The 100th Annual General Meeting of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers was held in the Palmerston Room at St John's College, Cambridge, on Monday 26th May 1997. The meeting was opened at 9.45am by the President, Mrs P. M. Wilkinson (Honorary Member), who called upon the Revd. Dr J. C. Baldwin (Life Member) to lead the Council in prayer.
In his report on the Council's membership, the Hon Secretary, Mr C. H. Rogers (Guildford D.G.), said that 68 societies were affiliated to the Council, with 200 representatives, and that there were currently eight Life Members and 23 Honorary Members. Subscriptions had been received from all affiliated societies except the Manchester University Guild, whose subscription was thereupon paid.
The secretary reported that apologies for absence had been received from one Life Member, Mr E. A. Barnett; two Honorary Members, Mr W. H. Dobbie and Mr R. H. Dove; and 16 representative members, the Hon Mr Justice Bleby, Miss D. J. Couch, The Revd J. M. Hughes, Dr D. H. Niblett, Miss A. M. Phillips, Dr K. W. Price, Miss R. M. Rodway, Ms J. Thompson and Messrs P. S. Bennett, J. J. P. Ellams, B. J. R. Gross, A. S. Hudson, C. Mitchell, M. Quimby, I. P. Self and A. N. Stubbs. Apologies for absence were also given for Mr P. Avesani, Mr N. R. Mattingley, Mrs E. S. Riley and Mr P. Whitehead.
An alternate member was present in place of Miss Phillips (Zimbabwe Guild).
Prebendary J. G. M. Scott asked that the Council's good wishes should be sent to Mr Barnett, who was unwell.
The Minutes of the 1996 Annual Meeting (published on pp.179-80 of The Ringing World of 14th February 1997) were agreed and signed by the President.
The President then made a presentation to Mr C. K. Lewis (Life Member), who was attending his 50th Council Meeting. Mr Lewis returned thanks.
The President welcomed the following new members of the Council: Dr L. F. Forbes (Hon. Member), Mr G. E. Mudge (G. Devonshire Ringers), Dr D. R. Marshall (N. Wales A.) and Mr P. C. Johnson (Swansea & Brecon D.G.). As the Secretary read out each name, the member stood briefly.
Members stood in silence while the Secretary read the names of the following former members of the Council had died since the last meeting:
Mr F. B. Lufkin (Essex A. 1946-95, Life Member 1996 until his death); Mr P. A. Cummins (Truro D.G. 1982-3 and 1993-5); the Revd Canon A. S. Roberts (Truro D.G. 1946-55 and 1957-62); Mr E. Nobles (Peterborough D.G. 1954-9 and 1961-2); Mr H. M. Howard (Hon Member 1952-7); Mr J. R. Cooper (Kent C.A. 1957-65); Mr W. Cathrall (N. Wales A. 1953-6); and Mr D. Hughes (Hon Member 1952-87).
The Revd B. J. Fry (Winchester & Portsmouth D.G.) said a prayer.
Mr D. G. Thorne (Honorary Member and retiring Editor of The Ringing World) had been proposed for Life Membership of the Council by Mr F. E. Dukes (Life Member). Mr Dukes opened by saying that he was making his proposal in recognition of David Thorne's services as Editor and to ringing in general. He then spoke of Mr Thorne's Army and ringing career and his very good sense of humour. As Editor he had been a most welcome guest speaker at many ringing dinners. Since becoming an Honorary Member of the Council in 1982, he had served on a number of Council committees and was about to become Chairman of the Public Relations Committee.
In seconding the proposal, Mr H. W. Egglestone (Life Member) spoke of David Thorne's outstanding service as Editor. He had transformed both The Ringing World itself and the role of editor. He had become a roving ambassador for ringing, he had developed the Ringing World office into a public relations centre for ringing, he had seen through great changes in the printing and publishing of The Ringing World and he had managed the office and its finances expertly. In addition, he was always approachable, helpful and cheerful, with outstanding gifts of friendship and good humour.
Voting was by ballot and the proposal was carried by an overwhelming majority. Following the announcement of the result Mr Thorne thanked the Council for the honour conferred on him, which was in part a tribute to the importance of The Ringing World to ringing in general. He also paid tribute to the support given to him at all times by his wife, Joan, who was present in the gallery.
Mr E. G. H. Godfrey (Honorary Member) had been nominated by Mr R. J. Cooles (Honorary Member) to fill the vacant position of Hon. Treasurer. Mr Cooles spoke briefly of Mr Godfrey's service as one of the Council's auditors, his professional qualifications and his sound judgement and knowledge of financial matters. The proposal was seconded by Mr J. D. Cheesman (Surrey A.). There being no other nomination, Mr Godfrey was declared elected.
The President thereupon expressed the Council's thanks to Dr J. C. Baldwin (Life Member) for acting as Treasurer since the former Treasurer's resignation.
In proposing the adoption of the report (published on pp.515-6 of the RW of 16th May), the Secretary said that the report had been produced in a form intended to meet the requirements of the Statement of Recommended Practice "Accounting by Charities" (the Charities SORP). It also replaced the former report of the Hon. Secretary and Treasurer. The report would be sent to the Charities Commission with the accounts and the Committee reports. After the Secretary had made some corrections to the report as circulated, its adoption was seconded by Mr C. J. Groome (Peterborough D.G.) and agreed.
This item had been held back pending the announcement of the result of the Life Member election ballot. Ten Honorary Members would complete their three-year term at the end of the meeting, of whom three (Mr W. H. Dobbie, Mr R. H. Dove and Miss E. St John-Smith) did not seek re-election, and one, Mr D. G. Thorne, had just been elected a Life Member. The other six retiring members and two others were proposed and seconded to fill eight of the eleven vacancies. Voting was by ballot and the President was later able to confirm that all eight had been elected. They were: Mr A. E. M. Bagworth, a Steward of the Carter Ringing Machine; Mr A. P. S. Berry, Managing Director of John Taylor Bellfounders Ltd; Mrs K. Flavell, an insurance expert and a member of the Bell Restoration Funds Committee; Miss J. Roberts, who assisted the Bell Restoration Funds Committee in identifying trusts who were willing to make grants towards bell restoration; Mr R. B. Smith, Director of Eayre and Smith Ltd; Miss T. R. Stoecklin, newly appointed Editor of The Ringing World; Mr J. R. Taylor, a member of the Towers and Belfries Committee; and Mrs P. M. Wilkinson, President.
After the Secretary had read out the report of the Honorary Auditors, Dr J. C. Baldwin (Life Member) introduced the Accounts by thanking the Auditors and others for their assistance in compiling them and by referring to their new format, as required by the Charities SORP. Adoption of the Accounts was then seconded by Mr B. D. Threlfall (Hereford D.G.).
In response to questions, Dr Baldwin confirmed that expenditure on "Ring in 2000/ Ringing in the Millennium" referred only to the latter and would be refunded from the Millennium Commission's grant; he accepted that the capital reserve was a Designated Fund rather than a Restricted Fund; and he said that the loan of £3,500 to the Rescue Fund was included in the amount for Debtors.
Adoption of the Accounts was agreed later in the meeting following consideration of the Publications Account and the Friends of the Library Account in conjunction with the reports of the respective committees.
The first motion, proposed by the Secretary on behalf of the Administrative Committee, sought to make certain changes to the Rules to provide for the appointment in future of Independent Examiners rather than Auditors. As he explained, under the Charities SORP charities with an annual income up to £250,000 may choose to have their accounts examined by independent examiners or audited by registered auditors. The Committee recommended the Council to opt for independent examination both to save the expense of employing registered auditors and to enable it to appoint suitably qualified independent examiners from amongst its own members, as it always had done in appointing auditors.
Although the form of report which auditors and independent examiners were required to make differed, in practice the Council could expect its independent examiners to provide no less a standard of scrutiny and degree of assurance than that which a registered auditor would provide.
In reply to a question from Mr A. R. Smith (Suffolk G.), the Secretary said that he considered "suitably qualified" members to include not only qualified accountants but also those with experience and qualifications in related disciplines such as taxation and banking.
After Mr M. J. Church (Honorary Member) had seconded the motion, it was carried by considerably more than the two-thirds majority required for changes to the Rules.
The second motion asked the Council, in the interests of the technical and musical advancement of change ringing, to agree in principle to recognise peals in which the cover bell varied. In proposing the motion, Mr A. R. Kench (Ancient Society of College Youths) said that variable cover peals need not be unmusical but could produce new and very pleasant kinds of music. Variable cover peals could be rung under the existing decisions and be called Original with silent calls, but that was not a sensible way to proceed. Hence the need for changes to the decisions.
Mr A. W. R. Wilby (ASCY) seconded the motion, adding that variable cover peals would provide opportunities for technical experimentation and increase the complexity of ringing. They were an innovation which should be allowed to develop.
After a brief debate, in which Mr H. W. Rogers (London C.A.) said that the Council had at one time been horrified at the idea of singles in Surprise Major, which were now commonplace, the motion was carried by a large majority.
The third motion, one of the longest ever to appear on a Council agenda, put forward amendments to the Decisions necessary for the Council to recognise variable cover peals. The President thanked the Methods Committee for their hard work in producing the amendments and invited Mr A. P. Smith (Winchester and Portsmouth D.G.) to propose the motion. Mr Smith pointed that that the motion was the result of the Council's request to the Committee of last year, that Sections 3 and 4 of the accompanying paper explained the proposals and that the motion as now worded differed significantly from the draft which had appeared in The Ringing World. The motion was seconded by Mr P. D. Niblett (Oxford University S.). Mr R. E. H. Woolley (S. Sherwood Youths) sought to propose an amendment which would require variable cover peals to be recorded separately, but was advised that the matter should be raised in debate on the report of the Peals Analysis Committee. The motion was then put to the vote and was carried.
The fourth motion, which arose from a request from the 1996 Council meeting for further consideration to be given to the idea of CC Bell Fund, gave rise to a lengthy debate. In proposing the motion, Mrs K. Flavell (Honorary Member) summarised the history of the proposal and made the following points:
(1) As proof of the ability of the Bell Restoration Funds Committee to administer the fund fairly, the Committee had for some years been involved in the allocation of small grants from the existing bell fund without complaint;
(2) There was no intention to detract from local bell restoration funds, but instead to increase the money available for bell restoration. Any publicity towards this end would mention the existence of local funds;
(3) A particular objective was to encourage legacies in favour of bell restoration funds, of which there had been very few;
(4) Through its own bell fund, the Council could provide valuable support and assistance for local bell funds.
Mr R. J. Cooles (Honorary Member) seconded the motion and pointed out that a CC Bell Fund could act as a reserve bank for local funds.
Expressions of support for the proposals were made by Mr D. C. Jackson (Winchester & Portsmouth D.G.), who considered that grassroots ringers were more likely to support use of funds for restoration than for augmentation; by Dr L. F. Forbes (Honorary Member), who pointed out that with the Ringing in the Millennium project bell restoration was now a national as well as local issue by Mr D. J. Jones (Peterborough D.G.), who stressed the importance of mentioning in publicity the existence of local funds; by Mr G. A. Halls (Derby D.A.), who suggested that few legacies were made to association funds because most were awash with money, but added that more money was still needed for bell restoration because the areas of greatest need were those where least was available in local funds; and by Prebendary J. G. M. Scott (Honorary Member), Mr E. G. Mould (London C.A.) and Mr J. A. Harrison (Oxford D.G.), who made similar points.
Mr A. W. R. Wilby (Ancient Society of College Youths) and Mr W. J. Couperthwaite (Guildford D.G.), however, expressed some misgivings relating to the allocation of grants from a CC Bell Fund, noting in particular the possible damage to the Council's reputation when it became necessary to turn down grant applications. While it was proper for the Council to assist in raising money for bell restoration, that money should be directed to local funds. Mr C. J. Groome (Peterborough D.G.) supported the proposal in principle but said that more clarity was needed in the allocation of money from the proposed fund.
Mr N. E. Booth (Scottish A.), a member of the Bell Restoration Funds Committee, pointed out that there were built-in safeguards at two levels: the Council would have an opportunity each year to express views on how the money should be spent; and the intention was that the fund would be used only to make loans to association funds and to make grants to towers where the local association fund had already made a grant.
Replying to the debate, Mrs Flavell said that she was heartened by the degree of support for the proposal. She confirmed the intention to work with the affiliated societies and only to make grants to schemes supported by them, but added that it would take some time to raise any significant amount of money for the fund. In answer to a point from Mr J. A. Smith (Australia and New Zealand A.), she confirmed that the fund would be able to support overseas societies.
Each part of the motion was then put to the vote. Part (i), to receive the report of the Bell Restoration Funds Committee on the proposal (published on p.516 of The Ringing World of 16 May), was carried. On part (ii), to approve the proposals in the report for the development and expansion of the fund, Mr Groome proposed and Mr A. H. Smith (Bedfordshire A.) seconded its reference back to the Committee. This motion was narrowly lost and the substantive motion was carried. On part (iii), to approve proposals for the application of funds, Mr Groome again moved its reference back to enable the Committee to define more clearly the criteria for the allocation of money from the fund. Mr Couperthwaite seconded and this motion was carried by a small majority. Finally, part (iv), to request the Officers and the Administrative and BRF Committees to settle procedures to carry the terms of the motion into effect, was put to the vote and carried.
Arising from the passing of Motion (A), the Council proceeded to elect two Independent Examiners. Mr S. J. Coleman (Honorary Member), a senior tax inspector, was proposed by Mrs S. Bianco (Honorary Member) and seconded by the Secretary; and Mr A. G. Smith (Dorset CA.), one of the Council's auditors, was proposed by Mrs M. E. Frost (Dorset C.A.) and seconded by Dr J. C. Baldwin (Life Member). Both were declared elected.
The meeting then proceeded to consider the reports of each of the committees, which had been published in The Ringing World of 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th April. The relevant page numbers are given against each report.
In proposing the adoption of the report, the Secretary made two points: paragraph (5) of the report set out the initial thinking of the working group on Central Council elections, on which comments would be welcome. A full report, with proposals for Rule changes, would come forward next year. On paragraph (8) it was unfortunate that the main prospective sponsor for the Training Video had been unable to proceed, with the result that the Council had borne the main part of the cost of production. The report was seconded by Mr M. J. Church (Honorary Member).
At the invitation of the President, Dr L. F. Forbes and Mrs S. Bianco (Honorary Members and the Project Coordinators) updated members on the Ringing in the Millennium project. Ninety second-stage applications had been received and the first two batches had been considered by the Millennium Working Party and the Millennium Commission. The results would be announced shortly. Delays had been caused by difficulties with the Commission, with the result that the Project Manager had only been formally in post for six weeks. It was likely that a cut-off date for the receipt of second-stage applications would be set towards the end of the year. Some individual projects might receive a grant of less than 50% of the project cost, but only where more than 50% had already been raised locally. The President expressed thanks to Dr Forbes and Mrs Bianco for their continuing hard work and success so far.
In discussion, Mr A. P. S. Berry and Mr R. B. Smith (Honorary Members), on behalf of the trade, expressed their support for the project but were concerned about the delays which had occurred and the very real possibility that some of the individual schemes would not be completed by the deadline of 31st December 1999. The delays had distorted the flow of work to the foundries and bell hangers and they could not easily expand. However, they would do their best to meet the demand.
In reply, Dr Forbes said that it was by no means definite that projects which were incomplete by 31st December 1999 would have to repay grant received from the Commission, as had earlier been stated, and that some flexibility could be expected. She was grateful for the points made and for the help received from the trade.
Turning to the Ring in 2000 project, Mr A. R. Kench (Ancient Society of College Youths) made two proposals:
(1) That the immediate target of the project be modified to be that, as far as practicable, the bells of every church be rung at some time on 1st January 2000; and
(2) That the project be refocused to provide support to member guilds as required and to channel church and media communication primarily via member guilds and local bands.
Mr Kench felt that it was an unrealistic expectation for all bells to ring at the same time on 1st January 2000 and that any failure to do so would reflect badly on local bands. Negotiations and publicity about the project at national level had led to negative, unhelpful and inaccurate publicity about the shortage of ringers. The Council was too much concerned with the media and needed to consult more with the affiliated societies. Mr A. J. Phillips (ASCY) seconded the proposals, mentioning the difficulty of ringing all bells in the City of London at the same time.
The Vice-President (Mr J. A. Anderson, St Martin's Guild) responded by saying that the main focus of the project was the training of bands in silent towers. The Council was doing what it could to facilitate this, but it had to rely on the affiliated societies to act at local level. He was concerned about the emphasis being given to ringing on 1st January 2000 and he agreed that it would not be possible to ring all City of London bells at the same time. Nevertheless he did not support the motion.
Mr R. N. Moreton (Yorkshire A.) said he was shocked at the change in focus. Last year the aim had been to ensure that each bell was rung at 12 noon on 1st January 2000, and that was how it should remain. Everything else would be a spin-off from that goal.
After contributions from Mr S. J. Coleman (Honorary Member) and Mr J. A. Harrison (Oxford D.G.), Mr Kench replied by saying that he supported the goals of more ringers trained and retained, but that a realistic objective was required for 1st January 2000. The President added that the publicity with the Open Churches Trust depended on ringing at 12 noon on that date.
Mr Kench's first proposal was then put to the vote and declared to be carried by 104 votes to 54.
Debate then ensued on his second proposal. Mr A. R. Smith (Suffolk G.) said that some guidance and publicity had to be given at national level, as not all could be done locally. Mr A. W. R. Wilby (ASCY) thought that the principal media focus would be on ringing at midnight on 31st December 1999 and suggested that the Open Churches Trust were using the Council to benefit from the publicity value of ringing. After Mr Kench had asked again for more consultation with affiliated societies, the second proposal was put to the vote and carried.
Commenting on the paragraph of the committee's report on child protection, Mr S. C. Walters (Cambridge U.G.) urged the committee to draw up guidance for ringers as soon as possible. A draft code of practice produced for the ringers at St Mary's, Nottingham, had been very harsh and had required much modification.
Adoption of the report was then agreed and the President sought nominations to fill a vacancy on the committee. Mrs J. M. Rogers (Lincoln D.G.) was proposed by Mr C. J. Groome (Peterborough D.G.), seconded by Mr D. E. Sibson (Society of Royal Cumberland Youths) and elected.
The lunch adjournment took place during the course of debate on the Administrative Committee's report. Resumption followed the annual meeting of The Ringing World Ltd.
Adoption of the committee's report was proposed by Mr W. J. Couperthwaite (Guildford D.G.), seconded by Mr D. J. Jones (Peterborough D.G.) and agreed without debate. Mr Couperthwaite pointed out that the figure of £516 for committee expenses in the Accounts included £465 for work done for other committees.
Adoption of the report was proposed by Mr D. E. Sibson (SRCY), seconded by Mr J. R. Mayne (Hertford C.A.) and agreed.
In proposing the adoption of the report, Mr G. W. Massey (Bath and Wells D.A.) expressed regret at Professor R. J. Johnston's resignation from the Council. Prebendary J. G. M. Scott (Honorary Member) seconded, and the report was agreed.
Mr P. W. Gay (N. Staffs A.) proposed and Mr A. W. R. Wilby (ASCY) seconded both the adoption of the report and the election of Mr R. G. Booth (London C.A.) to fill a vacancy on the committee. Both were agreed.
After Mr A. Dempster (E. Derbys. & W. Notts. A.) had proposed and Mr G. A. Dawson (Southwell D.G.) had seconded adoption of the report, Mr J. A. Smith (Australia & New Zealand A.) asked the committee to expedite publication of their proposed booklet "Sound Management". New regulations had been passed in Western Australia which would ban change-ringing if the sound were above 55 decibels. The Vice-President, speaking as Chairman of the Complaints Working Group, said that the local ringers there were being given professional advice and support. Mr Halls (Derby D.A.) added that the Complaints Group were producing guidelines aimed at ensuring the acceptability of the sound of ringing, which advocated the installation of sound control only as a last resort if noise levels were excessive. Two documents could lead to confusion and Mr Halls preferred the Working Group's paper. He therefore asked the committee to hold back their publication.
Adoption of the committee's report was then agreed.
Adoption of the report was proposed by Mr J. S. Barnes (Society of Royal Cumberland Youths), seconded by Mr I. H. Oram (also SRCY) and agreed. In welcoming Miss J. Roberts, who had been an adviser to the committee, to membership of the Council as a new Honorary Member, the President asked that in future the lists of names at the end of committee reports should indicate any who were not elected members of the committee.
In proposing the adoption of the report, Mr D. J. Roberts (Honorary Member) congratulated Mr F. E. Dukes (Life Member) and Mr H. W. Rogers (London C.A.) on attending their 51st meetings. The deaths of two former members who had died since the last meeting had not been reported in The Ringing World. Mr Roberts urged affiliated societies to ensure that such deaths were reported in future. Adoption of the report was seconded by Mr B. D. Threlfall (Hereford D.G.) and agreed.
Adoption of the report was proposed by Mr A. G. Craddock (Winchester & Portsmouth D.G.), who thanked those who had brought equipment to the computer demonstration the previous day and Mr J. R. Martin (Oxford D.G.) for demonstrating the Felstead database. The report was seconded by Mr C. E. J. Kilgour (Cambridge U.G.) and its adoption was agreed. To fill a vacancy on the committee, Mr Martin was proposed by Mr Craddock and seconded by Mr F. J. P. Bone (Essex A.). There being no other nomination he was declared elected.
In proposing the adoption of the report, the committee chairman, Mr M. J. de C. Henshaw (Beverley & D.S.) made a number of points: The committee had written to affiliated societies about the Management, Teaching and Maintenance Course, and further information was available from himself or Mr R. R. Warford. The Education Conference would be held in Leicester on 5th July. The publication "Starting a New Band" was complete and free copies were being distributed to affiliated societies. "Service Touches" and the "Tower Handbook" would be available by the end of the year. The training video was at last complete and thanks were due to those who had contributed to its production. At least one free copy was being supplied to each society. Finally, Mr Henshaw expressed thanks to Mr G. E. J. A. Doughty (Middlesex C.A.), who was standing down from the committee, for his contribution to its work, especially on the video.
Mr R. R. Warford (Durham & Newcastle D.A.) seconded the adoption of the report, which was then agreed. To fill the vacancy, Mr A. G. Semken (Essex A.) was proposed by Dr J. Armstrong and seconded by Mr D. L. Sparling (both Essex A.). There being no other nomination, he was declared elected.
Adoption of the report was proposed by Miss J. Sanderson and seconded by Dr J. C. Eisel (both Honorary Members). Mr C. Ridley (Surrey A.) sought contributions to the new archive of society badges and certificates, and Mr W. Butler (Oxford D.G.) mentioned the seminar "1668 and All That" on 27th September. Adoption of the report was then agreed.
Adoption of the report was proposed by Mr A. P. Smith (Winchester & Portsmouth D.G.), seconded by Mr P. D. Niblett (Oxford U.S.) and agreed. Mr Smith added that the 1996 Supplement to the Collection of Rung Surprise, etc. methods was now available.
Adoption of the report was proposed by Mr R. Bailey (Middlesex C.A.), subject to the addition of the word "surprise" after "spliced" in line 9 of the second paragraph, seconded by Mr D. F. Morrison (N. American G.) and agreed.
In proposing adoption of the report, Mr J. D. Cheesman (Surrey A.) referred to the late publication of peals and thanked The Ringing World for their assistance. Mr J. R. Martin (Oxford D.G.) seconded and said that already 10,341 peals had been entered into the Felstead database and 233 towers had been completed and checked.
Mr A. B. Mills (Southwell D.G.) asked the committee to consider recording separately peals on mini-rings, which he defined as rings where the diameter of each bell was less than half of that of its wheel.
Mr R. E. H. Woolley (S. Sherwood Youths) proposed that variable cover peals should be recorded and reported separately. In the course of debate the proposal was extended to include peals in odd-bell methods without a cover bell (except Doubles) and peals in even-bell methods with a cover bell. The amended proposal was seconded by Mr F. J. P. Bone (Essex A.) and carried.
Mr A. W. R. Wilby (Ancient Society of College Youths) proposed and Mr S. C. Walters (Cambridge U.G.) seconded that the peal of variable cover Stedman Cinques rung at St Mary-le-Bow on 29th May 1995, which was rejected last year, should now be accepted, as being the prototype variable cover peal. After Mr Mills and Mr B. F. Peachey (National Police G.) had pointed out that the Council had in the past always refused to accept retrospectively peals which had previously been excluded from the analysis, the motion was put to the vote and lost.
Two recommendations for the acceptance of peals not complying with the Decisions on Peal Ringing, as set out in the committee's report, were each put to the vote and agreed. Adoption of the report was then agreed.
The Vice-President proposed the adoption of the report and spoke of the success of The Ringing World Roadshow. It was proposed that the next Roadshow should beheld in April 1999. Mr A. Udal (Middlesex C.A.) seconded and spoke of his efforts to provide better recordings of ringing and recordings related to special ringing events for the Bells on Sunday radio programme. He invited those interested in having their bells transmitted on that programme to contact him. He expressed the hope that, when the content improves, a more popular time for the programme (currently transmitted at 5.50am and 12.20am) might be achieved.
Following several favourable comments on the Roadshow, the adoption of the report was agreed. To fill two vacancies on the committee Mr D. G. Thorne (Life Member) was proposed by the Vice-President and seconded by Mrs W. Daw (N. Staffordshire A.), and Miss C. O'Callaghan (University of Bristol S.) was proposed by Mr Udal and seconded by Mrs S. Bianco (Honorary Member). Both were declared elected.
Proposing the adoption of the report, Mr A. E. M. Bagworth (Honorary Member) said that there had been much interest in the ringing machine at the Roadshow, and that it had been selected for a special exhibition at the Birmingham Museum of Science and Industry in June. The Vice-President seconded the report and said that he was in discussion with the Museum about their acceptance of six ringing simulators, which had been bequeathed to the Council by the late Mr P. A. Cummins, for display with the Carter Ringing Machine. Adoption of the report was then agreed.
Adoption of the report was proposed by the Steward, Mr A. J. Phillips (Ancient Society of College Youths), who said that a page of the Rolls was turned each Sunday and that there had been visits from relatives of those commemorated. Mr A. R. Kench (ASCY) seconded and adoption of the report was agreed.
Proposing adoption of the report and accounts (which had been circulated at the meeting), the Secretary to the Fund (Mr R. J. Cooles, Honorary Member) said that repayment from Escrick for the former St. Martin's, Birmingham, bells should be complete by the end of September and that further repayment of loans to the fund would be made soon. Progress was being made with proposals for the installation of the bells from Dunecht House. Mr Cooles added that the Auditors had been unable to submit their report on the accounts pending receipt of a certificate from Escrick.
Mr M. H. D. O'Callaghan (Honorary Member) seconded and the adoption of the report and accounts was agreed, subject to audit.
A motion for a change to the Rescue Fund Rules to replace "auditors" by "independent examiners" was proposed by Mr Cooles, seconded by Prebendary J. G. M. Scott (Honorary Member) and agreed.
At the President's invitation, Mr M. J. Pomeroy (Irish A.) spoke of the arrangements for the 1998 meeting to be held in Dublin. He advised members to book accommodation early.
The Council had previously accepted an invitation from the Lincoln D.G. for the 1999 meeting and invitations from future years had been received as follows:
On proposals from the Revd L. R. Pizzey (Suffolk G.) and Mrs A. E. Pettifor (Lancashire A.) respectively, the Council agreed to accept the invitations from their associations for the meetings in 2000 and 2001.
The Secretary reported that 50 societies were fully represented and 16 partly represented, with a total of 177 representative members present. Two societies were not represented. Seven Life Members and 21 Honorary Members were also present, giving a total attendance of 205.
Prebendary J. G. M. Scott (Honorary Member) asked that in future members' Christian names should be given in committee reports.
Mr S. S. Meyer (Lancashire A.) referred to comments made after the declaration of the vote on the first of Mr Kench's proposals relating to Ring in 2000 and suggested that many members were unhappy with the outcome. The President thereupon asked members whether they wished to reconsider the matter, despite protests about the unorthodox nature of such action, and on the proposition of Mr G. A. Halls (Derby D.A.), seconded by Mr R. N. Moreton (Yorkshire A.), it was agreed by a small majority that the matter should be opened up again.
In the ensuing debate many members made the point that the primary target of the Ring in 2000 project was for bells to be rung for the services which were to be held at 12 noon on 1st January 2000, although they recognised that it would not be possible in all cases. Various attempts were made to amend the previous decision to reflect this. Eventually it was proposed by Mr D. C. Manger (Kent C.A.), seconded by Mr A. B. Mills (Southwell D.G.) and agreed "That the immediate target of the Ring in 2000 project is for all bells to be rung for the midday service on 1st January 2000; where this is not practicable, they should be rung at other times on that day."
Mr J. A. Smith (Australia and New Zealand A.) asked that proposals by his association to institute an international striking competition should be referred to the Administrative Committee for consideration. This was agreed.
The President sought agreement for the ballot papers to be destroyed, and this was given.
The President then moved a comprehensive vote of thanks to all those involved in the arrangements for the Council's visit to Cambridge: to the officers and members of the Ely Diocesan Association, and in particular to the members of their organising committee and those who had acted as tellers at the meeting, for their superb organisation; to everyone involved in the Sunday evening reception, and in particular to the Mayor of Cambridge, Bishop Peter Dawes and Mr Roger Palmer, a Vice-President of the Association, for their welcome; to the Revd. Robert Avery and Prebendary John Scott for taking the service at Great St. Mary's Church on the Sunday afternoon; to Dr John Baldwin for taking the Holy Communion service that morning; to the Master and Fellows of St. John's College, and in particular Dr Chris Johnson, for making the Palmerston Room available for the meeting and for permitting use of the College Chapel for the Communion Service; to the incumbents, churchwardens and ringers of churches who had made their bells available over the weekend; and to many others who had contributed to the success of the meeting. The motion was accepted with applause
Mr A. J. Frost (Honorary Member) then moved a vote of thanks to the President for her conduct of the meeting. This motion was also accepted.
The President declared the meeting closed at 5.43pm.
The Ringing World, July 4, 1997, pages 683 to 686