now being done in house to save costs; and the proposed formation of a Guild Bell Fund (a later agenda item) to give grants for repairs etc.

    Bill Nash expressed his deep unhappiness at the way the CCCBR application had been conducted, with the Committee acting without consulting the whole membership, as at the previous attempt to join in 1996. Chris Povey said the 1996 meeting included a farcical vote and a farcical number of votes that disguised the true result, which was in favour of joining. That method had therefore proved unsatisfactory. The President, John Nicholls, agreed that the 1996 event was indeed a farce, and that correspondence to the Committee afterwards confirmed the situation. The Committee agreed overwhelmingly that the Guild Rules clearly give the Committee a mandate to manage the Guild. The proposal to apply to join the Central Council was overwhelmingly supported by the Committee and, having made this decision, there was no good reason to delay the application. Chris Povey said the January and April 2010 Newsletters carried full details of the Committee decisions made to apply for affiliation and the intended actions in doing so, and therefore all members were fully aware of what was happening. If any member had genuine concerns about these decisions and the way the Committee was acting, they had sufficient time to make those concerns known. He was able to confirm that he, as Newsletter Editor, had received nothing on this subject for publication. The Guild Master suggested Bill consider being co-opted onto the Committee, so that he could participate directly within the Guild's management. No other concerns about the Central Council application were raised.

  6. Treasurer's Report: Mike Rees presented the accounts ending 31st Dec 2009, saying it had been a very busy year with the Centenary celebrations and with the Moreton Show stand. The net cost of the combined events was around £200. He said, notwithstanding a generous donation of £100, the Guild is losing about £100 per year (excluding the Mid-week Tours). However, there is still a reasonably healthy reserve, which has encouraged the Committee not to raise the subscription this year, although a rise from January 2012 will be considered. Mike mentioned the split of some of the Centenary and Moreton Show costs in the accounts may not be strictly accurate, but the costs are correct overall. The Central Council annual affiliation fee of £40 was mentioned, and that two members had donated an amount to cover it. The accounts were proposed by Chris Povey and seconded by Freda Cleaver, and accepted. Mike gave advance notice that he intends standing down at the 2011 AGM.

  7. Election of the President: one nomination for President had been received. Chris Povey had proposed John Nicholls, who was therefore returned for another term of office.

  8. Election of Vice Presidents: Proposals for current holders, Phyllis Brazier and Rev Peter Newing, had been received. Bill Nash seconded the proposals. Both were returned as Vice-Presidents.

  9. Election of the Officers:
    Guild Master: Peter Quinn passed the Chair to the President for this election. Peter Q was proposed by Sophia L-S and seconded by Chris Povey. There was no other proposal. Peter Quinn was therefore re-elected and he resumed the Chair.
    Ringing Master: Sophia L-S was proposed by Peter Q and seconded by Andrew Gunn. Elected.
    General Secretary: Andrew Gunn was proposed by Sophia L-S and seconded by Trevor Hobday. Elected.
    Treasurer: Mike Rees was proposed by Bill Nash and seconded by Sophia L-S. Elected.

  10. Election of the Committee and Honorary Auditor: except for Steve Bowley, who did not seek re-election, the current Committee agreed to offer themselves for re-election. These names were proposed enbloc by Richard Lewis-Skeath and seconded by Freda Cleaver: all re-elected. The need for one further committee member to fulfil the six required under the Rules raised the earlier suggestion that Bill Nash should fill the vacancy. His answer that 'he didn't think he had the time' caused considerable mirth among the gathering and the President to exclaim, 'The Committee needs a comedian on it!' With this, Bill Nash offered no objection to his proposal by John Nicholls and seconding by Chris Povey, after which he was duly elected. The appointment of Honorary Auditors was then discussed, as Doug Carr hasn't been seen recently. Mike Rees will follow this up, but a new Auditor was felt to be required to join Michael Fairfax. A discussion resulted in Trevor Hobday being proposed by Sophia L-S and seconded by David Adams. Both Mike Fairfax and Trevor were accepted. Keith Murphy asked if the Auditors can be members of the Guild: yes they can.

  11. Election of two Central Council Representatives to serve for three years: Peter Quinn said two Central Council representatives are required from May 2011. Andrew Gunn was currently acting as a caretaker representative. Andrew reported that three candidates have been proposed: Chris Povey (by John Nicholls), Andrew Gunn (by Bill Sabin, John Kinchin, Mike Fairfax and Robin Walker) and Keith Murphy (by Bill Nash). The candidates' proposers spoke, and then the candidates themselves, giving reasons why they wanted the job. David Adams asked whether the two representatives are to be part of the Committee. Peter Q advised that the Guild Rules and Constitution are to be reviewed in 2011, so this may occur. After the votes were counted, the results were declared: Chris Povey, 20 votes; Andrew Gunn, 8 votes; Keith Murphy 12 votes. Chris Povey and Keith Murphy were elected the CC reps.

    (Note: none of Andrew Gunn's proposers were able to be there, so nobody spoke for him in this position, a situation that some thought afterwards may have left him disadvantaged. An invitation for someone else to speak from the floor on his behalf was not offered. Had this occurred it may have prompted further support. A competitive election had not occurred previously, so procedures were 'ad hoc'. Andrew will leave the results to stand, but more-formal procedures are to be considered for the future.)

  12. Confirmation of new Members: The following were elected.
    Moreton in Marsh: Ben Lewis-Skeath, proposed by Richard L-S and seconded by Keith Murphy. Long Compton: Kim and Lotty Petty, Julie Upward, Linda Bachelor.
    Cherington: Janet Owen, Sarah Scotter, Christine Thompson, Cameron Townsend.
    Willersey: Margaret Clayton.
    Alveston: Graham Allman.
    Evesham Bell Tower: Mathew Kemble.
    Welford on Avon: Rosemary Cole, Mavis Grey, Stuart Founby, Maurice Wright.
    Worcester: Robin Walker and Mark Wilson

  13. Proposal to form a Bell Fund: Peter Q presented a resumé of his formal proposal to form this Fund, as printed in the July and October Newsletters. He thanked Stuart Cummings for his assistance in forming the proposed Rules. It was pointed out that it would not be Charity registered, as the tax aspect can be complex. It would commence with a starting balance of about £1400, that being the sum accumulated in the Accounts from the monthly Vice-President's (Mid-Week) tours. Bill Nash asked if bell ropes would come under future grants. Peter Q advised that it would be for the Committee to decide this. Freda Cleaver asked if previous Guild donations to Dioceses will now form part of the Bell Fund, and was advised they would. Bill Nash asked if the area is defined. Peter Q replied that it will encompass the towers that the Guild visits regularly, but the Committee will decide. Peter Quinn formally proposed and Freda Cleaver seconded that the FSG Bell Fund be formed as outlined in the October Newsletter notice. There was unanimous agreement to this. Chris Povey then asked if, with this vote, the Fund was now in operation. On being told that it was, he presented an application for Temple Guiting's augmentation to 6.

  14. Any other Business: Freda Cleaver thanked Chris Povey for his editorial work on the Newsletter and asked if he will continue. Chris asked whether anybody had come forward to take it over. Peter Q asked whether we have a replacement. There was no response and it was agreed to discuss this subject at the December Committee meeting. Chris asked a question on behalf of Robert Hall concerning Guild Peal boards and other records, as he had asked in his letter in the October Newsletter. Andrew replied that he is slowly building up a record, but a more formal process to obtain the records would be welcomed. It was agreed this subject would be discussed at the next Committee meeting. Bill Nash raised the recovery of the first Minute book and wondered whether any of the people involved with its discovery knew the whereabouts of other lost Guild items. Bill also said Saturdays for the Guild practices are inconvenient and wondered whether they should be run on another night. This was rejected, as many said the Saturday practices are well-attended. Bill was reminded that at the previous AGM he had asked for more 10 & 12-bell practices, but he hadn't attended any of those organised subsequently. Stuart Cummings mentioned Campanophile didn't have the last few Saturday details on it. Richard Lewis-Skeath said he would take this on if wished: proposed by Stuart Cummings and Seconded by Freda that he do this; and accepted. Chris Povey reminded that all the details are on the Guild website.

  15. Results of the Striking Competition for the Newing Shield: This was judged by Chris Povey, who placed the teams as follows (full details of marks and other relevant details were published in Newsletter 127)
    1st Mickleton - awarded Newing Shield
    2nd Ilmington - Spencer Jones Cup
    3rd Moreton
    4th Wellesbourne
    Scratch team

    The Brazier Competition, no entries this year.

The Meeting closed at 1645 hrs.

Andrew Gunn, General Secretary.

Please note that these Minutes are subject to final acceptance at the 2011 AGM.