Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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AGM day this year was an ‘OK sunny day'. Not as sparkling as last year at Chastleton, but acceptable nonetheless. The venue this year was Offenham in ‘grower country' in the Vale of Evesham. Claire Penny (Offenham RM) and Matthew Kemble, Deputy RM) were our hosts. We had a nice little 6 to play with and, once again, the tea tables heaved with food. What lovely occasions the Guild AGMs are!

Various members "loitering with intent (to ring)" The Ringing Room of this ground-floor ring is through the rather fine modern door at the end.

We had two judges for both competitions this year, Steve Bowley and Jonathan Adkins from Tetbury. The Brazier Trophy went first and had two ‘real' teams in it. This is the competition for novices and does not include rising and falling. Nice to have this competition run again after so long.

After this was the Newing Trophy, where the experienced teams slug it out for the Guild's silverware. There were five eligible bands in it. Time was running short towards the end, so some scratch teams were curtailed.

It was then across to the Village Hall for tea. Traditionally this is a fine affair, and this year's tea did not disappoint. There was more than enough for all. Tea over we had to vacate the Hall, so it was back to the Church for the Service, the AGM and the Competitions results.

The Vicar of Offenham, the Rev Richard Court, conducted a very pleasant Service. As is now usual, Steve Bowley played the organ. The highlight was an excellent sermon that centred on the ringing of bells. It was very cleverly crafted and held most of us, if not all, in thrall. Thank you!

The AGM proved to be nicely straightforward, as the following Minutes show: just over half-an-hour from start to finish. The accounts came in for praise again. There was, as last year, unanimous support for Michael being re-elected as Hon Treasurer.

Steve and Jonathan Adkins announced the Striking Competition results. As will be seen in the Minutes below, Mickleton once more took the Shield and Moreton-in-Marsh ‘A' team took the Spencer Jones Cup.

The President thanked everyone for coming and thanked those who had brought food for the gathering. He singled out Claire Penny and Matthew Kemble, who had masterminded the Offenham end.


The Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

Minutes of the 2013 Annual General Meeting

The AGM of the Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers was held at SS Mary & Milburgh, Offenham, Worcs, on Saturday 12th October 2013 starting at 1732 hrs, with the President, John Nicholls, in the Chair. John welcomed everybody to the meeting.  About 20 members attended.  Prior to the Meeting, the Brazier Trophy was competed for, followed by the Striking Competition for the Newing Shield and Spencer Jones Cup.

  1. Apologies: Apologies were received from Andrew Roberts, David Adams, Robert Hall, Wendy Ryder, John Kinchin and David Clarke.
  2. Minutes of the Last Meeting: These were published in the January 2013 Newsletter. The Chairman asked whether they may be taken as read, to which agreement was given. No issues of accuracy were raised. It was proposed by Michael Fairfax and seconded by Michael Haynes that these Minutes be accepted as a true record. This was agreed and the Minutes were signed as such.
  3. Matters arising: Chris Povey mentioned that the lapel badges are available.  Steve Bowley asked whether they were different to the previous badge. Chris explained that they now match the one on the Guild's clothing. No other points were raised.
  4. Guild Master's Report: This report appeared in the July 2013 Newsletter. Peter Quinn had nothing further to add to this. No points were raised.
  5. Treasurer's Report: Michael Dane reported that the accounts, which appeared in the April 2013 Newsletter, are the first full year under his control. Since appearing in the Newsletter they have been examined and nothing of note had been discovered. He highlighted that a small amount of interest had been added to the Bell Fund and the 2012 expenses were higher due to the purchase of the lapel badges and presentation shields. Michael Fairfax thanked Michael for bringing the accounts into good order and for the clarity of their presentation. Michael Dane proposed and Michael Fairfax seconded that the accounts be adopted. The proposal was agreed. The Examiners are to sign the formal copy.
  6. Election of the President: The Guild Master, Peter Quinn, took the chair for this item. He reported that a written nomination had been received from the Rev Peter Newing proposing John Nicholls for this post. The proposal was seconded by Michael Fairfax. There being no other nominations, John was duly elected to act in this capacity for a further three years. John again took the Chair and thanked everybody. He said he enjoys doing it.
  7. Vice Presidents: Chris Povey said he had spoken to Peter Newing, who said he would be happy to continue as a Vice-President if the Guild wished. Chris therefore formally proposed Peter; Michael Haynes seconded. Michael Fairfax proposed Phyllis Brazier as the other Vice-President; Freda Cleaver seconded. Peter and Phyllis were re-elected Vice-Presidents for a further three years.
  8. Election of Officers:

    Guild Master: John Nicholls said Peter Quinn had steered the Guild well during the year and was pleased to propose him; seconded by Sophia Lewis-Skeath. At the vote Peter was re-elected.

    Ringing Master: John said Sophia Lewis-Skeath had run the Saturday evening practices successfully and has ensured all who attend are included in varied ringing. He was pleased to propose that she continue; seconded by Andrew Gunn. At the vote Sophia was re-elected.

    Secretary: John said Andrew Gunn was diligent as the Hon Secretary. A written proposal for Andrew to continue in this post had been received from the Rev Peter Newing; seconded by Chris Povey. At the vote Andrew was re-elected.

    Treasurer: John said Michael Dane had undertaken excellent work as Treasurer and hoped he would continue. Michael was willing. Michael was proposed by Michael Fairfax and seconded by Michael Haynes. At the vote Michael was re-elected.

  9. Election of the Committee and Accounts Examiners: The members of the current Committee were asked whether they were happy to continue in post. They were. It was proposed that they be returned enbloc if there was no dissent. There was no dissent, so the present Committee continue.  The Committee members are therefore: Stuart Cummings, Michael Haynes, Jackie Hands, Peter Kenealy, Keith Murphy and Chris Povey. The Chairman was reminded that Keith would be retiring from the Committee when his term as CC Representative ends in May 2014.  John said that the Committee could co-op another if the need arose; it was felt not applicable at this time. Richard L-S asked whether Isobel Murphy, as the organiser of the Vice President's Mid-week tours, would wish to join the Committee. However Keith said Isobel was willing to continue to organise the tours, but doesn't want to be on the Committee.
  10. The Account Examiners (Trevor Hobday and Mike Fairfax) were both returned after being proposed by Michael Dane and seconded by John Nicholls.

  11. Election of two Central Council Representatives:

    Keith Murphy did not seek re-election as a representative. Two written nominations had been received from the Rev Peter Newing. He proposed Chris Povey, who was seconded by Freda Cleaver, and Andrew Gunn, who was seconded by Michael Fairfax. At the vote both were elected to serve for three years. John thanked Keith for his time, energy and input as a Guild's representative, although he would continue in post until the day before the 2014 CC Meeting.

  12. Life Members:

    On behalf of the Committee the Chairman asked the meeting to ratify Viv Barnes of Hinton-on-the-Green as an Honorary Life Member of the Guild. She had been omitted from the list of known HLMs that were formally ratified at the 2012 AGM. The meeting ratified this request.

    The Committee made two proposals for new Honorary Life Members. These proposals appeared as a Notice in the October 2013 Newsletter. Being made by the Committee, the proposals required no seconding. Under Guild Rules each of these proposals required the support of 75% of the AGM attendance.

    The first proposal was:-

    The Committee proposes that Honorary Life Membership of the Guild be conferred on those surviving members who attended the inaugural meeting on 30th March 1973. These members are John Nicholls, Michael Fairfax, Clinton (Clint) Evans, Malcolm Stewart and Christopher Povey. The sixth surviving member, the Rev Frederick Rothery, is already a Life Member.

    This received full support and the members involved were transferred to Honorary Life Members.

    The second proposal was:-

    That Mrs Phyllis Brazier, currently a Vice-President, be accorded Honorary Life Membership of the Guild.

    This received full support and Phyllis Brazier was transferred to Honorary Life Member.

    Chris Povey, John Nicholls and Michael Fairfax then personally thanked those present for conferring this honour.

  13. Confirmation of New Members:

    The membership of the following was confirmed after John asked the floor if they agreed to them becoming Members. All agreed:–

    All from Quinton: -
    Pam Sutton.
    Julia Philips.
    Gerald Philips.
    Nigel Green.

    Jonathan Adkins, Tetbury.

  14. Any other Business:

    The Chairman reminded those present about the upcoming 300th anniversary, on Saturday 16th November, of the burial of Fabian Stedman. The CCCBR suggests ringing Stedman in some form on that day.  He mentioned the Guild's Inter-Shire Championship striking competition was also on the 16th of November at Harvington, Worcs.

    The Chairman said the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War is next year and the subsequent key dates were mentioned, but he said it was very much up to each tower how they wished to mark those occasions and whether by open or muffled ringing. 

    Nick Allsopp asked whether the Guild would consider including a Non Resident Life Member category, as most guilds/societies/associations have. He would like to have rung his recent 50th birthday peal at Moreton-in-Marsh for the FSG, but the lack of NRLM for his four friends from Hampshire helped to cause the peal to have been rung for the Winchester & Portsmouth Guild. He asked the Committee to consider adding a NRLM category. A short discussion followed after which it was agreed that the Committee should look at this aspect and report back. An inclusion of NRLM would require a rule change that could only be approved at an AGM.

  15. Results of the Striking Competitions:

    The Brazier Trophy competition was run this year. It was judged by Jonathan Adkins and Steve Bowley. The results were as follows:-

    1st   Offenham. Total 41 faults.
    (to be awarded the Brazier Trophy)
    2nd   Quinton. Total 69 faults.
      Scratch (Disregarded)   Total 28 faults.

    The Newing Shield competition followed. The judges reported that all the ringing was of a good standard, but all teams seemed to have had difficulty at some point with the rise, especially around the 4th and the 5th bells. The results were as follows:-

    1st   Mickleton. Total 12 faults.
    (to be awarded the Newing Shield)
    2nd Moreton 'A'. Total 15 faults.
    3rd Long Compton   Total 20 faults.
    4th Wellesbourne. Total 36 faults.
    5th Moreton 'B'. Total 38 faults.

    The Merit Award was awarded by Sophia L-S to Moreton 'B'.

    The awards will be presented at the Guild's Annual Dinner on 1st February 2014

The Meeting closed at 1809 hrs. The Chairman thanked the Judges, Sophia and others for their input to the event. He thanked the Vicar, Claire Penny and Matthew Kemble for making the Tower available, as well as overseeing the hire of the Hall for the teas and other facilities.

Andrew Gunn
Hon. Secretary.

Please note that these Minutes are subject to final acceptance at the 2014 AGM.