Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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Guild Master's report for the 2014 AGM: Year 2013-2014

I am pleased to report again that your Guild in the year 2013 to 2014 has been very active again, and your committee, elected at the last Annual General Meeting, has again been working extremely hard on your behalf. Our Honorary Treasurer, Michael Dane, will make his report at the 2014 AGM. The Guild accounts have been published in the Newsletter. They successfully withstood the examination Guild Accounts Examiners Mike Fairfax and Trevor Hobday.

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, we must thank Stuart Cummings for the sterling work he has done in arranging all the towers.

Our Christmas social event was again held at Wellesbourne, where after ringing we moved over to the Church Centre for the Christmas Party. A good variety of food was laid on, and, having eaten, we again settled down for Carol singing, with accompaniment from Linda Dane on piano. A raffle was held during the evening with proceeds to our bell restoration fund.

The Annual Dinner was held on Saturday 1st February 2014 at The White Hart Royal Hotel, Moreton in Marsh. It was thoroughly enjoyed by 45 ringers and partners. Our guest speaker was one of our own members, Chris Righton, who was able to tell us and entertain us about his time in the hierarchy of the NFU. 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 donation towards it.

The Annual Ringing Tour for 2014 was again organised by Richard Lewis-Skeath. It took place in West Oxon around the Faringdon area and was a one-day tour this time. As before, it was well attended.

The website under the control Roland Merrick is keeping everyone well informed about Guild activities. It contains the Guild Newsletter to be read online. It also displays the latest information with regard to the availability of Guild clothing for purchase.

Chris Povey is editor (he says caretaker editor…) of the Guild Newsletter and our thanks must go to him for still producing an excellent product. The quality and content is outstanding. Guild members are still undertaking the printing.

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.

Please do not forget our Bell Restoration Fund if you need financial help with your bells. Please make a written application to the Guild Committee, which will be considered at our quarterly meetings.

I would 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. Also to our CCCBR representatives in attending Central Council meeting in Kent and the various committee meetings. Finally I would like to thank Michael Haynes for organising the annual Guild walk, and Isobel Murphy for the hard work in coordinating the FSG monthly tours and for the contribution that is made from those tours via her to the Bell Restoration Fund.

Peter Quinn, Guild Master