Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild. Minutes of the 1976 AGM held in the Main Hall, Abbey School, Romsey, on Saturday 3rd.July 1976. 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 present to the meeting. The General Secretary had received apologies for absence from C.E.Bassett, M.K.Waldron, Miss C.Morton, D.T.Matkin, M.J.Thomas and family, and apologies were received from the floor on behalf of R.Corke, Miss E.Robertson, J.J.Hill, D.M.Hughes, A.V.Davis, Mrs.G.Northway, Dr. J.B.Williamson, G.Grant, and L. & Mrs.E.Smith.

The meeting stood as a tribute to the memory of the following members who had died since the last meeting:- Harold Nobes (Alverstoke, Chairman Portsmouth District 1953-70), Miss Robertson (Steep), Tom East (Isle of Wight), Frank Chiverton (Assoc.Member IOW), Cecil Guy (Freshwater), Bert Snow (IOW - past Dist.Secretary), William E.Cheater (Ringwood, Ringing Master C&S Dist. for 25 years).

The minutes of the 1975 meeting had been duplicated and circulated prior to the meeting. Mr.M.J.Butler proposed that these be accepted as a true record of the previous meeting and this was seconded by Mr.J.Chesterman and carried nem.con. There were no matters arising not covered by subsequent items on the agenda. Correspondence. The General Secretary read a letter from the Bishop of Portsmouth’s Secretary saying that the Bishop would be pleased to be a Joint President of the Guild. A letter from Dr.Pett on behalf of the Oxford Diocesan Guild requesting funds for a memorial to F.E.Sharpe and Canon C. Elliott Wigg was deferred for decision on a proposition of Mr.J.Hartless seconded by Mr.F.E.Collins. A letter entitled ‘Are you a Triples Enthusiast’ was read to the meeting. Mr.C.Denyer, the Editor of the Ringing World had sent his best wishes for the meeting. The Secretary read a letter from Mr.W.T. Perrins resigning as one of the Guild’s Central Council Representatives as he felt he would remain in Australia for perhaps the next two years. In accordance with Rule 4, the Executive Committee had appointed John Hartless in place of Mr.Perrins for the remainder of the term. Confirmation of the appointment was proposed by Mr.L.Bailey and seconded by Mr.F.E.Collins and carried nem.con. The Hon.General Secretary’s Report had been printed in the Report for 1975 and was accepted by the meeting. The Hon.General Treasurer’s Report A brief report and details of the 1975 accounts had been printed in the Report for 1975. Mr.Croft highlighted certain aspects and details from the accounts. At the end of the year the Central Fund stood at £72.34½p, and the Reserve Fund at £50.97, giving a total of £113.31½p. Mr.G.Nabb proposed the acceptance of the report and this was seconded by Mr.J.Chesterman and carried nem.con. The Hon.Peal Recorder’s Report had been printed in the Report for 1975. It had been a record year with 223 recorded. Mr.Fry reported that the compositions of peal No.5038 (Grandsire Caters at St.Mary’s Southampton 12/1/1974) and No.5429 (Plain Bob Caters at North Stoneham 16/12/1975) had both been found to be false. The report was accepted nem.con. on a proposition of Mr.J. Hartless seconded by Mr.G.Nabb. The Hon. Librarian’s Report. Mr.M.J.Butler reported that the library had had a fair amount of use in the past year. The Reports to 1974 had now been bound. The Guild Handbells had been completely overhauled with many new fittings and new leathers by Mr.F.E.Collins, at no cost to the Guild, by way of a tribute to the memory of the late George Williams to whom the bells had belonged before being left to the Guild. Central Council Representatives Report. Mr.G.K.Dodd gave the meeting a very full and informative report on the meeting of the Council held at Hereford over the late Spring Holiday weekend. Mr.J.P.Colliss proposed the adoption of the report and this was seconded by Mr.John S.Croft and accepted nem con. Addition to Rule 7. The Executive Committee proposed the following addition to the rule. ‘All members residing in the Channel Islands may have the option of paying half the annual subscription.’ Mr.G.Nabb spoke in favour of the addition to the rule, and Mr.L.Bailey proposed and Mr.J.Chesterman seconded that the addition be incorporated in the rule. This was carried nem.con. Report of the Trustees of the Bell Restoration Fund. The accounts of the Fund had been printed in the Report for 1975. Mr.Croft reported that the fund had exceeded £2500 by the end of the year. An income of some £1.33 per member had been achieved in the year and this compared most favourably with the funds of other Societies and Guilds. £1500 had been invested by the Trustees in City of Southampton Bonds; £500 for 2 years at 11½%pa and £1000 for four years at 12½%pa. At that moment the fund stood at £2917.23p with an income tax refund due in to be added to this. The Central Council’s Committee had produced a publication and a copy had been obtained for each trustee. Mr.L.Bailey proposed the acceptance of the Report and this was seconded by Mr. Collins and carried nem con.

Election of a Trustee to represent the Portsmouth Diocese. Mr.E.W.Colley had moved to Lincolnshire and had asked to be replaced as a Trustee of the Bell Restoration Fund. This had occurred subsequent to the distribution of the agendas for the meeting. Mr.R.M.Esbester was nominated by Mr.B.J.Fry and seconded by Miss V.C.Ball. There being no other nominations, the Master declared Mr.Esbester elected.

Requests for Grants from the Bell Restoration Fund. Four requests had been received, and the General Secretary gave details of the work completed or to be done at the respective applicant towers. In the case of Romsey Abbey the Trustees recommended a grant of £200, in the case of Petersfield £100, in the case of Hursley £100, and in the case of Bishop’s Waltham £11 to clear the balance remaining for the recasting work towards which a grant had been made the previous year. Mr.F.E.Collins spoke in favour of all the applications and proposed the authorisation of the grants recommended by the Trustees, and this was seconded by Mr.J.Chesterman. Much discussion then took place as to whether grants should only be made to the extent of interest received by the fund, however the consensus of members speaking were in favour of the Trustees more flexible policy, and on being put to the vote the recommended grants were authorised by the meeting. Honorary Life Members. The Master was pleased to announce that Mr.Charles Ford of Silchester had completed 50 years membership and became an Hon.Life Member in accordance with Rule 6. This was applauded by the meeting. Guild Dinner. The Master announced that the next Guild Dinner would be held at the Royal Hotel, Southampton on Saturday 7th. May 1977.Some disquiet in terms of cost and value for money was expressed by a few members present. Centenary Celebrations Committee. In the absence of the Convenor of the committee, the General Secretary briefly reported that the committee were further considering ideas and planning events for the Centenary in 1979. Mr.L.Bailey proposed the re-election of the existing committee en bloc, this was seconded by Mr.R.M.Esbester and carried nem.con. Guild Course. The Master informed the meeting that the Executive Committee Meeting in March had decided that as the previous Course Committee had apparently ceased to function after the 1975 Course, there was insufficient time for effective arrangements to be made for a course in 1976 on the lines of the previous two. It had been suggested that a smaller more specialised course on conducting be held instead, and accommodation for such a course might be available at King Edward VI School in Southampton in November should this be required. Mr.R.M.Esbester proposed that such a course be held and this was seconded by Mr.J.P.Colliss and was carried. Election of a Guild Course Committee Mr.R.M.Esbester was nominated by Mr.J.P.Colliss, seconded by Mr.J.Hartless. Mr.J.P.Colliss was nominated by Mr.R.M.Esbester and seconded by Mrs.J.Kippin. Miss C.Olding was nominated by Mr.A.Case and seconded by Mr.G.Nabb. Mr.R.Le Marechal was nominated by Mr.R.M.Esbester and seconded by Mr.J.P.Colliss. Mr.A.V.Davis was nominated but declined to stand. It was agreed that the members nominated form a committee with power to co-opt. Mr.J.P.Colliss was chosen as Convenor of the committee. Striking Competition. Mr.F.E.Collins, Convenor of the committee, reported on the six bell competition held at St. Michael’s Church Southampton in May. Under the new arrangements an eight bell and an Inter District Competition were to be held at Fordingbridge on 23rd. October. The election of the committee had evolved by custom as being trienniel. Now that the competition was split with the AGM in between the year’s competitions, any newly elected committee would have little time to make arrangements for the later competitions in the year. Mr.Collins did not wish to stand for re-election and wished to be relieved of his duties at the end of the year. Mr.G.Nabb proposed that any new committee elected assume their duties from the outgoing committee as from 1st.January following, and in view of Mr.Collins retirement, that a committee be elected for 1977. Mr.K.S.B.Croft did not wish to continue on this committee. Election of a Striking Competition Committee. Mr.D.C.Jackson was nominated by Mrs.J.Kippin and seconded by Mr. F.E.Collins. Mr.G.Nabb was nominated by Miss V.C.Ball and seconded by Mr.L. Bailey but did not wish to stand. Mr.J.Hartless was nominated by Mr.T.Matcham and seconded by Mr.M.J.Butler. Mr.J.P.Colliss was nominated by Mr.M.J.Butler and seconded by Mr.G.Nabb. The election was carried by the meeting nem.con. The outgoing committee were thanked for their work. 1977 AGM. In accordance with Rule 5 this was to be held in the Christchurch Area. It was agreed that the arrangements be centred on Christchurch Priory.

Any Other Business. The letter from Dr.Pett of the Oxford Diocesan Guild requesting a contribution towards a memorial to the late F.E.Sharpe and Canon C.Elliott Wigg was considered, and after discussion Mr.L.Bailey proposed and Mr.F.E.Collins seconded that no contribution be made direct by the Guild but the matter be left to individuals to contribute as they saw fit. This was overwhelmingly carried, there being only two against. Mr.J.Wimlett spoke regarding the Farm and Village Walk to be held at Nether Wallop on 17th.July, in particular the arrangements and demonstrations of ringing at St.Andrew’s Church. Miss B.Sidwell regretfully advised the meeting of the sad death of Miss Evette White of Portsmouth who had died at the age of fifteen as a result of burns received in a boating accident. The meeting stood in silence as a token of respect.

Mr.J.Hartless had found a few errors in the Report for 1975. Mr.Nabb was congratulated by Mr.L.Bailey on the production of the Report.

The Isle of Wight District challenged any other Districts to football matches on the island on Saturday 11th.September, to be followed by a barbecue in the evening. The Master asked all Convenors of Committees to ensure that reports of the work of their respective committees be made at the Executive Committee meetings held on the third Saturday in March each year. He was pleased to see the Guild was third in the league tables for peals in 1975, and in the top four with most first pealers, and this he felt was most encouraging. He congratulated Mr.Mark Esbester, Mr.Graham Nabb, and Miss Katharine Maundrell on their impending marriages which were all due to take place soon. There being no further business, the meeting was closed after Mr.I.Trueman had welcomed the meeting to Romsey, and given details of the arrangements for the rest of the day. The Guild Service was held in the Abbey at 5.30pm following a Buffet Tea in the Abbey Hall.