The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

Minutes of the First Session of the 43rd Council (120th Annual Meeting), held in St Andrew’s and St George’s West Church, George St, Edinburgh on Monday 29th May 2017, at 9.30 a.m.


Life Members: John Barnes, William Butler, Alan Frost, David Kelly, Andrew Stubbs.
Additional Members: Alan Baldock, Robert Lewis, Jane Wilkinson.
Ex-officio: Mary Bone, Tim Jackson, Nigel Orchard, Bill Purvis, Alan Regin, Andrew Taylor.
Ancient Society of College Youths: Richard Allton, Leigh Simpson, Andrew Wilby.
Australian & New Zealand Assn: Peter Harrison, Christopher O’Mahony, David Smith, Derek Williams.
Barrow & District Society: David Hibbert.
Bath & Wells Dio. Assn: Roland Backhurst, Jay Bunyan, Michael Hansford, Aaron Moulder*, George Wyatt.
Bedfordshire Assn: Patrick Albon, Linda Garton*, Richard Horne.
Beverley & District Society: James Blackburn.
Cambridge Univ. Guild: David Richards.
Carlisle Dio. Guild: Christine de Cordova, Duncan Walker.
Chester Dio. Guild: David Jones, Peter Wilkinson, Stefan Zientek.
Coventry Dio. Guild: Annie Hall*, Becki Johnson*, Christopher Mew, Joy Pluckrose*.
Derby Dio. Assn: Andrew Hall, Susan Hall, Gill Hughes.
Devon Assn: Robert Brown.
Devonshire Guild: Lynne Hughes, Fergus Stracey.
Dorset County Assn: Maureen Frost, Andrew Smith#.
Durham & Newcastle Dio. Assn: Howard Smith, Barbara Wheeler.
Durham University Society: Jeff Ladd*.
East Grinstead & District Guild: Kate Wills.
Ely Dio. Assn: Sue Marsden, Sally Mew*, Paul Seaman.
Essex Assn: Fred Bone, Paul Cammiade, Vicki Chapman, Wendy Godden, Stephen Nash.
Gloucester & Bristol Dio. Assn: Derek Harbottle, Patrick Hickey, Angela Newing.
Guildford Dio. Guild: Mike Bale*, John Couperthwaite, Beryl Norris.
Hereford Dio. Guild: Jane Mason, Colin Ward.
Hertford County Assn: Trevor Groom#, Geoff Horritt, Margaret Horritt.
Irish Assn: Vyvyenne Chamberlain*, Don McLean*.
Kent County Assn: Phillip Barnes#, Douglas Davis, David Grimwood, Catherine Lewis, Caroline Stockmann.
Ladies Guild: Rosemary Hemmings*, Helen Webb, Jan Wyatt.
Lancashire Assn: Giles Blundell, Ernie de Legh-Runciman, Beth Ingham.
Leeds University Society: Katharine Thorley*.
Leicester Dio. Guild: Carol Franklin, Arthur Rees.
Lichfield & Walsall Archd. Society: Derek Giddins*, Stuart Hutchieson, Andrew Ogden.
Lincoln Dio. Guild: Philip Green, Christopher Sharp, Christopher Turner.
Llandaff & Monmouth Dio. Assn: Sam Bolingbroke*, Pip Penney.
Middlesex County Assn & London Dio. Guild: Clyde Whittaker.
National Police Guild: William Dowse.
North American Guild: Bruce Butler, Eileen Butler*, Alan Ellis, Beverly Faber.
North Staffordshire Assn: Jan Hine, Tim Hine.
North Wales Assn: Antony Diserens.
Norwich Dio. Assn: Pippa Hughes*, Katie Wright*.
Oxford Dio. Guild: Ken Davenport, John Harrison, Lucy Hopkins Till, Graham John*, Timothy Pett.
Peterborough Dio. Guild: Simon Dixon, Nick Elks, Jane Sibson, David Westerman.
Guild of St Agatha: Anne Bray.
St Martin’s Guild: Richard Andrew, James Ramsbottom.
Salisbury Dio. Guild: Tom Garrett, Anthony Lovell-Wood, Julian Newman.
Scottish Assn: Ruth Marshall, Tina Stoecklin#.
Shropshire Assn: Alan Glover, Peter Woollam.
Society of Royal Cumberland Youths: Ben Duke, Ian Oram, Derek Sibson.
South African Guild: James Champion.
Southwell and Nottingham Dio. Guild: Chris Birkby*, Jim Crabtree*, George Dawson, Anne Sladen.
Suffolk Guild: Neal Dodge*, Veronica Downing, Stephen Pettman.
Surrey Assn: Jeremy Cheesman, Kate Flavell, Paul Flavell, Richard Wallis.
Sussex County Assn: Stella Bianco#, Graham Hills, David Kirkcaldy, Rob Lane*, Stephanie Pendlebury*.
Swansea & Brecon Dio. Guild: Paul Johnson, David Katz.
Truro Dio. Guild: Helen Perry, Robert Perry, Ian Self.
Univ. Bristol Society: Patrick Wheeler*, Robert Wood.
Veronese Assn: David Roskelly.
Winchester & Portsmouth Dio. Guild: Michael Church, Andrew Johnson*, David Mattingley, Peter Niblett, Allan Yalden*.
Worcestershire & Districts Assn: Alison Hodge, Paul Marshall, Stuart Piper.
Yorkshire Assn: Andrew Aspland#, Barrie Dove, Janine Jones*, Peter Kirby, Susan Welch.

The East Derbys & West Notts Association, Four Shires Guild, Liverpool Universities Society, Oxford Society, Oxford University Society, St David’s Diocesan Guild, Society of Sherwood Youths and the University of London Society were not represented.

The Chair was taken by the President, Chris Mew.

1. Opening Prayer

Revd Ian Gilmour, Minister, St Andrew’s and St George’s West, conducted a short service and led members in prayer.

2. Report as to membership and subscriptions

The Hon Secretary, Mary Bone, reported that 66 societies were affiliated to the Council with 188 representatives; there were 11 vacancies. There were 7 Life Members, 4 Additional Members and 6 ex-officio Members. Payment of one outstanding affiliation fee was in-hand. Bob Cooles had been re-elected as an Additional Member in 2016 but had since resigned.

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).

4. Apologies for absence

Apologies had been received from Revd John Baldwin and David Thorne (Life Members), Peter Trotman (Additional Member), Michael Orme (Chester DG), Mark Heritage and David Willis (Guild of Devonshire Ringers), Brynley Richards (East Derby & West Notts Assn), Philip Bailey (Ely DA), Matthew Kemble and Chris Povey (Four Shires Guild), Mark Davies and William Nash (Gloucester & Bristol DA), John Croxton and Gareth Jones (Hereford DG), Tony Crowther (Hertford CA), Alison Brittliff (Lancashire Assn), Lianne Brooks (Leicester DG), Linda Foddering (Middlesex County Assn & London DG), Beverley Furniss (North Wales Assn), Peter Adcock (Norwich DA), Ian Hastilow (St David’s DG), Andrew Howes (Salisbury DG), Robin Woolley (Society of Sherwood Youths), Mary Jones and Norman Mattingley (Truro DG), and Jacqui Brown (University of London Society). Further apologies were presented from John Atkinson (Beverley & District Society), Mervyn Way (Devon Assn), Chris Fletcher (Lancashire Assn), Julian Hemper (Salisbury DG) and Eles Belfontali (Veronese Assn). Apologies were subsequently received from James Dann (Cambridge UG).

5. Loss of members through death

Members stood in silence as the Hon Secretary read the names of the following former members who had died since the last meeting: Brian Threlfall (Cambridge UG 1954-1984; Honorary Member 1984-1990; Hereford DG 1996-2002 and Gloucester & Bristol DA 2002-2008); John Camp (Oxford US 1969-1978); David Beacham (Worcestershire & Districts Assn 1957-1975); Jill Staniforth (Ladies Guild 1951-1981); Freda Cannon (Ladies Guild 1984-2008); Eric Naylor (Bath & Wells DA 1967-1987); Norman Johnson (Durham & Newcastle DA 1984-1999); Ruth Foreman (Middlesex County Assn & London DG 1966-1969); Brian Buswell (Southwell DG 1956-1966); Christopher Roberts (Chester DG 1981-1994); Philip Gray (New South Wales Assn 1957-1962 and Australian & New Zealand Assn 1962-1996; Geoffrey Drew (Honorary Member 1970-1983 and Norwich DA 1999-2005). Robert Perry, Truro Diocesan Guild, led members in prayer.

6. Minutes of the 2016 Annual Meeting

The Minutes of the meeting held on 30th May 2016 had been published in The Ringing World of 14th and 28th October 2016 and on the Council’s website. The Hon Secretary noted that a layout error in the Minutes as published in the Supplement of 28th April 2017 had been corrected for the minute book.

The Minutes were approved and signed by the President.

The President asked members wishing to speak to wait for a microphone and to give their name and that of the society they represented. He informed members that the proceedings were being live streamed to the Internet and were also being recorded to assist with the Minutes.

The President reminded members to declare any relevant interest in the bell-related trade before speaking at the meeting. The President asked members to treat each other with courtesy as all members were volunteers and checked that all members had received the necessary ballot papers.

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

No member wished to raise any matter.

8. Annual Report of the Council
(RW 28th April 2017, pp429-430)

The Hon Secretary noted that, since the Annual Report was prepared, one additional member had resigned and another society (Durham & Newcastle DA) had become entitled to one member fewer and that the figures in the penultimate sentence of paragraph 4 should therefore read “… 4 Additional Members, … and 188 Representative Members…”. The Hon Secretary added that figures in the Appendix should also be adjusted: 146 representative members (77.6%) were members of the previous Council; there were 42 new members, of whom 6 had previously been members; and 43 representative members of the previous Council were not returning. The name of Alan Roberts (Worcestershire & Districts Association), elected 1987, should be added to the list of long-serving members not returning.

Adoption of the report was then proposed by the Hon Secretary and seconded by the Vice-President, Christopher O’Mahony. Michael Church stated that the dates of Tony Smith’s presidency (2008-2011) should be noted in the report. The report was then agreed.

9. Accounts for 2016
(RW 28th April 2017, pp430-432)

The Hon Treasurer, Andrew Taylor, reported that the independent examiners had issued an unqualified report. He noted that, as previously circulated to members, there was an error in the layout of the comparative 2015 figures in the Statement of Financial Activities and that, in the Notes to the Accounts, Interest receivable should be numbered 7 and the numbering of the subsequent notes adjusted accordingly. The net movement of funds for 2016 was a deficit of £21,134 following payment of bell restoration grants of £20,700. Interest receivable was lower than in 2015 and was expected to fall again in 2017. Committee expenses were greater than in 2015. Council Review Action Group expenditure amounted to £1,052 and was budgeted at just over £2,000 for 2017. Total funds, including Gift Aid, raised towards Christchurch NZ were £15,494 of which £10,000 was paid to leave a balance of £5,494. Donations towards the Kilifi project totalled £4,930 of which £2,476 has been paid, leaving a balance of £2,454.

The Hon Treasurer thanked the officers and other members for their assistance during his time in office and offered his support to his successor. He then formally proposed the adoption of the Accounts; Fred Bone seconded and adoption of the accounts was agreed.

10. Election of Officers for 2017-2020

President - Christopher O’Mahony, who had been proposed by Derek Williams and seconded by Peter Harrison, was the only nominee. The President declared him elected.

Vice-President - there had been two nominations for this position: Peter Wilkinson had been proposed by Stefan Zientek and seconded by David Jones; David Kirkcaldy had been proposed by Timothy Hine and seconded by David Grimwood.

Voting was by paper ballot which resulted in David Kirkcaldy being declared elected.

Hon Secretary - Mary Bone, who had been proposed by Derek Sibson and seconded by Stephen Nash, was the only nominee. The President declared her elected.

Hon Assistant Secretary - Carol Franklin, who had been proposed by Alan Regin and seconded by David Kirkcaldy, was the only nominee. The President declared her elected.

Hon Treasurer - Andrew Smith, who had been proposed by Maureen Frost and seconded by Tom Garrett, was the only nominee. The President declared him elected.

Public Relations Officer - Caroline Stockmann, who had been proposed by Nicholas Elks and seconded by Kate Flavell, was the only nominee. The President declared her elected.

The President thanked the retiring officers, Andrew Taylor and Kate Flavell, and the Vice-President presented them with gifts on behalf of the Council.

In accordance with Rule 11(i) the retiring officers continued in office until the business of the meeting was concluded.

11. Election of Independent Examiners

Wendy Godden was proposed by Ian Self and seconded by Lynne Hughes. Jeremy Cheesman was proposed by Robert Wood and seconded by Fred Bone. There being no other nominations, the President declared them elected.

12. Election of Additional Members

Two Additional Members would complete their three-year term at the end of the meeting. The following advance nominations, duly proposed and seconded, had been received: Alan Baldock, Tim Barnes and Peter Trotman. After a paper ballot these candidates were declared elected. Thirteen vacancies remained unfilled.

13. Change Ringing for the Future
(RW 28th April 2017, p433)

The President referred to his report, published as an Appendix to the Administrative Committee report, and updated members on a number of recent activities: proposals had been developed to group committees in order to avoid duplication; he had been in frequent contact with York Minster to offer his good offices and request the latest news on the resumption of ringing; a meeting had been held with the Bishop of Bath and Wells on safeguarding issues and an update would be published in The Ringing World; he had met Sir Tony Baldry, chair of the Church Buildings Council, prior to his address at the open meeting; agreement had been reached with the National Trust to publicise bell ringing at churches on or near their properties; contact with the Founders’ Company had been maintained; designation of ringing as an intangible cultural heritage under the UNESCO convention had been investigated, although the UK was not a signatory; and the Council had reached out to ringers and association officers with the two series of local seminars held in different parts of the country. The President concluded by mentioning contact with the Ringing World Ltd on peal records, work on the Dove database and the possibility of future direct contact with ringers via the new website.

Members commented on the initiative for publicising ringing with the National Trust and on the publicity surrounding the suspension of ringing at York Minster. The President stressed that this was a unique case and that ringers must meet safeguarding requirements at all times and maintain good relations with their incumbents. Ian Oram thanked the President for all his work on safeguarding. Sue Marsden suggested that members contact their members of Parliament to exert pressure for the UK to sign the UNESCO convention.

14. Motions

(A) Report of the Council Review Action Group

The President repeated his request to members to be courteous to each other in debate and urged those speaking in debates on the motions to be as brief as possible; he reserved the right to guillotine speeches if necessary. The President pointed out that a summary of the report was included in the Central Council Supplement to The Ringing World of 28th April and that the full report and FAQs were widely available. He explained that formal notice of this and motions B and C had been given by John Harrison and David Grimwood as Phillip Barnes and Patrick Wheeler were not Council members at the time of the motion submission deadline.

The President then invited Phillip Barnes to propose the motion.

Phillip Barnes formally proposed:

Phillip recalled the background to the establishment of the Review Group at the 2016 Council meeting, with the adoption of Decision K recognising the changing nature of ringing. The Group had actively sought feedback from ringers; the results of the survey showed which aspects of the Council’s work were appreciated and where improvement was required. Further analysis of the survey results had informed the Group’s deliberations: the results showed the desired characteristics of a central ringing organisation and the proposals in the final CRAG report presented the means to achieve this. John Harrison acknowledged the efforts of the Group members who had worked hard to produce their report within the mandated timescale. John mentioned the past history of unsuccessful attempts to reform the Council and then formally seconded the motion.

In response to questions, Phillip confirmed that the names of Group members were included in the full report. He thanked those Group members at the meeting and, additionally, Peter Bennett and Simon Meyer who were not present. Phillip also thanked those initial members of the Group who had been unable to continue their participation in its work and explained some of the reasons for this. He noted that the Group had only consulted ringing societies via messages on the Council’s email list and had been unable to consult fully with other bell-owning organisations. Guidance and model constitutions / rules on the Charity Commission website were examined [the Commission consult only on specific proposed new rules / constitutions]. Phillip stated that the specific proposals listed in the summary report were interconnected. He confirmed that the Council and its committees would continue to operate as normal until the 2018 meeting; if the proposals were approved the new structures would operate in shadow form for the next year in order to provide a smooth transition when revised rules could be adopted in May 2018.

Tina Stoecklin, seconded by Kate Flavell, moved that the motion now be put to the vote. This being approved, the motion was put to the vote and carried by majority.

(B) Adoption of proposals A to F in the Council Review Action Group Summary

Phillip Barnes proposed:

Phillip urged members to commit to a programme of change. He stated that the Council’s rules required revision regardless of adoption of the proposals. He then examined each proposal in turn, showing which actions could be undertaken under the current rules, which structures could operate in shadow form during the forthcoming year, which actions required rule changes and which were at the discretion of the officers as trustees of the charity. Patrick Wheeler, seconding, remarked on the wide enthusiasm for ringing shown in the survey and the many good initiatives underway. The proposed changes were largely based on the operating practice of other similar organisations.

Chris Turner favoured the proposals but stated that the current wording of proposal B was unclear: “no more than four other elected members” could mean that no other members were elected to the Executive. He proposed that the phrase “no more than” be deleted; Phillip Barnes accepted this change to the wording.

Robert Wood expressed concern about the lack of time for members to consider information on the proposals; there had not been time for members to consult their societies and the importance of the issues required more time for debate. He stated that these concerns must be addressed and proposed that the motion be amended as follows:

Linda Garton seconded the amendment: many ringers and Council members were broadly in favour of the proposals but had reservations about certain aspects. The process of change would not be delayed by further consultation as necessary rule changes could not be made before 2018 in any case. The Vice-President reminded members that the purpose of change was to serve ringing; he noted the low response to the CRAG survey. In debate on the amendment some members supported the call for further time for consultation while others felt that there should be no delay. Phillip Barnes accepted that the wording of the amendment mirrored the original motion but stated clearly that adopting the amendment could delay the process of change. Robert Wood refuted this: adoption of the amendment required the same timetable for necessary rule changes while allowing time for consultation on the specific proposals. Linda Garton supported change but cautioned that the CRAG proposals could fail unless members’ reservations were addressed. The amendment was then put to the vote and lost (61 in favour; 95 against).

In further debate the following points were made: that elections were specified but no mechanism for election was given; that the proposals should be voted on individually; that direct communication between ringers and a central organisation was vital; that there was lack of clarity on how new structures might work in shadow form or in parallel during the forthcoming year; and that, for instance, proposal C implied total change and not a parallel structure. Phillip Barnes responded that the proposals formed a coherent package; that there were ringers outside the Council who were willing to be involved and that it was important that new structures were ready to be operational if rule changes were approved in 2018. The President confirmed that there would be no transfer of powers to any new bodies until May 2018; the vote would be an enabling decision on the principles of the proposed reforms.

The motion was then put to the vote and carried by a large majority.

(C) Adoption of proposals G to I in the Council Review Action Group Summary

Phillip Barnes proposed:

On proposal G, Phillip gave as examples a need for communications support or for professional administrative support as used by the Association of Ringing Teachers. On proposal H he stressed the need for a neutral respected ringer, who would enjoy the confidence of peal ringers, to lead work on replacing the Decisions. Patrick Wheeler seconded the motion.

Joy Pluckrose asked if there would be a ceiling on the number of consultants and financial commitments suggested in proposal G.

Phillip replied that the Review Group envisaged that such paid professional support would be used only for specific tasks and that in those cases it would not be appropriate to set a financial limit.

Peter Niblett, Methods Committee, queried how proposal H would run in parallel with the Committee’s own work. The Methods Committee would have a number of new members and was already engaging with others: could it continue to work on “clean sheet” proposals if this proposal H were adopted? Peter further queried how the responsibility of the Executive for the maintenance of a new framework would be implemented. Phillip responded that a fresh and independent approach to revising the Decisions was needed. He agreed that the Methods Committee would be able to continue its work but suggested that this would be both confusing and unnecessary.

Motion C was put to the vote and carried by a large majority.

Members adjourned for lunch at 12.35 p.m. The President reminded members to initial the attendance sheets to signify their consent to membership of The Ringing World Ltd and asked them to notify any items of any other business to the Hon Secretary during the lunch break. The meeting resumed, after the Annual Meeting of The Ringing World Limited, at 3.03 p.m.

The Vice-President (President-elect) stated that members had voted a bold mandate for change; he looked forward to receiving members’ support in implementing the proposed reforms.

14. Motions (continued)

(D) Increase in Subscription

The Hon Treasurer proposed on behalf of the Administrative Committee:

The Hon Treasurer referred to the Council’s continuing underlying deficit and plans for future work; the increase would bring in some £2,000 each year until such time as any change to the basis of the affiliation fee was agreed and introduced. The Vice-President seconded and the motion was carried by majority.

(E) Distribution of the Assets of the Rescue Fund for Redundant Bells

On behalf of the Committee for Redundant Bells, Robert Wood proposed that:

Robert informed members that the last loan to a specific project made by the Fund had been in 2007 and this loan had been repaid in 2010. The Fund had assets of over £14,000 of which £8,500 was on loan to the Keltek Trust. The Fund’s Rules stipulated that assets should be distributed for the purposes of church bell restoration. Helen Webb seconded.

Robert confirmed that a number of options, including specific projects, could be considered as recipients of the funds and that loans rather than grants would remain possible. Peter Wilkinson added that the Bell Restoration Committee supported the proposals. The motion was carried by majority.

(F) Terms of Reference of the Methods Committee

Peter Niblett proposed on behalf of the Methods Committee:

That Rule 15(iv) (Terms of Reference of the Methods Committee) be extended as follows:

Peter apologised for the incorrect rule number given in the agenda. He confirmed that, notwithstanding the adoption of motion C, the Committee had decided to proceed with both this and the following motion as these motions had been prepared before the CRAG report had been published. Peter stated that the Council needed a technical working group which could, for example, resolve disputes over method names, promote the theoretical aspects of ringing and widen the general knowledge of these aspects. The motion had been seconded by Mark Davies. Graham John added that the Committee had examined their current Terms of Reference and work programme and considered the additional points to be necessary. John Harrison supported this view. Peter responded to a question from Robert Brown on the naming of methods by confirming that reviewing method names was within the Committee’s current remit. Stefan Zientek suggested that the last phrase “to ringers at large” be removed as the theoretical aspects of ringing also appealed to non-ringers. Peter accepted this change. The motion was put to the vote and carried by majority.

(G) Amendments to Decision (E) METHODS and Decision (D) PEAL RINGING

On behalf of the Methods Committee, Peter Niblett proposed:

  1. That Decision (E) METHODS be amended as follows, to extend the definition of a method to include methods that are false in the plain course:

    1. Remove the word “true” from Decision (E)A.2 so that it becomes: “A method is defined by the places made between successive rows of its plain course, which shall be a round block, divisible into equal parts which are called leads. Starting the plain course from a different change does not give a different method.”

    2. In consequence, some existing blocks will be reclassified as methods, as listed on the Methods Committee web page.

  2. That Decision (D) PEAL RINGING be amended as follows, to remove the requirement that the ringing shall be audible outside the tower:

    1. Delete the existing Decision (D)A.6 and, if necessary, renumber the following parts of Decision (D).

  3. That Decision (D) PEAL RINGING be amended as follows, to make it clear that peals can be rung on bells that produce sound by simulated means:

    1. Add a new Decision (D)A.6 and, if necessary, renumber the following parts of Decision (D):

      For peals rung with simulated sound:

      (a) for tower bell peals, the simulated bells shall all be rung full circle-style by human ringers.

      (b) for simulated handbell peals, the simulated bells shall all be rung in alternating up-strokes and down-strokes by human ringers.

      (c) the peal report shall state that simulated sound was used.

    2. Append the following sentence to the first paragraph of Decision (D)D Record Lengths:

      Records using simulated sound shall be kept separately.

  4. That Decision (D) PEAL RINGING be amended as follows, to reflect current peal ringing practice:

    1. Replace the existing Decision (D)A.9 with the following text: “Bands should strive to maintain a high standard of ringing, and errors in ringing or calling should be corrected quickly.”

    2. Delete Decision (D)A.10 and renumber existing Decisions (D)A.11 to (D)A.15.

  5. That Decision (D) PEAL RINGING be amended as follows, to include a wider range of possible constructions in peals of Triples and below:

    1. Replace the existing Decision (D)B.1(c) with the following text:

      Not more than one touch in which each of the possible rows at that stage occurs either n or n+1 times, for a given value of n greater than or equal to zero.

    2. Replace the existing Decision (D)B.3(d)ii with the following text:

      a variable cover touch in which each of the possible rows, treated as being at the next higher stage, occurs either n or n+1 times, for a given value of n greater than or equal to zero.

    3. Replace the existing Decision (D)B.5(e)iii with the following text:

      a mixed stage touch, with a cover bell when ringing the lower stage, in which each of the rows possible at the higher stage occurs either n or n+1 times, for a given value of n greater than or equal to zero.

Peter explained that these proposals arose from the Committee’s consultation exercise and would impose no additional restrictions; if passed, the measures would become effective immediately. Many of the proposals would be included in a “clean sheet” approach to the current Decisions (Motion C, proposal H). On part 3 of the motion, on simulated sound, Peter used the analogy of music played on either a traditional pipe or an electronic organ. The motion was seconded by Leigh Simpson. John Harrison criticised the Committee’s approach of applying piecemeal patches to the current Decisions.

Peter then proceeded to explain each part of the motion in turn. On part 1, Stephen Pettman suggested that methods false in the plain course should be listed separately in the collections. On part 2, Peter confirmed that the existing requirements for record length peals would be maintained. A number of members considered that bells should be audible outside the tower and that the motion could encourage incumbents and others to insist on simulated sound being used; other members noted that sound control was already used and that there were certain towers where open ringing would not be appropriate. Peter Niblett suggested that record length peals using simulated sound could be recorded. Fred Bone proposed as an amendment that part 4 be deleted: the proposed wording would lead to a lowering of standards which many leading peal ringers and conductors strove to maintain. Andrew Johnson seconded this amendment, which was put to the vote and lost. On part 5, Peter explained that the proposal would allow bands to ring a variety of longer lengths, perhaps to mark a significant anniversary. Peter Niblett responded to a number of further comments on part 3, stressing the need for full circle-style ringing. The motion was then put to the vote and carried by majority.

15. Committee Reports

(The reports were published in the Central Council Supplement to The Ringing World of 28th April 2017. The relevant page numbers are shown against each report.)

(a) Administrative (pp432-433)

Adoption of the report was proposed by the Hon Secretary. She apologised to members for typographical errors in the Supplement and thanked Fred Bone and the Ringing World staff for their assistance with its production. The Hon Secretary asked members if they were using the paper version of the Supplement and expected this to continue to be produced; a large majority indicated that this was so. She drew attention to the forthcoming meeting with Historic England and the Church Buildings Council in July and asked members to notify her of any item which should be raised at the meeting. She thanked members for continuing to support the electronic circulation of papers for the meeting and explained to new members that printed copies were only distributed in advance to those members without email. She urged members to notify changes to their email addresses promptly. The Vice-President seconded and invited Andrew Wilby and Ernie de Legh-Runciman to speak on plans for the 2018 annual meeting to be held at Lancaster University.

Andrew Wilby explained that changing the format of the annual meeting to a 2-day conference formed part of the Council’s existing reform proposals. Academic venues were generally cheaper than other venues but only Lancaster had suitable accommodation available at the end of May. Part of the affiliation fee had been applied to reduce the cost of attending by representatives and the costs would be recalculated given the increased affiliation fee agreed for 2018. Ernie de Legh-Runciman outlined the programme. The Vice-President noted that the annual meeting would move to early September for 2019 and beyond and the event would be expanded to include a “mini roadshow”. Robert Perry queried if a 2-day event would adversely affect attendance and reminded members that an earlier proposal to change the date of the meeting had been rejected at Hull in 2015. The Vice-President confirmed that changing the date was within the current remit of the Administrative Committee. John Harrison supported the change of date now that information on the background and rationale had been made available. Roland Backhurst suggested that a meeting in early September would not be supported by younger members; other members indicated that the end of May was more difficult for those with families. The Vice-President added that discussions on a venue for 2019 were ongoing; the Council intended to work with local guilds and for the event to move around the UK. The report was adopted.

Mike Chester and Tony Smith were no longer members of Council. Michael Church and Derek Sibson retired; Derek Sibson did not seek re-election. Advance nominations for Michael Church and Phillip Barnes had been received and the President declared them elected.

(b) Public Relations (pp433-436)

Kate Flavell proposed adoption of the report. She drew attention to the revised leaflet Bells in Your Care, intended for clergy and churchwardens, and thanked Susan Hall for her assistance with this. Kate encouraged ringers to participate in BBC Music Day in June, noted a number of recent radio interviews and outlined plans to ring for the BBC’s Children in Need fundraising event in November. Bruce Butler seconded.

Neal Dodge asked how the Committee had reacted to media coverage of events at York Minster and to the issue of ringing as a sport. Kate responded that the Committee always sought to learn from media coverage. York Minster appeared to be a unique case and relations between ringers and clergy were generally good. Kate confirmed that a pdf of Bells in Your Care was available for download from the website and referred criticism of the new Council logo to the ICT Committee. Adoption of the report was agreed.

Giles Blundell, Ernie de Legh-Runciman, Kate Flavell and Alan Marchbank retired; Giles Blundell, Ernie de Legh-Runciman and Alan Marchbank did not seek re-election. Kate Flavell, Susan Hall, Vicki Chapman and Mike Bale had been nominated in advance and the President declared them elected.

(c) Publications (pp436-437)

Proposing adoption of the report, John Couperthwaite added that normal discounts could now be applied to orders made via PayPal and noted that a new publication by Bill Butler, On This Day, was now on sale. The report was seconded by Beryl Norris and agreed. John noted that the bookstall would be open briefly at the end of the meeting and confirmed that a pdf of the current Rules and Decisions would be placed on the website.

Beryl Norris and Jan Wyatt retired. Advance nominations for Beryl and Jan having been received, the President declared them elected.

(d) Redundant Bells (p437)

Robert Wood proposed adoption of the report. He urged territorial societies to address church redundancy issues in their areas and to represent ringers’ views to dioceses. Robert paid tribute to Bob Cooles’s work for the Committee over many years. David Westerman seconded and adoption of the report was agreed.

Julian Newman and Helen Webb retired. Ian Hastilow and Helen Webb had been nominated in advance and the President declared them elected.

(e) Ringing Centres (p437)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Paul Marshall. Paul noted that the latest edition of Training Times was available on the website and would be circulated electronically to members and societies. The Committee had recently sent its annual survey to 41 centres, intended to work closely with the Education Committee in future and had agreed to co-opt Philip Bailey as a member. Barrie Dove seconded and the report was adopted.

Leslie Boyce was no longer a Council member. Philip Bailey, Paul Marshall and Norman Mattingley retired. An advance nomination had been received for Paul Marshall and the President declared him elected.

(f) Ringing Trends (p437)

The President appealed to members to express their interest in work for this Committee. John Harrison asked what steps had been taken by the Council officers since the resignation of the remaining Committee members in May 2016. The Vice-President replied that he had been in contact with Elva and Mark Ainsworth, particularly to secure the Committee records and data, and had also contacted a number of individual members as possible volunteers. He hoped that some aspects of the Committee’s work would be conducted by the Education Committee.

The Committee remained without members.

(g) Towers & Belfries (pp437-438)

Proposing adoption of the report, David Kirkcaldy noted that a seminar on bell frame recording had been held in April, the new Maintenance Handbook would be passed to the Publications Committee shortly and a maintenance seminar was planned for the autumn. Alison Hodge seconded and adoption of the report was agreed.

James Clarke and Bernard Stone were no longer members of Council. Alison Hodge, David Kirkcaldy and Colin Ward retired. Alison Hodge, David Kirkcaldy and Allan Yalden had been nominated in advance and the President declared them elected.

(h) Tower Stewardship (p438)

Ernie de Legh-Runciman proposed adoption of the report and paid tribute to the work of Chris Mew on safeguarding issues. The report was seconded by David Mattingley and agreed.

Christopher O’Mahony retired and did not seek re-election. Chris Mew had been nominated in advance and, as President, declared himself elected.

(i) Bell Restoration (pp438-439)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Peter Wilkinson. Peter confirmed that the project funded by SITA at Black Bourton was due for completion in September, the Committee’s work would feature in the 2018 Ringing World Calendar, the second tranche of awards from the legacy received in 2014 had been made in February, and both these and an award from the Fred Dukes Fund had been publicised in The Ringing World. The Committee had received feedback from a number of projects following the announcement of the closure of the Whitechapel bell foundry. Peter reiterated the Committee’s thanks to Stella Bianco for coordinating the production and sales of the successful jigsaw series, which raised funds for the Council’s bell restoration fund, and thanked Chris Rogers for his work for the Committee. The Committee would seek outside advice on charity law and Gift Aid. Peter added that dates of Committee meetings were listed on the BellBoard diary and urged other committees to avoid these dates if possible. Jay Bunyan seconded.

Helen Webb queried the conditions applied to grants: churches which had received grants could be declared redundant and be subject to change of use. Helen emphasised that many restoration projects were largely funded by ringers; conditions should be applied to grants to maintain access if there was a change of use or grants repaid depending on the timescale. The President stated that this was a subject of ongoing discussion with the Church Buildings Council. Peter Wilkinson agreed that the Committee would consider these points and re-examine its criteria for grants and loans. Duncan Walker suggested that the Committee review conditions imposed by other organisations in similar circumstances. The report was adopted.

Chris Rogers was no longer a Council member. Pat Albon and Peter Kirby retired. Advance nominations for Pat and Peter having been received, the President declared them elected.

(j) Biographies (pp439-440)

John Harrison proposed adoption of the report and noted that more biographical records were now available online. The Committee would welcome assistance in establishing links with family history research. Richard Andrew seconded and adoption of the report was agreed.

Bobbie May and Deborah Thorley were no longer members of Council. David Jones and David Willis retired. David Jones and David Willis had been nominated in advance and the President declared them elected.

(k) Compositions (p440)

Proposing adoption of the report, Richard Allton noted that there had been some delays to the uploading of compositions to Don Morrison’s website due to changes to the site. He added that the Committee welcomed suggestions for future articles on composition themes for publication in The Ringing World. The report was seconded by Paul Flavell and agreed.

Stephen Beckingham was no longer a Council member. Andrew Johnson had been nominated in advance and the President declared him elected.

(l) Education (p440)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Tim Hine. Tim emphasised the Committee’s intentions and willingness to work with others. The main focus of its work would be on developing leadership, supporting associations, working with the Ringing Centres Committee and looking at some aspects of the Ringing Trends remit. Lucy Hopkins Till seconded and the report was adopted.

Chris Fletcher had resigned. Tony Furnivall was no longer a member of Council. James Blackburn, Lucy Hopkins Till and Duncan Walker retired. Advance nominations had been received for Lucy Hopkins Till, David Hibbert and Clyde Whittaker and the President declared them elected.

(m) Information and Communications Technology (pp440-441)

David Richards proposed adoption of the report. He thanked those particularly involved with the development and launch of the new Council website: Doug Davis, Andrew Hall, Clyde Whittaker and Caroline Stockmann. Dave also thanked the Scottish Association for the facilities for the meeting. The Committee’s future work would focus on the facilities required by implementation of motions B and C. The report was seconded by Doug Davis.

Roland Backhurst thanked the Committee for its speedy response to queries. The President and Vice-President thanked Dave and the Committee for all their work during the year on the new website. The report was adopted.

Fred Bone and Peter Harrison retired. Peter Harrison, having been nominated in advance, was duly declared elected.

(n) Library (p441)

Proposing adoption of the report, Alan Glover noted that the Trollope manuscript was now available online as a number of pdf files and a further manuscript by Trollope had also been added to the website. The Committee’s proposed project on peal board images would be put on hold pending clarification of the Library’s röle after the adoption of motions B and C. Ian Self seconded and adoption of the report was agreed.

Jenny LawranceLawrence was no longer a member of Council. Paul Johnson and Sue Marsden retired. Advance nominations having been received for Paul and Sue, the President declared them elected.

Appointment of the Steward of the Library 2017-2020: Alan Glover had been proposed by Linda Foddering and seconded by David Kirkcaldy. There being no other nominations, the President declared him elected.

(o) Methods (pp441-442)

Peter Niblett proposed adoption of the report. Peter thanked the new members of the Committee for their input to its work, emphasised the importance of the methods collections and the need for a robust set of Decisions and paid tribute to Tony Smith’s work on the collections. The report was seconded by David Grimwood and agreed.

Leigh Simpson retired. Tim Barnes, Graham John, Andrew Johnson, Leigh Simpson and Derek Williams had been nominated in advance; the President declared them elected.

(p) Peal Records (pp442-446)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Richard Allton. Richard stated that the peal of Julie McDonnell New Bob Triples rung on 24 December 2016 and listed on p446 of the Supplement had in fact been rung for the Ely Diocesan Association. Richard referred to the closure of peals.co.uk, as mentioned earlier in the day at the Ringing World Ltd annual meeting, and confirmed that discussions continued with the Ringing World to ensure that all appropriate data would be available in future via BellBoard. Chris Turner seconded and the report was adopted.

Mark Bell and Adam Crocker were no longer members of Council. Alan Baldock and Chris Turner retired. Alan Baldock and Chris Turner having been nominated in advance, the President declared them elected.

16. (a) Report of the Stewards of the Carter Ringing Machine Collection (RW 28th April 2017, p446)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Bill Purvis, seconded by James Blackburn, and agreed.

(b) Appointment of Stewards for 2017-2020

Bill Purvis was proposed by George Dawson and seconded by Robin Woolley. James Blackburn was proposed by George Dawson and seconded by Robin Woolley. There being no other nominations, the President declared them elected.

17. (a) Report of the Steward of the Rolls of Honour (RW 28th April 2017, pp446-447)

Proposing adoption of the report, Alan Regin thanked The Ringing World for their assistance in continuing to publish details from the First World War Rolls of Honour regularly. He reported that a further 23 names awaited adding to the Rolls. Alan noted that David Willis of the Biographies Committee had discovered over one hundred names of casualties by studying local newspaper obituaries published during the war years which contained references to ringers and ringing; many of these were members of the Devonshire Regiment who fell during the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916. Alan concluded by paying tribute to Serjeant E E Sherlock of Runcorn and Private H C Nash of Old Swinford, who died on 29 May 1917. Peter Wilkinson added that a quarter peal would be attempted at Runcorn in memory of Serjeant Sherlock later that day. Robert Wood seconded the report and thanked Alan for all his work. The report was adopted.

(b) Appointment of Steward for 2017-2020

Alan Regin had been proposed by Ian Oram and seconded by David Willis. There being no other nominations, the President declared him elected.

18. (a) Report of the Stewards of the Dove Database (RW 28th April 2017, p447)

The President explained that John Baldwin, who had been responsible for establishing the Dove database and had served as Steward since 2007, had decided to retire. Presentations had been made to John and his wife Beryl recently at their home in Llandaff. The officers had agreed that the number of stewards should be increased during the transition to a new system hosted on the BellBoard server.

Tim Jackson proposed adoption of the report and stated that he and John Baldwin would continue with their work until the new system was fully operational. Fred Bone seconded and the report was adopted.

(b) Appointment of Stewards for 2017-2020

Tim Pett was proposed by John Harrison and seconded by Paul Flavell. Doug Davis was proposed by David Grimwood and seconded by Caroline Stockmann. Tim Jackson was proposed by John Couperthwaite and seconded by Michael Church. The President declared them elected

19. Central Council Rescue Fund for Redundant Bells (Registered Charity no. 278816)
Report and Accounts
(RW 28th April 2017, p447)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Robert Wood, seconded by Helen Webb and agreed.

20. Future meetings

The President reminded members that plans for 2018 had been outlined during discussion of the Administrative Committee report. He added that an invitation for 2023 had been received from the Irish Association.


The Hon Secretary reported on attendance at the meeting as set out in the table below and thanked Stephen Franklin for compiling the attendance records.

21. Other Business

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

(b) The Hon Secretary reminded members to return badges and, especially, badge holders.

(c) The Hon Secretary stated that, with the annual meeting in 2018 formally commencing on Sunday 27 May, the nomination deadline would be 27 March.

(d) The Hon Secretary asked members to supply membership figures for their societies where these had not yet been received.

(e) The Hon Secretary reported that she had been notified during the meeting that Anne Anthony had resigned as a representative member for the Guildford Diocesan Guild.

(f) The Hon Secretary apologised to any new member whose name had been inadvertently omitted during item 3.

(g) Derek Sibson thanked the Hon Secretary, Mary Bone, and the Hon Assistant Secretary, Carol Franklin, for their work for the Council.

Votes of Thanks

The President thanked the officers, committee members and stewards for their work for ringing and the Council throughout the year and thanked members for their support during his term of office and at the meeting.

The President moved a comprehensive vote of thanks to all those involved in the Council’s visit to Edinburgh: to the organising committee of the Scottish Association: Simon Aves, Barbara Bell, Ian Bell, Mike Clay, Jonathan Frye, Jenny Holden, Ruth Marshall, Colin North, Ruth Ogilvie, Tina Stoecklin and, especially, to Terry Williams; to all the members of the Association who manned the Reception / Help Desk; to ringing members from local towers who acted as stewards for the ringing tours; to Association members who acted as stewards at St Andrew and St George’s West, and to the tellers and microphone operators; and to all those Association members involved in any way with the arrangements; to the Minister of St Andrew and St George’s West, Revd Ian Gilmour, for leading us in prayer, for his speech at the Dinner and for our use of St Andrew and St George’s West for the meeting; to the Revd Canon John McLuckie, Vice-Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral, for Evensong at the Cathedral and use of the Walpole Hall; and to all the incumbents and ringers of local churches who made bells available during the weekend (applause).

The Vice-President paid tribute to the President’s work for ringing during his term of office and presented gifts to the President and Mrs Ann Mew on behalf of the Council.

The President declared the meeting closed at 5.21 p.m. and invested the new President, Christopher O’Mahony, with the badge of office.

Summary of Attendance
Fully represented3189-
Partly represented276426
Not represented8-9

Life Members52
Ex-officio Members6-
Additional Members31


(Archivist’s note: also absent were Martyn Bristow (Liverpool Univ. Society), Michael Clements (Norwich Dio. Assn), Alan Marchbank (Oxford Dio. Guild), Emma Stanford (Oxford Society) and Robert Hornby (Oxford Univ. Society))

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