The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

Minutes of the Third Session of the 36th Council (101st Annual Meeting), held at Jury’s Hotel, Dublin, on Monday 25th May 1998, at 10am


Life Members: F. E. Dukes, C. K. Lewis, W. F. Moreton, D. G. Thorne.
Honorary Members: A. E. Bagworth, D. W. Beard, Mrs S. Bianco, M. J. Church, R. J. Cooles, Mrs K. Flavell, A. J. Frost, E. G. H. Godfrey, M. H. D. O’Callaghan, D. J. Roberts, Miss J. Roberts*, Preb J. G. M. Scott, R. B. Smith, Miss T. R. Stoecklin*, J. R. Taylor, Mrs P. M. Wilkinson.
Ancient Society of College Youths: A. R. Kench, A. N. Stubbs, A. W. R. Wilby.
Australia and New Zealand Assn: The Hon. Justice Bleby, Miss P. Sharpe (alt. member), J. A. Smith.
Bath and Wells Dio. Assn: D. J. Buckley, D. J. Kelly, G. W. Massey.
Bedfordshire Assn: P. J. S. Albon, K. Lewin, A. H. Smith.
Beverley and Dist. Society: M. J. de C. Henshaw, D. Watson.
Cambridge Univ. Guild: C. E. J. Kilgour, S. C. Walters.
Carlisle Dio. Guild: Miss R. M. Rodway.
Chester Dio. Guild: J. H. Gibb.
Coventry Dio. Guild: M. J. Dew, H. M. Windsor, Mrs B. A. Winter.
Derby Dio. Assn: Miss J. E. Boden, G. A. Halls, Mrs P. A. M. Halls.
Devonshire Guild: F. D. Mack.
Dorset County Assn: D. R. Bugler, Mrs M. E. Frost, A. G. Smith.
Durham and Newcastle Dio. Assn: Mrs B. M. Wheeler.
East Derbys and W. Notts Assn: A. Dempster.
Ely Dio. Assn: G. E. Bonham, M. B. Davies, B. B. Hullah, Miss J. Sanderson.
Essex Assn: J. Armstrong, F. J. P. Bone, A. G. Semken, D. L. Sparling.
Gloucester and Bristol Dio. Assn: G. Groves, I. P. Hill, M. J. Mulvey, J. M. Pearse, D. A. Strong.
Guildford Dio. Guild: W. J. Couperthwaite, J. Morgan, C. H. Rogers, R. J. Walker.
Hereford Dio. Guild: D. R. Carter, B. D. Threlfall, J. F. I. Turney.
Hertford County Assn: A. F. Alldrick, B. C. Watson.
Irish Assn: A. S. Hudson, M. J. Pomeroy, Ms J. Thompson.
Kent County Assn: N. J. Davies, F. W. Lewis, D. C. Manger, Mrs D. R. Wraight.
Ladies Guild: Miss F. Cannon, Mrs A. R. Caton, Miss T. Crowder.
Lancashire Assn: J. Kershaw, S. S. Meyer, Mrs A. E. Pettifor, P. A. Thompson.
Leeds Univ. Society: M. Pidd.
Leicester Dio. Guild: Mrs C. N. J. Franklin, J. R. Thompson, B. G. Warwick, Mrs W. M. Warwick*.
Lichfield and Walsall Archd. Society: S. G. Pick, Mrs L. Smith.
Lincoln Dio. Guild: G. R. Parker, Mrs J. M. Rogers.
Liverpool Univ. Society: S. J. Flockton.
Llandaff and Monmouth Dio. Assn: P. S. Bennett, J. C. Parker.
London County Assn: R. G. Booth, Mrs J. E. Higgins, H. W. Rogers.
Manchester Univ. Guild: Miss L. MacMahon.
Middlesex County Assn. and London Dio. Guild: R. Bailey, F. T. Blagrove, A. Udal.
North American Guild: D. F. Morrison, P. A. Trotman.
North Staffordshire Assn: Mrs W. Daw, P. W. Gay.
North Wales Assn: D. Hyde*, D. R. Marshall.
Norwich Dio. Assn: Mrs G. M. Hodgkinson, J. B. Morley, D. F. Riley.
Oxford Dio. Guild: W. Butler, K. R. Davenport, J. A. Harrison, J. R. Martin, Mrs P. M. Newton, T. G. Pett.
Oxford Society: B. J. Stone.
Oxford Univ. Society: P. D. Niblett.
Peterborough Dio. Guild: C. J. Groome, D. J. Jones, Mrs E. J. Sibson*.
St David’s Dio. Guild: R. C. Warburton.
St Martin’s Guild: J. A. Anderson.
Salisbury Dio. Guild: A. J. Howes, Mrs J. Howes, A. C. D. Lovell-Wood, A. P. Nicholson.
Scottish Assn: P. J. Shipton.
Shropshire Assn: F. M. Mitchell.
Society of Royal Cumberland Youths: J. S. Barnes, I. H. Oram, Miss S. J. Pattenden, D. E. Sibson.
S. African Guild: P. M. Talbot (alt. member).
Southwell Dio. Guild: B. J. Bull, G. A. Dawson, A. B. Mills, B. A. Richards.
Suffolk Guild: S. D. Pettman, Revd L. R. Pizzey, D. G. Salter, A. R. Smith.
Surrey Assn: J. D. Cheesman, C. Ridley, R. J. Wallis.
Sussex County Assn: A. R. Baldock, J. E. Hawes, H. F. Pettifer, I. V. J. Smith.
Swansea and Brecon Dio. Guild: Mrs H. J. Rose.
Transvaal Society: J. Hill.
Truro Dio. Guild: Miss D. J. Couch, N. R. Mattingley, Mrs H. L. Perry, R. J. Perry, D. R. Pope*.
Univ. Bristol Society: Miss C. O’Callaghan.
Univ. London Society: G. Barr.
Veronese Assn: J. D. Gallimore, R. G. T. Morris, G. Tommasi.
Winchester and Portsmouth Dio. Guild: A. G. Craddock, A. P. Smith.
Worcestershire and Districts Assn: C. M. Povey, A. Roberts, S. J. T. Wilmshurst.
Yorkshire Assn: Miss L. M. Bland*, N. Donovan, Revd G. C. Galley, R. N. Moreton, Mrs D. M. Rhymer.
Zimbabwe Guild: Mrs V. Grossmith (alt. member).

The Devon Association, Durham University Society, East Grinstead and District Guild, Midland Counties Guild, National Police Guild and Society of Sherwood Youths were not represented.

1. The Chair

The Chair was taken by the President, Mrs P. M. Wilkinson.

2. Opening Prayer

The Revd G. C. Galley led the Council in prayer.

3. Report as to membership and subscriptions

The Hon. Secretary, Mr C. H. Rogers, reported that 68 societies were affiliated to the Council with 200 representatives. There were nine Life Members and 20 Honorary Members. Subscriptions had been received from all affiliated societies except the Midland Counties Guild. He had been informed that the representative of the Midland Counties Guild had resigned and had not been replaced.

4. Apologies for absence

Apologies for absence were received from the Revd J. C. Baldwin, E. A. Barnett, Miss D. E. Colgate, H. W. Egglestone and C. A. Wratten (Life Members); A. P. S. Berry, J. C. Eisel, Dr L. F. Forbes and S. J. Coleman (Honorary Members); A. J. Phillips (Ancient Society of College Youths); P. Whitehead (Australian and New Zealand Assn); P. Dyson, C. Mitchell and N. Thomson (Chester D.G.); P. Border (Coventry D.G.); P. L. Bill, M. E. C. Mears and G. E. Mudge (G. Devonshire R.); N. A. Johnson and R. R. Warford (Durham and Newcastle D.A.); the Revd P. Newing (Durham U.S.); R. A. Grant (E. Grinstead and District G.); J. J. P. Ellams (Hereford D.G.); J. R. Mayne and Miss D. M. Robotham (Hertford C.A.); D. H. Niblett (Kent C.A.); D. R. Pettifor (Lancashire A.); L. G. Townsend (Lincoln D.G.); the Revd J. M. Hughes (Llandaff and Monmouth D.A.); E. G. Mould (London C.A.); G. E. J. A. Doughty (Middlesex C.A.); R. J. Parker (Norwich D.A.); B. J. R. Gross (Peterborough D.G.); P. Needham (St Martin’s G.); R. J. Wellen (Salisbury D.G.); R. E. H. Woolley (S. Sherwood Youths); Mrs J. M. Webster (S. African G.); D. N. Wallis (Surrey A.); R. T. Clay (Sussex C.A.); P. C. Johnson (Swansea and Brecon D.G.); D. I. Bassford (Univ. Bristol S.); P. Avesani and F. Giona (Veronese A.); Mrs G. Cater, the Revd B. J. Fry and D. C. Jackson (Winchester and Portsmouth D.G.); R. F. B. Speed (Worcestershire and Districts A.); and Miss A. M. Phillips (Zimbabwe G.)

Alternate members were present from the Australian and New Zealand Association, South African Guild and Zimbabwe Guild.

5. Minutes of the 1997 Annual Meeting

The Minutes of the meeting held on 26th May 1997, as published in The Ringing World of 20th February (pp.183-184), were approved, subject to the deletion of D. H. Niblett (Kent C.A.) from the list of those present.

6. Welcome to new members

The President welcomed new members of the Council (indicated by * in the list of those present).

7. Loss of members through death

Members stood in silence as the Hon. Secretary read the names of former members of the Council who had died since the last meeting: Mr P. Walker (Oxford D.G. 1960-74); Mr W. M. Rowe (Hon. member 1947-56); Mr A. Cattell (Leicester D.G. 1984 until his death); Mr J. R. Smith (Norwich D.A. 1978-86); Mr B. P. Morris (Peterborough D.G. 1951-3); Mr H. G. Cashmore (Hertford C.A. 1939 and 1945-53); Mr A. Mould (Derby D.A. 1951-65); and Mr E. J. Ladd (E. Grinstead and District G. 1960-5). The Revd L. R. Pizzey said a prayer.

8. Election of Life Member

The Revd Prebendary J. G. M. Scott was proposed for Life Membership of the Council by Mr A. J. Frost. Mr Frost said that Prebendary Scott had been a member of the Council since 1954, first as a representative of the Guild of Devonshire Ringers and since 1986 as an Honorary Member. He had been Vice-President of the Council from 1975 to 1981 and President from 1981 to 1984, and had attended 44 meetings. It was he who had proposed during his term as President that Presidents should not automatically be elected Life Members. He had been a member of the Towers and Belfries Committee for 40 years, had been its Chairman from 1978 to 1980 and had carried out more belfry inspections than any other living member. He was also a long-serving member of the Rescue Fund for Redundant Bells and had served on the former Sunday Service and Education Committee. He had given a lifetime of service to the Council and was still working hard on its behalf.

In seconding the proposal, Mr G. W. Massey said that the whole of Prebendary Scott’s church ministry had been spent in Devon in parishes with rings of bells. He had an unrivalled knowledge of the bells and bellfounders of Devon and elsewhere and had given an enormous amount of time and energy to his work for the Council and for ringing in general.

Voting was by ballot and the proposal was carried by an overwhelming majority. Following the announcement of the result Prebendary Scott thanked the Council for the honour conferred on him.

9. Annual Report of the Council
(RW 24 April 1998, p.411)

In proposing the adoption of the report the Honorary Secretary referred again to the resignation of the representative of the Midland Counties Guild and the consequent reduction to 200 of the number of representative members. The adoption of the report was seconded by Mr C. J. Groome and agreed.

10. Accounts for 1997
(RW 24 April 1998, p.412-3)

In presenting the accounts, the Hon. Treasurer, Mr E. G. H. Godfrey, said that previously adoption of the Accounts had been delayed pending consideration of the reports of the Library and Publications Committees, so that questions on the Friends of the Library and Publications Accounts could be dealt with then. However, with the change in the format of the Accounts, it was more appropriate that they should be dealt with in their entirety at this stage. Mr Godfrey went on to draw attention to three changes: education courses were now separated out from the general fund; in the balance sheet investments were now shown as fixed assets; and the capital reserve was now shown as a designated fund. He then proposed the adoption of the report, which was seconded by Mr H. W. Rogers, who thanked him for his clear presentation of it.

In debate several questions were asked and answers given as follows:

(1) What is the investment strategy and what advice has been taken on investments? - The funds are invested mainly in National Savings bonds and with the Church of England’s Central Board of Finance. With a current interest rate of 7.11 % from the latter, these investments provide a high level of income at low risk. No change is recommended.

(2) The Library has been insured for £40,000 for some years. When was this last reviewed? - The Library insurance is reviewed each year. £40,000 is still the appropriate sum.

(3) Publications stock has been written off to the value of £9,222 but presumably has not been destroyed. How will future sales of this stock be accounted for? - The stock has been retained, but the value of a quantity of slow-moving stock has been written down. Income from future sales of this stock will be accounted for in the usual way.

(4) Why does none of the income from investments accrue to the capital fund? - Because the capital fund is funded by an annual transfer from the general fund in line with inflation.

Adoption of the report was then agreed.

11. Election of Honorary Members

Six Honorary Members would complete their three-year term at the end of the meeting, of whom Prebendary J. G. M. Scott had just been elected a Life Member and Miss J. Sanderson had been elected a Representative Member. The other four were individually proposed, seconded and elected, as follows: Mrs S. Bianco, member of the Public Relations Committee and project coordinator for ‘Ringing in the Millennium’; Mr S. J. Coleman, one of the independent examiners; Mr R. J. Cooles, legal adviser; and Mr M. H. D. O’Callaghan, Rescue Fund treasurer. Five vacancies for honorary members remained unfilled.

12. Motions

(A) International Striking Competition

The Hon Justice Bleby proposed and Mr J. A. Smith seconded:

‘That the Council notes the institution by the Australian and New Zealand Association of Bellringers Inc. of two perpetual trophies for an international striking competition in accordance with the terms of a deed lodged with the Secretary. It welcomes such a competition and urges bands from as many countries as possible to compete for the inaugural awards in Australia in 2001.’

In proposing the motion, Mr Bleby referred to the international striking competition held in London in 1991, which was won by an Australian band. ANZAB had undertaken to present two permanent trophies for the competition and the rules were designed to ensure that it took place in 2001 and at ten-year intervals thereafter. There would be two contests, one on eight bells and the other on ten or twelve; there would be no limit on the number of teams, but if eliminators had to be held, steps would be taken to ensure that as many nations as possible were represented in the final. Mr Bleby pointed out that in the last 15 years there had been more new bell installations outside the UK than within it and that the exercise was now truly international. He encouraged everyone to come to Australia in 2001 and, due to the favourable exchange rate, urged them to buy Australian dollars now!

The motion was passed without debate.

(B) Central Council Bell Restoration Fund

Mrs K. Flavell proposed and Mr R. J. Cooles seconded:

‘That the Council adopts the proposed criteria (entitled “Proposed criteria for allocating CCBRF grants and loans”) for allocating grants and loans from its Bell Restoration Fund which are appended to the accompanying report ‘Central Council Bell Restoration Fund’ (RW 1st May 1998, pp.435-6), such criteria to be subject to review annually by the Council on presentation of the Bell Restoration Funds Committee’s annual report.’

In proposing the motion, Mrs Flavell said that its purpose was to define the criteria for allocating money from the Fund, as required by last-year’s reference-back motion. It was intended that it should complement the work of the Manifold Trust by giving highest priority to towers with existing bands where the bells were in need of urgent restoration. It was proposed that the need for sound control should be considered, not necessarily that it should be installed. The proposed annual review by the Council would provide the flexibility to amend the criteria as appropriate in future years.

After Mr Cooles had seconded the motion, Mr C. J. Groome, who had proposed the reference-back motion, said that the present proposals achieved what he had had in mind. The Fund would provide impetus for schemes which might not otherwise take place.

Mr G. A. Halls was largely happy with the criteria but took issue with the reference to sound control, as restored bells needed to be heard. He proposed that criterion 2.4 should be amended to read: ‘Consideration has been given to the management of the sound of the bells so as to minimise any cause for complaint.’ The amendment was seconded by Mr J. R. Taylor. Mr R. Bailey disagreed: it was irresponsible not to consider the need for some form of physical sound control for peals and practices. After support for that view from Mr A. W. R. Wilby and others, Mrs Flavell said that the wording was sufficiently flexible - sound control did not have to be installed if it was not needed, but it should be considered. The amendment was lost.

A second amendment was proposed by Dr T. G. Pett and seconded by Preb. J. G. M. Scott to delete the words ‘from other charities or trusts, in particular’ from criterion 3.1. Dr Pett’s point was that ‘other charities or trusts’ could well include association bell restoration funds; virtually all bell restoration schemes were eligible for grant from such funds; indeed it was likely to be a poor scheme that was not eligible. Mr Groome opposed the amendment on the grounds that the very limited sums of money that might be available for allocation should be directed to those few schemes with no other backing. Replying to the amendment, Mrs Flavell said that the intention of criterion 3.1 was to pick out the Manifold Trust and other external charities and trusts. It was not directed at association funds. The amendment was then put to the vote and carried by a small majority.

A third amendment was proposed by Mr A. R. Kench, who complimented the proposers of the motion on their proposals, but disagreed that priority for augmentations should be to provide rings of five or six bells. He accordingly proposed the deletion of criterion 3.3. Mr A. B. Mills seconded, and after a short debate the amendment was put to the vote and lost.

The original motion, as amended by the deletion of the words ‘from other charities or trusts, in particular’ from criterion 3.1, was then put to the vote and carried.

(C) Central Council Elections

After the President had obtained the consent of the meeting to take the motion in two parts, the Vice-President, Mr J. A. Anderson, proposed:

‘That in Rule 7(i) (Life Members), line 2, the words ‘(expressed by the agreement of four-fifths of those present)’ be omitted and the following be inserted after the first sentence: “Election shall be by ballot and shall require the agreement of four-fifths of those present”.’

He explained that this proposed rule change reflected a decision of the Council in 1995 that voting on life membership elections should be by ballot. Mr P. W. Gay seconded and the motion was agreed.

The Vice-President then proposed and Mr Gay seconded:

‘That in the heading of Rule 19 (Voting Rights) the word ‘Rights’ be omitted; the present Rule 19 be renumbered “19(i)” and the following be added: “(ii) Whenever more than two candidates are considered for any position, except in the election of Honorary Members, voting shall take place under the Single Transferable Vote system of the Electoral Reform Society”.’

In proposing the motion, the Vice-President said that concerns had been expressed about possible abuse of the voting system for the election of committees at the 1996 meeting. A working party had been set up and the Electoral Reform Society had been consulted. They advocated the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system, the main disadvantages of which were that computers would be required to count the votes cast and that the tellers would have to be trained in the use of the software. However, having discussed the matter with members of the Computer Coordination Committee, the Vice-President had no doubt that computers could be provided and, having also spoken to a representative of the Lincoln DG (host society for the 1999 meeting), he did not expect any difficulty in the training of tellers.

In the debate which followed a number of speakers cast doubt on the proposals: Mr W. J. Couperthwaite was concerned about the logistics, including the supply of computers and the training of tellers in the longer-term; the Hon. Justice Bleby, who had had experience of STV in Australia, spoke of the need for members to write the names of all the candidates in the right order on the ballot papers and then to express their preferences, and of the likelihood of many being filled in incorrectly; Mr C. J. Groome thought that STV would lengthen the process of electing committees and would put an unnecessary burden on the Council, although for the election of officers a similar system, which would not require the use of computers, was right; and Mrs G. M. Hodgkinson spoke of the difficulty of ranking in order of preference candidates whom she scarcely knew. Several members expressed the view that committee elections were not important enough to warrant STV and that it would be akin to taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Mr J. A. Harrison, on the other hand, pointed out that many professional bodies used STV to elect their committees.

The Vice-President and Mr Gay replied to many of the points made: even with a large committee the count would take no more than 20 minutes; the tellers would have the use of the computers in advance to practise running the system; and Council members should not find it difficult to fill in the ballot papers. The Vice-President then explained, through use of an overheard projector and an example provided by the Electoral Reform Society, the processes undertaken by the computer program in counting and re-allocating the votes cast.

Remaining of the view that STV was too complicated for the election of committees, Mr Bleby proposed and Mr J. A. Smith seconded an amendment to replace the words in the proposed Rule 19(ii) ‘any position, except in the election of Honorary Members’ by “the positions of President, Vice-President, Hon Secretary and Hon Treasurer” and the words ‘Single Transferable’ by “Alternate”. The Vice-President confirmed that for these elections the Alternate Vote system was appropriate and would not require the use of computers.

At this point Mr R. Bailey proposed and Miss J. Roberts seconded that the original motion should be put, but after some exchanges with the President this motion was withdrawn. Mr F. T. Blagrove then proposed and Mr A. W. R. Wilby seconded that the Council should move to next business. This motion was put to the vote and lost.

Returning to Mr Bleby’s amendment, the Vice-President explained how the Alternate Vote system worked and the amendment was put to the vote and carried. The original motion, as amended, was then also carried, its wording being as follows:

‘That in the heading of Rule 19 (Voting Rights) the word ‘Rights’ be omitted; the present Rule 19 be numbered “19(i)” and the following be added: “(ii) Whenever more than two candidates are considered for the positions of President, Vice-President, Hon. Secretary and Hon. Treasurer, voting shall take place under the Alternate Vote system of the Electoral Reform Society”.’

At this point the Council adjourned for lunch and the annual meeting of The Ringing World Ltd. The meeting resumed at 2.40 pm.

(D) Independent Examiners

The Hon. Secretary proposed and Mr A. P. Smith seconded:

‘That in line 6 of Rule 5(iv) ‘Auditor’ be replaced by “Independent Examiner”.’

After the Hon. Secretary had explained that this rule change had regrettably been overlooked last year when the Council had been asked to change several rules to meet the requirements of new regulations relating to charity accounts, the motion was put to the vote and agreed.

(E) Code of Practice for the Conservation and Repair of Bells and Bellframes

Mr R. B. Smith proposed and Mr D. J. Kelly seconded:

‘That the Council affirms that bell restoration should be in accordance with the Code of Practice for the Conservation and Repair of Bells and Bellframes, issued by the Council for the Care of Churches in 1993. Pressures from organisations or individuals for more rigorous or more liberal constraints to be applied will be strongly resisted until such time as this Code may be revised or replaced.’

In proposing the motion, Mr Smith referred to the Council’s membership of the working party appointed to produce the present Code of Practice and read out the aims of the Code. In his view English Heritage (EH), which had been represented on the working party, were concentrating only on the second aim ‘To ensure the conservation of historic bells, bellframes and fittings’, to the exclusion of the others. There seemed to be a misconception of English Heritage’s role: for churches which are listed buildings EH must be notified of and may comment on faculty applications; where EH have provided grant aid to the church at any time, their approval has to be sought for any new scheme; and if a bell restoration project is to be funded from the Heritage Lottery Fund under the Joint Churches Scheme, EH could impose conditions. Mr Smith was particularly concerned that the bellhangers had not been invited to the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings’ recent conference on the repair of wooden bellframes. He hoped that, if the motion were passed, the Officers would press EH and SPAB to act in accordance with the Code of Practice and would also write to the Diocesan Chancellors.

In seconding the motion, Mr Kelly drew attention to the difference between the advice of the Code of Practice on the tuning of bells and EH’s presumption against tuning.

Mr G. A. Halls was the first speaker in a lengthy debate. As a diocesan bells adviser for 30 years, his aim where large sums of money were involved was to produce a first-class bell restoration scheme - well-tuned bells, easy to ring, with good acoustics and a good rope circle, and no risk to the tower structure. He did not accept that all timber frames had to be preserved, nor that everything should be conserved except the art of change ringing. In his view the motion did not go far enough, but he urged members to support it.

Preb. J. G. M. Scott said that he was one of several Council members who had been recruited to advise EH on bell matters, but not to enforce their standards. The Council could not ignore the need for conservation, but should present a strong, informed and reasonable approach to it and should be ready to correct misunderstandings on the part of SPAB, EH and others. He felt uneasy with the second sentence of the motion and proposed its deletion.

After Mr B. D. Threlfall had seconded this amendment, Mr Smith said in reply that the intention of the second sentence was that the Council should take some action on the motion. He was particularly concerned that there were inconsistent views within EH on the conservation of bells and bellframes. The amendment was then put to the vote and lost.

After Mr G. A. Dawson had drawn attention to the distinction between preservation (as at Staunton Harold) and conservation in use, Mr A. J. Frost spoke of the need to understand EH’s point of view in order to argue cases with them. Bells and bellframes needed to be assessed before a considered conclusion was reached. In his experience EH adhered to the Code of Practice when giving advice, although they might be more rigorous where making a grant. However initial problems could usually be resolved by one-to-one site meetings with EH if all concerned trod carefully and responsibly. He urged ringers to contact the Towers and Belfries Committee in cases of difficulty.

Mr F. J. P. Bone referred to the recent adjournment debate on the matter in the House of Commons, in which the Minister had said that EH supported the Code of Practice. His concern was that the EH assessor sometimes exceeded his brief and that an appeal procedure was needed with EH.

Concluding the debate, Mr Smith said that the bellfounders and hangers were held responsible for the schemes they undertook, but too often their hands were tied. Only the best should be conserved. The motion was then put to the vote and carried.

(Note - A fuller report of this debate appeared in the RW of 5th June 1998, p.551)

13 Committee reports
(The reports were published in The Ringing World issues of 3rd, 10th and 24th April and 8th and 15th May. The relevant page numbers are given against each report).

(a) Administrative (pp.413-4)

In proposing the adoption of the report the Hon. Secretary referred to the proposal to combine the Official Report and the Minutes into a single document which would be an expanded form of the Minutes. He invited members to inform him of any errors or misrepresentations when the Minutes appeared in The Ringing World, and not to await the next Council meeting before doing so. The report was seconded by Mr M. J. Church.

Mrs S. Bianco and the Hon. Treasurer reported on progress with the ‘Ringing in the Millennium’ project: 270 second-stage applications had been received; grants averaging £22,000 each had been awarded to 136 projects (rather more than the 100 originally planned); 36 projects had been completed, with another 34 in progress; and by the end of May £677,000 would have been paid out. As the £3 million grant had now been exhausted, a request had been made to the Millennium Commission for further funding for the 100 or more eligible projects to which it had not been possible to award grants. Despite some difficulties, most people involved with the project had been very supportive, in particular the diocesan bell advisers and the bellfounders and hangers.

Miss T. R. Stoecklin commented that, due to this project and to ‘Ring in 2000’, bellringing now had a higher profile in the media than ever before, and Mr G. A. Halls complimented all those involved on the success of the project. (Applause).

The adoption of the Administrative Committee’s report was then agreed.

(b) Ringing Centres (p.361)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Mr P. W. Gay, who said that the Committee was focusing on the smaller ringing centres and their role in the training of ringers. Miss S. J. Pattenden seconded and the adoption of the report was agreed.

(c) Towers and Belfries (p.362)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Mr A. Dempster, seconded by Mr G. A. Dawson, and agreed, subject to the substitution of the ‘North Staffordshire Association’ for the ‘Lichfield Archdeaconry Society’ in the fifth paragraph.

(d) Bell Restoration Funds (p.362)

In proposing the adoption of the report, Mr J. S. Barnes made five points:

(1) Invitations from societies to hold bell restoration seminars in their areas would be welcome for this year and 1999;

(2) Volunteers were required to help with the design and presentation of an improved bell restoration package for sending to parishes;

(3) The St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocesan handbook contained a reference to the committee’s work. Other dioceses should consider doing likewise;

(4) Thanks were due to all who had helped with the bell restoration funds surveys; and

(5) Contributions were invited for an issue of The Ringing World later in the year which would highlight fund-raising for bell restoration.

Adoption of the report was seconded by Mr I. H. Oram, and agreed after the Hon. Treasurer, in answer to a question, had given details of grants amounting to £2,000 from the Council’s bell fund.

(e) Biographies (pp.362-3)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Mr D. J. Roberts, who added Mr E. J. Ladd to the list of past members of the Council who had died since the last meeting. It was seconded by Mr B. D. Threlfall and agreed. An appeal was made to those who had not done so to send in their biographies sheets.

(f) Computer Coordination (pp.411)

Having corrected the number of peal inputs to the Felstead database to 164,197, Mr C. E. J. Kilgour proposed and Mr P. A. Trotman seconded adoption of the report. Mr C. Ridley added that any profits from sales of the obituaries database would accrue to the Friends of the Library account. Adoption of the report was then agreed.

(g) Education (pp.336-7)

In proposing the adoption of the report, Dr M. J. de C. Henshaw referred to the discussion paper on the proposed Institute of Bell Ringing Instructors, copies of which had been laid round the room. Initial reactions had been supportive. Comments from members would be welcome and discussion on the proposal would continue.

Adoption of the report was seconded by Mr N. Donovan and agreed.

(h) Library (p.335)

In proposing the adoption of the report, Miss J. Sanderson made her annual appeal for more Friends of the Library. She also offered to take copies of association annual reports for the Library and said that a booklet on the Library seminar was now available. Adoption of the report was seconded by Mr C. Ridley and agreed.

(i) Methods (p.361)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Mr A. P. Smith, who said that the Committee were considering changes to the Decisions to recognize Differential methods as a separate class of method. It was seconded by Mr P. D. Niblett and agreed.

(j) Peal Compositions (p.475)

In proposing the adoption of the report, Mr R. Bailey said that the collection of Stedman and Erin Triples compositions was at proof stage and that he had negotiated arrangements with the Editor of The Ringing World for publishing compositions. Mr J. Morgan seconded and the adoption of the report was agreed.

(k) Peals Analysis (pp.363-5)

Mr J. D. Cheesman introduced the report and proposed its adoption. In seconding, Mr J. R. Martin updated members on progress with the Felstead database. Mr G. A. Halls noted a trend for a higher proportion of peals to be rung in a few ‘peal factories’ (1,467 peals had been rung in 1.5% of towers), and suggested that for the millennium peals should be rung in as many different churches as possible. Adoption of the report was then agreed.

(l) Public Relations (pp.335-6)

After Mr D. G. Thorne had proposed and Mrs W. Daw had seconded adoption of the report, Mr R. J. Perry asked whether there was any prospect that Bells on Sunday could be broadcast at a later time. Mr A. Udal said that he was in touch with Radio 4 on this subject but thought it unlikely that the time of the broadcast would be changed. He suggested that ringers should write to the BBC to complain about the timing. Adoption of the report was then agreed.

(m) Publications (p.361)

In proposing the adoption of the report, Mr W. J. Couperthwaite referred to two new publications on sale, the Tower Handbook and the Rung Surprise Supplement (to end 1977), and to two which would become available shortly, Stedman and Erin Triples and Biographies of Famous Ringers. Mr Couperthwaite also said that the writing-down in the Accounts of publications stock related very largely to the three volumes of the Change Ringing History and the Central Council History, all hard-back publications for which the initial costs of production had been high.

The adoption of the report was seconded by Mr D. J. Jones and agreed. Mr J. R. Taylor suggested that, subject to the agreement of the Council for the Care of Churches, the Committee should advertise and sell the Code of Practice on the Conservation and Repair of Bells and Bellframes, which he suggested few ringers had seen.

(n) Records (pp.459-461)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Mr D. E. Sibson, who made two amendments to the report (23rd April - St George’s S. Major; 9th November - Elizabeth Garrett Anderson S. Major), and seconded by Dr D. W. Beard. In answer to a question about the time taken to assess record lengths, Mr Sibson said that this depended upon whether the umpire’s report and the composition had been sent to him with the report of the peal. Sometimes these were sent direct to The Ringing World. The Editor, Miss T. R. Stoecklin, thereupon suggested that all details relating to record lengths should be sent first to Mr Sibson and should only be forwarded to The Ringing World when approved by the Records Committee.

Mrs P. A. M. Halls suggested that the method rung on 11th February should be Ashbourne Royal Shrovetide Football Delight Major (not Surprise). Mr A. P. Smith confirmed that was so. With this further amendment, adoption of the report was agreed.

(o) Redundant Bells (p.363)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Mr G. W. Massey, seconded by Mr D. J. Kelly and agreed.

14. Report of the Stewards of the Carter Ringing Machine
(RW 10 April 1998, p.362)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Mr A. E. Bagworth, seconded by Mr J. A. Anderson and agreed.

15. Report of the Steward of the Rolls of Honour
(RW 24 April 1998, p.411)

In the absence of the Steward (Mr A. J. Phillips), adoption of the report was proposed by Mr A. R. Kench, seconded by Mr A. N. Stubbs and agreed.

16. Rescue Fund for Redundant Bells
(RW 24 April 1998, p.414)

In proposing the adoption of the report and accounts, Mr R. J. Cooles said that it was now proposed to hang the ex Dunecht House bells in a church at Haddington, and that he expected the loans to Escrick and the Scottish Association to be repaid before the end of the year. Mr M. H. D. O’Callaghan seconded and Mr A. G. Smith (Independent Examiner) confirmed that the independent examination of the 1997 accounts and the audit of the 1996 accounts had been satisfactorily completed.

In answer to a question from Mr A. R. Smith, the C.C. Treasurer (Mr E. G. H. Godfrey) confirmed that the loan from the Council to the Rescue Fund had been repaid and that the Rescue Fund report was wrong in that respect. Adoption of the report and accounts was then agreed.

17. Future meetings

At the President’s invitation, Mr G. R. Parker spoke about the arrangements for the 1999 meeting to be held in Lincoln.

The Council had previously accepted invitations from the Suffolk Guild for the year 2000 meeting and from the Lancashire Association for 2001. Invitations for future years had been received as follows:

It was proposed by Mr J. S. Barnes, seconded by Miss T. Crowder and agreed that the invitation from the Norwich D.A. for 2002 should be formally accepted.

18. Attendance

The Hon. Secretary reported on the attendance at the meeting as set out in the table below.

19. Other business

On the proposal of Mr D. E. Sibson, it was agreed that the Hon. Secretary should convey the Council’s best wishes to Mr C. A. Wratten, whose first absence this was from a Council meeting in 39 years.

The President sought agreement for the ballot papers to be destroyed, and this was given.

20. Vote of thanks

Referring to the 1958 Council meeting in Dublin, at which a shillelagh had been presented to the Council, Mr H. W. Rogers said that he was glad to see it on the top table. He went on to propose a vote of thanks to the President and Officers for their preparations for and their conduct of the meeting. This was agreed with applause.

The President then moved a comprehensive vote of thanks to all those involved in the arrangements for the Council’s visit to Dublin: to the officers and members of the Irish Association, particularly their President, Dr M. J. Pomeroy, and Mr P. M. Talbot, and those who had acted as stewards and tellers at the meeting; to all those involved in the Sunday evening dinner, and in particular to Archbishop Eames, Archbishop Empey and Fr Columba O’Donnell for their welcome and to Mr Colm Mooney and Moonshine Productions for their superb entertainment; to the Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral for including the Council in the Sunday afternoon service at St Patrick’s; to the Revd John Mackay for taking the Holy Communion service that morning; to the Lord Mayor of Dublin and the Bord Failte for the civic reception which would follow the meeting; to the incumbents, administrators and ringers of the churches who were making their bells available to Council members; and to all others who had contributed to the success of the meeting. The motion was accepted with applause.

The President declared the meeting closed at 5.03pm.

Summary of Attendance
Fully represented3590-
Partly represented276638
Not represented6-6

Life members45
Honorary members164


The Ringing World, July 31, 1998, pages 749 to 753, correction July 16, 1999, page 681

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