The Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers

Minutes of the 1975 Annual General Meeting held at Bishop’s Waltham

This meeting was held in the Church Hall Bishop’s Waltham on Saturday 5th. July 1975 commencing at 3pm, following the Guild service held in St.Peter’s Church Bishop’s Waltham. 105 members and friends were present. The Master, Mr. R.R.Savory occupied the chair, supported by the Hon.General Secretary, Mr.B.J. Fry and the Hon.General Treasurer, Mr.K.S.B.Croft.

The Master welcomed the members and visitors and stated that this was the first time that an annual meeting had been held at Bishop’s Waltham. He thanked all concerned with the excellent arrangement made for the meeting.

Apologies for Absence. The Hon.General Secretary had received apologies from Mr. Richard Green (former Hon.General Secretary, Mr.Maurice Butler (Hon. Librarian), Mr.& Mrs.W.E.Cheater (Ringwood), Rev.R.A.Southwood (Christchurch & Southampton District Chairman), Mr.Arthur V.Davis (Christchurch), Mrs.G.W.Davis (Christchurch & Southampton District Secretary), Miss Cecily Roberts and the band at Steep, Mr.& Mrs.L.Duguid (Portsea), Mr.& Mrs.J.A.Rolph (Wickham), Mr. Mervyn Palmer (Basingstoke). Verbal Apologies were received from Mrs.Jessie Kippin (Winchester District Chairman), Mr.A.P.Smith, Mrs.M.J.Marshallsay, Mr. John Croft, Mrs.D.Huggins, Miss V.Westgarth.

Loss of Members through Death. The meeting stood in silence as a token of respect to the following deceased members. William Kewell (Highclere), Robert Buchanan, Ann Buchanan, William C.Buchanan (Eling), Rev.K.C.Davis (a former member), Fred Hagenbuch (Petersfield).

Minutes of the 1974 Annual General Meeting. These had been duplicated and circulated prior to the meeting. The Hon.General Secretary advised the meeting of a few minor errors and omissions in the duplicated sheets. It was agreed that this was a true record of the meeting and the minute book was signed by the Master.

Matters Arising from the Minutes of the previous Meeting. (i) The Master informed the meeting that Mr.Richard Green, who had been elected Hon.General Secretary at the previous meeting, had felt obliged to resign as Secretary and as one of the Guild’s Central Council Representatives. In compliance with Rule 4 the Executive Committee had elected Barry J.Fry as Hon.General Secretary, and Mr.Graham Nabb as a Central Council Representative, to fill the vacancies for the remainder of the Triennial Period. This election should be confirmed by the meeting as required in Rule 5. Mr.H.Milford proposed and Mr.F.E.Collins seconded that the election by the Executive Committee be confirmed, and this was carried nemine contradicente by the meeting. (ii) Mr.Croft read out a letter of thanks from the Master of the St.Martin’s Guild for the Diocese of Birmingham, thanking the Guild for the donation of £5 towards a memorial to the late George E.Fearn. (iii) Mr.Croft read out a letter from the Treasurer of the Peterborough Diocesan Guild in reply to our request for further details of that Guild’s registration as a Charity. Mr. Croft said that from these details it was clear that there was no advantage to he gained by the Guild becoming a Charity. (iv) Mr.Nabb advised the meeting that a copy of the Central Council’s “Towers and Bells Handbook” did not appear to have been obtained for the Library as yet. He reminded the meeting that it had been agreed at the 1974 AGM that a copy of this publication be purchased. In the absence of the Hon.Librarian, whose work had prevented him from attending the meeting, the Hon.General Secretary was asked to write to him requesting that a copy be obtained.

Correspondence. The Secretary read a letter from Ven.David Cartwright, Archdeacon of Winchester, thanking the Guild for the invitation to become a Vice-President which he was very pleased to accept. The Secretary then read a letter from the Lord Bishop of Winchester, Rt.Rev.Dr.John V.Taylor DD, thanking the Guild for the invitation to be a President of the Guild. He wrote that he regarded the Guild as a very personal interest and that he would take a personal pride in being one of our Presidents. The Secretary had written to Mr.& Mrs.Harry Balaam of Basingstoke, in May conveying the congratulations and best wishes of the Guild to them on the occasion of their Diamond Wedding. Mr.Balaam had written to thank the Guild for their congratulations; they had been overwhelmed with kindness from everybody.

Guild Treasurer’s Report. The Hon.General Treasurer, Mr.K.S.B.Croft, referred the meeting to the Income and Expenditure Statement of the Central Fund Account, which was printed on page 43 of the Guild Report for 1974. He proceeded to explain various items from the accounts. The new badges had sold very well since their introduction at the previous AGM, 232 had been sold by the end of 1974, and over 300 had now been sold. The prompt payment of the order for 20 silver badges had resulted in a discount and the Guild had retained two of these badges, for use when a suitable occasion arose. He said that inflation was affecting the Guild in much the same way that it was affecting everyone. The reserves had been eroded by various expenditures and he felt that we should endeavour to build up a reserve fund for the future which could be used to provide capital for such things as new stocks of badges when this became necessary, but this would depend entirely on income. To this end he wished to set aside up to £10 from the Central Fund into a reserve fund. Mr.F.E.Collins proposed and Mr.E.W.Colley seconded, that the treasurer be authorised to take this action, and this was carried nemine dissentiente. A proposition that item 13 on the agenda be discussed next as it concerned finance was put to the meeting and was defeated. The Treasurer stated that if members wished to maintain the standard of benefits they were at present enjoying then the income must be forthcoming to pay for them. Mr.L.Bailey (Hon.Auditor) paid tribute to the excellent way in which Mr.Croft maintained the Books. The Master thanked Mr.Bailey for all his conscientious work as Hon.Auditor.

Guild Librarian’s Report. The Hon.Librarian, Mr.M.Butler, was unable to be present at the meeting as his employment required him to be in Plymouth. He had sent in a written report and this was read to the meeting by the Secretary. He reported that the Library had had a fair amount of use during the year and that the handbells had been in constant use. Some of the straps and clapper pads on the bells were showing signs of wear; the Executive Committee were aware of this and would be taking any action necessary in due course.

Guild Peal Recorder’s Report. This had been printed on pages 24, 25 and 26 of the Guild Annual Report for 1974. The Hon.Peal Recorder, Mr.B.J.Fry, paid tribute to the excellent way in which Mr.D.T.Matkin had maintained the Guild’s Peal Records for 16 years. Taking the job over from Mr.Matkin had been very easy owing to the very clear system he had built up over the years and he thanked Mr.Matkin for his help and support. Mr.Fry reported that the Central Council at its meeting in May, had decided to exclude from its analysis the peal of Spliced Grandsire Caters and Major rung at All Saints Church Basingstoke on 23rd.November 1974 and numbered 5201 in the Guild’s Records, as this did not fully conform to the Council’s Rules. Mr.M.J.Thomas proposed and Mr.J.P.Colliss seconded, that the report be accepted. This was carried nem.con.

Central Council Representatives Report. Mr.G.K.Dodd gave a very full, interesting and informative report on the meeting of the Central Council at Lincoln in May. In particular he praised the excellent arrangements that had been made by the Lincoln Diocesan Guild. His only criticism was that the open meetings on ‘Sound Control’ and ‘How to treat the Vicar’ were both held simultaneous on the Sunday evening and thus it was not possible to go to both. His three fellow representatives had all been elected onto various committees as follows, Mr.K.S.B.Croft - Bell Restoration Funds, Mr.G.Nabb - Redundant Bells, Mr.W.T.Perrins - Methods. The report was unanimously accepted.

Guild Secretary’s Report. The report by Mr.R.Green was printed on page 4 of the 1974 Annual Guild Report, and was accepted by the meeting nem.con.

Guild Annual Report. The Hon.Report Editor, Mr.G.Nabb, advised the meeting that the 1974 Report had cost £176.90 of which £20 had been recovered by advertisements. This compared most favourably with the cost of the 1973 report which had been £139.10 of which £10 had been recouped by advertisements.

The 1974 reports had been printed by Mr.John Longridge of Exeter; all other estimates had far exceeded £200. It was generally agreed by the meeting that the report was superior and much easier to read with the changed layout than the 1973 report. Mr.P.Gorrod stated that he would like to see more financial information printed and moved a proposition that a full balance sheet be published in future years. This was seconded by Mr.J. Huggins. The Treasurer said that this would probably add to the cost of printing the report and if any member wished to examine any of the books, they were most welcome to do so after the meeting or at any other time by arrangement. Several members said that they considered the information already printed was quite sufficient and on being put to the vote the proposition was overwhelmingly defeated. Mr.J.Hartless said that a few members names were missing from the report. The report Editor agreed to look into the matter to ascertain whether this was a mistake by the printers or missing from the tower information slips sent in through the District Secretaries. It was the feeling of several members that these tower information slips were too small and the Report Editor said he would see if it was possible to produce a larger form. He thanked Mr.Andrew Gaskin for his assistance in transporting the 1974 reports from Exeter.

Change of Rule 7. The following paragraphs to read:

Paragraph 1:- Subscription An Associate Member shall subscribe not less than £1 annually. A Ringing Member shall subscribe not less than £1 annually. Junior Members under the age of sixteen years on the date the subscription falls due shall pay 30p annually. Ringing members over 65 years of age shall pay a minimum subscription of 50p annually. junior Members shall have no vote in matters of Finance. (These subscriptions fall due upon election and subsequently on 1st.January each year.)

Paragraph 2:- Members residing outside the joint Diocese may compound for all subscriptions providing they are not members of a tower within the joint Diocese, by a single payment of £1, but they shall have no vote at meeting of the Guild, nor shall they be entitled to any financial benefits.

Paragraph 5:- Such members may be re-elected on payment of a fee of £1 and the subscription for the current year.

These amendments were proposed by Mr.K.S.B.Croft and seconded by Mr.J.A.Dodd. Mr.Croft spoke of the need for more funds. We were well on the way to a strong Bell Restoration Fund; what we needed now was to build up a strong central fund. He said he would like to see at least £500 in reserve. If we wished to maintain the standard of benefits we obtained from the Guild then we must pay for them. Mr.J.Huggins spoke as a District Treasurer saying that all District outgoings, in particular postage, had risen dramatically. He fully supported the proposal. Mr.H.Milford spoke in support: no Treasurer should be put in such a tight financial position. Mr.F.E.Collins and Mr.L.Bailey also spoke in support of the proposition. Mr.D.J.Forder spoke against the proposed rise and proposed an amendment for the subscription to be 75p and proportionally less as appropriate. This was seconded by Mr.P.Gorrod. On being put to the vote the amendment was overwhelmingly lost. The original motion was then put and was carried overwhelmingly, there being only one dissention.

The Executive Committee proposed that the following words at the end of paragraph 4 of Rule 7 be deleted:- “and his name shall be ‘called’ at the next Annual District Meeting for formal deletion. (Officers elected under Rule 5 shall be exempted from this ruling)” This was carried nem.con.

The time for tea being imminent, the Master brought forward item 17 on the Agenda.

Election of Hon.Life Members. The Executive Committee had proposed the election of Messrs.Charles E.Bassett, Frederick E.Collins, Arthur V.Davis, and Daniel T. Matkin for their various services to ringing in general and service to the Guild. Mr.Ernest J.Whitfield of Ringwood had completed over 50 years membership and automatically became an Honorary Life Member under Rule 6. The elections were carried unanimously. The Master then asked Mr.Charles E.Bassett to come forward, and he presented him with one of the Guild’s Silver Badges inscribed with Mr.Bassett’s initials together with the dates of the 42 years he was District Secretary of the Alton & Petersfield District, 1935-1975. Mr.Bassett thanked the Guild for the gift of the Silver Badge and for electing him as an Honorary Life Member; he had been a member for 49 years and so he was gaining a year.

The Master then asked Mr.Daniel T.Matkin to come forward and he presented Mr.Matkin with the remaining Guild Silver Badge inscribed with Mr.Matkin’s initials and the date of the meeting as an appreciation of his 16 years conscientious service as Hon.Peal Recorder. Mr. Matkin thanked the Guild for according him the honour of Honorary Life Membership and for presenting him with the silver badge; he had been a member for 31 years since moving to Bournemouth towards the end of the war.

At this point the Master adjourned the meeting for tea and this was served in the Institute Hall nearby. After an excellent tea a raffle was held in aid of the Bell Restoration Fund by the Portsmouth District and £11.10 was raised It was agreed that the profit of £2.35 on the tea be given towards the bill for the recasting work at Bishop’s Waltham. The meeting was then resumed in the Church Hall.

Guild Bell Restoration Fund. The Treasurer, Mr.K.S.B.Croft, reported that the members had raised almost £1000 for the fund during 1974, and with interest of £80, this sum had been exceeded. The interest in the current year should be twice that received in 1974, and already this year over £500 had been raised. At this point in time the fund stood at £2068.22p.

Requests for Grants from the Bell Restoration Fund. The Trustees had received four requests for grants from the fund. At Kingsclere urgent work required to the fabric of the tower had cost over £8000. Had the work not been carried out the bells would have become silent. The Trustees recommended a grant of £60. At Heckfield the 4th.& 5th.of the heavy ring of five were being rehung on ball bearings by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. This work together with the building of a trapdoor in the tower, treating the wooden frame, and various other work, was to cost around £1100. This very small parish had raised £900 towards this sum over the course of several years and the Trustees recommended a grant of £40, towards the £200 approx. that they still required. At Bishop’s Waltham the 5th.had become cracked and it had been decided to have this bell together with the poor toned 3rd.recast. This work would cost about £700 with all the removal, transport, and lifting work being undertaken by the ringers. Some £600 had been raised, the PCC feeling unable to assist with the cost owing to other commitments. The Trustees recommended a grant of £40. At St.Mary’s Church Portsea, Mr.A.Fidler had rebushed the clappers, ground the flats off of the clapper balls, cleaned and polished the clapper pins, overhauled the crown staples, cleaned out the main bearings and repacked with grease, and tightened the tenor balance weights, at a cost of £346. The PCC had offered a limit of £300 and the local ringers had paid £46.80 from their own funds. Mr.Fidler also recommended that the frame be repainted and various other items of maintenance be done, and the local ringers had decided to carry out this work themselves. The Trustees recommended a grant of £15. There followed much debate; Mr.Hartless suggested that the money raised be used as soon as possible in an endeavour to counteract inflation. There was some support for an idea that the capital be used to provide interest free loans to PCC’s having work undertaken on their bells. Mr. Barrington did not think we should build up a pile of money but raise sufficient money to meet anticipated needs. There was little support for this idea as it was pointed out that one could have one request one year and perhaps over half a dozen another year. To dispose of the capital on a single job would hardly be fair to those coming along for grants another year. Mr. Esbester suggested that the meeting accept the trustees recommendations. He said they had obviously looked into the matter most thoroughly and had given very careful consideration to the requests received. A proposal was made the recommended grants be doubled, however it was pointed out that the needs of the four applicants varied and that this proposal would not give a fair balance. Mr.P.Gorrod proposed that the grant to Kingsclere be £100 and the others remain as recommended by the Trustees, and this was seconded by G.K.Dodd. The proposal that the suggested grants be doubled was then withdrawn. On being put to the vote the proposal was carried with 50 in favour and 7 against.

Guild Dinner. The Master commented on the very successful dinner held at the Royal Hotel Southampton on 3rd.May 1975, and informed the meeting that the 1976 Dinner would be held at the same venue on Saturday 1st.May 1976.

Guild Striking Competition. The Master produced a silver cup and informed the meeting that Mr.Alec Gray had donated it to the Guild for use in the Striking Competition. He then asked Mr.F.E.Collins, the Convenor of the Striking Competition Committee, to let the meeting know what the Committee had in mind for the cup. Mr.Collins told the meeting that Mr.& Mrs.Arthur Davis of Christchurch had offered to present a shield for the Striking Competition. The Committee had in mind a 6 bell competition on the third Saturday in May, and an 8 bell competition about the end of September, with a separate cup for each. With regard to the shield offered the Committee had thought that there could be a contest between the winning 6 bell team and the winning 8 bell team after the 8 bell competition, the shield being a best in the Guild award. The Committee would welcome any suggestions concerning these new trophies. It was the feeling of several members that the six bell team would have an advantage over the eight bell team in a ring off. Mr.D.Barrington proposed an inter District Competition for the shield with the cups for the individual 6 & 8 bell competitions. This was seconded by Mr.R.M.Esbester. Mr.D.J.Forder proposed we accept the ideas for the competitions Mr.Collins had spoken of. This was seconded by Mr.M.J.Thomas. In being put to the vote this was defeated. The proposition of an inter district competition for the shield was then put to the meeting and was carried. Mr.M.J.Thomas proposed that the Aliston Cup be used for the six bell competition and this was seconded by Mr.D.C.Jackson. This was carried by the meeting.

Guild Ringing Course. Mr.E.W.Colley told the meeting that arrangements were in hand for the Ringing Course which was to be held on Saturday 4th.October at Eastleigh Technical College. Numbers were being limited to the first 100 applicants. He asked for help on the day, especially transport. Application forms were being distributed through District Secretaries and would be available from him at the conclusion of the meeting.

Guild Centenary Celebrations. Mr.D.C.Jackson reported that the Committee formulating plans for the centenary had met in January. A report of this meeting had been circulated to all towers. Mr.H.L.Hatfield suggested that the funds required to cover the expenses of the celebrations might come from Guild funds. Mr.J.Huggins proposed that the Committee’s recommendations be accepted, and this was seconded by Mr.G.Nabb, and carried nem con. Mr.J.J.Hill proposed that the existing Committee be elected for a further year, and that they be given power to co-opt. This was seconded by Mr.L.A.Tremeer and carried nem.con.

1976 Annual General Meeting. Under Rule 5 this was to be held in the Winchester District. Mr.M.J.Thomas (Winchester District Secretary) proposed that the 1976 AGM he held on Saturday 3rd.July 1976 at Romsey, and this was seconded by Mr. G.Nabb. This was carried nem.con.

Any Other Business. Mr.J.Hartless was collecting names for a further order for silver badges. Any member wishing to have a silver badge must place their order within two months. Mr.F.E.Collins announced that there was to be an open day in the Christchurch & Southampton District in aid of the Bell Restoration Fund on Saturday 9th.August. Mr.E.Colley announced that the Portsmouth District were to hold a Barn Dance on Friday 11th.July, and that a barbecue was to be held on the evening of the Guild Course, both in aid of the Bell Restoration Fund. The Secretary announced that an open day had been arranged at Privett on Saturday 26th.July from 10am to 6pm, 15p per person, with many interesting Church Records on show in the Church. Light refreshments would be available and all proceeds were for the Petersfield Bell Repair Fund and Privett Church. The recast bells at Bishop’s Waltham would be dedicated on Sunday 20th.July and there would be open ringing after the service. Mr.Nabb spoke of a letter he had received from the Guernsey ringers. There being no other business, the Master closed the meeting at 7.30pm