Winchester and Portsmouth D.G.



In fine, sunny weather, now typical of that usually supplied for our A.G.M.s, just over 100 members and friends made use of Mr. Richard Green’s well-arranged ringing programme, covering 14 towers in the vicinity of Southampton. Being the first-ever A.G.M. to be held in the Southampton area since its division between neighbouring districts in 1967, local arrangements were in the very capable hands of Mr. M. J. Butler (tower captain, St. Mary’s).

The service, conducted by the Rev. Simon Brown, will perhaps be remembered for the full-blooded singing rather than for the interruption by an intoxicated local resident. Following the service, Southampton ringers provided a home-made buffet tea, in the Chantry Hall, under the direction of Mrs. Diane Butler and Mrs. Madeline Croft, during which Mr. G. K. Dodd, complete with decorated top hat, persuaded members to buy raffle tickets on behalf of the Guild Bell Restoration Fund.

It was a pity that an enjoyable social event should be swamped by a mass of Guild business, but this was to be the case for 1973. The afternoon started unusually early with a special Executive Committee Meeting, called to consider certain peals rung on behalf of the Guild. However, as we heard later from Messrs. D. T. Matkin and A. J. Buswell, peal and quarter-peal ringing continue to flourish.

During the A.G.M. much time was spent on attempts to change rules concerning the administration of members’ subscriptions and the allocation of Guild Reports. A controversy over the functioning of the Central Council also made its usual appearance.

£500 IN 12 MONTHS

The meeting welcomed the news that our Guild Bell Restoration Fund had almost totalled £500 in 12 months and, after some hesitation about spending hard-earned cash, made its first grants to Fordingbridge and to Havant. The editor, Mr. R. Green, was congratulated on the production of the first Guild Annual Report for some years (at a reduced cost) and on the distribution of it before the day of the A.G.M.

The establishment of a new See of Basingstoke was recognised by the appointment of the Suffragan Bishop of Basingstoke as an additional vice-president of the Guild; we are fortunate in that the first Bishop is the Rt. Rev. C. C. W. James, former Vicar of St. Peter’s, Bournemouth. Mr. A. York-Bramble (Portsmouth), now, alas, no longer able actively to participate in ringing, was elected an hon. life member, in view of his outstanding contributions to the Exercise. News from another hon. life member, Mrs. Alice Sullivan (née White) of Canada, was communicated via a two-page letter. It is hoped to produce soon a tape-recording of the bell sounds that she misses so much.


Following the report of the sub-committee concerned with the possibility of a Guild Ringing Course, it was agreed that such an event should be arranged for the autumn of 1974. Since the Channel Islands form part of the Winchester Diocese, it was agreed that contact should be made with ringers there, and an invitation to the Ringing Course also be advanced. The work carried out by the local University Guild in maintaining Sunday service ringing is also to be recognised in future Guild Reports by an additional insertion. The Guild centenary being only six years away, it was decided that any celebrations needed advanced planning, and a sub-committee of six members was set up to initiate such plans.

Guild membership certificates have long been out of print, but a demand by younger members resulted in an agreement to reprint, and sell for a slight profit on behalf of the Bell Restoration Fund. Similarly, badges, now out of stock, have been criticised for its uninteresting design. Hence the Master announced a competition for a new design amongst Guild members, with a variety of exciting prizes. (Can it be a coincidence that the raffle prize, a bottle of whisky, was also won by one of our young lady members?)

It was a much depleted and rather weary meeting that finally saw the close of Guild business in the evening. However, the Southampton rings of 10 were soon sounding forth with a variety of methods, although the arguments continued long afterwards in sundry hostelries.

D. C. J.

The Ringing World No. 3252, August 24, 1973, page 671