THE annual general meeting was held at Winchester on July 7th and was attended by over 80 ringers representing all districts of the Guild. Among the visitors present were Mr. A. F. Martin Stewart, of Wimborne, and ringers from Buckland Newton and Piddlehinton (Dorset) and Beaconsfield.
The business meeting was held in St. Maurice Hall, presided over by the Master (Mr. G. Pullinger), supported by the hon. general secretary (Mr. F. W. Rogers), hon. treasurer (Mr. W. Linter) and hon. auditor and librarian (Mr. A. York-Bramble). Apologies for absence were received from Messrs. A. V. Davis (peals recorder), R. Marlow, W. Read, W. Upton, P. N. Bond and the Rev. C. E. Brinkworth.
The accounts and balance sheet were reviewed by the hon. treasurer, who, whilst congratulating the Guild on maintaining its financial stability, appealed to all districts to increase their efforts to secure more membership. This, he said, was the only practical way in which we could reasonably face our future commitments without calling on reserve funds.
Mr. York-Bramble, as auditor, explained the manner in which the new form of accounts were presented to conform to the spirit of the rules. The accounts were unanimously adopted and the treasurer and auditor thanked for their work.
The joint report of the Master, hon. general secretary and hon. treasurer stated that, as the district secretaries' report showed the position was still a healthy one, both in matters of ringing and membership. Reports of bell restorations in many districts were very encouraging, work having been undertaken and completed in North Stoneham (10), Alverstoke (8) and Wolverton (6). Bramley bells were to be augmented from 6 to 8, Arreton from 5 to 6 (since completed) and Baughurst were now receiving attention. Although in one or two districts a decrease in membership was reported and was sincerely regretted, most of the others had shown an increase, especially in the influx of young ringers, which was most encouraging.
Compared with the previous year, membership showed a total of ringing members 677 (647), honorary members 84 (70) and unattached 7 (5). The year started with a balance in hand of £304 10s. 3d. and concluded with a balance of £331 18s. 5d.
The Guild was very fortunate in finding an efficient successor to Mr. G. Smith as auditor. Mr. York-Bramble, who consented to fill this office, had been very painstaking in this work and members would note the efficient manner in which the Guild accounts were presented in the report. As first librarian to the Guild, he had prepared an inventory of all their property.
The officers of the Guild were re-elected en bloc on the proposition of Mr. Smart (Andover) seconded by Mr. Tucker.
Mr. Arthur V. Davis, the peal recorder, reported that there had been a slight drop in the number of peals recorded during 1950 as compared with the previous year, a total of 121 as against 148.
There were four less tower-bell peals (49) than in 1949. The peal of Bob Maximus, at Christchurch, was a creditable performance in every way, most of the band earning a "first performance" star of some description. New ground was broken with London Royal at Southampton, and Spliced Surprise, in six methods, at Soberton. A band rang the first peal of Cambridge Surprise on the Isle of Wight. The peals were rung in 27 different towers; there were 12 "first-pealers," four of whom qualified in a peal of Grandsire Triples at Bournemouth.
In the handbell section there were 72 peals recorded against 95 for 1949. In all, 25 ringers took part, 13 of whom were visitors to Bournemouth. First peals for the Guild were rung to Gainsborough Little Bob Major, Spliced Major in 10 methods, Spliced Royal in three and also four methods. Mr. D. T. Matkin conducted 61 of these peals and actually conducted more peals than anyone else in the county during 1950. In the tower-bell peals Mr. John H. Hunt led the way with 11, and in all there were 119 instances of first peals in the method.
The report of the Central Council meeting at Chester was given by Mr. C. H. Kippin, who explained the various decisions on methods and peals. He was heartily thanked for his presentation of the report on the proposition of Mr. Chesterman , seconded by Mrs. Marshallsay.
The Master said that although up to the present the response to the appeal was not yet what was expected, the Executive Committee now recommended that the work in connection with the proposed bookcase should be proceeded with. Mr. Lampard, of Winchester, kindly offered to produce a design in keeping with the Guild's desire to house the books left to the Guild by the late Master and also to allow for other books and future additions. It was agreed that tenders be asked for from several cabinet makers who had been recommended and the Guild officers were empowered to proceed with the work if these proved to be acceptable to them. This was agreed to on the proposition of the Rev. K. W. H. Felstead, seconded by Mr. Haines.
In view of the fact that the Guild had now decided to proceed with the George Williams Memorial, it was felt that, taking into account the financial position, all suggested schemes of bell restorations or augmentations should be dropped and that the panel in the belfry at Winchester Cathedral containing the names of members who had fallen in the 1914-1918 war, should be extended, or a new panel provided to bear the names of those who had lost their lives in World War II. It was unanimously agreed that the Dean and Chapter be approached in order to obtain the necessary permission to do this. This was carried on the proposition of Mr. Garrett, seconded by Mr. Cheater (Ringwood). In connection with this, the Master appealed to the district secretaries to endeavour to obtain a complete list from the towers, which also was being sought by the committee of the Central Council compiling the "Roll of Honour."
During the year, a sub-committee consisting of the Rev. K. W. H. Felstead and Mr. A. York-Bramble had been appointed to go into the question of a re-draft of the rules, as many anomalies were apparent in the present ones. This committee had thoroughly investigated the rules and their proposals were placed before the general meeting for its discussion and, if desired, adoption. The proposed alterations had been printed in "italics" in the current annual report so that comparisons could be made with the existing rules. On behalf of the Committee, Mr. York-Bramble explained that it had been found desirable to revise the rules for mainly three reasons:- (1) To ensure logical sequence in their order; (2) To omit many unnecessary prefaces; (3) Essential alterations to context, which were shown in "italics."
The alterations, dealt with rule by rule, were, with one or two minor alterations, unanimously adopted on the proposition of Mr. York-Bramble, seconded by the Rev. Felstead. One further alteration was made in the rule dealing with subscriptions, that a new paragraph be inserted that "Juvenile members up to the age of 16 years shall subscribe 1s. 6d. annually. Such members shall enjoy the privileges of ringing members except that they shall have no vote on matters of finance."
It was decided to hold the next annual meeting at Basingstoke on July 5th, 1952.
The hon. general secretary announced that a reprint of the Guild Certificate had been completed and it was decided to make a charge of 6d. each for these, excluding postage.
Mr. W. C. Lampard received the congratulations of the meeting on attaining 60 years' service as a ringer at the Cathedral. This had also been suitably rewarded by the local authorities in presenting him with a handsome wrist watch.
The question of a Guild badge for ringers was raised and it was proposed by Mr. Mitchell (Bournemouth), seconded by Mr. Hunt (Portsmouth), that enquiries be made from suitable firms with a view to adopting one. It was decided that a grant of five guineas be given to Baughurst towards the restoration of their bells.
Mr. J. A. Hill (Andover) proposed that Messrs. G. Pullinger (Master), F. W. Rogers (hon. general secretary) and W. Linter (hon. treasurer) be elected honorary life members of the Guild in recognition of their long and loyal service. This was carried with acclamation and the officers suitably responded.
Votes of thanks, on the proposition of the Master, were accorded the Dean and Chapter for the use of the Cathedral bells, the clergy who had placed their bells at the Guild's disposal, and Mr. J. A. C. King (Winchester) for the untiring work he had put in in making all the local arrangements. Tea was served in St. Maurice Hall, after which members attended the Cathedral evensong.
The bells of the Cathedral were rung at intervals during the day and many took advantage of visiting the variety of surrounding towers that were available.
The Ringing World No. 2103, July 20, 1951, page 458