The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

Minutes of the Third Session of the 39th Council (110th Annual Meeting), held in the Bacon Theatre, Dean Close School, Cheltenham on Monday 28th May 2007, at 10.00 a.m.


Life Members: The Revd J C Baldwin, H W Egglestone, H W Rogers, The Revd Preb J G M Scott, D G Thorne.
Honorary Members: R I Allton, A P S Berry, Mrs S Bianco, Mrs G Cater, R J Cooles, C B Dove, Mrs J A Edwards, J C Eisel, A J Frost, E G H Godfrey, W A Hibbert, W K Jones, R A Lewis, Mrs H L E Peachey, C Ridley, Miss J Roberts, Mrs J M Rogers, R J Walker, B Ward, Mrs P M Wilkinson.
Ancient Society of College Youths: P A B Saddleton, A N Stubbs, A W R Wilby.
Australian & New Zealand Assn: C D O’Mahony (alt member)*, I McCulloch, L R Reynolds.
Bath & Wells Dio. Assn: R C Backhurst, Miss J Bunyan, Mrs C A Hardwick, M R T Higby, J R Taylor.
Bedfordshire Assn: P J S Albon, K Lewin.
Beverley & District Society: P S Andrews.
Birmingham University Society: P Chandler*.
Cambridge Univ. Guild: P J Earis, S C Farrar.
Carlisle Dio. Guild: J J Proudfoot, Mrs M Snape.
Chester Dio. Guild: P Dyson, C M Orme, P Robson, P Wilkinson.
Coventry Dio. Guild: M Chester, M J Dew, D Travis, H M Windsor.
Derby Dio. Assn: J A Cater, Mrs P A M Halls, Mrs G Hughes.
Devon Association: P J Pascoe.
Devonshire Guild: L E Boyce, J M Clarke, M G Mansley, D J Roberts.
Dorset County Assn: J R Schmidt*, C M White.
Durham & Newcastle Dio. Assn: H Smith, R R Warford, Mrs B M Wheeler.
Durham Univ. Society: M Williams.
East Derby & West Notts Assn: A Dempster.
East Grinstead & District Guild: R A Grant.
Ely Dio. Assn: G E Bonham, M B Davies.
Essex Assn: J Armstrong, F J P Bone, A G Semken, D L Sparling, J Waters.
Gloucester & Bristol Dio. Assn: D Harbottle, Prof A Newing, R Shipp, B D Threlfall, R K Williams.
Guildford Dio. Guild: W J Couperthwaite, Mrs B R Norris, C H Rogers, M J Turner.
Hereford Dio. Guild: J H Croxton, Mrs J Lawrence, Mrs J Mason.
Hertford County Assn: A F Alldrick, G A Duke, G T Horritt, B C Watson.
Irish Assn: C Holliday, Ms J Kelly, Mrs J Lysaght.
Kent County Assn: P R J Barnes, P H Larter, Mrs C M Lewis, F W Lewis, D C Manger.
Ladies Guild: Mrs H Aslett, Mrs A R Caton.
Lancashire Assn: G Blundell, Mrs J Kelly, Mrs A E Pettifor, E Runciman, S D Woof.
Leeds Univ. Society: N J Green.
Leicester Dio. Guild: Ms A Franklin*, Mrs C N J Franklin, J R Thompson, Mrs W M Warwick.
Lichfield & Walsall Archd. Society: S Hutchieson, J F Mulvey, C M Smith#.
Lincoln Dio. Guild: Mrs S Faull, A R Heppenstall, L G Townsend.
Liverpool Univ. Society: S J Flockton.
Llandaff & Monmouth Dio. Assn: P S Bennett, J C Parker, Mrs P Penney.
Middlesex County Assn. & London Dio. Guild: R Bailey, F T Blagrove, G E J A Doughty, A R Udal.
National Police Guild: The Rt Revd B F Peachey.
North American Guild: B N Butler, A F Ellis, D F Morrison, P A Trotman.
North Staffordshire Assn: F Beech, Mrs J Beech, P W Gay.
North Wales Assn: G P Morris, D Stanworth.
Norwich Dio. Assn: Miss V Bate, Miss T Crowder, D F Riley.
Oxford Dio. Guild: W Butler, K R Davenport, J A Harrison, Mrs B May, T G Pett, M K Till.
Oxford Society: B J Stone.
Oxford Univ. Society: P D Niblett.
Peterborough Dio. Guild: D J Jones, Mrs S Jones, Mrs E J Sibson.
St Martin’s Guild: Mrs S J Warboys, M P A Wilby.
Salisbury Dio. Guild: A J Howes, A C D Lovell-Wood, J Newman, A P Nicholson, R J Purnell.
Scottish Assn: S Elwell-Sutton, Ms T Stoecklin.
Shropshire Assn: K Buckingham#, F M Mitchell.
Society of Royal Cumberland Youths: J S Barnes, I H Oram, A J Preston, 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, Mrs K Flavell, P Flavell.
Sussex County Assn: A R Baldock, Mrs C M Baldock, D Kirkcaldy*, Mrs M E Oram, Mrs J Peel.
Swansea & Brecon Dio. Guild: P C Johnson, Mrs H J Rose.
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 Trimm.
Veronese Assn: P Avesani, Dr A M Hodge, R G T Morris.
Winchester & Portsmouth Dio. Guild: M J Church, R H Routh, A P Smith, P A G Watts, M J Winterbourne.
Worcestershire & Districts Assn: S W Holbeche, C M Povey, A Roberts, S J T Wilmshurst#.
Yorkshire Assn: A R Aspland, R Cater#, N Donovan, Mrs D M Rhymer, Ms A D M Thorley.
Zimbabwe Guild: E J W Manley (alt. member)*.

The St David’s Diocesan Guild was not represented.

The Chair was taken by the President, Derek Sibson.

1. Opening Prayer

The Revd John Baldwin led the Council in prayer.

2. Report as to membership and subscriptions

The Hon Secretary, Ian Oram, reported that 65 societies were affiliated to the Council with 201 representatives; there was one vacancy. There were 6 Life Members and 21 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).

The President thanked those members retiring after many years service to the Council: Garry Barr (Univ. London Soc 1993-1998, London County Assn 1999-2007); Roger Booth (London County Assn 1981-1983 and 1993-2007); and Hugh Pettifer (Sussex County Assn 1995-2006).

The President referred to the recent dissolution of the London County Association, which under its former name of the St James Society was a founding member of the Council, and invited Garry Barr, its last Master, to speak. Garry referred to the meeting of the Association on 10th February this year, at which the decision to disband was agreed, following which several resolutions were passed concerning the Association’s property: the Master’s Badge was to be passed to the museum room at the Whitechapel Bellfoundry; the contents of the library and the handbells would be offered for sale and the proceeds go towards the cost of one of the new bells at St Magnus the Martyr, London in memory of Olive Rogers, for many years a leading member of the Association; and the Grand Peal Book, dating from 1928, and the name book dating from 1834, would be given to the Council’s Library: the President thanked Garry for these.

4. Apologies for absence

Apologies had been received from Doris Colgate (Life Member), Andrew Higson (Honorary Member), Doug Nichols (Australian and New Zealand Assn), Wendy Piercy (Bedfordshire Assn), Michael Henshaw (Beverley & District Soc), Philip Mehew (Derby DA), Chris Richardson (Durham & Newcastle DA), Jean Sanderson (Ely DA), Sarah Andrews (Lincoln DG), Betty Baines (Norwich DA), Alan Chantler (Peterborough DG), John Prytherch (St David’s DG), Richard Wallis (Surrey Assn) and Anne Phillips (Zimbabwe Guild). Further apologies were presented from Simon Linford (Ancient Soc College Youths), Mervyn Way (Devon Assn), Freda Cannon (Ladies Guild) and Anna Thomson (Veronese Assn). An alternate member was attending for each of the Australian & New Zealand Assn and the Zimbabwe Guild.

5. 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: two members died prior to the last meeting but their deaths had not been previously reported to the Council: David Johnson (Yorkshire Assn 1969-1971); Fred Bogan (Irish Assn 1966-1968 and 1986-1989); and the following members and former members had died since the last meeting: John Blythe (Suffolk Guild 1957-1965); John Spice (Oxford Univ Soc 1945-1947 and 1960-1962; Brian Warwick (Leicester DG 1960-1980 and from 1987); Wilf Moreton (Hereford DG 1947-1959, Hon Member 1961-1962, Yorkshire Assn 1963-1988, Life Member from 1989); Doug May (Guildford DG 1963-1971); and Deryk Bugler (Dorset CA from 1994).

The Revd John Scott led members in prayer.

6. Minutes of the 2006 Annual Meeting

The Minutes of the meeting held on 29th May 2006 had been published in The Ringing World of 28th July 2006; an amendment was noted: under the heading Other Business, to the second sentence should be added: “; for example, the Redundant Bells Committee could be handled by stewards not a full committee”. As there were no other corrections 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 27th April 2007, p441)

The Hon Secretary noted two other changes since the Report was prepared: one further Representative Member had died but the vacancy had not been filled, consequently there were only 201 Representative Members; and there had been one other change in representation. With these changes he proposed adoption of the report; this was seconded by the Vice-President, Tony Smith, and agreed.

9. Accounts for 2006
(RW 27th April 2007, pp441-442)

In presenting the Accounts, the Hon Treasurer, Derek Harbottle, noted that the Independent Examiners had been able to give an unqualified report. He explained that the net negative movement in Funds of £10,649 was largely due to payments of previously agreed grants from the Bell Restoration Fund, together with the payment of the portion of the Jeffrey Kershaw legacy re the Rescue Fund. Although all monies in the Fred Dukes Fund had been allocated, none of the grants were paid out in 2006, but two had been paid in 2007. It was noted that, with the improvement in interest rates and the reduction in committee expenses, the General Fund showed a break-even position. The Officers had decided that as the original purpose of the Capital Reserve was no longer required, the amount was transferred to the General Fund, to which Fund accrued interest was already credited. The Hon Treasurer drew attention to typographical errors in the General Fund Balance Sheet: the Net current assets should read £55,812 and the Total assets less current liabilities £145,812; with this correction he proposed the adoption of the Accounts. Don Morrison seconded.

Chris O’Mahony queried the significant drop in Donations compared to the previous year: this was due to several large donations to the Bell Restoration Fund in 2005.

Adoption of the Accounts was then agreed.

10. Election of Honorary Members

Seven Honorary Members would complete their three-year term at the end of the meeting: of these six and three others were elected as follows: Stella Bianco, who continued to sell puzzles for the Bell Restoration Fund and had offered to provide space when needed for the stock of publications; Roger Booth, to work on the Ringing Centres and Administrative Committees; Bob Cooles, to continue as secretary of the Rescue Fund; Bill Hibbert, to help the Towers & Belfries Committee with the tonal analysis of bells; Tim Jackson, to be elected as a Steward of the Dove database; David Kelly, for his work with the Keltek Trust; Heather Peachey, working on the Education Committee on a training project; Judith Rogers, chairman of the Public Relations Committee; and Barry Ward, a Steward of the Carter Ringing Machine Collection. One vacancy remained unfilled.

11. Motions:

(A) Ringing Foundation

John Harrison proposed:

“That Council shall set up a Ringing Foundation as a charitable vehicle to raise funds and channel them to suitable projects that support the development of the skills, practice and art of bell-ringing through enhanced public awareness of all aspects of bells and bell ringing and through the training of ringers”.

John chaired the working group preparing this proposal and outlined the key points: the Foundation was a response to a problem: the world was changing and ringers were changing; having older ringers was not a problem but losing younger ringers was, especially potential leaders. To retain the status quo was an inadequate response, the barriers to progress had to be removed. Money could make a difference: it could supplement what could not be achieved without it. The Foundation would support two aims: a better perception of ringing in the community and better training. Setting up the Foundation could be the catalyst to start change. Council had an opportunity here to make a bold decision.

The Vice-President seconded.

Andrew Wilby said that the basic intention should be supported but queried the lack of a business case: there was an assumption that funds could be attracted; this conflicted with his experience; there would be no public money unless it was possible to demonstrate how the hidden barriers of race and creed would be overcome. Other bodies would want to know the broad policy framework, supported by a business case: similar views were expressed by Paul Flavell and John Couperthwaite. Alan Frost agreed that raising money could be difficult but a central body such as the proposed Foundation could be successful: it should be supported to help raise the profile of ringing to the public. Robert Wood supported Andrew Wilby’s point about an ethnic mix: if ringing was part of our national heritage, it should reflect the national make-up. The Foundation would need some radical thinking to explore ways of achieving this.

Peter Bennett supported the proposal but thought that Object M3, the practice and art of change-ringing, excluded rounds and call-change ringers.

Robin Heppenstall regretted the absence of the word “church” from the proposal: in villages the church was often the centre of all community activity and more and more churches were being used for other functions, with the support of English Heritage; Andrew Aspland was broadly in favour and made the same point - we had to operate alongside the church. Laith Reynolds thought that bodies with church connections might have already been approached for restoration work, here was an opportunity to approach the secular world. In Australia ringing was in the top five of fund-raising for Culture and the Arts, it was better to keep separate from church work.

Roger Bailey was concerned at the lack of an answer to solving the problem of ringing being in decline: raising money and then thinking where to spend it was the wrong approach. Gail Cater disagreed, recalling that the Founders’ gift of £50,000 for Ringing Centres had been promised without any business plan. Catherine Lewis agreed that we should not worry about trying to get the money first; the first aim should be to set up the Foundation. Peter Bennett drew a comparison with bell restorations: you raised money when you got an opportunity.

Norman Mattingley queried the relationship between the Foundation and the Council: what powers would Council have?

Bob Cooles answered some of the queries raised: the proposal was that the charity would be secular, to enable it to approach secular organisations without any religious overtones. The Foundation would be incorporated separately from the Council, but under the control of Council members. Bob reminded members that the Millennium Grants Company was formed first without any money and without professional advisers.

John Harrison responded to other points: formulation of a business case would be one of the first actions for the trustees, after planning and strategy; he felt that call-changes were included in the words “change-ringing” which did exclude tune ringing; there was a conscious decision not to include the word “church” or “religion” as that would bar us from several funds - if bells were supported, then that support was carried across to the 98% of bells in churches, but there might be more secular rings in the future; regarding social inclusion, ringing was inclusive of opportunity - no-one was turned away; re the availability of money, since the Millennium there was a lot of money for people-oriented projects.

The motion was put to the vote and carried by an overwhelming majority.

The President said that a group of up to 12 promoters would need to be elected to take the proposal forward: they need not be members of Council; in order to give members time to consider suitable nominees, he would take nominations later that day. Subsequently the following were proposed, seconded and elected as promoters: John Armstrong, Roger Booth, Robert Hancock, Robin Heppenstall, Richard Hough, David Hull, the Revd Trevor Kirkman and Stef Warboys. The President thanked the members of the working group for all their work.

(B) Council subscriptions

Phil Gay proposed:

“That with effect from 2009, subscriptions paid to the Council by affiliated Societies in accordance with Rule 9 shall be proportional to their membership as certified under Rule 5 (i)”.

Phil recalled the proposal in 1994 to increase the subscription from £5 at a time when interest rates were falling; now over a relatively short period the subscription was £20. The current basis was proportional to representation not membership: there was a huge disparity between the small and large societies ranging from 40p to 6p respectively per member. Since the work of the Council benefited the whole ringing community, it was appropriate that the subscription should be proportional to every member. The proposal was an attempt to rationalise the situation: the larger societies would pay more and the smaller less.

John Harrison seconded.

Mike Chester thought acceptance of the motion would change the relationship between the Council and ringers, effectively a tax on each ringer. Tina Stoecklin disagreed but thought the position of the University and non-territorial societies should be considered.

Angela Newing was against the motion: it was Representative Members who made up the Council, not society members.

Alison Hodge was concerned at the position of the Veronese Association if the motion was carried: because it was outside the UK it received less benefits from Council membership; however it did value its membership of the Council but an increase would have a serious impact on the Association, which would have to consider its continuing membership.

Deborah Thorley commented that the Council was seen by many as detached from the ordinary ringer: this motion would make the connection more relevant.

Roger Bailey then proposed a procedural motion that the motion be now put: this was carried by a narrow majority.

The motion was then put to the vote and lost by a narrow majority.

(C) Rules for quarter peal recognition

David Manger proposed:

“(i) That a quarter peal will constitute at least one fourth of the length of a peal, complying with all the required conditions for a peal; and (ii) that the band that first rings a quarter peal of a new method, or an extent in the case of Doubles or Minor, shall name the method”.

David was concerned at the relevance of the Council to the ordinary ringer: there was a lack of recognition of the achievements of many ringers, when they rang their first quarter, compared to the much smaller number of peal ringers. There had been a huge increase in quarter-peal ringing compared with 30 or 40 years ago and Council should recognise this trend.

Phil Larter seconded and reiterated that the Council had made little progress in recognising grass-root ringing.

Giles Blundell proposed an amendment to the first sentence of (ii): “that where a new method is rung for the first time in a quarter peal, …”; this was seconded by Bill Hibbert. Several people spoke against this amendment, which was put to the vote and lost.

Don Morrison favoured the Council offering support to quarter-peal ringers but thought that the motion did the opposite and would be an impediment to quarter-peal ringing. He proposed deleting (i) and revising (ii) to “that those bands who first ring a true touch of 1250 or more changes of a new method, or an extent in the case of Doubles or Minor, shall name the method”. Peter Bennett seconded. John Cater supported this amendment as it removed the restrictive aspects of (i). Several other comments were made: would this cover Spliced adequately?; was the motion really wanted by quarter-peal ringers?; drafting amendments haphazardly was unproductive.

Andrew Mills then moved Next Business; this was seconded by Robert Wood and agreed.

(D) Abolition of Committee for Redundant Bells

Laith Reynolds proposed:

“That Rules 14 (ii) (j) and 15 (xi) (re the Committee for Redundant Bells) be deleted and that any residual functions be incorporated into the Bell Restoration Committee or other arrangement as shall be determined by the Administrative Committee”.

Laith noted that the Committee was a powerful group including 3 Past-Presidents, 2 of whom were priests; it was set up in recognition of the number of bells that were being lost. However the group was prevented from operating effectively: it could not raise cash to save bells in danger and find new homes for them. The Rescue Fund did work within its original constraints but was not intended as a broad movement in the market place. David Kelly recognised the problem and set up the Keltek Trust which continued to provide a good service, mostly without any involvement from the Committee. Laith felt that the Committee’s function should be transferred to the Bell Restoration Committee; if there was a proposal to establish that Committee that day, with the Keltek Trust functioning, would it have been approved? The Council should accept that there was a need for some reorganisation of its committees and here was an opportunity to start that review.

Philip Earis seconded.

Jane Wilkinson regretted that her Committee had not been given prior notice of why it was considered so deplorable; there was no precedent for such a hostile attack on a committee. She thought that Council did not want a full-scale review of the committee structure.

Jane recalled that the Committee was established in 1973, following the Church of England’s Pastoral Measure decision re redundant churches: there was an urgent need for the voice of ringers, indeed the Committee was the only external body referred to in the Pastoral Measure Code of Practice. The Committee created a list of bells at risk of loss and tried to work with societies to find homes for these bells: this led to the setting up of the Rescue Fund in 1979. The motion did not show how closing the Committee would enable its work to be done more effectively.

Bob Cooles pointed out that the Committee’s Terms of Reference gave its primary concern as contact with the Church authorities, not as an alternative to the Keltek Trust. The Rescue Fund was the only organisation ensuring that bells were saved, which uniquely it achieved through loans from ringers, for which the Fund was grateful. David Kelly had been a member of the Committee; he realised that there was a need to develop the work of holding bells for future use, but this was not an appropriate work for the Committee; co-operation with the Trust continued to the present day, with two schemes in progress.

The Revd John Scott noted that the Council had changed over the years: if it had been resistant to change, the Committee would not have been established. The Committee kept a watching brief and dealt with situations as they arose.

The meeting adjourned for lunch at 12.56 p.m. and resumed, after the Annual Meeting of The Ringing World Limited, at 3.03 p.m.

Upon resumption of the discussion Simon Farrar proposed that the voting on the motion be by secret ballot; Phillip Barnes seconded and this was agreed.

Phillip added that it was regrettable that individuals had been attacked; however, no reason had been given for the Committee to continue as a separate identity.

Alan Frost felt that the view of the Council was to spread its work over its committees; there was no overlap with the Bell Restoration Committee. In answer to a question, Kate Flavell, chairman of that Committee, said it would take on whatever Council decided.

Michael Church challenged the opening remarks made by Jane Wilkinson: arising from Laith’s motion at the Leicester meeting, representatives of the Administrative Committee had met Laith and the notes of that meeting had been circulated to all members of that Committee; in turn Jane had responded to those notes prior to the subsequent meeting of the Administrative Committee. Jane took strong exception to Michael’s statement and asked that the notes of the meeting with Laith be read to the meeting: Chris Rogers pointed out that these notes were intended for the Administrative Committee only.

At this point George Doughty proposed a procedural motion that the motion be put; this was seconded by John Mulvey and agreed. After clarification that the result of the motion would not affect the existence of the Rescue Fund, the motion was put to the vote and defeated.

(E) Decisions references to Recorded Bells etc

Adrian Udal proposed:

“That the Council’s Decisions on (A) The Installation and Preservation of Bells be amended as follows:

(i) in paragraph 3 line 2 replace ‘gramophone records’ with ‘recordings’;

(ii) in paragraph 4 replace ‘a mechanical device’ with ‘electronic equipment’;

(iii) in paragraph 5 lines 5 and 7 replace ‘a gramophone record’ with ‘playback equipment’;

(iv) in paragraph 6 line 1 delete ‘the increasing number of’”. Robert Lewis seconded, the motion was put to the vote and carried.

12. Report of the Stewards of the Carter Ringing Machine Collection
(RW 27th April 2007, p442)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Alan Berry, seconded by Barry Ward and agreed.

13. Report of the Steward of the Rolls of Honour
(RW 27th April 2007, p443)

In proposing adoption of the report, Andrew Stubbs noted that 30 more names were to be added to the World War I volume, thanks to research by Alan Regin; an electronic version of this Volume was now available and would be copied to the Council’s website. The World War II volume would be scanned shortly. George Doughty seconded and adoption of the report was agreed.

14. Committee Reports
(The reports were published in The Ringing World supplement of 27th April 2007. The relevant page numbers are shown against each report).

(a) Administrative (pp443-444)

The Hon Secretary referred to the end of the report, where it was noted that the committee reports would be in a special issue of The Ringing World. He thanked all the committees that had produced their reports earlier than usual and those that had provided photographs and charts to make the reports more interesting. He congratulated Robert Lewis and The Ringing World staff for producing a very special issue. (Applause). The Hon Secretary then proposed the adoption of the Committee’s report and the Vice-President seconded.

Philip Earis was concerned that there had been no wide-ranging review of the Council’s structure and asked what action the Administrative Committee intended to take to meet the challenges to ringing. Chris Rogers reminded the meeting that the committee structure was reviewed in 1999 but Council decided against any change. Peter Wilkinson felt that Philip’s comments, amplified in that week’s issue of The Ringing World, were full of criticism but short on constructive solutions.

Adoption of the report was then agreed.

(b) Redundant Bells (pp444-445)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Jane Wilkinson, seconded by Andrew Aspland.

Roger Bailey complained that the report was too vague and did not say what the Committee had done. He asked that there should be a full description of the work done, even if not successful.

Jane Wilkinson noted that the Committee received information of possible redundancies at an early stage from the Church Commissioners and the Council for the Care of Churches, even before the parish might know, and passed that information when permitted to the local society. Jane drew attention to the second paragraph of the report and the attached graph, showing future use of redundant churches, adding that a change of use might mean less availability of the bells.

Adoption of the report was then agreed.

(c) Ringing Centres (pp445-446)

In proposing the adoption of the report, Gail Cater noted that the Ringing Centres Conference was held in March 2007 with about 56 present. There were few entries for the Founders Prize for the Encouragement of Young People, only Gresford and the Bishop Ramsay School, Ruislip entering: although both were good entries, it was unanimously agreed by the judges that Ruislip deserved the prize. The Founders Prize for Ringing Centres for 2006 attracted four entries: in ascending order of merit Oadby, Bradpole, Aston Clinton and the winner the Troyte Centre. Two members of the Committee had stood down, Roger Booth (no longer a Representative Member) and Ernie Runciman. Ernie Runciman seconded.

Adoption of the report was agreed.

As Roger had now been elected back on to the Council as an Honorary Member, his re-election to the Committee was agreed.

(d) Ringing Trends (pp446-447)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Beryl Norris, who noted that the initial results being received for Phase I confirmed the age group diagram. In seconding, Alison Hodge presented several slides to illustrate the analysis of the Roadshow questionnaires: while the average age of ringers had increased, those who learnt many years ago had been retained; many more older people were taking up ringing, but encouragingly there were a good number of youngsters starting. About 25% of those questioned had taken a break in their ringing career. New ringers tended to be attracted by family and friends, by church appeals especially at the time of the Millennium, while some were former choir members - although this source seemed to be on the decline. Beryl thanked those societies who had helped to date; as noted in the report Phil Gay and Jon Waters had stood down and Andrew Howes also now.

Philip Earis felt that those attending the Roadshow might not be typical of membership of societies; links direct with societies would produce a better analysis of trends. Beryl confirmed this was already in hand, albeit with the small risk of double-counting due to duplicate membership.

Adoption of the report was then agreed. There were no nominations to fill the vacancies; however subsequently it was agreed to co-opt Stephen Elwell-Sutton and Mike Till.

The meeting adjourned for tea at 4.15 p.m. and resumed at 4.45 p.m.

(e) Towers and Belfries (p447)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Chris Povey, seconded by Alan Frost and agreed.

(f) Tower Stewardship (p448)

In presenting the report for adoption, Ernie Runciman briefly updated the meeting with events since the preparation of the Committee’s report: a facility to arrange Public Liability insurance through the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (EIG) had been set up with very competitive premiums; some of the leaflets were now available on the Council’s website; there would be a trial workshop to promote the Committee’s work to an affiliated society; and the Committee was considering the implications of the Construction, Design and Management regulations to restoration work. Janet Edwards seconded.

Chris O’Mahony congratulated the Committee on its work to date and noted that similar work had been done in Australia; he commented that all the leaflets assumed that all ringers were male! David Stanworth welcomed the work with EIG and asked, in view of the amount of merchandise produced by societies for fund-raising, whether Products Liability was included. Kate responded that this was not so, but suggested a direct approach to EIG with the query.

Adoption of the report was then agreed.

(g) Bell Restoration (pp448 and 449)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Kate Flavell, who said that in view of recent changes to Corporation Tax, the guidance for registering whole societies as charities was being reviewed. The Committee had noticed a fall in new enquiries so far this year and it was understood that this was also the experience of the bellhanging trade: she encouraged representatives to remind their societies of the fund-raising advice available from the Committee. Carol Hardwick seconded.

Adoption of the report was agreed. No nominations for the two vacancies were received.

(h) Biographies (pp449 and 450)

In presenting the report for adoption, Pat Halls corrected an error in the report: John Blythe represented the Suffolk Guild (not Association). Dinah Rhymer seconded.

Jane Wilkinson noted that the old Council Handbook included a list of past members; Pat Halls agreed to investigate placing this information on the website.

Adoption of the report was then agreed.

(i) Education (p450)

Adoption of the report was proposed by John Harrison, who drew attention to the open course “Teaching the Teachers” being held in September. The pilot of The New Ringer’s Handbook was now ready and the views of learners were being sought first. He commended the Framework for Training Ringers as an important aid to training. As Ernie Runciman was standing down, there were now two vacancies on the Committee. Heather Peachey seconded.

Adoption of the report was agreed. No nominations for the vacancies were received.

(j) Information and Communications Technology (p450)

In proposing adoption of the report, Mike Chester noted that the Committee was nearly ready to move to a different server; the website front page had been redesigned in conjunction with the Public Relations Committee. In seconding Tina Stoecklin explained that the change in hosting arrangement involved moving “Dove” to a less expensive host, for which testing was in progress, and ensuring more server facilities for committees; however, with various pressures on committee members, more help with the website would be welcomed.

Adoption of the report was agreed.

(k) Library (pp450 and 451)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Mike Davies, who noted that the Bell News DVD was almost complete and was being demonstrated that day: it was expected to cost £50. It was hoped to place the Obituary index on the website. The Library was grateful for copies of societies’ annual reports. John Eisel seconded.

Adoption of the report was agreed.

(l) Methods (p451)

In proposing adoption of the report, the Vice-President noted that the new edition of Rung Surprise, etc Supplement (to end 2006) was now on sale; and the XML method collection was also available. Peter Niblett seconded.

Adoption of the report was agreed.

(m) Peal Compositions (p451)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Stuart Hutchieson, who acknowledged a recent offer from former Committee member, Roddy Horton, to expand the Spliced Surprise Collection. Richard Allton seconded and adoption of the report was agreed.

(n) Peals Analysis (pp451-454)

In proposing adoption of the report, Phillip Barnes noted that 3 more 2006 peals were published since the preparation of the report, bringing the total to 4997. Martin Turner seconded and adoption of the report was agreed.

(o) Public Relations (pp454-456)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Judith Rogers, who stressed that the 2008 Roadshow would be the Public Relations event of the Council, with the aim of attracting non-readers of The Ringing World. The Committee was grateful to the Ringing World Board for offering to sponsor posters which would shortly be available for representatives to take to their societies, to encourage their members to attend; the general public should also be invited, by displaying the posters on church notice boards. The Roadshow was now in the detailed planning stage and the organising committee would welcome comments and suggestions.

Judith then referred members to the current issue of The Ringing World, which had an article about the working group set up to explore how ringing could be highlighted at the Olympics. Although this group was composed of people from within the M25, the Education and Ringing Centres Committees were being invited to join the group, to see how other parts of the country could be involved.

Simon Farrar had resigned from the Committee, but it was proposed to co-opt Neil Donovan as a full member.

In seconding, Peter Robson encouraged member societies to support the Scouting Centenary, with events taking place from 27th July to 8th August. It was hoped to make ringing an important part of the centenary and use this as an opportunity for recruitment.

As the Australian & New Zealand Assn had not replied to the Committee’s enquiry, Ian McCulloch reported that daily ringing of Swan bells continued and there were new projects on the East coast of Australia. Janet Edwards thought that the work on the Scouting Centenary was rather late and gave notice of the Guiding Centenary in 2010: Peter acknowledged the lateness, but explained that the Committee could not act until agreement from the scouting authorities was obtained. Alison Caton suggested that a mini-ring be erected at the scouting site: Adrian Semken confirmed that, thanks to George Dawson, the Willoughby Campanile would be at the jamboree and guides were now being taught in readiness for their centenary.

Adoption of the report was then agreed.

(p) Publications (p457)

In proposing adoption of the report, John Couperthwaite noted three new publications: Rung Surprise etc Supplement (to end 2006); Giants of the Exercise, part II; and a biography of A J Pitman. Derek Jones seconded and adoption of the report was agreed.

(q) Records (pp458 and 459)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Richard Allton, who congratulated the band which had rung 72,000 Treble Dodging Minor last month. (Applause). Mike Trimm seconded and adoption of the report was agreed.

15. Election of Stewards of the Dove database for 2007-2008

The Revd John Baldwin was proposed by Jane Wilkinson and seconded by Robert Cooles. Tim Jackson was proposed by Michael Church and seconded by the Revd John Baldwin. As there were no other nominations, the President declared them both elected.

16. Central Council Rescue Fund for Redundant Bells (Registered Charity no. 278816)
(RW 27th April 2007, p459)

Adoption of the report and accounts was proposed by Bob Cooles, the Revd John Baldwin seconded and adoption of both the report and the accounts was agreed.

17. Future meetings

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

Ron Warford outlined plans for the visit of the Council to Newcastle upon Tyne in 2008.


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

Other Business

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

Anthony Lovell-Wood drew attention to the article about Corporation Tax in the 11th May issue of The Ringing World and urged all members to read it carefully.

Jackie Roberts said that the producers of The Ringing World Diary had suggested providing a pencil at an insignificant extra cost; on a show of hands there was a large majority against the proposal. Jackie then urged all present to give practical support to The Ringing World by encouraging more ringers to subscribe to the paper. In answer to a question on the use of Direct Debits, Jackie explained that there was a considerable saving in administrative time and cost.

Kate Flavell referred back to the earlier debate and commented that a large number of Council members did not sit on any committee, while there were others on more than one committee, and yet there were several unfilled vacancies: it was apparent that some members were keen to be on the Council, but were not prepared to do any work: thus it was clear that some reform was necessary.

The Revd John Scott thanked the President for his conduct of a difficult meeting.

Votes of Thanks

The President moved a comprehensive vote of thanks to all those involved in the Council’s visit to Cheltenham: to the Officers of the Gloucester & Bristol Diocesan Association: Hugh Evans, Steve Coleman, Philip Twentyman and Mark Davies; to the Central Council representatives, Derek Harbottle, Angela Newing, Robin Shipp, Brian Threlfall and Roy Williams; to members of the Organising Committee, Liz Coke, Ian Hill and Claire Redstone; to the Cheltenham Branch Officers; and to all the members of the Association who had willingly given assistance on the Help Desk at that day’s meeting and throughout the weekend, provided stewards for the tours and acted as Tellers that day; to the Rector of St Mary with St Matthew Cheltenham, the Reverend Andrew Dow, for the use of St Matthew’s Church for the Open Meeting and for the Songs of Praise service the previous afternoon at St Mary’s Church; to the Bishop of Tewkesbury, the Right Reverend John Went, for leading the prayers at the Songs of Praise; to all those involved in the organisation of the Sunday evening Reception and Dinner and especially the Bishop of Gloucester, the Right Reverend Michael Perham, for his welcome; the Bishop of Bristol, the Right Reverend Mike Hill, for saying grace; to the Dean Close Theatre Manager, David Thompson, for the use of all the facilities there; and to the incumbents and ringers of the churches who had made their bells available to Council members.

The President declared the meeting closed at 5.50 p.m.

Summary of Attendance
Fully represented49146-
Partly represented153816
Not represented1-1


Life Members51
Honorary Members201


The Ringing World, August 24, 2007, pages 856 to 860 and 871, corrections September 19, 2008, page 986

(Archivist’s note: also absent were Mike Stone (Australian and New Zealand Assn), Anne Carpenter (Ely DA) and Ashley Fortey (Hereford DG))

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