Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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2012 AGM & Striking Competition

Various members loitering with intent (to ring).

Last year's report of this event started with it was a sunny day, which is a good thing for a Guild AGM and Striking Competition. The day this year, Saturday October 13th, was just the same – and in a year noted for its almost consistent rainfall, too. We were truly blessed. Just as last year, too, we had a delightful light 6 to play with. Chastleton's bells were well up to the mark. Not only that, we had magnificent surroundings with the National Trust's Chastleton House literally next door. Once again, the tea tables heaved with food. What a treat it all was!

Our judge for the competition this year was Alan Hartley, from Redditch, who was booked to officiate last year, but was prevented from doing so then by some minor surgery immediately beforehand. His postponement wasn't such a bad thing, as this time he got to sit in a room at the top of a 400 year old Jacobean Mansion looking down on the Church – a rather grand facility kindly provided by the National Trust.

There was again no Brazier Trophy competition this year, which is a shame, as it seems to indicate that there are few, if any, up-and-coming bands.

There were four real bands competing for the Newing Shield trophies. To give them something extra to fight for, two scratch bands of adequate capability and The Committee team rang, too. As might be expected, the standard of ringing exhibited by the scratch bands was pretty good, composed as they were of the fancy ringers, but The Committee team, with of course a much smaller field from which to choose its members, showed it could do the bizz, too.

Sue Bacon and Richard L-S transfixed by the quality of the striking.

Eventually, after sitting around in the sunshine a country churchyard amid the ancient yew trees, sipping cups of tea and nibbling on the delights of the food table, the bells came down for the last time and the Service in the Church was due. This was taken by the Rev Andrew Keith, Team Vicar of Chastleton, Little Compton, Salford, Cornwell and Little Rollright, and followed the layout in the Guild's Service sheet. Steve Bowley played the organ. The Vicar said we sang the hymns well. The Service concluded with the well-known ringers' hymn, Unchanging God, who livest.

The AGM proved to be straightforward, as the Minutes below demonstrate. The highlight was the way in which the accounts had been presented: lots of detail, but very clear; and all signed off by the Accounts Examiners, too. As might be imagined, there was unanimous support for Michael being re-elected as Hon Treasurer.

The last item was the Striking Competition results. Alan gave his comments on the performance of each team. As will be seen in the Minutes below, Moreton-in-Marsh "A" team took the Newing Shield and Wellesbourne took the Spencer Jones Cup.

The President thanked everyone for coming and thanked those who had brought food for the gathering. He singled out Maureen and David Adams, and Stuart and Michael Cummings for particular thanks, for working so hard with the teas and the eats. It was not an easy place in which to work, as there were no domestic facilities in the Church and their area of operation was small and crowded. Nonetheless, they made it all happen. Many thanks to you from an ordinary member!

As had been announced in the July Newsletter, copies of the new version of the Guild Rules were available at the AGM for members to take, or to take for other members                        CMP

Minutes of the 2012 Annual General Meeting

The AGM of the Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers was held at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Chastleton, Oxon, on Saturday 13th October 2012. Prior to the Meeting, the Striking Competition for the Newing Shield and Spencer Jones Cup was held at the Church, with seven teams entering.

The Meeting started at 5.50pm, with the President, John Nicholls, in the Chair. About 15 members attended. John welcomed everybody. He took this opportunity to report that Bill Hicks had passed away on Monday. (See Obituary. Ed)

  1. Apologies: were received from Keith Murphy,Trevor Hobday, The Rev Dr Peter Newing and Robert Hall.
  2. Minutes of the last Meeting: These were published in January's Newsletter. There was agreement when the Guild President asked whether these could be taken as read. No points of correctness were raised. The Minutes were proposed as a true record by Ted Copson and seconded by Michael Fairfax. The President signed them as such.
  3. Matters arising: Nothing was raised.
  4. Guild Master's Report: Peter Quinn said he had nothing to add to his report, which appeared in the July issue of the Newsletter (no 133). No questions arose.
  5. Treasurer's Report: Michael Dane reported that the Guild finances are now split between two accounts: the general account and the Bell Restoration Fund. Michael Fairfax thanked those concerned for bringing the  accounts  into  good order: Michael Dane and Andrew Gunn in the early stages, and Michael Dane finally. Adoption of the accounts was proposed by Michael Dane and was seconded by Michael Haynes. Adoption was agreed. The Accounts Examiners will sign a copy for the Treasurer's files.
  6. Election of Officers:

    Guild Master: Peter Quinn, proposed by Chris Povey and seconded by Freda Cleaver. Re-elected.

    Ringing Master: Sophia Lewis-Skeath, proposed by Peter Quinn and seconded by Ted Copson. Re-elected.

    Secretary: one written nomination received: Andrew Gunn, proposed by Chris Povey and seconded by Ted Copson. Re-elected.

    Treasurer: Michael Dane was proposed by Michael Fairfax and seconded by Michael Haynes. Re-elected.

  7. Election of the Committee and Accounts Examiners: The members of the current Committee were happy to stand again, and were proposed by Michael Fairfax and seconded by David Adams. All re-elected. The Committee members are therefore: Stuart Cummings, Michael Haynes, Jackie Hands, Peter Kenealy, Keith Murphy and Chris Povey. The Account Examiners (Trevor Hobday and Mike Fairfax) were both returned after being proposed by Chris Povey and seconded by Peter Quinn.
  8. Confirmation of New & Life Members:

    The following joined the Guild during the year. It was proposed by Ted Copson, seconded by Chris Povey, that their membership be confirmed:-

    John Sims of Minsterworth.
    Margaret Smith of Gloucester.
    Sarah Thomas of Offchurch.
    W.J.Kinchin of Leicester.
    Josh Lowe of Harvington.
    John Kemble of Audlem, Cheshire.
    John Gwynne of Warwick.
    Sue Marshall of Kineton, Warks.
    Paul Smith of Worcester.
    Sam Precious of Bidford-on-Avon.

    Life Members

    It had been decided by the Committee that the known Life Members be confirmed and ratified, as there had been some confusion. Only the following are known to the Committee to be such:-

    The Rev Dr Peter Newing of Ledbury.
    Rob Harvey of Whichford.
    Ron Gilkes of Mickleton.
    The Rev Fred Rothery of Sherbourne, Dorset.

    No other names were offered by the meeting. It was proposed by Michael Fairfax and seconded by Ted Copson, and subsequently agreed by the meeting, that the Life Member status of the members above be confirmed and ratified. Any other claimants to Life Membership will need to supply adequate evidence to that effect.

  9. Any other Business:

    Freda Cleaver reported that Welford-on-Avon had had a new belfry access ladder installed recently at a cost of about £5,500. She had brought with her two fund raising offers, a quiz and chocolate covers for Christmas presents, and hoped that members might purchase in aid of the fund.

    Chris Povey read out two questions on behalf of Mr Robert Hall. Three years ago Mr Hall asked what was being done to produce a list of surviving Guild artefacts and their condition. Andrew Gunn showed a data list he was compiling of such items, but it is proving to be slow progress. A discussion followed about obtaining the outstanding details. As the Committee had now completed many initiatives to update and manage the Guild, it was suggested that completion of this data list should be a priority in the coming year. Steve Bowley pointed out that many peals and other performances are recorded in the Ringing World. A further question arose: who was formally recording the Guild Peals? Currently nobody is responsible. It was revealed there are two peal records: the Guild book as started by the old Guild and one that Tony Brazier compiled, which may well contain additional earlier ones. It was agreed these two aspects need to be followed up by the Committee in the coming year. The second item was Mr Hall's suggestion that a list of towers and their contact details be placed onto the Guild's website. This was noted, but data protection may be an issue concerning contact details. The Committee would look at this.

    New issue of the Guild Rules: Andrew Gunn reminded that copies were available and asked everybody present to take a copy on leaving.

    Richard Lewis-Skeath asked about progress with the new lapel badge. Andrew replied that an order was expected to be placed very soon with Tower Trophies of Blackminster Business Park, near Evesham. The delay in ordering has been due to the need to update the badge to comply with the now-standard Guild badge, which is as seen on the clothing. Slight adjustments had to be made to compensate for the smaller size. Chris Povey showed Richard an illustration of the new lapel badge. Chris also mentioned that we could have different coloured badges eg a ruby-coloured background for the Guild's 40th anniversary of its refounding next year if there were enough support.

    Richard Lewis-Skeath mentioned that the Newing Shield's winners had not been updated since 2007 and asked whether this could be done before the Guild Dinner in February. It was agreed that the Shield should be engraved by the Guild of Handicrafts in Campden by that date. Chris Povey offered to follow this up. The Spencer Jones Cup has not been updated post war and the feeling was to leave it as it stands.

  10. Results of the Striking Competition – Newing Shield:  This was judged by Mr Alan Hartley.

    1st Moreton-in-Marsh "A";   Total 12.5 faults.
           (Awarded the Newing Shield)

    2nd Wellesbourne.                     Total 22.5.
           (Awarded the Spencer Jones Cup)

    3rd Moreton-in-Marsh "B".         Total 48.

    4th Long Compton.                   Total 61.

            Scratch team "A".          Total   4.5

            The Committee.         Total 10

            Scratch team "B".          Total 10.5

    The Brazier Competition, no entries this year.

The Meeting closed at 6.25pm.. John Nicholls thanked everybody for their input to the meeting. He also thanked all those who brought the food and helped with the teas, the latter in particular Maureen and David Adams, and Stuart and Michael Cummings, for their great assistance in this way.

Andrew Gunn

Hon. Secretary.

Please note that these Minutes are subject to final acceptance at the 2013 AGM.