THE 73rd annual meeting was held at Petersfield on July 25th and the glorious weather attracted over 80 ringers from all districts of the Guild. In addition, visiting ringers were present from Chichester, Penn, Buckland Newton, Guildford and Farnham.
At the business meeting, which was presided over by the Master (Mr. G. Pullinger), a welcome was extended to the visitors. The Master was supported by the hon. treasurer (Mr. W. Linter) and hon. secretary (Mr. F. W. Rogers).
The members stood in silence as a token of respect to Mr. G. Smith (Twyford), a former Guild auditor, who was interred the previous Monday.
The general secretary expressed his apology in having to postpone the date of the meeting, which, owing to unforeseen circumstances, could not be held at Petersfield on the agreed date of July 4th. The meeting accepted his reasons and endorsed his action in rearranging the date. Apologies for absence were read from the hon. auditor and librarian (Mr. A. York-Bramble), the Rev. K. W. H. Felstead and several members.
The balance sheets, as printed in the annual report, were explained in detail by the hon. treasurer, and comparisons made with the financial positions at the end of the previous three years. One thing that was causing concern, he said, was the serious drop in membership as shown in the joint report of the Guild officers, and it was hoped by current reports of the district secretaries that this position would be improved during the present year. The accounts were adopted with one dissentient.
The joint report of the Master, hon. general secretary and hon. general treasurer stated: The year under review, from reports received from the various districts, indicates a very useful contribution has been made to strengthen our position and to further the art of change ringing. Our total membership, we regret to say, has decreased from the previous year in so far as paid-up subscriptions indicate. The honorary membership has increased from 84 to 89, but ringing membership has decreased from 665 to 592. It is too early to say whether this is due to withdrawal or falling into arrears with subscriptions. Of the two reasons offered we hope the latter is correct and that during the next year this will be remedied. From the district secretaries' reports it appears that interest is being maintained, and in some cases increased, especially with the increase of juvenile members.
Financially, during the year our balance was reduced from £295 to £249, but due to the decision to adopt a guild badge a sum of over £41 was paid for the manufacture and purchase of these. In fact, the first issue was exhausted in a very short time, and due to demands from the districts another repeat order had to be made. Therefore our position should be fully recovered in this direction, since the sale of badges continues to be steady. The printing of the annual report continues to be a costly job, but it was felt that members would prefer to receive a copy gratis rather than make a charge and risk the chance of unsold copies being left in the hands of the secretaries.
Restoration work has been reported from some of the districts. Completed work reported includes Brading (8), Arreton (6) and Chale (6) in the Isle of Wight, Bramley (8) and Baughurst (increased to 6). Winchester College bells have been restored, but unfortunately the restoration of the tower will not permit of the bells being rung for about another two years.
We should like once more to appeal to all towers to maintain Sunday service ringing, at least for one service. We note with pride that the ringers at Liss rang for every service during the year, with only one exception. This is certainly a magnificent example to follow.
By the time this report is in the hands of the members the George Williams Memorial Bookcase will have been installed and dedicated in the belfry of St. Mary's, Southampton. This we hope will bear witness to all who visit there of the great work done for the Guild by our late beloved Master. The bookcase will contain the library acquired by the Guild both from our late Master and other recent additions. We would report that during the past year the library has benefited by the addition of 29 items of books and papers from the late Wilfred Andrews, of Winchester.
The war memorial panels to be added to the existing panel in the belfry at Winchester Cathedral are being prepared and our best thanks are due to Mr. Lampard for his expert advice and guidance in respect of the scheme, which it is hoped will be completed during the next year.
The ringing activities during the year can best be judged by the report of the recorder of peals. During the year the Rev. K. W. H. Felstead has put in some considerable time in order to trace errors and omissions in the total list of peals rung by the Guild, and has compiled a complete and renumbered list which is now available for reference.
A further decrease in successful peal ringing is reported for 1952. During the year 30 tower-bell peals in 18 different towers and 17 hand-bell peals were rung.
These figures alone might not give a correct impression of the activities of the Guild, however, as the number of unsuccessful attempts was large, probably equal to the number rung.
The Guild paid homage to King George VI. in ringing five half-muffled peals. One of them, London Surprise Minor, at Titchfield, was the first of London on the bells, by all the band and conductor, Mr. T. Page.
The six at Arreton, I.O.W., were rung to their first peal with one of Grandsire Doubles, conducted by Mr. L. Bailey. One hundred and twenty-two members took part in ringing peals, 16 of them ringing their first peal and 65 "stars" being gained for "first in the method," etc. Of the 14 who conducted tower-bell peals, Mr. J. H. Hunt leads with a total of seven. Of the handbell peals, Mr. Daniel T. Matkin conducted 14, including one of Spliced Royal in seven plain methods, being the greatest number yet rung to a peal of Royal.
Mr. C. H. Kippin, one of the Guild's representatives on the Central Council, presented a very interesting and comprehensive report of the Council meeting held at Bournemouth at Whitsun for which he received the special thanks of the meeting.
It was with great regret that the members learned from the general secretary that the hon. auditor and hon. librarian (Mr. York-Bramble) had been compelled, owing to uncertainty of future residence, to relinquish these two offices. The hon. treasurer (Mr. Linter) expressed his desire to be freed from this office, owing to not being able to enjoy the best of health which prevented him from doing all that he would wish for the Guild.
The election of officers resulted as follows: Master, Mr. G. Pullinger; hon. secretary, Mr. F. W. Rogers; hon. treasurer, Mr. R. Reed; hon. auditor, Mr. R. M. Currie; hon. librarian, the Rev. K. W. H. Felstead; recorder of peals, Mr. N. Hayes: representatives on Central Council, the Rev. K. W. H. Felstead and Messrs. G. Pullinger, C. H. Kippin and F. W. Rogers.
A discussion took place on the proposal to print an abridged annual report owing to the high cost incurred in printing a full report as at present. Many were against reducing the size and suggested as an alternative that the subscriptions should be increased to cover such eventualities. Others felt that an abridged report every two years could be published and a full report with rules, etc., every third year. The matter was so indecisive that it was eventually agreed to defer any decision for a further twelve months.
It was agreed to transfer a sum of £55 from the Central Fund to the Special Purposes Fund to meet the expenses incurred by the George Williams Memorial and the Guild War Memorial panels.
The alteration of rules in the current annual report was adopted unanimously. The hon. secretary reported that there had been a good sale of the new Guild badge and some district secretaries had not sufficient to meet demands. He hoped the position would he adjusted by transfer from stocks held by the other district secretaries.
It was agreed to subscribe a sum of 10s. towards the cost of the Central Council's Roll of Honour to be placed in St. Paul's Cathedral, and to pay the increased affiliation fee of £1 for each representative to the Central Council.
A grant of 5 guineas each was voted towards the restoration of the bells at Freshwater, I.O.W., and Preston Candover.
The meeting, on the proposition of the Master, expressed its congratulations to Mrs. M. Marshallsay (Bournemouth) in ringing 500 peals, and also to Mr. D. T. Matkin for the many handbell performances he had conducted for the Guild. The Master reminded the meeting that next year the Guild (including the former Winchester Diocesan Guild) had been in existence 75 years. It was eventually agreed after several places had been proposed, to hold the next annual meeting at Winchester on Saturday, July 3rd, 1954, the arrangements to be left in the hands of the Guild officers and Mr. J. A. C. King (Winchester).
Votes of thanks were accorded to all who had contributed to the success of the meeting and the incumbents for the use of their bells.
The Guild service was held in St. Peter's Church, conducted by the Vicar, after which tea was partaken of in the Church Hall.
Ringing continued during the evening at Petersfield (8), East Meon (8), Privett (8), Liss (8 and 6), Steep (6) and Buriton (6).
The Ringing World No. 2212, August 21, 1953, page 549