The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

Minutes of the Second Session of the 38th Council (106th Annual Meeting), held in the Wedgwood Suite at St George’s Hotel, Llandudno on Monday 26th May 2003, at 9.45 a.m.


Life Members: The Revd J C Baldwin, Miss D E Colgate, H W Egglestone, W F Moreton, H W Rogers, The Revd Preb J G M Scott, D G Thorne.
Honorary Members: R I Allton, A E M Bagworth, Mrs S Bianco, M J Church, R J Cooles, J C Eisel, Mrs K Flavell, E G H Godfrey, A D Higson, R A Lewis, J Morgan, Mrs H L E Peachey, C Ridley, Miss J Roberts, R J Walker, Mrs P M Wilkinson.
Ancient Society of College Youths: A J Frost, P A B Saddleton, A N Stubbs, A W R Wilby.
Australian & New Zealand Assn: I McCulloch, L R Reynolds, J A Smith.
Bath & Wells Dio. Assn: D J Buckley, Mrs C A Hardwick, M R T Higby, G W Massey, J R Taylor.
Bedfordshire Assn: P J S Albon, K Lewin, Mrs W Piercy.
Beverley & District Society: P S Andrews, M J de C Henshaw.
Cambridge Univ. Guild: S C Farrar*, S C Walters.
Carlisle Dio. Guild: J J Proudfoot, Mrs M Snape.
Chester Dio. Guild: P Dyson, C Mitchell, C M Orme, P Wilkinson.
Coventry Dio. Guild: M Chester, M J Dew, H M Windsor, Mrs B A Winter.
Derby Dio. Assn: J A Cater, Mrs P A M Halls, Mrs G Hughes.
Devonshire Guild: L E Boyce, J M Clarke, M G Mansley, D J Roberts.
Dorset County Assn: D R Bugler, A Keen, C White.
Durham & Newcastle Dio. Assn: J N Parkin, C M Richardson#, R R Warford, Mrs B M Wheeler.
Durham Univ. Society: Revd P Newing.
East Derby & West Notts Assn: A Dempster.
East Grinstead & District Guild: R A Grant.
Ely Dio. Assn: G E Bonham, M B Davies, Miss J Sanderson, P J Waterfield.
Essex Assn: J Armstrong, F J P Bone, Mrs J A Edwards, A G Semken, D L Sparling.
Gloucester & Bristol Dio. Assn: D Harbottle, I P Hill, Prof A Newing, B D Threlfall.
Guildford Dio. Guild: W J Couperthwaite, Mrs B R Norris, C H Rogers, M J Turner.
Hereford Dio. Guild: A G Foster, Mrs J Mason, J F I Turney.
Hertford County Assn: A F Alldrick, G A Duke, G T Horritt, B C Watson.
Irish Assn: Mrs J Lysaght.
Kent County Assn: P R J Barnes, Mrs B Davies, Mrs C M Lewis, F W Lewis, D C Manger.
Ladies Guild: Mrs B Baines, Miss F Cannon, Mrs A R Caton.
Lancashire Assn: G Blundell*, S S Meyer, Mrs A E Pettifor, E Runciman, S D Woof.
Leeds Univ. Society: N J Green.
Leicester Dio. Guild: Mrs C N J Franklin, J R Thompson, B G Warwick, Mrs W M Warwick.
Lichfield & Walsall Archd. Society: D B Clive, S Hutchieson, J F Mulvey.
Lincoln Dio. Guild: Mrs S Andrews, K Buckingham*, A R Heppenstall, L G Townsend.
Liverpool Univ. Society: S J Flockton.
Llandaff & Monmouth Dio. Assn: P S Bennett, J C Parker.
London County Assn: G S Barr, R G Booth, E G Mould.
Middlesex County Assn. & London Dio. Guild: R Bailey, F T Blagrove, G E J A Doughty, A R Udal.
National Police Guild: Revd B F Peachey.
North American Guild: A F Ellis, D F Morrison.
North Staffordshire Assn: F Beech, Mrs J Beech, P W Gay.
North Wales Assn: D R Marshall, D Stanworth.
Norwich Dio. Assn: Mrs G M Hodgkinson, D R McLean, D F Riley.
Oxford Dio. Guild: W Butler, K R Davenport, J A Harrison, Mrs P M Newton, T G Pett, M K Till.
Oxford Society: B J Stone.
Oxford Univ. Society: P D Niblett.
Peterborough Dio. Guild: A Chantler, D J Jones, D Kingman, Mrs E J Sibson.
St David’s Dio. Guild: J H Prytherch.
St Martin’s Guild: J A Anderson, Mrs S J Warboys.
Salisbury Dio. Guild: A J Howes, A C D Lovell-Wood, A P Nicholson, R J Purnell, Miss S E Smith.
Scottish Assn: Ms T Stoecklin.
Shropshire Assn: A W Gordon, F M Mitchell.
Society of Royal Cumberland Youths: J S Barnes, J P Loveless*, I H Oram, D E Sibson.
Society of Sherwood Youths: P Hawcock.
South African Guild: Mrs J M Webster.
Southwell Dio. Guild: G A Dawson, A B Mills, Ms M J Stephens, R E H Woolley.
Suffolk Guild: S D Pettman, The Revd Canon L R Pizzey, D G Salter, A R Smith.
Surrey Assn: J D Cheesman, Miss C Gosling*, J Hughes, R J Wallis.
Sussex County Assn: A R Baldock, Mrs M E Oram, H F Pettifer, I V J Smith.
Swansea & Brecon Dio. Guild: P C Johnson, Mrs H J Rose.
Transvaal Society: J Hill.
Truro Dio. Guild: N R Mattingley, Mrs H L Perry, R J Perry, D R Pope.
Univ. Bristol Society: Mrs C Rodliffe, R M Wood.
Univ. London Society: M C Bennett.
Veronese Assn: A Hodge, R G T Morris.
Winchester & Portsmouth Dio. Guild: A G Craddock, A P Smith, P A G Watts, M J Winterbourne.
Worcestershire & Districts Assn: S Holbeche, C M Povey, A Roberts.
Yorkshire Assn: A Aspland, N Donovan, C B Dove, Mrs D M Rhymer, A J Smith.
Zimbabwe Guild: Mrs V Grossmith (alt. member).

The Chair was taken by the President, Michael Henshaw.

1. Opening Prayer

The Revd Peter Newing led the Council in prayer.

2. Report as to membership and subscriptions

The Hon Secretary, Ian Oram, reported that 66 societies were affiliated to the Council with 205 representatives. There were 9 Life Members and 18 Honorary Members. All subscriptions had been paid.

3. Welcome to new members

The President gave a warm welcome to new and returning members (indicated by * and # respectively in the list of those present), including those who were absent from the last meeting.

4. Apologies for absence

Apologies had been received from Teddy Barnett and Cyril Wratten (Life Members), Roddy Horton (Honorary Member), David Knewstub (Australia & New Zealand Assn), Philip Mehew (Derby DA), Paul Pascoe (Devon Assn), Steve Coleman (Gloucester & Bristol DA), Alistair Jameson (Irish Assn), The Revd John Hughes (Llandaff & Monmouth DA), Peter Trotman (North American Guild), Tony Evans (Peterborough DG), Roy Cox (Sussex CA), Debbie Couch (Truro DG), Paolo Avesani and Anna Thomson (Veronese Assn), Dick Speed (Worcestershire and Districts Assn), and Anne Phillips (Zimbabwe Guild). Further apologies were presented from Jean Thompson (Irish Assn) and Peter Shipton (Scottish Assn). An alternate member was present from the Zimbabwe Guild.

5. Loss of members through death

Members stood in silence as the Hon Secretary read the names of members and former members of the Council who had died since the last meeting: Patrick Allen (Gloucester & Bristol DA 1984-89); Leonard Edwards (Gloucester & Bristol DA 1972-1983); Jeffrey Kershaw (Lancashire Assn 1975-2002); Eric Nixon (North Staffordshire Assn 1975-82); Eric Jones (North Wales Assn 1993-96); Ken Lewis (Chester DG 1948-50, Hon Member 1951-1992 and Life Member 1993-2002); Reuben Byrne (Truro DG 1977-1981); Hilda Snowden (Essex Assn 1945-71); Norah Randles (North Wales Assn 1975-1980); John Illingworth (Coventry DG 1990-1995); Judith Robertson (Salisbury DG 1993-1995); Eric Critchley (Yorkshire Assn 1951-1975 and Hon Member 1977-1979); Brian Mills (Southwell DG 1969-1992); and Tom Cullingworth (Kent CA 1954-68). The Hon Secretary added the name of David Heighton, who - although not a member of Council - had made members so welcome at last year’s meeting. The Revd John Baldwin led members in prayer.

6. Minutes of the 2002 Annual Meeting

The Minutes of the meeting held on 3rd June 2002 had been published in The Ringing World of 6th September 2002. The Hon Secretary reported the following errors: on page 927 in the middle column, in the second paragraph, in the third line “willing” should read “unwilling”; on page 929 in the report of the Library Committee the two references to Jane Sanderson should be Jean Sanderson and also on page 930 - at the end of the report of the Publications Committee; and on page 930 in the report of the Public Relations Committee Richard Wood should be Robert Wood; apologies were made to Jean and Robert for the errors. After the corrections were made the Minutes were approved and signed by the President.

7. Matters arising from the Minutes not covered elsewhere on the agenda

No matter was raised.

8. Annual Report of the Council
(RW 25th April 2003, p390)

Adoption of the report was proposed by the Hon Secretary, seconded by Chris Rogers and agreed.

9. Accounts for 2002
(RW 25th April 2003, pp389-390)

In presenting the Accounts, the Hon Treasurer, Eric Godfrey, gave detailed explanations of the Statement of Financial Activities and the Balance Sheet; net outgoings resulted from a drop in interest received and grants being made from the Bell Funds; on the Balance Sheet the main creditor was outstanding Founders Company grants - this project was expected to be completed this year; the Notes to the Accounts provided more detail.

The Hon Treasurer thanked the Independent Examiners for their work on the Accounts and proposed the adoption of the Accounts. In seconding, Harold Rogers thanked the Hon Treasurer for his hard work in keeping the Accounts in good order. Adoption was then agreed.

10. Election of Honorary Members

Seven Honorary Members would complete their three-year term at the end of the meeting, of whom Roddy Horton did not seek re-election. The other six and one other were individually proposed, seconded and elected as follows: Richard Allton, for his work on the Peal Compositions Committee; Alan Bagworth, a Steward of the Carter Ringing Machine; Gail Cater, chairman of the Ringing Centres Committee; Kate Flavell, member of the Bell Restoration and Administrative Committees, with valuable knowledge of the insurance industry; Robert Lewis, Editor of The Ringing World; Jackie Roberts, director of The Ringing World Ltd. and member of the Bell Restoration Committee; and Jane Wilkinson, chairman of the Public Relations Committee. Six vacancies remained unfilled.

11. Motion

Bob Cooles proposed on behalf of the Administrative Committee:

“That the Council resolves not to proceed to apply for a Certificate of Incorporation from the Charity Commission.”

Bob recalled that the original motion had anticipated the Council having a more corporate structure, but subsequent events did not produce any significant changes; Incorporation was at the discretion of the Charity Commission and was more appropriate for bodies with extensive investments and property holdings.

The Motion was seconded by Michael Church, put to the vote and carried.

12. Report of the Stewards of the Carter Ringing Machine
(RW 4th April 2003, p315)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Alan Bagworth, who acknowledged the assistance of the Directors and Curator of the Bellfoundry Museum in arranging a suitable display; the machine was demonstrated in February but the attendance was disappointing. John Anderson seconded.

John Harrison commented that, as the Stewards also had the care of the Cummins simulators, should their title be changed? After the meeting had agreed that the Administrative Committee consider the matter, adoption of the report was agreed.

13. Report of the Steward of the Rolls of Honour
(RW 18th April 2003, p367)

In proposing the adoption of the report, Andrew Stubbs updated members on the supplement: quotations were being obtained for writing on high quality paper or vellum; 27 names had already been received for inclusion with plenty of room for more. Clarke Walters seconded.

Peter Wilkinson asked how to ascertain the names already entered from your own Guild’s area; Andrew responded: by examining the books in situ or by looking at the copy held in the CCCBR Library.

Adoption of the report was then agreed.

14. Committee reports
(The reports were published in The Ringing World issues of 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th April 2003. The relevant page numbers are shown against each report).

(a) Administrative (pp365-6)

Before presenting the report, the Hon Secretary thanked Robert Lewis and The Ringing World staff for the speedy way the publication of all the Committee reports was dealt with.

He then updated members on several matters. Referring to Telecommunications Equipment in Churches members would have seen the article in the previous week’s Ringing World; work continued on this matter and again he thanked Jim Taylor for undertaking the major part. Concerning the Heritage Lottery Fund members would have seen the letter from the Secretary of the Council for the Care of Churches, setting down the criteria for grants under the Your Heritage scheme; a meeting was being set up to discuss this and also the matters under the item “CCC and Bells”. Lastly, the Council’s support for the appeal against a faculty was still sub judice, but subsequent to the Committee’s decision, the Officers had sought the advice of a professional engineer member of the Towers and Belfries Committee; discussions would continue with the Association concerned.

The President referred to the various items in the report under the heading of “Ringing Trends” - as agreed at last year’s meeting the work of Committees on this subject was brought together here. There had been 12 recommendations covering 6 main themes; the President thanked the Committees for all their work on this so far; many of the recommendations would require long-term action, but already some had been put into practice. The record of the state of ringing was at a preliminary stage, with a small group looking at the practicalities of carrying out a census: the amount of effort required, the benefits and information to be obtained. The Ringing Centres Committee continued to manage the Founders Company grants and was looking at ways to continue the work. The Public Relations Committee was to give consideration to how to improve the image of ringing. The involvement of young people and child protection was a most important subject and the Council was most grateful to Judith Rogers, who, although no longer a member of Council, was devoting much time to this.

The application to the Millennium Commission had been unsuccessful, which was a great disappointment to both the ringers and the parishes that had expressed an interest. The President congratulated the team that had prepared the application: John Anderson, Chris Rogers, Eric Godfrey, Derek Sibson, Jane Wilkinson and Ian Oram. The lack of success had to be seen in the light of the fact that there were 191 applications, which in total sought five times the amount of money available.

The Hon Secretary proposed adoption of the report and this was seconded by the Vice-President, Derek Sibson.

Peter Dyson asked about the proposals for the National Bells Register: this would be dealt with under the report of the Committee for Redundant Bells.

There was some discussion on the conclusions of the working party on election procedures. John Thompson did not think the group’s conclusion about electing one third of the Committees could be supported. Chris Rogers acknowledged that the first meetings of the triennium were always long, due to the time taken to elect Committees and the meetings at Norwich and Lincoln had been no exception, and again the thought had been that there must be a better way; the question had been addressed a number of times and with each new suggestion problems were identified; the matter was considered again last October: a working group comprising people who had not looked at the problem before was convened; it had come to the same conclusion and he supported that conclusion. He offered one way to shorten the triennial meeting: to ask Committees to refrain from putting forward Motions at that meeting; Tony Smith said that the Methods Committee was always pleased not to propose Motions but that they are usually the result of requests by Council (laughter); however, Tina Stoecklin questioned whether it was productive for Committees to have to postpone business.

The Vice-President responded on Committee elections, explaining that as members are elected every three years, if one third of the Committees were elected each year, then those elected at the third session of a triennium might be disadvantaged by having a member for only one year when that person was not re-elected to Council; this would be bad for Committee continuity and could result in extra mid-term Committee elections. Frank Beech suggested that the Committee elections take place on the Sunday, to which the Revd John Scott countered that Committees should not be elected before they had reported to Council.

Adoption of the report was then agreed.

(b) Towers and Belfries (p366)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Chris Povey, seconded by Jim Taylor and agreed. Later in the meeting it was pointed out that Adrian Semken’s name had been omitted from the list of members of the Committee.

(c) Bell Restoration (pp341-2)

In proposing adoption of the report, Kate Flavell said that work was continuing on the items discussed at last year’s meeting, particularly the need for a patron, on finding new sources of funding, the related matters of ringer recruitment and training - and here other Committees were being involved, most recently Ringing Centres. Resource constraints within the Committee and a feeling from Council to hasten slowly had affected progress.

The Council’s Bell Fund had received insufficient income to make a distribution this year. There would be further articles derived from the useful data in the last Survey of Bell Restoration Funds.

The Committee was sorry that Roddy Horton was not seeking re-election and thanked him for his work; it would be pleased to welcome a member to fill this vacancy, especially if the member had the expertise to help with the new tasks. Jackie Roberts seconded.

Jane Webster gave renewed thanks for the Committee’s support by making available funds for Hillandale: the new treble was now hung and the six were rung for the first time the previous Sunday.

John Anderson referred to the 130 projects seeking funding from the Millennium Commission and asked about progress in obtaining European funding. Kate replied that investigations were taking place through a personal connection with the European Parliament, but it was too early to say if these would bear fruit.

Adoption of the report was then agreed. There were no nominations to fill the vacancy, but the President encouraged members interested in the Committee’s work to contact Kate.

(d) Biographies (p344)

In proposing adoption of the report, Brian Threlfall made a correction - there were 8 members who had died since the last meeting. He noted that of those present that day 24% had supplied no information to the Committee; and of the 480 past members, who as far as was known were still alive, there were no details of 39%: he would be pleased to provide names to Association Secretaries. He urged new members to complete the Biography information sheets, which were only used for biographical purposes.

The A3 printer and necessary stationery had been purchased. Pat Halls was finding difficulty in reading the peal pages of The Ringing World to gather information; Julia Lysaght had offered to help and Brian proposed that Julia be elected to the Committee. After the President had pointed out that she could be co-opted, the report was seconded by Martin Turner.

John Armstrong corrected the name of the Association represented by Hilda Snowden to the Essex Association. He asked if the Committee could remind a member what information had already been provided.

Alison Hodge asked how often ringers’ achievements received national publicity: should some be proposed for artistic awards, could not the Committee be more pro-active?

Responding to John, Brian said a member’s earlier reply could be copied to the member; to Alison’s point he said the Committee only acted within its Terms of Reference: if the Council wanted a wider remit, it should instruct accordingly.

Adoption of the report was then agreed.

(e) Education (p315)

Adoption of the report was proposed by John Harrison, who recalled that the Trends report action was to consider fast-track training for young people: the Committee had looked at training mechanisms; how it could help make ringing not look ‘un-cool’; how to provide sustained support - it was not enough just to attend a course.

The Committee had identified that learners had different needs to trainers and was now seeking to provide a helpline for learners, ideally by e-mail (by post would be more costly); comments would be welcomed. Catherine Lewis seconded and adoption of the report was agreed.

Eight candidates were proposed and seconded to fill the 6 vacancies on the Committee. After a ballot the following were declared elected: Betty Baines, Giles Blundell, Barrie Dove, Stuart Flockton, Cheryl Gosling and Geoffrey Horritt. The unsuccessful candidates were Frank Beech and the Revd Barry Peachey.

(f) Information and Communications Technology (p344)

In proposing adoption of the report, Mike Chester confirmed that the Home page of the Council’s website would be renewed by the end of that month; he thanked Tim Jackson who attended to the Dove updating whilst John Baldwin was out of the country; thanks also to Don Morrison for making space on his server for the database; and help was needed for Peter Trotman with his work on the Council’s website. Andrew Craddock seconded.

Jim Taylor paid tribute to Peter Trotman for his efficient and helpful attitude in his work for the Towers and Belfries Committee. John Harrison echoed these comments, adding that Peter was keen to make the website a resource for all, not only ringers, but he needed more input.

Mike Davies enquired whether the Committee could help in making back issues of The Ringing World available in a searchable electronic format; it was understood that the Library Committee was looking at certain aspects of this.

Alan Chantler referred to website access and warned that there was a legal requirement to provide information access to those with disabilities.

Replying, Mike Chester would ask Peter to check the implications of the Disability Discrimination Act. Concerning website content, he commented that this Committee cannot oblige other Committees to have their websites in a standard style; the Committee acted as an enabler, it did not write the content.

Adoption of the report was then agreed.

Don Morrison was proposed and seconded to serve on the Committee; there were no other nominations so Don was declared elected; two vacancies remained and members were encouraged to contact Mike if interested in the Committee’s work.

(g) Library (p344)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Bill Butler, who drew attention to The Bell News CD which should be available by Christmas - watch out for the advertisement; the badge and library catalogues were on display that day; he would welcome more information on illuminated manuscripts; and asked for the view of the Council on the proposed learned journal. John Eisel seconded.

In supporting the suggested journal Robin Woolley asked that it should not be solely about bells but also the theory of ringing. Tina Stoecklin wondered if the journal would only look at historical aspects - what about mythology and folklore? Both Roger Bailey and George Dawson made the point that a learned journal already exists, The Ringing World.

George enquired the likely price for The Bell News CD and were there to be further volumes of the history of ringing? Garry Barr and Chris Ridley responded that, having established production costs and noted that to digitalize everything would have produced a selling price of around £120, it was decided to have a searchable project with 6 CDs selling as double-disks at £25 per set, i.e. £75 in total.

Bill Butler felt that the items to be included in the learned journal would not be of general interest and thus not appropriate for The Ringing World. Jean Sanderson commented that the Histories were produced through the Publications Committee and not the Library Committee; the authors were no longer with us, much work would be needed to write up the intervening years to the times of belfry reform.

Adoption of the report was then agreed.

(h) Methods (p316)

In proposing the adoption of the report, Tony Smith drew attention to the sad death of Ken Lewis, who had served on the Committee for many years. There was no immediate need to replace him but the power to co-opt remained available if required.

Peter Niblett seconded and adoption of the report was agreed.

(i) Peal Compositions (p316)

In proposing adoption of the report, Don Morrison extended thanks to Roddy Horton, who, even before being elected to the Council, had been unstinting in his work for the Committee. Roger Bailey seconded.

Robert Perry enquired of the progress on the Grandsire collection. Don responded that Richard Allton was continuing well with this work.

Adoption of the report was then agreed.

(j) Peals Analysis (pp391-3)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Phillip Barnes, who noted that peals published since the preparation of the report had brought the total to 5,444; details of the changes will be given in next year’s Analysis. In the light of the redefinition and renaming of Ariston Little TP Royal, the paragraph referring to it, in the Peals not complying section of the report, should be deleted. He acknowledged that last year’s change to the treatment of non-compliant peals only meant that such peals had to be identified in the Committee’s report and not that they had to be included elsewhere in the Analysis. This removed the need for the re-examination of the Decisions proposed in the penultimate paragraph of the Peals not complying section. Jeremy Cheesman seconded.

Tony Smith observed that the Cambridge University Guild peal of Minor listed in the corrections to the 2001 Analysis section was non-compliant.

Wilfrid Moreton drew attention to the list of towers with 10 or more peals: as there was more than one ring in Harrogate, the dedication of St Wilfrid should be shown - this amendment was accepted.

Clarke Walters, while not advocating the inclusion of the performance of “Jump Minor”, commented that this was an interesting development, presenting a new challenge to ringers. His Guild felt that the exclusion of handbell peals of Minimus showed an inconsistent treatment with tower bells and asked that this be reconsidered.

Simon Farrar referred to the peals of Dixon’s Bob Minor, a method not recognised as it was “rule-based”. He suggested that such methods should be looked at with a view to incorporating them in the Decisions. Phillip commented that it was not in the remit of the Peals Analysis Committee to propose any changes.

Tony said that the exclusion of peals of Minimus on handbells followed a specific amendment proposed at the 1986 meeting. Members who wanted the Decisions changed, for example to recognise Dixon’s Bob, should propose a motion asking the Methods Committee to draft the detailed amendments. This would give Council the opportunity to discuss the matter before asking that Committee to do the work.

John Cater enquired about the peal on the dumbbell simulator at Hopton Heath - would acceptance be stretching the rules too far? He proposed that the performance on the dumbbell simulator at the Marches Teaching Belfry on 29th December 2002 should not be included in the statistical Analysis for 2002; this was seconded by the Revd John Scott. John Turney explained that the dumbbells simulate the weight of normal bells, with sallies and tailends they feel like bells and the peal took 2 hours and 43 minutes; the sound was generated by a Bagley simulator. Considerable discussion ensued: points made in support of accepting the peal: Phil Gay said the ringers had performed in the same way as in a real belfry; Frank Beech commented that if it worked and felt like a bell, it must be a bell; John Harrison noted that the ringers were controlling “the bells”; several speakers spoke of the benefits of simulators as teaching aids. Contrary views were expressed: Jim Taylor earned applause in reminding members that this was the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers; Alan Chantler thought that ringing was becoming more of a “performing art” and not fulfilling the Council’s object to promote ringing for Christian worship; Andrew Wilby and Robert Wood pointed out that bells had not been rung and heard, rather dumbbells and a simulator; Roger Bailey reminded members of the Council’s Decision deprecating the use of synthetic bells - Andrew Aspland mentioned a church in Barnsley that had installed electronically-simulated bells, the Council would be sending out the wrong signals if it accepted the peal. The proposal was then put to the vote and agreed. George Dawson proposed an amendment that the sentence “Nonetheless the ‘bells’ are not conical instruments (the broadest definition of a bell)” be deleted; this was seconded by Andrew Mills, but on being put to the vote was defeated.

Adoption of the report as amended was then agreed.

The meeting adjourned for lunch at 12.45 p.m. and resumed, after the Annual Meeting of The Ringing World Limited, at 2.50 p.m.

(k) Public Relations (p367)

In proposing the adoption of the report, Jane Wilkinson urged everyone to attend the Roadshow, where there were 91 stands with things to see or do. Alan Chantler seconded and referred to his work on the Complaints Network: he thanked Nick Davies for all his work and the helpful documentation received from him; Alan was now building up a dossier of complaints, the action taken and any feedback; he emphasised his preference for contact by e-mail rather than by use of the telephone number in the Diary.

Don Roberts asked what was planned for The Nine Tailors anniversary.

Andrew Wilby had no regrets for raising the work of this Committee in The Ringing World and stood by what he had written: the report talked of what it was hoped to do, but said little of what had been done. He was aware of unhappiness amongst members of the Committee; other Committees wanted PR support but it was not forthcoming; did the Committee know what it was intending to do? He urged the Chairman to discuss leadership of the Committee with the Committee.

Janet Edwards spoke of the Dorothy L Sayers Society’s wish for ringers to help them celebrate the anniversary: this would be on 13th June 2004, the anniversary of the writer’s birth and also of her close friend, the current president, Barbara Reynolds, who would be 90. The writer’s father was Vicar of Bluntisham, Cambridgeshire, where there is a chime of 8 bells: the parish hoped to have them hung for full-circle ringing to mark the anniversary. Janet hoped that there might be displays in bookshops and libraries to bring the book and bellringing to the attention of the public.

Jane responded to Andrew’s comments by noting that the work of some Committees can easily be completed, while other Committees’ work was ongoing - such was the case with the Public Relations Committee. She thanked Andrew for pointing out that the Committee should be doing more, but made a plea for more constructive and helpful criticism.

Adoption of the report was then agreed.

Three candidates were proposed and seconded to fill the vacancy on the Committee. After a ballot John Loveless was declared elected; the unsuccessful candidates were Simon Farrar and David Stanworth.

(l) Publications (pp316-7)

In proposing adoption of the report, John Couperthwaite corrected the first word, changing “three” to “four”. That day’s bookstall had four new publications on sale: the 2002 edition of the Council’s Decisions, a supplement to Rung Surprise, Beginners’ Grandsire and Beginners’ Plain Bob. The Committee would always be willing to look at ways of publishing good material that might be regarded as being of minority interest. In seconding, Derek Jones noted that it was sometimes difficult to know what would sell well.

Adoption of the report was agreed.

(m) Records (pp343-4)

Adoption of the report was proposed by the Vice-President, who regretted that printing errors had occurred in the transfer of files, so that peal lengths of 51… had appeared as 50… The number of record lengths was becoming excessive, necessitating a review of the list in The Ringing World Diary; it was proposed to limit the list to standard methods, with details of other methods being available on the website. Richard Allton seconded.

Tony Smith pointed out that the list of first peals on handbells should include 5040 Arist Little Bob Royal, rung by the Cambridge University Guild on 6th December 2002.

A reprint of the Committee’s report was proposed; Mike Chester, questioning the cost, thought it should be for members only, but Tony stressed the importance of correcting the historical record.

The proposal was agreed and adoption of the report was also agreed.

(n) Redundant Bells (p342)

In proposing the adoption of the report, Phil Watts asked for a response from those societies, that had not already replied, to the audit of bells in redundant churches. He had recently received an update from the Church authorities, confirming a likely 20-30 further redundancies each year, though not all with bells. Work continued on the wider implications; good news had come from Colin Lewis in South Africa, where there was a move to build more churches; contact from other areas would be appreciated. Members were invited to view the Committee’s web-pages.

The Revd John Baldwin seconded and then made a presentation with slides on his work on the proposed National Bells Register. The concept had been put forward at a meeting in Leicester in May 1999: the need for something simple, consistent and achievable had been stressed; John had offered to spend time to see if some work could be undertaken alongside work already being done for “Dove”. He was grateful to have been able to use some of the results of a Winchester & Portsmouth survey of towers, carried out in 1997-8, to give an indication of what might be covered; from this he had created sample tables within the database primarily used to hold “Dove”; however in his work he had to use a quite different database product and it was not easy to work in the two simultaneously. The tables recorded information on towers, bellframes and bells: John illustrated this with some sample records; to date there were 10 tower records, 66 bell records and 12 for bellframes; but already some data had been superseded by recent restoration work and it was evident that the project was significant. It was possible to conclude that the concept was valid, especially if the temptation to include too much detail was resisted; and it was technically viable, particularly with contributors submitting their own detail; however there was much scope for errors and bona fide researchers were the only reliable source - and even then there needed to be data cleansing. Many bodies could possibly benefit but how many of these would be willing or were able to meet the costs? John felt that the project was related to bells per se and not ringing per se and therefore the Council should not be involved in financing in any way. Concluding, John regretted that the project had not progressed as far as he would have liked, due to his work commitments, keeping “Dove” up-to-date, heart problems, etc.

Peter Bennett told of a church containing 8 bells being made redundant and then being sold to a private purchaser; the faculty procedures no longer applied and the new owner applied for and was granted Listed Building Consent to remove the bells; the moral was to save the bells while the building was still a church. Arnold Smith thought that furnishings could not be removed if still a church. Harry Windsor encouraged Societies to have a DAC contact to warn of such situations.

Andrew Wilby thanked John for his excellent presentation; the project was clearly an enormous task, let alone the work of keeping the Register up-to-date; the Register would be of limited benefit to the Council, indeed should we be doing this work at all? He proposed that the project be now abandoned and this was seconded by Andrew Mills.

Alison Hodge asked if work by others was being duplicated: all agreed that this was not the case. The Revd John Scott suggested that the work could be done at the local level: in Devon over 3,000 bells had already been recorded; was there someone in each area who could do the work? Tony Smith warned that much would depend on the ability of different individuals; who would own the data? Alan Frost thought there was merit in the suggestion, as many people held records, could they not be amalgamated? - he acknowledged the difficulty of keeping the data up-to-date. Jackie Roberts commented that, while it would be relatively easy to find information where the bells are rung or had only recently become unringable, the work in securing details of smaller numbers of bells would be much more time-consuming. Jane Wilkinson had been involved in the discussions in Leicester in 1999; the idea then was to mimic the organ register; Stella Bianco added that maintaining the organ register at that time cost around £8,000 per annum; clearly to do the same for bells would place a heavy commitment on the Council. The proposal was put to the vote and carried by a large majority.

After thanks had been expressed to Phil and John for the presentation, adoption of the report was agreed.

(o) Ringing Centres (pp367-8)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Gail Cater, who thanked the Editor of The Ringing World for his help in providing publicity to the Founders’ Project. There were now 43 centres, including one in Australia, and most of these had secured CC recognition. All grants had been allocated, any balance would be used for training. Phil Gay seconded and adoption of the report was agreed. There were no nominations to fill the vacancy on the Committee.

The President expressed the thanks of the whole meeting to all Committee members for their work during the past year.

15. Central Council Rescue Fund for Redundant Bells (Registered Charity no. 278816)
(RW 11th April 2003, p342)

Adoption of the report and accounts was proposed by Bob Cooles, who was pleased to note a further payment this year from Escrick. The Revd John Baldwin seconded and adoption was agreed.

16. Future meetings

The President reminded members that invitations had been accepted for future years as follows:

An invitation had been received from the Durham and Newcastle Diocesan Association for 2008; the meeting agreed that this should be accepted.

An invitation had also been received from the Hereford Diocesan Guild, for 2011; the meeting agreed that this should be accepted.

An invitation from the Chester Diocesan Guild to hold the 2012 meeting in its area in the Guild’s 125th anniversary year was noted.

John Armstrong for Essex and Neil Donovan for Yorkshire extended warm welcomes to their respective areas.


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

17. Other Business

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

Kate Flavell expressed her concern that some Committees were not prepared to consider matters not within their Terms of Reference; if their Terms were out-of-date or the Committees’ area of work should be extended, then the Committee concerned should take the initiative to present an appropriate Motion to Council to change the Terms of Reference.

John Barnes commented that members had difficult choices to make for the Committee elections and encouraged the Committees to co-opt the unsuccessful candidates.

Chris Rogers raised the subject of Public Liability Insurance: the premium for his Guild had more than doubled, forcing an increase in subscription - other Guilds had suffered similarly. Some years ago Kate Flavell had looked at the possibility of the Council taking out a group policy, to effect a reduction of premium for individual Guilds: with these substantial increases in premium, was it time to review that work? Alternatively, what would be the consequences of no cover?

Kate responded that not all Guilds have Public Liability cover; her own Association’s premium had increased by 500%! At the present time liability premiums generally were escalating rapidly and it would take time for the market to settle back. In her earlier review it was found that some Associations arranged cover through the Diocesan Office, which usually meant with the Ecclesiastical Insurance Office: one Association tried this approach recently but was unable to get a better quotation. With the industry in its present state, there could be no be easy solution. If an Association had no cover, the legal position would be that the Officers could be liable if someone was injured. It was agreed to refer the matter to the Administrative Committee.

The Revd John Baldwin thanked the President for the way he had conducted the meeting.

Votes of Thanks

The President moved a comprehensive vote of thanks to all those involved in the Council’s visit to North Wales: to the officers and members of the North Wales Association, particularly the Ringing Master, David Stanworth; the Association Secretary, Lynn Ferriday; and the other members of the Organising Committee, Donald Marshall, Ron Miers, Geoff Parting and Tony Diserens; to Anne Stanworth and other Committee members’ wives and partners and Association members who have manned the Help Desk and acted as Stewards and Tellers; to the Rector of Llandudno (Canon Philip Cousins) for making members welcome at the Songs of Praise on the Sunday afternoon and for taking the Service of Holy Communion that morning; to all those involved in the organisation of the Sunday evening Reception and Dinner and particularly to the Bishop of St Asaph (the Right Reverend John Davies), the Bishop of Bangor (the Right Reverend Saunders Davies) and to the Mayor of Llandudno (Councillor Mrs Sylvia Barrett) for their welcome; and to the incumbents and ringers of the churches who had made their bells available to Council members. The President added thanks to the Hon Secretary for all his work over the past year. The motion was accepted with applause.

The President declared the meeting closed at 4.30 p.m.

Summary of Attendance

Fully represented51148-
Partly represented144015
Not represented1-2


Life Members72
Honorary Members162


The Ringing World, August 29, 2003, pages 825 to 829

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