Over 38 members and guests attended the 2014 Annual Guild Dinner, which was once again held at the White Hart Royal Hotel in Moreton-in-Marsh.
Moreton is in the heart of the Four Shires' area of operation and is a very convenient central location. This will be the fourth year we have held the annual feast at this hotel. No doubt memories go back to 2012, when the dinner was nearly cancelled due to very heavy snow.
Again we had a good meal, the food and service being equal to that in previous years.
The President, John Nicholls, gave his introductions before dinner commenced and then asked the Rev'd Peter Newing to say The Grace.
Our speaker this year was Chris Righton, who rings at Mickleton and Illmington. He gave an excellent speech in an extremely good humour and relaxed manner. He spoke briefly about bellringing within the Four Shires area but mostly about his time representing farmers in the NFU and giving us some insight to the politics that he encountered.
Chris was right at the top of the NFU based in London for a number of years; he was also the NFU and British farming representative at the European Union in Brussels. This position gave him the opportunity to visit many other countries, which included conferences in the USA.
At the end of his speech he spoke about the lack of younger ringers coming into the Exercise and in particular in the Four Shires Guild's area. He was very concerned that when the present generation no longer rang, bells would fall silent on a Sunday. He asked the Guild's Committee to consider some teaching facility such as that at Kineton and that he wanted to be the first to make a £100.00 donation towards it.
The award-giving followed the Speaker. The Newing Shield was presented by Peter Newing himself; the Ringing Master's Merit Award was given by Guild Ringing Master, Sophia Lewis-Skeath; and the remainder of the awards were presented by the President, John Nicholls. The list of their awards and the recipients were:-
The Newing Shield Striking Competition:
The Brazier Trophy Striking Competition:
The Ringing Master's Merit Award
The Minimus Striking Competition
After dinner the raffle was drawn in aid of the Bell Restoration Fund by Jackie Hands and the sum of £73.00 was raised. Thanks go to all those who donated the many prizes and to Jackie for organising it.
Words: Peter Quinn
Photos: Michael Dane