OVER 80 members of the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild attended the annual general meeting held at Winchester on July 7th. The high percentage of younger members present was a very encouraging sign for the future and the continuation of the work of the Guild.
Ringing started at Owslebury at 10.15 a.m. and was continued at Twyford at 11:15 a.m., before moving into the city of Winchester. By kind permission of the headmaster, the bells of Winchester College were made available to the Guild at 12 noon. This unprecedented opportunity was gladly taken by many members, and some very useful ringing was obtained on the College bells before moving on to the Cathedral at 1 p.m. Full use was made of the Cathedral bells until 2.15 and again between 7 and 8.30 p.m.
The meeting, held in St. Maurice's Hall, started at 2.45 p.m. with the Master, Mr. F. W. Rogers, in the chair. Following the chairman's welcoming speech, the minutes of the last A.G.M. were read and confirmed. The accounts and balance sheet were then presented by the general treasurer. Mrs. M. E. Chapman, who pointed out that considerable expense had been incurred since the balance sheet had been drawn up and so the financial position was not as sound as might be concluded from the figures shown.
The peal recorder, Mr. D. T. Matkin, presented a comprehensive survey of the peals rung for the Guild during the past year. Although the total number rung was not great at 58, a wide variety of methods had been covered, including several new Surprise Royal methods for the Guild, and one new Surprise Major method. A further new Surprise Major method had unfortunately to be withdrawn due to the use of a false composition. The first 5,040 of Kent T.B. Minimus had also been withdrawn from the peal records since it did not conform with Central Council requirements for peals. The peal of Nightingale Treble Place Bob Major rung in 1960 had now, however, been accepted by the Methods Committee.
Mr. John Hartless gave a very full account of the Central Council meeting at Cardiff, held at Whitsun.
In the unexpected absence of Mr. L. Cobb, the proposition to hold the Guild A.G.M. at Southampton every year was presented by Mr. W. T. Godfrey. The proposition appeared to have little support in the body of the meeting, the great majority preferring to retain the present system of rotating in a four-year cycle through each of the areas of the combined Diocese. When put to the vote, the proposition was defeated heavily.
In presenting the proposition for a general increase in Guild membership subscription rates, the general secretary, Mr. R. R. Savory, indicated the low level to which the Central Fund had sunk over the last three years. Previous attempts during that time to obtain an increase in subscriptions had failed, valid objections having been raised on each occasion. The point had now been reached, however, where no sound-thinking member, who had the continued well-being of the Guild at heart, could raise any objection to the proposed increases.
Seconded by Mr. T. Chapman, the motion was put to the vote and was carried unanimously. The chairman, summarising the new subscription rates, stated that these would come into force on January 1st, 1963, as follows: Ringing members 5s. (juniors 2s. 6d.), compounding members 7s. 6d.
The general secretary in introducing the next item, namely that of requests for grants to bell restorations received during the last 12 months, was pleased to be able to put forward the Executive Committee's recommendations of £10 to each Guild tower, which had requested help. Had the proposition to increase subscriptions not been passed, he would have been loath to make such a recommendation in view of the Guild's financial position. It was unfortunate that more help could not be given to the appeals from Kilifi and Melbourne, but the Executive Committee could, under the circumstances, recommend two guineas to each of these towers. It was agreed by the meeting that the recommended grants be made.
The report of the sub-committee set up to investigate the advisability of reorganising the Guild area into fewer and larger Districts was presented by the general secretary. The report stated that a great deal of opposition had been found in certain of the existing Districts to the proposed changes. This had led the sub-committee to their recommendation that no wholesale reorganisation of the Guild's Districts be carried out, but that minor alterations should be made where some benefit could be derived from the change and were mutually agreeable to the members of the towers concerned. Provision for such changes had already been incorporated in the Rules and the general secretary hoped that full use of it would be made.
The election of officers for the next triennial period then followed. Mr. F. W. Rogers expressed his wish not to be proposed for re-election to the office of Master. Two other proposals for the office were then made, namely Canon K. W. H. Felstead and Mr. A. V. Davis. Mr. Davis rose to say that, although sensible of the honour being paid by his nomination to Mastership of the Guild, he could not accept due to physical disability which prevented him from carrying out the duties of a chairman adequately. There being no other nominations, Canon Felstead was duly declared elected as Master.
In thanking the members for their support, Canon Felstead said that he considered it a very great honour to be Master of the Guild and an honour which he greatly appreciated. Mr. C. H. Kippin rose to inform the meeting that only in the previous week or so had Mr. Felstead been appointed an Honorary Canon of Winchester Cathedral; this news was received with acclamation by the whole meeting.
Mr. George Pullinger expressed the thanks of all Guild members to the retiring Master, Mr. Rogers, for all the work and faithful service which he had given to the Guild over the past 40 years, during which time he had held many offices, including 25 years as general secretary.
The re-elections of the general secretary, Mr. R. R. Savory; the general treasurer, Mrs. M. E. Chapman; the honorary peal recorder, Mr. D. T. Matkin; the honorary auditor, Mr. L. Bailey, and the Central Council representatives, Canon Felstead and Messrs. A. V. Davis, J. Hartless and F. W. Rogers, were carried unanimously. The office of honorary librarian which had been vacated, by Canon Felstead was the only remaining office to be filled and to this Mr. D. E. House was unanimously elected.
The 1963 A.G.M. will be held in Southampton. The general secretary proposed that a day other than the first Saturday in July be chosen for future annual general meetings, since the latter always coincided with the festival of the neighbouring Oxford Diocesan Guild. This proposition was carried despite Mr. Pullinger's advice that, as far as he could remember, it never rained on the first Saturday in July! The 1963 A.G.M. will therefore be held on June 29th.
Mr. T. Chapman submitted a resolution that two Guild members, who, had for business reasons, had to leave the Guild area, be made life members of the Guild as a tribute to them for all the service and hard work which they had put into the Guild over the last 15 years. The two people were Charles and Jessie Kippin. Mr. Kippin rose to point out that the proposition was out of order since all proposals for life membership had to go through the Executive Committee! Mr. Chapman then stated that if it was the wish of the members, he would formally propose to the Executive Committee that Mr. and Mrs. Kippin be elected life members; this was greeted with applause.
Finally, the general secretary expressed his thanks to the Dean of Winchester, the headmaster of Winchester College and all incumbents who had kindly granted permission for the use of their bells during the day.
Following the business meeting, members attended Evensong in the Cathedral and then re-assembled in St. Maurice's Hall for tea. During tea the members were joined by the Lord Bishop of Winchester, the Rt. Rev. S. Falkner Allison. D.D., who spoke individually to the members present. The Bishop then said how pleased he was to see so many young people present and was delighted to be able to meet them all on this happy occasion. He was pleased to become a president of the Guild, as he had been president of the Essex Association during his stay at Chelmsford. The Bishop went on to thank the members who had rung the peal of Stedman Cinques on the Cathedral bells on the day of his enthronement in January, and also those other members who had rung peals at other towers in the Diocese to mark the occasion. Finally, the Bishop expressed his good wishes to all members of the Guild in their valuable work for the Church.
Ringing was resumed at the Cathedral which, with further ringing at Sparsholt and King's Worthy, concluded a very successful and useful annual meeting.
R. R. S.
The Ringing World No. 2676, August 3, 1962, page 506