The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

Minutes of the 122nd Annual Meeting held at Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London on Saturday 7th September 2019 at 12.45 p.m.


Fellows: John Barnes, Alan Frost, David Kelly, Andrew Stubbs.
Ex-officio: Mary Bone, Alan Glover, Doug Hird*, Tim Jackson, Louise Nightingale*, Alan Regin, Andrew Smith.
Ancient Society of College Youths: Richard Allton, Colin Newman*, Andrew Wilby.
Australian & New Zealand Assn: Peter Harrison, Christopher O’Mahony, David Smith, Derek Williams.
Barrow & District Society: David Hibbert.
Bath & Wells Dio. Assn: Jay Bunyan, Aaron Moulder, Charles Pipe-Wolferstan*.
Bedfordshire Assn: Patrick Albon, Linda Garton, Richard Horne.
Cambridge Univ. Guild: David Richards.
Carlisle Dio. Guild: Christine de Cordova, Duncan Walker.
Chester Dio. Guild: Tom Nestor*, Peter Wilkinson, Stefan Zientek.
Coventry Dio. Guild: Annie Hall, Christopher Mew, Joy Pluckrose.
Derby Dio. Assn: Andrew Hall, Susan Hall.
Devonshire Guild: Lynette Costello*, Lynne Hughes, Fergus Stracey.
Dorset County Assn: Maureen Frost.
Durham & Newcastle Dio. Assn: Howard Smith, Barbara Wheeler.
Durham University Society: Phil Hughes*.
Ely Dio. Assn: Sue Marsden.
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, John Couperthwaite, Beryl Norris, Jackie Roberts.
Hertford County Assn: Stuart Brant*, Tony Crowther, Geoff Horritt, Margaret Horritt.
Irish Assn: Vyvyenne Chamberlain, Robert MacDonald*, Don McLean.
Kent County Assn: Phillip Barnes, Douglas Davis, David Grimwood, Catherine Lewis, Caroline Stockmann.
Ladies Guild: Rosemary Hemmings, Alison Williams#, Jan Wyatt.
Lancashire Assn: Giles Blundell.
Leicester Dio. Guild: Carol Franklin, Arthur Rees.
Lichfield & Walsall Archd. Society: Stuart Hutchieson, Andrew Ogden.
Lincoln Dio. Guild: Philip Green, Christopher Sharp, Christopher Turner.
Liverpool Universities Society: Martyn Bristow.
Llandaff & Monmouth Dio. Assn: Matthew Turner*, John Vesey*.
Middlesex County Assn & London Dio. Guild: Sonia Field, Robert Lewis#, Adrian Udal#, Clyde Whittaker.
National Police Guild: John Cousins.
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: Raymond Harwood*, Katie Wright.
Oxford Dio. Guild: Ken Davenport, John Harrison, Lucy Hopkins Till, Graham John, Alan Marchbank, Timothy Pett.
Oxford Society: Emma Stanford.
Peterborough Dio. Guild: Simon Dixon, Nick Elks, Jane Sibson, David Westerman.
St David’s Guild: Chris Hughes*.
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: Peter Woollam.
Society of Royal Cumberland Youths: Derek Sibson, Jane Wilkinson.
Society of Sherwood Youths: Robin Woolley.
South African Guild: James Champion.
Southwell and Nottingham Dio. Guild: Jim Crabtree.
Suffolk Guild: Chris Birkby, 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.
Truro Dio. Guild: Helen Perry, Robert Perry.
Univ. Bristol Society: Imogen Brooke, Patrick Wheeler.
Univ. London Society: Jacqui Brown.
Veronese Assn: David Roskelly.
Winchester & Portsmouth Dio. Guild: Michael Church, Michael Hopkins Till#, Adrian Nash*, Shân Nash*, Allan Yalden.
Worcestershire & Districts Assn: Alison Hodge, Stuart Piper.
Yorkshire Assn: Barrie Dove, Janine Jones, Peter Kirby, Susan Welch.

[* - new member; # - returning member]

The Beverley & District Society, Devon Association, East Derbys & West Notts Association, East Grinstead & District Guild, Four Shires Guild, Hereford Diocesan Guild, Leeds University Society, Oxford University Society, Guild of St Agatha and the Swansea & Brecon Diocesan Guild were not represented.

The Chair was taken by the President, Christopher O’Mahony.

1. Opening Prayer

Robert Perry, Truro Diocesan Guild, led members in prayer.

2. Applications to affiliate

The Secretary, Mary Bone, reported that no applications had been received.

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). He encouraged all new members to complete and return a data consent form to the Secretary. The President particularly welcomed a number of members with long service to the Council and Exercise: Derek Sibson, Alan Frost, John Barnes, Chris Mew and Alan Glover (applause).

4. Apologies for absence

Apologies had been received from Revd John Baldwin and Bill Butler (Fellows), David Mattingley and Ian Oram (Ex-officio, Stewards of the Fred E Dukes International Bell Fund), Bill Purvis (Ex-officio, Steward of the Carter Ringing Machine Collection), Leigh Simpson (Ancient Society of College Youths), Mike Hansford and George Wyatt (Bath & Wells DA), James Blackburn (Beverley & District Society), David Jones (Chester DG), Jenny Halliday and Gill Hughes (Derby DA), Edward Sterland (East Derbys & West Notts Assn), Kate Wills (East Grinstead Guild), Philip Bailey, Sally Mew and Paul Seaman (Ely DA), Matthew Kemble and Chris Povey (Four Shires Guild), Angela Newing (Gloucester & Bristol DA), Ernie de Legh-Runciman and Beth Ingham (Lancashire Assn), Naomi Calvert (Leeds University Society), Lianne Brooks (Leicester DG), Beverley Furniss (North Wales Assn), Anne Bray (St Agatha Guild), Ben Duke (Society of Royal Cumberland Youths), George Dawson and Anne Sladen (Southwell & Nottingham DG), Neal Dodge (Suffolk Guild), David Katz (Swansea & Brecon DG) and Ian Self (Truro DG). Further apologies were presented from Eles Belfontali (Veronese Assn). The President urged societies to elect as representatives those who would be able to attend the annual meetings.

5. In Memoriam

Members stood in silence as the Secretary read the names of the following former members who had died since the last meeting: John Jelley (Leicester DG 1963-1996); Owen Webster (Essex Assn 1978-1990); Michael Orme (Chester DG 2002-2018); John Gallimore (Honorary Member 1993-1996, Veronese Assn 1996-2002); Peter Hurcombe (Sussex County Assn 1976-1995); Christopher M P Johnson (Cambridge UG 1960-1975); Peter Eves (Essex Assn 1960-1966); Mrs Jacqueline King (Llandaff & Monmouth DA 1957-1981); Basil Jones (Chester DG 1969-1976); Keith Game (East Grinstead & District Guild 1969-1975); Roland Cook (Leicester DG 1972-1975). Peter Wilkinson, Chester Diocesan Guild, led members in prayer.

(The minutes, reports and accounts were published with the Central Council Meeting Papers on 9th August 2019. The relevant page numbers are shown against each item.)

6. Minutes of the 2018 Annual Meeting (pp 5-10)

The Secretary had previously apologised to members for late publication of the Minutes, caused by the theft of her laptop computer in a burglary in autumn 2018.

The Minutes were approved on the proposal of Philip Green, seconded by Doug Davis, 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 conflicts of interest.

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

No member wished to raise any matter.

8. Annual Trustees’ Report for 2018 (pp11-13)

The President introduced the formal annual report of the Council to the Charity Commission for 2018 and noted that it had been approved by the Trustees on 18 May 2019. He asked the Trustees to identify themselves to the members and then invited the Secretary to comment on and update the report. The Secretary reported on changes to the membership figures in paragraph 7: there are 11 Ex-officio members, 177 representative members and 23 vacancies. The Durham & Newcastle Diocesan Association and the Society of Royal Cumberland Youths are now also entitled to 4 representative members. She apologised to Peter Trotman whose long service from 1996 to 2018 should have been recorded in the Report. The Secretary concluded by urging societies to elect members to fill the vacancies: the Executive wished to be held to account and wanted members who would participate and contribute to the Council’s strategic direction and work. The President proposed that the members receive and adopt the Annual Trustees’ Report; this was seconded by Fred Bone and approved.

9. Accounts for 2018 (pp13-15)

The Treasurer, Andrew Smith, presented the Accounts and noted that the Independent Examiners had issued an unqualified report. The Accounts had been approved by the Trustees on 18 May 2019. He thanked the Independent Examiners for their work and additionally thanked Ian Self (Library) and Beryl Norris (Publications) for their contributions. He pointed out that the entry under Resources Expended for ‘Library outreach day deficit’ properly related to project expenses for the Order & Disorder publications. The Treasurer added that the 2018 Council meeting in Lancaster had achieved a good financial result with a smaller deficit than in previous years and that the monies received for bell restoration in 2018 were now mostly committed. Some £15,000 of the government grant for Ringing Remembers remained unspent and would be allocated to related projects. The Treasurer reported that, after taking expert advice, the Executive had approved a change in the Library revaluation policy from 5 years to 20 years. He added that, under the terms of the bequest from the late Robert M Kilby received in 2017, a peal of Stedman Caters had been rung in October 2018 for the Leicester Diocesan Guild. Chris Turner commented that it was impossible for members to scrutinise the accounts fully when copies were only received a few hours before the meeting; both the Treasurer and Secretary responded that the accounts and other meeting papers were available electronically earlier and members were notified of this by email. Andrew Wilby recommended that the Library should be revalued at least in line with inflation every year - a 20 year revaluation policy was not appropriate; the Treasurer replied that the policy would be kept under review. The President confirmed to Philip Green (who declared an interest as printer for Council publications) that the Ringing Remembers grant was unencumbered and unexpended funds did not require repayment; the balance would be allocated to suitable projects. Anthony Lovell-Wood asked if the Council would consider a grant towards the costs of the Salisbury Guild publication on its ringers who fell in the Great War if this did not cover its expenses; the President stated that this could be considered. The Treasurer proposed that the members receive and adopt the 2018 Accounts; this was seconded by Michael Church and approved.

10. Annual Report of the Executive and Workgroups for 2018 (pp16-34)

The President invited the workgroup leaders to identify themselves to the members and commented that the report fully demonstrated the range and number of Council activities in the past year. He then asked for any corrections to the report as printed. The Secretary, as Executive Sponsor for the Historical & Archive workgroup, apologised to Paul Cammiade, Ben Duke and Derek Sibson whose names had been omitted from the list of those working on the peals analysis. Richard Allton added that Chris Turner’s name had also been omitted from this section. Stuart Piper noted that, in the list of leading towers on page 23, Pershore should now be correctly known as the St Andrew’s Centre. The President then invited questions on each section of the report.

Executive report: Adrian Udal queried the appointment of a former Council officer, Public Relations Officer Caroline Stockmann, as an Independent Examiner. The Treasurer responded that Caroline had had no involvement with the Accounts during her previous rôle as Public Relations Officer and had not been a Trustee of the Council.

Communications & Marketing: John Harrison commented that many resources which had been collected over the years had not been transferred to the new website and were now unavailable; he considered that the new website should not have gone live. Louise Nightingale, workgroup leader, replied that the old website with all its material was still available. She added that a website would always be a work in progress; the next phases of work would be agreed with the other workgroup leaders and the schedule would be published. Tina Stoecklin expressed appreciation for the work of the Ringing Remembers team which had done so much to increase awareness of ringing among the wider public as well as to recruit new ringers. Stefan Zientek stated that the report contained very little on promoting and marketing ringing to young people; he felt that this should be the focus for the next 12 months. Timothy Hine, Volunteer & Leadership workgroup leader, noted that over 30 younger ringers had attended the second day of the ART (Association of Ringing Teachers) conference in Worcester on 3 March 2019 which had concentrated on a vision for the future of youth ringing. The workgroups recognised the importance of this issue and hoped to do more. Jacqui Brown drew attention to the university ringing website.

Historical & Archive: Paul Cammiade pointed out that, in the first column of the Analysis of Peals by method and change on year, incorrect totals were given for tower bell peals of Royal and Caters; the figures should be +11 for Royal and +15 for Caters.

Stewardship & Management: there were no questions.

Technical & Taxonomy: Robin Woolley asked if the names of previous committee members could be added to the report as was the practice in other workgroup reports. Graham John, workgroup leader, replied that the report included an account of the work done by members of the previous committees in the workgroup and their names were thus listed.

Volunteer & Leadership: there were no questions.

The President proposed the adoption of the Executive and workgroup reports for 2018; this was seconded by Phillip Barnes and approved.

11. Executive and Workgroup updates for January - August 2019

The President introduced this item, remarking that it was an opportunity to show how much work had been done so far this year. For the Executive, he noted that regular monthly calls were held by Skype and there were quarterly meetings with the workgroup leaders. The Executive had approved the new Framework for Method Ringing, which came into effect on 1 June 2019; developed and approved a new Standing Order governing the management of the Fred E Dukes International Bell Fund and appointed stewards for the Fund; approved a privacy notice for the website; studied and approved both the Trustees’ Report and the Accounts for 2018; considered and approved a revised timescale for revaluation of the Council Library; and been heavily involved with preparations for the 2019 annual meeting and mini roadshow.

Volunteer & Leadership: Timothy Hine, workgroup leader, reported that a well-received conference day on youth ringing had been held in March with an attendance of 90; a number of other interviews with ringing leaders had been conducted; a workshop on recruitment and retention was being developed and trialled, and this topic would be the focus of the second day of the ART conference in March 2020; the workgroup advocated partnerships, especially with The Ringing World and ART; work continued on the Education Column, developing ringing centres and improving website content. The workgroup was ambitious and Tim appealed for volunteers to assist with their work. Fergus Stracey asked how young ringers in towers where there were no other youngsters, and where perhaps The Ringing World was not taken, could be reached and supported. Tim replied that social media, the Lilliputters Guild and the National Youth Competition all had a rôle to play. Tina Stoecklin suggested that a subscription to The Ringing World would be a suitable gift for young ringers.

Historical & Archive: the workgroup leader, Doug Hird, reported a large amount of regular continuing work, for instance on the articles and presentations given on the Rolls of Honour, research assistance from the Library and the peals analysis. A project to make the contents of the Library more accessible with a new interface had been started and work had also begun on entering older peals onto BellBoard; this latter project would also enable historic peal boards to be recorded. Doug thanked all former committee members who continued to work for the group during a period of transition as well as the Stewards, Friends of the Library and the BellBoard team. He concluded by asking new members of Council to meet him during the afternoon for photographs.

Stewardship & Management: Alison Hodge, workgroup leader, reported that the group had 3 major themes: tower infrastructure, tower operation and major projects. The group received on average 10 new enquiries a month. She appealed for those with relevant experience and expertise to volunteer to join the workgroup or act as specialist advisers. She also urged those outside south and central England to be involved so that the group had a wider geographic spread and could more easily offer assistance. Alison explained that the group wished to expand its electronic resources, including the use of videos, as this was now the principal way of engaging with younger ringers. The President added that a volunteer was also sought to take over work on safeguarding from Chris Mew, who now wished to relinquish this task. Chris Mew commented that much of the safeguarding work was carried out in the background and required confidentiality and discretion. Paul Flavell asked if training was still part of the workgroup’s remit; Alison responded that the group wished to co-operate on training with other workgroups and in particular with guilds and associations. Stefan Zientek commented that the group’s major themes covered a large number of items: which of these carried risks to the future of ringing and should be seen as critical areas? Alison replied that, in her personal opinion, the major risks were of accidents, noise complaints (both of hearing loss and of noise outside the tower) and on safeguarding issues.

Technical & Taxonomy: the workgroup leader, Graham John, referred members to the diagram on p30 of the meeting papers, which showed the group’s current services and projects. Graham explained that updates to Dove could not be accepted at present due to technical issues with the underlying database; the team were accelerating their efforts to replace the system. The Internet site itself was not affected. Graham noted that the Framework for Method Ringing had been approved by the Council Executive in February and came into effect on 1 June 2019. The group was now heavily involved in implementing the necessary changes to the method libraries and working on retrospective recognition of both methods and performances (see The Ringing World, 6 September 2019, p869). David Kelly asked if the additional information held in Dove (prototype-National Bell Register) would also be included in the replacement system; Graham John confirmed that this would be so. John Harrison added that information on bells was held in both the pNBR and on George Dawson’s own website; which site was definitive and were there any plans to merge them? Tim Jackson, Dove Steward, replied that adding the additional data from George Dawson’s site remained the long-term aim of the stewards. John Harrison further commented that all the data on George Dawson’s site was accessible, whereas this was not the case on Dove for bells which were not part of a ring of 3 or more bells; was the aim for this data also to be accessible in future? Graham John again confirmed that this was included in the project. Chris Mew, past President, referred to the formal agreement on the replacement Dove system agreed between the BellBoard team and the Council; the aim should be to include and co-ordinate not only data from George Dawson but that held also by other bell historians and by the Church of England. Graham responded that he hoped that co-ordination would continue to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort.

Communications & Marketing: Louise Nightingale, workgroup leader, displayed a ‘cloud’ image showing the range of activities of the group. The first phase of work on the new website had been completed; the group were taking the opportunity to review all website material, for instance to ensure that it carried the appropriate logo. The workgroup was frequently asked to support events and was developing an “event in a box” set of best practice guidelines and material which could be used; this had been trialled at the London Landmarks Half Marathon. The new Public Relations Officer, Vicki Chapman, was revising and updating lists of guild and association PR contacts. The main focus in 2020 would be the VE Day 75th anniversary in May. The group were also studying the different constituencies in ringing in order that messages could be tailored appropriately.

The President thanked all the workgroups and leaders for the work they had already done in 2019 (applause).

12. Forward Plan for 2020

The President introduced this item, mandated by the new Rules adopted in Lancaster (rule 6.1 b) (3)). He stated that change would take time and repeated his thanks to all those who had served on past committees of the Council; the previous agenda items showed how much had been achieved and was in progress. There had been wide consultation on preparing the Forward Plan both within the Executive and workgroups and more widely, and all the officers welcomed feedback from Council members and others to guide and develop the strategy. The President repeated his call for more volunteers to assist with the work. The Council’s mission, vision and high-level objectives remained unchanged. These had been developed into four key themes for the future: building partnerships; being efficient and effective; engaging in data gathering and analysis; and delivering focused services. He expanded on each of these themes in turn, mentioning partnerships with The Ringing World, ART and external organisations such as church dioceses, Historic England, the National Trust, Churches Conservation Trust, government and others; avoiding duplication of effort and streamlining operations; conducting a feasibility study on the benefits and costs of direct membership, analysis of possible future church closures, analysis of, for example, BellBoard data and other data sources to understand key trends in ringing; and delivering a Recruitment and Retention workshop in March 2020, promoting ringing for the 75th anniversary of VE Day in May, organising a Focus Day on libraries and archives, preparing training materials on tower stewardship and management, developing other communities of practice, sponsoring a new residential training course focusing on Ringing Remembers recruits, delivery of regional tower leadership courses and encouraging the highest standards of ringing and the pursuit of excellence. The President concluded by reminding members that the plan would be subject to further revision by the new Executive team and he invited comments and suggestions.

John Harrison referred to the valuable work done earlier on ringing trends and for the need for this work to be continued after a gap of several years. The President stated that analysis of existing data formed a useful starting point and he supported the idea of annual spot surveys wich gathered comparable data over time. Stefan Zientek pointed out that the partnership organisations referenced had older memberships themselves; there was no mention of the BBC and other media organisations or of links to educational institutions in order to establish relationships with younger people. Jim Crabtree suggested that the number of towers holding regular practices provided a useful statistic. He also asked about liaison with theological colleges. The President responded that the colleges already had a very full syllabus and feedback had been that the Bells in Your Care leaflet was most useful in a parish context. Kate Flavell added that an email list of diocesan communications officers had been compiled and would be passed to the PRO. A number of these communications officers had used material in diocesan newsletters. The President encouraged ringers to be creative in their use of the media as partner organisations would often re-use material and give it wider circulation. Jane Wilkinson recalled that the Bells in Your Care leaflet had been sent to all diocesan secretaries some years ago for inclusion in diocesan mailings; perhaps this exercise should be repeated? Peter Wilkinson reminded members of different types of clergy training, much of which now was at diocesan rather than college level. David Grimwood, member of the Clerical Guild, stated that it was preferable to forge good local links with the clergy rather than adding to their paperwork. Ruth Marshall suggested the possibility of sponsoring younger ringers on relevant courses, for instance on engineering or data gathering and analysis, to help fill the skills gap in ringing. Nick Elks talked of the importance of the Council’s public relations to the ringing community itself: the majority of the ringing community was unaware of the Council’s work. He hoped that younger ringers would become involved in the Council. The President regretted that much of the Council’s work appeared invisible to ringers at large. Will Bosworth (The Ringing World) asked for further information on possible direct membership of the Council, a key part of the CRAG report. The President replied that the first step would be a fact-finding exercise. A feasibility study would test which benefits and services might be offered and whether this would be on a subscription or donation basis. The President thanked all members for their contributions and suggestions.

The meeting resumed at 3.15pm after a short tea break.

13. Financial update 2019 and outline General Fund budget for 2020

The Treasurer introduced this item, mandated under the new Rules, and referred members to p35 of the meeting papers. The 2019 budget approved in late 2018 had included expenditure of the remaining Ringing Remembers grant and some additional workgroup expenditure; some of this expenditure might be delayed until 2020. The aim was to return General Fund balances to December 2017 levels.

The 2020 budget would be considered in detail by the Executive in October/November; a balanced draft budget had been prepared which assumed a small deficit on the 2020 Council annual meeting and workgroup expenditure at the usual levels of recent years. He confirmed, in response to Nick Elks, that the update and outline budget were only concerned with the General Fund. Richard Allton asked about any plans to increase the affiliation fee; the Treasurer replied that this was reviewed regularly but an increase was not currently under consideration. John Harrison referred to previous discussions in the Administrative Committee on moving the affiliation fee to a different system so that the amount paid per individual member of a society was more equitable; he suggested that these discussions should be revisited, especially as some smaller societies were considering disaffiliation and the level of the fee was a factor in this. The Treasurer responded that, although the affiliation fee was not set at a rate per individual guild member, it did in fact reflect the different sizes of guilds in that the larger guilds were entitled to more representatives. Jacqui Brown suggested that university societies would welcome a different basis for the fee or a reduction in the fee, and James Champion confirmed that the level of the fee was a factor in continued affiliation by the South African Guild.

14. Election of Trustees

President - Simon Linford, who had been proposed by Phillip Barnes and seconded by Linda Garton, was the only nominee. The President invited both Phillip and Linda to speak on Simon’s experience, particularly of recent changes in the St Martin’s Guild and of his skills as a ringer. Due to a prior commitment, Simon Linford was unfortunately unable to be present; a short video clip was played, in which Simon explained his reasons for accepting nomination (see also p4 of the meeting papers for his supporting statement and The Ringing World, 13 September 2019, pp885-886). The video concluded with a performance by the Brumdingers (applause). The President declared him elected.

Secretary - Mary Bone, who had been proposed by Andrew Wilby and seconded by Jay Bunyan, was the only nominee. The President declared her elected.

Ordinary Trustees: two nominations had been received for the 2 positions. David Smith had been proposed by Peter Harrison and seconded by David Grimwood, and Alison Everett had been proposed by Robert Lane and seconded by Chris Turner. The President declared them elected.

15. Election of Independent Examiners

Caroline Stockmann had been proposed by Doug Davis and seconded by Phillip Barnes. Jeremy Cheesman was proposed by Kate Flavell and seconded by Paul Flavell. There being no other nominations, the President declared them elected.

16. Governance Review

The President advised members of the text of Standing Order G1, which required a review of the Council’s rules, standing orders and governance and an assessment of the transfer of powers of representative members to individual members. The review was mandated to commence in May 2019 and to be held every 3 years. He explained that the new Council structures had only been in place since the end of May 2018; the Executive intended to commence the review, to listen to feedback on the operation of the new structures, and to consider external assessment.

17. Future meetings

Pat Wheeler outlined initial plans for the 2020 meeting to be based at the University of Nottingham’s Jubilee Campus.

Jay Bunyan indicated that an invitation from the Bath & Wells Diocesan Association for the 2021 event, to be based at Bath Spa University, was under consideration.

The information on the agenda (withdrawal of the Irish Association invitation for 2023 and Guild of Devonshire Ringers invitation for 2024) was noted. [Post-meeting note: the Suffolk Guild invitation for 2022 has been transferred to 2023 to coincide better with 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. Linda Garton asked if there were any particular reasons for non-attendance by so many members; the Secretary replied that the reasons given varied considerably. John Harrison commented that in some societies representatives were not informed of their election (laughter).

21. Any Other Business

(a) Allan Yalden asked for information on the number of non-Council members attending. On behalf of the organising team, Clyde Whittaker stated that some 25% of registrations were from non-Council members. He mentioned some of the highlights of the Sunday programme and encouraged those present to attend and support this, which would become the pattern for future events.

(b) Tina Stoecklin, Scottish Association, queried if it were necessary for all representatives to attend the meeting in person: with streaming of the proceedings to the Internet could they not participate remotely and contribute by Skype? Peter Harrison spoke of the ANZAB experience of broadcasting annual meetings: it was difficult to broadcast externally and allow participation by Skype simultaneously.

(c) The Secretary thanked Fred Bone for typesetting the annual meeting papers, Sue Hall for the image on the front cover, and Carol Franklin for producing the Attendance Roll sheets.

(d) The Secretary urged members to notify any changes in their contact details promptly and to check that their association contact was receiving Council emails.

(e) Members were reminded to return their evaluation forms as well as badge holders and lanyards.

(f) The Secretary noted that the nomination deadline in 2020 would be six weeks before the meeting. Nominations would be required for President, Deputy President, Treasurer and two Independent Examiners.

(g) The Secretary reminded members of the changes in procedure now in force with the adoption of the new Rules: an annual membership return was 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.

Votes of Thanks

The President thanked the officers, Executive members, workgroup leaders and members for their work for ringing and the Council throughout the year and thanked members for their support and contributions at the meeting. The President moved a comprehensive vote of thanks to all those involved in the Council’s visit to London: to the organising team led by David Kirkcaldy and Clyde Whittaker, the stewards, tellers and microphone operators, all those assisting with the mini-Roadshow on Sunday, Doug Davis and Dave Richards for IT support, the incumbents and ringers of churches where bells were made available on Friday, including the St Paul’s Guild, and the Revd Canon Stephen Evans and Mrs Diana Evans (dinner guests) (applause).

Chris Mew thanked the President for his chairmanship of the meeting and for his rôle in steering the Council through the recent period of change.

David Kirkcaldy, Deputy President, endorsed these remarks and made a presentation to Christopher O’Mahony, retiring President. Christopher responded that it had been a privilege to serve as President for these 2 years.

There being no further business, the President declared the meeting closed at 4.13 pm.

The new President, Simon Linford, was invested with the badge of office during the dinner that evening.

Summary of Attendance
Fully represented2981-
Partly represented275726
Not represented10-13


Ex-officio Members74


The Ringing World, 24 January 2020, pages 91 to 93

(Archivist’s note: also absent were Allen Nunley (Ex-officio), John Atkinson (Beverley & District Society), James Dann (Cambridge Univ. Guild), Robert Brown and Mervyn Way (Devon Assn), Colin Ward (Hereford Dio. Guild), William Nash (Gloucester & Bristol Dio. Assn), Steve Millington (Leicester Dio. Guild), Derek Giddins (Lichfield & Walsall Archd. Society), Robert Hornby (Oxford Univ. Society), Paul Marshall (Worcestershire & Districts Assn) and Andrew Aspland (Yorkshire Assn))

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