Over a hundred ringers gathered in Winchester on Saturday for the annual meeting of the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild. Service took place in St. Maurice's Church, the Rector (the Rev. S. M. Watson) officiating. The Rector divided his address into three parts, the first of welcome, the second of admonition and the third of praise. If the first part was wholehearted, so was the second, for in speaking of the importance of prayer in our lives, and the importance of it coming from the soul and not being a mere matter of words, he admonished very soundly the non-churchgoing ringer. He spoke, he said, as a man to men, and he left the cap to be worn by those whom it fitted. It was another of those attacks from the pulpit which ringers, who regularly attend meetings and the services held in connection with them, so frequently hear made upon them, but in this case the breezy manner of delivery relieved the tedium of repetition. The ringers were grateful for the meed of praise which came at the end.
Tea was served in St. Maurice's Hall, where the business meeting was held, over which the Master, Mr. G. Williams, presided, supported by Mr. F. W. Rogers (hon. secretary), Mr. W. Andrews (Winchester) and the Rev. F. S. Marle and Major J. Stilwell, district secretaries.
The Master extended a cordial welcome to the visitors and a vote of sympathy with Mr. H. J. Smith, of Wickham, in his illness and wishing him a speedy recovery was passed.
In the absence of the hon. treasurer, Mr. Andrews moved the adoption of the accounts, which, he said, showed a very satisfactory state of affairs. They were gradually accumulating funds and each district also showed a perfectly sound position.
The accounts were adopted. The treasurer's balance sheet showed that £54 3s. 2d. had been received from the districts, and, after transferring £20 to the general purposes fund, £95 17s. 3d. was left in hand, compared with £103 18s. 6d. at the beginning of the year. The general purposes fund had received £1 1s. 9d. in interest, £4 4s. from life members' subscriptions and £20 from the current account. Four grants, each of five guineas, had been made to bell restorations and £10 2s. 1d. had been expended in connection with the dedication of Winchester Cathedral bells. The balance in the fund was £41 18s. 2d. The aggregate balances of the districts had been increased from £87 16s. 7d. to £98 0s. 9d.
The Central Council representatives presented their reports on the meeting at Leeds, the Master referring to the great welcome and hospitality extended by the Yorkshire Association.
Mr. G. Pullinger briefly reviewed the business transacted at the meeting, and in regard to the proposal that the associations should put up half the cost of publishing the new Surprise Major book in return for the equivalent number of copies, suggested that the Guild should subscribe £2. With regard to promoting the circulation of "The Ringing World," Mr. Pullinger said there was considerable discussion, but no one had any very practical suggestions to make. The fact was the matter rested in the hands of the ringers themselves.
In supporting Mr. Pullinger's proposal that the Guild should contribute £2 towards the publication of the Surprise Major Methods book, Mr. Rogers said he would undertake to be responsible for a pound's worth of the books.
The suggestion was adopted, and Mr. Pullinger was thanked for his report.
Mr. George Williams was re-elected Master and Mr. F. W. Rogers hon. secretary. The Rev. Evan Jones wrote resigning the office of hon. treasurer, and Mr. W. Barton, of Ventnor, was unanimously elected to succeed him.
Mr. R. A. Reed was re-elected recorder of peals, and Mr. G. Smith hon. auditor.
On the election of Central Council representatives, Mr. Pullinger said this was an honour that ought to go round, so that others might get the experience. He fully appreciated representing the Guild, but as one of the junior members he would be prepared to stand down.
The meeting, however, decided, without putting forward any other names, to re-elect the retiring representatives: Messrs. G. Williams, H. Barton, F. W. Rogers and G. Pullinger.
Mr. G. Pullinger proposed an amendment to Rule 3, to give the Central Council representatives a seat, ex-officio, on the Executive Committee, and to provide for only one district secretary from each district having a seat on the committee. The matter had arisen, he said, through the election of an assistant secretary in one district, who attended the committee meeting in addition to the district secretary, thus giving that district more than its share of representation. He wanted to limit the number of secretaries who could represent a district on the committee.- Mr. R. Brown seconded.
Mr. Andrews deprecated altering the rule for unlikely or remote contingencies, and in this the Master said he was inclined to agree with Mr. Andrews.
After further discussion Mr. Pullinger's motion was carried by 28 votes to 19.
In deciding upon the place for the next annual meeting, it was pointed out that the Guild was founded at Basingstoke in 1879 and would thus celebrate its diamond jubilee next year. Basingstoke was therefore, proposed for the next meeting. So also were Southampton, Ryde (Isle of Wight) and Bournemouth.
The Master reminded the members of the tacit understanding that the annual meetings should be held alternately in the dioceses of Winchester and Portsmouth, and by a considerable majority Ryde was chosen.
On behalf of Mr. H. P. James (Isle of Wight district secretary, who had had to leave), Mr. Pullinger told the meeting that in 1925 the Guild restored the tomb of William Rayner, a famous old Isle of Wight ringer, who died in 1823 and was buried at Arreton. The tomb now required cleaning and the lettering recutting. There was a good deal of inscription on the tomb relating to other members of the family, and to recut the whole of it would cost a prohibitive sum. Mr. Pullinger suggested that the tomb should be cleaned and the recutting limited to the inscription relating to William Rayner. He proposed the appointment of a sub-committee, consisting of Messrs. H. P. James, H. Barton and W. Upton, to go into the matter and report to next meeting of the Executive Committee.- Mr. Andrews seconded and this was agreed to.
The Master referred to the retirement of the Rev. Evan Jones from the treasurership, which he had occupied for the last ten years. Previous to that he was hon. secretary of the Basingstoke District. The Master said he thought, in recognition of Mr. Jones' services, they should make him an honorary life member of the Guild.
Mr. Pullinger, who seconded, said Mr. Jones had worked really hard in the interests of the Guild and they should send him their best thanks for his services.- The motion was agreed to.
Mr. Pullinger gave notice that at the next annual meeting he would move an alteration to Rule 14, to limit the "out of pocket expenses" paid by the Guild to their representative on the Central Council to third class "monthly" return fare and 10s. "subsistence" allowance.
Thanks were accorded to the Rector of St. Maurice's, the organist and choir, on the motion of the Rev. F. S. Marle. Thanks to the Master and hon. secretary and to the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral were accorded, on the motion of Mr. Pullinger.
Ringing took place both in the afternoon and evening at the Cathedral and at St. Maurice's Church.
The Ringing World No. 1424, July 8th, 1938, page 440