Our admiration goes to John Kinchin for generating money towards the purchase of new ropes. Here at Badsey we have run a fund for many years, generated from a percentage of what we are paid for weddings, anniversaries, peals, quarter peals and visiting teams etc. From this fund we are able to sustain routine out-goings - namely ropes, minor repairs, affiliation fees; in fact anything appertaining to the routine maintenance of our lovely and historic bells. After all, we as ringers get much pleasure and enjoyment from this. We have not asked for backup from our PCC as far back as I can remember. Although we operate our own fund, consideration is given to the Vicar and PCC in any decision. Absolutely nothing is done without their prior knowledge and approval.
We are very lucky in as much that John does any rope splicing if needed, and with the help of Gordon he keeps on top of any regular routine maintenance, which pays its own reward. It's amazing how nuts can suddenly go missing from bolts, and cracks become evident in stays with use.
I was overjoyed to receive this letter. I could not have written it better. The subject and its benefits are something I've been meaning to mention in the Newsletter for some time, because, like Hilary, I feel passionate about it, too. There has been a similar 'Rope Fund' at Evesham Bell Tower for something like 50 years (started by my predecessor). We, too, use this Fund to provide ropes and other maintenance works, plus affiliation fees to the Worcs & Dists Assn. Money for the Fund comes from similar sources to those Hilary mentions. As ringers we really ought to be contributing to the equipment from which we derive so much pleasure. PCCs will take us far more seriously if they can see we are paying for the basics. As said previously, most PCCs are having a bad time financially at present, so any help they are given will be appreciated. Bells are generally low on the priority list (they don't keep the wind and rain out, they don't heat the church and they don't provide music for the hymns), so expenditure on the bells will also be low priority unless your PCC is rich (rare).
What happens to donations to the tower from visiting ringers? Does it go to the PCC? If so, does it go into a dedicated fund in their accounts? If so, well, OK. If not, it will get lost and it will be difficult get it out. Form a tower fund (although legally, this money may still belong to the PCC. Some simple accounts will satisfy them - and any of your ringers who are interested to know). Ed