The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

Minutes of the Second Session of the 43rd Council (121st Annual Meeting), held at Lancaster University, Bailrigg, Lancaster, commencing on Sunday 27th May 2018 at 5.30 p.m.


Life Members: John Barnes, Alan Frost, David Kelly, Andrew Stubbs§.
Additional Members: Alan Baldock, Tim Barnes, Robert Lewis.
Ex-officio: Mary Bone, Tim Jackson, Nigel Orchard, Bill Purvis, Alan Regin.
Ancient Society of College Youths: Richard Allton, Andrew Wilby§.
Australian & New Zealand Assn: Will Bosworth (alternate member)§, Peter Harrison, Christopher O’Mahony, David Smith.
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.
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 Derbys & West Notts Assn: Edward Sterland*.
East Grinstead & District Guild: Kate Wills.
Ely Dio. Assn: Philip Bailey, Sue Marsden, Sally Mew.
Essex Assn: Fred Bone, Paul Cammiade, Vicki Chapman, Wendy Godden, Stephen Nash.
Gloucester & Bristol Dio. Assn: Mark Davies§, Derek Harbottle.
Guildford Dio. Guild: Mike Bale, Beryl Norris, Jackie Roberts#.
Hereford Dio. Guild: Colin Ward.
Hertford County Assn: Tony Crowther§, 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, Jan Wyatt.
Lancashire Assn: Giles Blundell, Ernie de Legh-Runciman, Chris Fletcher, Beth Ingham.
Leicester Dio. Guild: Lianne Brooks, Carol Franklin, Steve Millington*, Arthur Rees.
Lichfield & Walsall Archd. Society: Stuart Hutchieson§.
Lincoln Dio. Guild: Philip Green, Christopher Turner.
Liverpool Universities Society: Martyn Bristow§.
Llandaff & Monmouth Dio. Assn: Sam Bolingbroke, Pip Penney.
Middlesex County Assn & London Dio. Guild: Sonia Field*§, Clyde Whittaker.
National Police Guild: John Cousins*.
North American Guild: Bruce Butler, Eileen Butler, Beverly Faber.
North Staffordshire Assn: Jan Hine, Tim Hine.
North Wales Assn: Antony Diserens, Beverley Furniss§.
Norwich Dio. Assn: Peter Adcock, Pippa Hughes, Katie Wright§.
Oxford Dio. Guild: Ken Davenport, John Harrison, Lucy Hopkins Till, Graham John, Alan Marchbank, Timothy Pett.
Peterborough Dio. Guild: Simon Dixon, Nick Elks, Jane Sibson.
Guild of St Agatha: Anne Bray.
St David’s Guild: Ian Hastilow.
St Martin’s Guild: Richard Andrew, James Ramsbottom.
Salisbury Dio. Guild: Tom Garrett, Andrew Howes, Anthony Lovell-Wood, Julian Newman.
Scottish Assn: Ruth Marshall, Tina Stoecklin.
Shropshire Assn: Alan Glover, Peter Woollam§.
Society of Royal Cumberland Youths: Ben Duke, Derek Sibson, Jane Wilkinson§.
Society of Sherwood Youths: Robin Woolley.
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: Alison Everett*, 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: Imogen Brooke*, Patrick Wheeler.
Univ. London Society: Jacqui Brown.
Veronese Assn: David Roskelly.
Winchester & Portsmouth Dio. Guild: Michael Church, Allan Yalden.
Worcestershire & Districts Assn: Alison Hodge, Paul Marshall, Stuart Piper.
Yorkshire Assn: Barrie Dove, Janine Jones, Peter Kirby.

[* - new member; # - returning member; § - did not sign the roll or was not present on Sunday 27 May.]

The Devon Association, Four Shires Guild, Leeds University Society, Oxford Society and Oxford University Society were not represented.

The Chair was taken by the President, Christopher O’Mahony. He reminded members to sign the attendance roll and to do so again the next day.

1. Opening Prayer

Peter Wilkinson, Chester Diocesan Guild, 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 189 representatives; there were 10 vacancies. There were 6 Life Members, 4 Additional Members and 5 ex-officio Members. David Thorne, former editor of The Ringing World, had resigned as a Life Member. All subscriptions had now been paid. The President paid tribute to the work of Ian Oram and David Thorne for the Council; Ian had been a member since 1960 and had served as Secretary 2001-9. The President also congratulated Derek Sibson and Bill Butler on their long service.

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 (Life Member), Peter Trotman (Additional Member), Leigh Simpson (Ancient Society of College Youths), Derek Williams (Australian & New Zealand Assn), Jenny Halliday (Derby DA), Robert Brown and Mervyn Way (Devon Assn), David Willis (Guild of Devonshire Ringers), Matthew Kemble and Chris Povey (Four Shires Guild), Patrick Hickey and Angela Newing (Gloucester & Bristol DA), John Croxton and Jane Mason (Hereford DG), Helen Webb (Ladies Guild), Katharine Thorley (Leeds University Society), Chris Sharp (Lincoln DG), Alan Ellis (North American Guild), David Westerman (Peterborough DG), Mary Jones and Norman Mattingley (Truro DG), Andrew Johnson, David Mattingley and Peter Niblett (Winchester & Portsmouth DG), and Andrew Aspland and Susan Welch (Yorkshire Assn). Further apologies were presented from John Couperthwaite (Guildford DG) and Eles Belfontali (Veronese Assn).

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: John Gipson (Ely DA 1957-1984); John K Smith (Midland Counties Guild 1975-1978); A J (Jim) Phillips (Ancient Society of College Youths 1993-1999); Malcolm Phipps (Derby DA 1963-1969 and 1972-1978); James Taylor (Gloucester & Bristol DA 1966-1993; Honorary Member 1994-1999 and Bath & Wells DA 1999-2011); John Partington (Lancashire Assn 1964-1975). Revd David Grimwood, Kent County Association, led members in prayer.

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 reports were published with the Central Council Meeting Papers on 27th April 2018. The relevant page numbers are shown against each report.)

6. Report of the Stewards of the Carter Ringing Machine Collection (p19)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Bill Purvis and seconded by James Blackburn. The President thanked the stewards for their work displaying the machines during the weekend. The report was adopted.

7. Report of the Steward of the Rolls of Honour (p19)

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 112 names awaited adding to the Rolls and a further 45 names were being researched. Alan concluded by paying tribute to Private S G Stacey MM of Arborfield, Sapper A Hall of Bamburgh, Private F Chilton of Malins Lee, Private D C Hodgkin of Marden, Private F J Cross of Norwich and Private R G Haines of Tilehurst, all of whom died on 27 May 1918. Nick Elks seconded the report. The President congratulated Alan on the award of the MBE in the New Year Honours list (applause). Chris Mew asked for information on the display case at St Paul’s Cathedral. Alan replied that the case was being inspected with a view to possible extension; he added that a further memorial book might be needed in future as more names were recorded. Alan thanked those who had supported his nomination for MBE which should be seen as an award to all ringers. The report was adopted.

8. Report of the Stewards of the Dove Database (pp19-20)

Tim Jackson proposed adoption of the report and reported that the Dove database had been successfully transferred to the BellBoard server. The stewards were working to prepare a new print edition. Doug Davis seconded. The President congratulated the stewards on the work done to secure the future of the database. The report was adopted.

9. Minutes of the 2017 Annual Meeting (pp8-14)

The Minutes of the meeting held on 29th May 2017 had been published on the Council’s website in October 2017 and were included with the papers for this meeting. The Hon Secretary noted that an incorrect spelling in the Minutes as originally published had been corrected for the minute book.

The Minutes were approved and signed by the President.

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

No member wished to raise any matter.

11. Annual Report of the Council

The Hon Secretary noted corrections to the figures in the fourth paragraph: at the close of the 2017 annual meeting there were 187 Representative Members (not 188); the figure in the penultimate sentence should therefore have read 189 Representative Members. Adoption of the report was then proposed by the Hon Secretary and seconded by the Vice-President, David Kirkcaldy. The report was then agreed.

Members adjourned at 6 p.m. and the meeting resumed at 9.30 a.m. on Monday 28th May.

The President introduced a new member who had been absent the previous day, reminded members wishing to speak to wait for a microphone and to give their name and that of the society they represented. He repeated that the proceedings were being live streamed to the Internet and were also being recorded to assist with the Minutes. He stressed that members should sign the attendance roll.

The President requested 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.

12. Accounts for 2017

The Hon Treasurer, Andrew Smith, reported that the independent examiners had issued an unqualified report. He noted errors in the comparative income figures for 2016: Royalties re Three Rings amounted to £8, and £409 referred to Beverley & District for Education. The net movement of funds for 2017 was a deficit of £9,499 following payment of bell restoration grants of £13,800. Interest rates remained low. Council Review Action Group expenditure amounted to £2,285. Total funds, including Gift Aid, raised towards Christchurch NZ were £15,994 of which £10,000 was paid to leave a balance of £5,994. Donations towards the Kilifi project in 2017 were £1,047, giving a total before expenditure of £3,501; expenditure amounted to £3,145, leaving a balance of £356. The Hon Treasurer drew attention to the Notes to the Accounts and confirmed that the Council continued to operate with an underlying deficit. The Hon Treasurer thanked the officers and his predecessor for their assistance during his first year in office. He then formally proposed the adoption of the Accounts; this was seconded by Michael Church. Fred Bone asked if National Savings offered the best rate of return on the invested funds; the Hon Treasurer confirmed that investments and available interest rates are under constant review. Adoption of the accounts was agreed.

13. Motions

The President explained that the Motion would be proposed and seconded; debate would then be open to the floor. Any amendments would be subject to the procedures laid down in the current Rules. Adoption of the Motion would require a two-thirds majority.

(A) Clyde Whittaker proposed:

That the Council adopt the Revised Rules of the Council, the Standing Orders of the Council and the other provisions of this Transition Motion below.

In this Motion and its schedule:

  1. the “Existing Rules” means the Rules of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers in operation at the commencement of the meeting at which this Motion is agreed.

  2. the “Adoption Date” means the date on which this Motion is agreed.

  3. the “121st Annual Meeting” and “this Meeting” each mean the 121st Annual Meeting of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers held on 27th/28th May 2018.

That with effect from the close of the 121st Annual Meeting of the Council held on 27th/28th May 2018:

  1. the Council:

    (a) adopts the ‘Revised Rules of the Council’ dated 17th March 2018 to replace its existing rules; and (b) adopts the ‘Standing Orders of the Council’ dated 14th April 2018;

    now tabled and initialled by the chair of this Meeting (both collectively referred to below as “the Revised Constitution”) to take effect from the close of the 121st Annual Meeting;

    The Decisions

  2. the Council’s Decisions current under the Existing Rules shall have effect as Decisions under Rule 10.4 of the Revised Constitution;

    Continuing Officers (Trustees)

  3. the following persons holding office under the Existing Rules shall hold office under the Revised Constitution in the respective positions shown below, to serve for a first term ending at the Annual Council Meeting in the year shown:

    Current NameNew PositionTerm ends in Year
    The PresidentPresident2020
    The Vice PresidentDeputy President2020
    The Honorary TreasurerTreasurer2021
    The Honorary SecretarySecretary2019

    New Ordinary Trustees

  4. the four persons who have complied with the procedure set out in Schedule 1 to this Motion shall hold office as Ordinary Trustees under the Revised Constitution, as referred to in Rule 7.2b) of that constitution;

  5. two of the Ordinary Trustees referred to in paragraph 4 of this Motion (as shall be determined by the President) shall hold office for a first term ending on conclusion of the Annual Council Meeting held in 2019 with the remaining two holding office for a first term ending on conclusion of the Annual Council Meeting held in 2021;


  6. the persons holding the office of Steward shall each be deemed appointed to hold office in the position of the same name under the Revised Constitution;

    Independent Examiners

  7. the persons appointed as Independent Examiners shall each be deemed appointed to hold office in the position of the same name under the Revised Constitution for a first term ending at the Annual Council Meeting in 2019;

    Other Officers, Committees and Members

  8. all other offices and committees established under the Existing Rules shall be discontinued;

  9. Life Members of the Council elected under the Existing Rules:

    (a) shall instead become Fellows for the purposes of Standing Order M2 of the Revised Constitution; and

    (b) shall in addition, while they remain Fellows, be entitled to vote and shall be treated in all other respects as Representative Members for the purposes of the rules (except rules 5.4, 5.5, 5.6 and 9.7), standing orders and policies of the Revised Constitution;

  10. Representative Members elected under the Existing Rules shall be deemed elected as Representative Members under the Revised Constitution; and

  11. the position of Additional Member shall be discontinued and Additional Members of the Council elected under the Existing Rules shall cease to be Members of the Council.


Election Procedure for Ordinary Executive Members

The four Ordinary Trustees referred to in paragraph 4 of this Motion shall be those persons who have complied with the following procedure:

  1. They shall either:

    (a) have been nominated for election as an Ordinary Trustee in advance of the 121st Annual Meeting in accordance with the requirements for nominations set out in Rule 11(i) of the Existing Rules; or

    (b) (in the event that the number of such nominations is less than four) have been nominated in person by those present at the 121st Annual Meeting.

  2. They shall (where more than four persons have been nominated in accordance with this Schedule) have been elected by ballot at the 121st Annual Meeting by members of the Council entitled to vote at that meeting, with each such member able to vote for four persons, as follows:

    (a) those four persons receiving the highest numbers of votes shall be elected; and

    (b) in the event of a tied vote, the person or persons deemed to have the most votes shall be selected by the drawing of lots.

  3. In all other respects the Council’s Existing Rules and conventions governing elections and the conduct of its meetings shall apply.

Clyde began his presentation by thanking The Ringing World for publishing the series of six articles on reform of the Council’s Rules, all those who had responded to the three consultations and members of the rules working group, especially Dan Meyer and Andrew Wilby. He listed the tests which the proposed new rules should pass (do they implement CRAG proposals A to D(ii); do they establish a simple and more user-friendly organisation; do they introduce more straightforward decision-making; has there been sufficient consultation; do they improve accountability; do they make the Council more open to new volunteers; are they “production-strength” - resilient and compliant; are they democratic; are they future-proof; do they retain the Council’s ethos, heritage and strength). Clyde examined each of these tests in turn. He noted that some of the CRAG proposals were out of scope for the proposed new rules, explained the structure of the new rules and compared the current structure of the Council and its officers and committees with the proposed new structure of an Executive and workgroups. Andrew Wilby, seconding the motion, thanked Clyde for all his work (applause). Andrew stated that the group had been faced with a difficult task and a strict timetable. The review group, consisting of David Bleby, Pat Wheeler and himself, had conducted numerous telephone consultations and scrutinised the various drafts extensively. They were satisfied that the proposed new rules were in line with the CRAG proposals and could safely be adopted.

Chris Mew thanked the group and expressed a number of reservations. The proposed new rules would change the Council radically and introduce a more top-down structure with almost unlimited power granted to the Executive; there was no information about possible future activity; there had been no analysis of committee workloads or consideration of how additional volunteers might be found; the rôle of society representatives would be reduced; the new rules had only been published a few months earlier making it impossible for societies to consider them fully; and there had been a poor response to the consultations. He reminded members that the officers had always been able to act speedily when required and that co-ordination of committee work and possible amalgamation of committees was already in hand. Chris stated that key questions on accountability and representation remained unanswered. He pointed out that workgroup leads would be appointed by the Executive and that their reports would not be considered directly by members. There was lack of clarity on possible direct membership: models of representation which worked well in areas such as Scotland or Australia could not necessarily be applied within England and Wales. Chris concluded by suggesting that the proposed new rules should be referred for independent review and that they should enter into force at the close of the 2019 meeting. He formally proposed:

That the Council refers the Revised Rules of the Council, the Standing Orders of the Council and other provisions of the Transition Motion for consideration by an independent review group appointed by the present Trustees with a view to presenting revisions for adoption at the close of the 122nd annual meeting of the Council in September 2019.

This amendment to the motion was seconded by Roland Backhurst.

Doug Davis said that delay would be a retrograde step; it was now time for the Council to move forward and the rules could be changed in future. His view was supported by Linda Garton, Nick Elks, Alan Frost and others. Jane Wilkinson suggested that it would be wise to improve the new rules further, build on the work already done, and have a greater vote in favour of adoption in September 2019. Michael Church considered that implementation at the end of the triennium was more logical. Chris Mew stated that he was in favour of change; a review would not hinder the Council’s work in the meantime but would allow time for more consideration of the detail and more information on future plans. Roland Backhurst remarked that a review would allow more time for consultation within societies, provide an opportunity for some improvements to be made, and that the end of the triennium would be a natural time for implementation. The amendment was put to the vote and lost (applause).

Jackie Roberts asked for information on the handover of committee work to the new workgroups and in particular on provisions for the future operation of committee bank accounts. The President assured her that this was underway. Veronica Downing suggested that there should be more emphasis on a two-way flow of information between the Council and ringing societies.

Fred Bone stated that the elected trustees should benefit from the whole-hearted support of the members. He therefore proposed that they should be elected by a simple majority of members of Council and that this phrase be inserted in clause 2 of the Schedule to the Motion. George Dawson seconded this. Members considered that the intention of the current wording was sufficient; the amendment was put to the vote and lost. Fred Bone commented that a section on society membership in a previous draft of the new rules had now been moved to the standing orders (Standing Order S1.1) without adequate explanation. He also regretted that current ex-officio Council members would be deprived of their voting rights. Peter Harrison and others commented that ex-officio members only represented themselves and it was therefore proper that they should not vote in an organisation of societies.

Kate Flavell pointed out that most association members are not interested in the work of their own societies or the Central Council. The problems of recruiting and retaining enough ringers and obtaining volunteers to hold office remained. Jane Wilkinson paid tribute to the amount of work done by the rules group. However, adoption would involve major changes in the way the Council worked and it would become a more top-down organisation. The Council should concentrate on those matters which were best dealt with centrally and needed a non-prescriptive set of rules for this. Phillip Barnes stressed that the new rules should be seen as facilitative; they would enable the Council to lead as the key representative body for ringers and adequately reflected the underlying principles of the CRAG report.

Clyde Whittaker concluded the debate by responding to some of the specific points raised. He emphasised that the new rules did not change the Council’s strategy in any way but provided a firm decision-making framework. A further period of consultation would not change matters. The new structure would allow change to occur between Council meetings but delegation of powers to the Executive was qualified as members reserved the right to require change to be implemented by resolution at a Council meeting. The new structure would enable the Council to attract more volunteers to participate in its work and to be a simpler, more open and accountable body. It was time for the Council to go forward and work more effectively for the benefit of ringers. Andrew Wilby expressed his pleasure at the quality of the debate and urged members to support the result of the vote.

The President thanked all those who had participated in the debate and confirmed that a two-thirds majority was required for adoption of the motion. A proposal for a paper ballot made by Fred Bone and Jane Wilkinson was lost.

Voting was by show of hands and the motion was carried by majority (137 in favour; 8 against; 10 abstentions).

14. Election of Additional Members

The President stated that, with the adoption of the new Rules which would come in to effect at the close of the meeting, no elections would be held as this category of Council membership would no longer exist.

15. Elections to the Executive

Five nominations had been received for four positions on the new Executive: David Smith had been proposed by Peter Harrison and seconded by Pip Penney; Ernie de Legh-Runciman by Beverley Furniss and Richard Andrew; Phillip Barnes by David Grimwood and Leigh Simpson; Clyde Whittaker by Phillip Barnes and Tim Hine; and Alison Everett by Nick Elks and Graham Hills. Voting was by paper ballot. The following were declared elected: Phillip Barnes, Alison Everett, David Smith and Clyde Whittaker.

16. Workgroup introductions

The President introduced the leaders of the new workgroups: Louise Nightingale (Communications & Marketing); Doug Hird (Historical & Archive); Alison Hodge (Stewardship & Management); Graham John (Technical & Taxonomy); and Tim Hine (Volunteer & Leadership). He then invited members to listen to short presentations by the workgroup leads before adjourning for lunch.

The President asked members to notify any items of any other business to the Hon Secretary during the lunch break. The meeting resumed at 2.00 p.m.

17. Committee Reports

(The reports were published with the Central Council Meeting Papers on 27th April 2018. The relevant page numbers are shown against each report.)

(a) Administrative (p20)

Adoption of the report was proposed by the Hon Secretary. She reported that the meeting papers had not been produced as a supplement to The Ringing World but placed on the website with paper copies sent in advance only to those members without email; she thanked Fred Bone for his assistance with its production. The Hon Secretary apologised to Neil Thomas for the failure to credit his photograph of the Ypres bells used on the cover of the document. 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 urged members to notify changes to their email addresses promptly. The Hon Secretary then formally proposed adoption of the report; this was seconded by Anthony Lovell-Wood and adopted. The President thanked all those who had served as members of the Administrative Committee over the years.

(b) Public Relations (pp20-22)

Kate Flavell proposed adoption of the report. She noted ongoing work with BBC Blue Peter linked with the RW National Youth Competition and drew attention to new leaflets aimed at recruiting young ringers. Kate concluded by wishing the new workgroup every success. Bruce Butler seconded. John Barnes raised the issue of communication with both ringers and non-ringers: many of his bell restoration contacts were unaware at first of how much advice was available, most of which was free to the recipient. He suggested that direct links should be created with a representative from each active tower and that articles featuring restoration projects could be placed in diocesan magazines. John added that professional communications support might be needed in future and that this could be funded by a levy on each ringer; he offered personal financial support. Kate Flavell thanked John for his suggestions and paid tribute to his own work promoting bell restoration, for example at the Newbury Roadshow seminar. The President also thanked John. James Champion commented that the new recruitment leaflet only featured white youngsters and would be unsuitable for use in South Africa. The report was adopted.

(c) Publications (pp22-23)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Beryl Norris, seconded by Mike Hansford and agreed. Roland Backhurst thanked the Committee for their assistance with the publication of the new Manual of Belfry Maintenance.

(d) Towers & Belfries (pp23-24)

Proposing adoption of the report, the Vice-President, David Kirkcaldy, noted good sales of the Manual of Belfry Maintenance. David noted ongoing work on measuring tower movement; a paper on this would be presented at the forthcoming Church Buildings Council DAC bell advisers’ conference. Alan Frost seconded and adoption of the report was agreed.

(e) Tower Stewardship (p24)

Ernie de Legh-Runciman proposed adoption of the report and thanked the President and Chris Mew for their work on data protection (General Data Protection Regulation). The report was seconded by Chris Mew. Tina Stoecklin reiterated thanks to Chris Mew for the advice to associations on GDPR and asked about the application of the new regulations to the Council itself. The President replied that work on this was already in hand and a policy would be produced. The report was adopted.

(f) Bell Restoration (p24-25)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Peter Wilkinson. Peter paid tribute to the work of Ian Oram for the Committee and reported that Ian would continue with his work administering applications for grants from the Council’s bell restoration funds. Sponsorship of the 2018 Ringing World calendar had proved to be a worthwhile outreach exercise. Peter further noted that the new jigsaw featuring the Ypres bells had sold out. Peter referred to the Committee’s current terms of reference for grants from the Bell Restoration Fund which limited an individual grant to no more than £1,000; the Committee proposed that the maximum individual grant be increased to £2,000 and he asked members to indicate their support for this change. Members so indicated by a show of hands. Jay Bunyan seconded and adoption of the report was agreed.

(g) Redundant Bells (p25)

Julian Newman proposed adoption of the report. He reported that a proposal had been developed to transfer the bells at Hanley to Stafford. Julian noted that the Rescue Fund had now been closed and the funds transferred to bell restoration. Ian Hastilow seconded. Peter Woollam asked if the protocol developed with the Churches Conservation Trust had been published. The President commented that the new workgroup will continue Robert Wood’s work with the CCT, including work on the protocol and its future publication. The report was adopted.

(h) Education (p25)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Tim Hine. Tim referred to publication of the Education Column articles in The Ringing World, to promotion of the handling posters, and to development of a leadership workshop with the Association of Ringing Teachers. He thanked Roger Booth and Geoff Horritt for their work organising the simulator sessions at this year’s ART conference. Tim added that two interviews had already been conducted with ringing leaders and these would be published in The Ringing World. Lucy Hopkins Till seconded and the report was adopted. Veronica Downing noted that both her name and that of David Hibbert had been omitted from the list of Committee members published with the report. Tim Hine apologised for these omissions.

(i) Ringing Centres (pp25-26)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Maureen Frost. Maureen drew attention to the dumb bell which had been available for use in the foyer during the Council weekend and to an article by Paul Marshall on the use of dumb bells in the latest issue of Training Times. She noted that Training Times was available on the website. Maureen reported that any future work would continue within the Volunteer & Leadership workgroup. Philip Bailey seconded and the report was adopted.

(j) Ringing Trends

The entire Committee had resigned in 2016 and, as no volunteers had come forward, no work had been conducted since then.

(k) Compositions (p26)

Proposing adoption of the report, Richard Allton noted that very few submissions had been received for review during the year. The report was seconded by Paul Flavell and agreed.

(l) Information and Communications Technology (p26)

David Richards proposed adoption of the report. He stated that difficulties with web streaming of the Council meeting had now been resolved. Dave commented that aspects of the Committee’s work could be allocated to both the Communications & Marketing and Technical & Taxonomy workgroups. The report was seconded by Doug Davis and adopted.

(m) Methods (p26)

Proposing adoption of the report, Graham John reported that the correct title of the new workgroup was Technical & Taxonomy, and not as printed in the report. The report was seconded by Mark Davies and agreed.

(n) Peal Records (pp27-31)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Richard Allton, who commented on the number of 2017 peals which had not yet been published in The Ringing World. Paul Cammiade seconded. Peter Harrison noted that the heading in the table on page 28 of the meeting papers should be 2017 (not 2016). George Dawson pointed out that 12 peals were rung at Willoughby on the Wolds (not Wold). Joy Pluckrose added that the Plantagenet Ring, with 21 peals, was at Church Lawford (not Lawton). The report was adopted.

(o) Biographies (pp31-32)

John Harrison proposed adoption of the report. John referred to the seminar on biographies and ringing history held during the Council meeting. He confirmed that the Committee was always willing to provide advice on research. John noted that 956 records were now available on the Council’s website and he encouraged all those interested in this topic to contribute to biographical records. David Jones seconded. John urged new members of Council to complete a biographical information sheet and to supply a photograph. Adoption of the report was agreed.

(p) Library (p32)

Proposing adoption of the report, Alan Glover noted that the online catalogue had been updated, a fourth volume of Order and Disorder had been produced, and the latest DVD of The Ringing World for 2001-2017 was on sale. Alan stated that the surplus from sales of this DVD would be passed to The Ringing World Ltd. He thanked all members of the Committee for their work on the different tasks involved with its work. Paul Johnson seconded. The President thanked the Committee and congratulated them on the work completed (applause). Alan Glover confirmed, in reply to Caroline Stockmann, that the Friends of the Library scheme would continue as usual. Adoption of the report was agreed.

18. Ringing Remembers

Vicki Chapman began her presentation by recalling the background to this project to recruit sufficient new recruits to replace those ringers who died during the Great War and her appointment as co-ordinator. She thanked Alan Regin for his numerous radio and television interviews, which could be consulted on the Council’s website and used as examples for media activity. Vicki reported that 559 contacts were recorded on the database on the previous Tuesday; this had risen to 571 by Saturday. Vicki displayed a ‘heatmap’ derived from the database showing geographically where most interest in the UK had arisen. She urged members to ensure that Ringing Remembers featured prominently on their association websites, to use all possible opportunities to promote the campaign to recruit new ringers and to make sure that all new recruits were registered on the database. Vicki noted that the Big Ideas Company wished to keep in touch with recruits and an appropriate data privacy notice and policy was in force. She drew attention to current plans for commemorative ringing on 11 November with a proposal for half-muffled ringing in the morning and open ringing later in the day, and stressed that all ringing on 11 November should be co-ordinated with local events. A BellBoard event would be created to link performances and certificates would be available to download. Vicki concluded by thanking Council officers and committees for their advice and assistance; David Smith and Andrew Hall for work on the database; the Association of Ringing Teachers for support; Bruce and Eileen Butler for recording contacts and ensuring that potential recruits were placed in contact with towers and teachers; and Colin Chapman for his assistance with despatching publicity materials (applause). In response to questions, Vicki confirmed that potential recruits should register individually and that the database naturally only recorded contacts, not all of whom would have proceeded to learn to ring. Kate Flavell added that anyone who began to ring from August 2017 onwards was eligible to register. Bruce Butler expressed his thanks to all those engaged in teaching and following up the initial enquiries and asked associations to keep their public relations contacts up-to-date. The President thanked Vicki for all her work on this important project (applause).

19. New Framework for Method Ringing (p32)

Tim Barnes referred to the mandate approved by CRAG proposal H at the Edinburgh meeting: that the Decisions be replaced with a simple and permissive descriptive framework for ringing with only the minimal detail required to maintain the historical record, and that the publication and maintenance of this framework be the responsibility of the Executive. Recent articles in The Ringing World had covered aspects of the work of the group established for this. The group had had many detailed exchanges and were now ready to proceed to a wider consultation with ringers. Tim stated that the key words were “permissive” and “descriptive”; the Decisions had become much more permissive in recent years and the group’s work continued this approach. He gave examples of increased permissiveness in the proposed new framework and explained the rationale for these. The group had aimed to achieve simplicity by, for example, including a single definition of truth, defining all terms used in the framework and including examples and explanations as appropriate. On historical continuity, Tim remarked that most ringers would not be affected by the new framework unless they chose to take advantage of the new features; however, the group had been unable to agree on aspects of method classification and two different proposals were therefore included in the consultation draft. He concluded by asking interested ringers to participate in the consultation and by thanking all the members of the group.

20. Future meetings

Andrew Wilby outlined plans for the 2019 meeting to be held in London during the weekend of 6 - 8 September, with the meeting itself commencing on Saturday 7 September. He thanked members for their feedback on arrangements for the Lancaster meeting.

As noted on the agenda, an invitation had been received from the Irish Association for 2023. On behalf of the Suffolk Guild, Neal Dodge invited the Council to Suffolk in 2022 - the beginning of the Guild’s centenary year.


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. [Post-meeting note: the attendance figures are based on those who signed the Roll for Monday 28 May; in the list of those present § indicates that that member either did not sign the Roll or was not present on Sunday 27 May.]

21. Other Business

(a) Richard Andrew, St Martin’s Guild, informed members of recent changes to the St Martin’s Guild constitution. The principal changes included removing the territorial designation of the Guild and the category of non-resident member.

(b) The Hon Secretary reported that David Kelly had informed her that he would not exercise his vote as a Fellow.

(c) Members were reminded to return their feedback forms.

(d) Derek Sibson, on behalf of Peter Blight, expressed his concern at the use of data from Peter’s website for a bulk mailing to ringers; he was advised that this was illegal under the PECR (Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations). Both the President and Phillip Barnes reiterated their earlier apologies to Peter Blight and confirmed that the database they had created for the mailing had been destroyed. The President noted that over 500 ringers had signed up to receive Central Council news as a result.

(e) The Hon Secretary reminded members to return their badge holders.

(f) The Hon Secretary noted that the nomination deadline in 2019 would be six weeks before the meeting.

(g) The Hon Secretary alerted members to changes in procedure which would come in to force with the adoption of the new Rules: (i) an annual membership return would be required and this plus the formal notification of a society’s members and payment of the affiliation fee must be received six weeks before the meeting - members would not be able to speak or vote at the meeting if these had not been received by the deadline; (ii) the category of alternate member for overseas societies was abolished and all societies would be able to change their members as they saw fit; the Hon Secretary urged societies to use this provision with care so that they did not bring their societies into disrepute. David Smith highlighted the difficulties for overseas societies and suggested that operation of this aspect of the new Rules could be reviewed in future.

(h) The Hon Secretary noted that she had been informed during the meeting that Michael Clements was no longer a representative for the Norwich Diocesan Association: all membership figures should be adjusted accordingly.

(i) The Hon Secretary reminded committee officers that committee records should be organised and passed to the Library Steward for safekeeping in either paper or electronic (PDF) format. Phillip Barnes and Stephen Pettman added that important committee correspondence should also be included, not just minutes. Doug Davis offered the services of the Technical & Taxonomy workgroup in the protection of digital assets, while Alison Hodge added that this was an issue for workgroup leads to address. Chris Mew emphasised the importance of an orderly transfer of data and the need for recognition of historical records. The Hon Secretary added that Helen Webb had professional experience of records management and had offered to advise on this.

(j) The Hon Secretary noted that the newly elected members of the Executive would be required to complete the relevant Charities Act declarations.

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

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 at the meeting. He particularly thanked those who would no longer be Council members.

The President moved a comprehensive vote of thanks to all those involved in the Council’s visit to Lancaster: to the organising committee: Ernie de Legh-Runciman, Giles Blundell, Richard Allton, Andrew Wilby and Chris Fletcher; to Doug Davis and David Richards for IT support; to all the members of the Lancashire Association who acted as stewards, tellers and microphone operators; and to all the incumbents and ringers of local churches who made bells available during the weekend for Sunday Service ringing; and to Canon Chris Pullin for his speech at the Dinner yesterday (applause).

Kate Flavell thanked the President for his chairmanship of the meeting and for his part in organising the Council’s meeting in Lancaster.

There being no further business, the President declared the meeting closed at 4.54 p.m.

Summary of Attendance
Fully represented3385-
Partly represented286631
Not represented5-7


Life Members42
Ex-officio Members5-
Additional Members31


The Ringing World, March 15, 2019, pages 252 to 257

(Archivist’s note: also absent were William Butler (Life Member), John Atkinson (Beverley & District Society), James Dann (Cambridge Univ. Guild), Mark Heritage (Devonshire Guild), Paul Seaman (Ely Dio. Assn), William Nash (Gloucester & Bristol Dio. Assn), Gareth Jones (Hereford Dio. Guild), Alison Brittliff (Lancashire Assn), Derek Giddins and Andrew Ogden (Lichfield & Walsall Archd. Society), Michael Clements (Norwich Dio. Assn), Emma Stanford (Oxford Society), Robert Hornby (Oxford Univ. Society) and Julian Hemper (Salisbury Dio. Guild))

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