The 2013 Guild Annual Dinner was once again held at the White Hart Royal Hotel in Moreton-in-Marsh. It is a very central location. The hotel was very good to us last year in dealing with last-minute cancellations due to the snow, and this year they were equally good in terms of quality of the food and in the service offered. Over 40 members and guests attended this very convivial event. At the beginning the President, John Nicholls, reported the deaths of Arthur Berry and, earlier that day, of Juliet Reynolds. He asked for a minute's silence in their memories.
The Dinner is, of course, the occasion when the awards gained in the activities of the previous 12 months are distributed. The full range of Guild trophies were on display beforehand.
Our Speaker this year, Peter Bennett from Newport, has been a member for only two years, but his association with the Guild stretches back some 60 years, as he told us. Although originally from Birmingham, his family moved to Wootton Wawen when he was young. Peter learnt to ring there, amid the old Guild certificates hanging on the walls at the time, and the Four Shires Guild was truly his first contact with a ringing organisation. He told us of his fascination with the certificates, but, although there were a few FSG members from that era still around then to tell him anything, only a glimpse of the Guild was possible. He therefore finds the present-era Guild brings those early memories to life. He told us about one or two of the old-Guild ringers he met. His second peal (Grandsire Triples) was at Mickleton with Fred Kinchin in it. Another story concerned Fred Lyne from Stratford, who took part in some peals in and around Warwickshire. Fred agreed to ring in an attempt at Honiley. He went back home and told his wife he was ringing in the evening on whichever day it was. Come the appointed day the peal band met one short: no Fred. Luckily the person who let them in agreed to ring a quarter, but because he felt OK near the end of the quarter he allowed it to run on to complete a peal. Fred was asked later why he didn't turn up. He said, "I got myself ready to come and then went outside to go, but came back inside again. My wife said, 'I thought you were going out to ring'. I said, 'I was, but I be damned if I can remember where it's going to be'. And that's why I wasn't there!"
The award-giving followed the Speaker. The President, John Nicholls, handed out all-but-one of these, the exception being the Ringing Master's Merit Award, which was given by Guild Ringing Master, Sophia Lewis-Skeath. The list of awards and their recipients were:-
|The Newing Shield Striking competition:-|
|The Newing Shield||Moreton-in-Marsh|
|The Spencer Jones Cup||Wellesbourne|
|The Ringing Master's Merit Award||Long Compton|
|The Minimus Striking Competition:-|
|The 'Minnie Mouse' trophy||'The Committee' team|
In addition, the purchase of a new batch of winner's shields for the Newing Shield competition allowed past winners to be awarded these permanent tower momentos.
The Brazier Trophy Striking Competition for inexperienced bands did not run this year.
So ended another Guild Dinner. Although we have had (and at the time of writing, are still having) a long, cold winter, we did not have snow to contend with this year and thus had a greater attendance. It was a very enjoyable and successful occasion.