Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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Guild Master's report for the 2013 AGM: Year 2012-2013

I am pleased to report that your Guild has been very active again, and your committee, elected at the last Annual General Meeting, has again been working very hard on your behalf. Our HonoraryTreasurer, Michael Dane, will make his report at the 2013 AGM. The Guild accounts for the year ending 31st December 2012 were published in the April Newsletter.

The weekly practices have again been very well attended. The Ringing Master, Sophia Lewis-Skeath, has either run them or appointed a deputy to do so. Most of the towers we usually ring at during the year welcome the Guild back! However we have problems regarding some of the Oxfordshire towers, where payment is requested to ring at them. We shall try to address this with the various incumbents as soon as we can. Stuart Cummings has done sterling work again this year in arranging all the towers.

Our Christmas social event was held at Wellesbourne, where after ringing we moved over to the Church Centre for the Party itself. A magnificent variety of food was laid on, and having eaten, we settled down for Carol singing led by Sophia Lewis-Skeath, with accompaniment from Linda Dane on piano and Benjamin Lewis-Skeath on tuba. A raffle followed with tickets being sold by Stuart Cummings and Eliza Lewis-Skeath. The proceeds went to the bell restoration fund.

The Annual Dinner was held on Saturday 6th February 2013 at The White Hart Royal Hotel, Moreton-in-Marsh. The weather was far kinder to us than last year when snow prevented many getting to Moreton and threatened to cancel the event. This year's Dinner was thoroughly enjoyed by nearly 50 ringers and partners. Our guest speaker, Peter Bennett from the Llandaff and Monmouth DACBR (and a Guild member, too), reminisced about the time he spent in the FSG area in his youth and his ringing exploits during that time with some of the old ringing characters then.

The Annual Ringing Tour for 2012 was a different format to other years in being a weekend event. Richard Lewis-Skeath organised it around Abergavenny, so that those who did not wish to stay on the Friday and Saturday nights could attend the Saturday towers without having to travel a great distance. All who tried this format thoroughly enjoyed it and said Richard did a great job. The 2013 outing will be to the same format in the Ludlow area.

The website under Roland Merrick is keeping everyone well informed about Guild activities. It contains the Guild Newsletter to be read online, although this is now one issue in arrears to prevent non-members having the same benefits as paid-up members. It also displays the latest information regarding the availability of Guild clothing for purchase.

The new Guild Rules, as agreed at the 2012 AGM, have been printed and a copy has been given to all paid up members. This booklet contains other information about the Guild, including a brief history

Chris Povey is editor of the Guild Newsletter and our thanks must go to him for producing an excellent product. The quality and content is outstanding. The printing is still being undertaken 'in house' by a steadfast volunteer team.

An abridged version of the Minutes of the most-recent Guild Committee meeting is always published in the Newsletter, so that all members are as up-to-date as possible with Guild business. They can then inform the Hon Secretary about any items they wish to be discussed at these meetings or request clarification about items already discussed.

Our Bell Restoration Fund, which was set up three years ago, continues to offer grants to towers in our area of operation. Wyck Rissington's very successful restoration project this year was awarded one of the grants given. We intend to hold the 2013 Minimus Striking Competition at this tower in September. Other grants have been made to Welford-on-Avon, Hinton-on-the-Green and Cropthorne. The Rules and Constitution of the Fund are given in the Guild Rules booklet, and application forms are available from the Honorary Secretary.

I would like to thank all members of the committee again this year for their commitment and continuing hard work, and for the time they have given to attending the committee meetings held during this year. Thanks also to our CCCBR representatives for attending the Central Council meeting in Chester and contributing to the various CC committees. Finally I would like to thank Wendy Mace for organising the annual Guild walk, our President John Nicholls for organising the Inter Shires Striking Competition, and Isobel Murphy for the hard work in coordinating the FSG monthly Mid-week Tours.

Peter Quinn, Guild Master