THE 72nd annual meeting of the Guild was held at Basingstoke on July 5th and the glorious weather attracted over 80 ringers from all Districts of the Guild. Before the afternoon meeting many availed themselves of the opportunity to ring at the various towers in the vicinity which had been kindly made available to the Guild.
At the business meeting, which was presided over by the Master (Mr. George Pullinger), a warm welcome was extended to many visiting ringers present. The Master was supported by the hon. treasurer (Mr. W. Linter), hon. secretary (Mr. F. W. Rogers) and hon. auditor and librarian (Mr. A. York-Bramble).
The members stood in silence as a token of respect to the passing of Messrs. C. J. Fray and E. Dumper (North Stoneham), Mr. A. Millard (Swanmore) and the Rev. -. Wells (Basingstoke).
The general secretary apologised to the meeting in respect of the delay in distributing the annual reports, over which he had no control, and asked members to examine copies of the balance sheet which were passed round for inspection. Apologies for absence were read from several members expressing regret at not being able to attend.
The meeting was particularly pleased to have amongst them one of the oldest members of the Guild, Mr. W. Read (late of Blackmoor), who had travelled from Winchfield. Recently he had had an unfortunate accident in which he had suffered the loss of a leg. It was unanimously agreed that in recognition of his long and loyal service to the Guild he be elected a life member.
The balance sheets, as presented to the meeting, were explained by the hon. treasurer. It was a matter of regret that there was a small deficit on the year's working but it was only fair to accept that sums had been granted for bell restorations and the added cost of printing a full annual report. This last item was causing the Executive Committee some concern and it was felt that if printing costs continued to rise, the production of an annual report in alternate years would have to be considered. The auditor added his observations and thanked the treasurer for the manner in which he handled the finances of the Guild. He pointed out that although the Central Fund showed a small deficit the Districts showed a credit balance. The accounts as presented were unanimously adopted.
During the year 1951 the books and hand-bells, the property of the Guild, have remained at St. Michael's Vicarage, Southampton, by kind courtesy of the Vicar (the Rev. K. W. H. Felstead). Their ultimate resting place is a matter which may be decided when full consideration has been given by the Guild to the form of execution of the George Williams Memorial Scheme.
One or two requests for loans have been received and met during the year. A case in which the handbells may be safely transported seems advisable to be got.
Regulations for the conduct of the Memorial Library and the loan of books and handbells have been drafted and ratified by the Guild Executive Committee.
A welcome addition is a series of Guild reports for the years 1927 to 1945, kindly presented by Mr. J. A. Hill, to fill the gap formerly existing in the collection of Guild annual reports.
Information has been received that several ringing books, formerly the property of the late Mr. J. Andrews, of Winchester, are to be presented to the library and these will form a further welcome addition to the bookshelves.
The Master, on behalf of the members, expressed their thanks to Mr. A. York-Bramble, the hon. librarian, for his work during the year.
The joint report of the Master, hon. general secretary and hon. treasurer stated that as far as reports from the Districts showed, the year had been one of continual progress and an effort further to consolidate the Guild's position. Membership had maintained a steady level and although honorary membership remained at 84, full members had decreased from 677 in 1950 to 627. This might be partly offset by an increase in unattached membership from 7 to 38. Compounding membership had increased by 23 as against 12 in 1950.
Reports of bell restorations were very encouraging and include Bramley (from 6 to 8), Baughurst (5), Sherfield-on-Loddon (6), Bishop's Sutton (5), Sparsholt (5), where the tenor had been recast, and Arreton. I.O.W (from 5 to 6). It was understood that restorations were contemplated in the near future at Brading, I.O.W. (8), St. Lawrence's (5) and St. Michael's, Winchester (5). It was also hoped that Winchester College authorities would be able to put the restoration of the College bells in hand when the opportunity arose.
Financially the Guild was still able to show a stable balance. After consideration, the Executive Committee agreed to the printing of a generous annual report for 1951, although rising costs of printing might curtail it in the near future unless members were prepared to pay towards it. (The present report cost over one shilling per copy to print.)
The Dean and Chapter of Winchester Cathedral had given their permission for the names of members who were killed in the 1939-45 war to be added to the existing panel in the Cathedral belfry, and, if required, an additional panel to be fitted. As soon as a complete list of names was obtained inquiries would be made as to the executing of the memorial.
Although there was a decline in the number of peals rung, this was not due to lack of interest but probably for the reason that peal ringing was becoming more expensive with increased travelling costs. Tower-bell peals numbered 37 and handbells 46, a total decrease of 38. Altogether 21 members rang their first peal, three conducted their first peal and 71 rang their "first peal in the method." Eighteen members shared the conducting of the tower-bell peals. Mr. J. Hunt leading with eight. The handbell ringing at Bournemouth continued to progress with the splicing of plain methods and they recorded a peal of Spliced Maximus in three methods as well as a peal of Plain Bob Maximus. Mr. D. T. Matkin conducted 43 of the handbell peals rung for the Guild.
Mr. C. H. Kippin. one of the Central Council representatives, presented a detailed account of the Lincoln meeting of the Council. He was congratulated on being elected to fill the vacancy on the Methods Committee.
The election of officers resulted as follows:- Master, Mr. G. Pullinger; hon. secretary, Mr. F. W. Rogers; hon. treasurer, Mr. W. Linter; hon. auditor and librarian, Mr. A. York- Bramble; recorder of peals, Mr. N. Hayes.
It was proposed by Mr. Clift, seconded by Mr. R. Reed, that a letter of appreciation he sent to Mr. A. V. Davis expressing their thanks for the vast amount of work he had done during his term of office as recorder of peals.
The general secretary reported that the Executive Committee had examined designs of the proposed bookcase to be erected to the memory of the late Master, and proposed the adoption of the design which was on view at the meeting. An estimate for executing the work had been received from Moorman and Son of Newport (I.O.W.), who were willing to carry out the job for a sum of £73 3s. 6d., and it was recommended that this firm be entrusted with the memorial. The hon. treasurer reported that the Appeal Fund now stood at £48 and it was proposed to issue a further appeal to the Districts to subscribe the remaining £25.
It was proposed by Mrs. C. H. Kippin that this estimate be accepted. Mr. Bailey (Godshill, I.O.W.) assured the meeting that the firm could be relied upon to do a first-class job. It was unanimously agreed that the work be executed by this firm and they be instructed to proceed with the construction of the memorial. When the work was completed it was agreed, subject to permission being given, to erect it in the belfry at St. Mary's, Southampton.
The hon. secretary reported that the Dean and Chapter of Winchester Cathedral had given their permission for additional names of Guild members who lost their lives in the 1939-45 Great War, to be inscribed on the existing panel in the Cathedral belfry or to erect an additional panel if found to be necessary. As far as can be ascertained 17 members had lost their lives, but to ensure accuracy it was left open to September 1st to receive names of any who had been omitted. It was unanimously agreed that the work be proceeded with after that date and to meet the cost out of Guild funds.
It had been felt for a long time that the Guild should adopt a ringer's badge bearing the Guild's title and date of founding, and the secretary had been instructed to obtain samples to enable a choice to be made. Several designs were on view at the meeting and it was eventually decided to accept the one submitted by Messrs. Fattorini, of Birmingham, and the secretary was instructed to place an order for 200 stud type and 100 brooch type for initial distribution.
The Master pointed out that the Council had accepted his invitation to hold their 1953 meeting at Bournemouth and he proposed a select committee be appointed and the Salisbury Guild be invited to co-operate in order to ensure the success of the gathering. It was decided, up to a limit to be agreed, if possible, between the two Guilds, to support financially the arrangements to be made.
Several members asked what was the reaction of the Guild to the recent incident of the peal rung at Cranborne which the Salisbury Guild, owing to breach of rules, would not accept and the conductor's wish for it to be accepted by the Winchester Guild.
After a varied discussion it was eventually proposed by Mr. J. A. Hill (Andover) and carried unanimously: "That after due consideration the meeting feels that the implied intention of this band was to ring the peal for the Salisbury Diocesan Guild and, in the circumstances, cannot accept the performance for this Guild, and that this statement appear in 'The Ringing World' in the name of this Guild."
It was decided to hold the next annual meeting at Petersfield in July, 1953.
Mr. C. H. Kippin proposed, and Mr. Bailey seconded, that the District secretaries be urged to invest the accounts in preference to having "money in hand."
Votes of thanks were accorded Mr. J. Chesterman for making all arrangements for the success of the meeting and to all the incumbents who had placed their bells at the disposal of the Guild that day.
The service was held in St. Michael's Church at which the Archdeacon of Basingstoke officiated and preached, after which tea was partaken of in Church Cottage. Ringing continued at the various towers in the evening, which included All Saints' (9), St. Michael's (8), Bramley (8), Oakley (6) and Deane (6).
The Ringing World No. 2158, August 8, 1952, pages 505 to 506