The Master, Rev. Barry Fry, opened the meeting at 14:00 with a prayer. He was supported by the Secretary, Robert Cater and the Treasurer, Michael Bubb. Christine McCallion stood in for Andrew Case as Minutes Secretary.
Dennis Chapman, welcomed members on behalf of the Christchurch and Southampton District.
Apologies were received from Derek and Ruth Jackson, Andrew Case, Linda Bulpitt, Catherine Wood, Peter Clarke, Susan Clutterbuck, Gail Cater, Andrew Pickett, Helen Tucker, Les Duguid, Enid and Ernest Treagus, Bruce Lockheart, Val Welch, Joan Parry, Martin Waldron, Liz Watts, Joyce Croft, Dorothy and Colin Cherret and Rosemary Leas.
The meeting stood in silence to remember Gillian Ditchburn from the Clatfords, Arthur Braine from Burghclere, Bob Moseley from Christchurch, Olive Collins from Ringwood, Pat Page, a life member from Titchfield, Charles Bassett, a life member from Warnford, Eddie Cole, a life member from Ellisfield, Stan Robert an associate member from Guernsey and Reuben Harley from Titchfield.
John Davey proposed and Stuart Heath seconded acceptance of the Minutes. Carried nem con. They were signed by the Master.
The Basingstoke District Open Day at Easter raised £1142 for the BRF. The Master thanked Basingstoke District members for their efforts.
There were no other matters arising.
The following were accepted as Honorary Life Members of the Guild having all completed 50 years' membership: Dorothy Cherrett from St. John, Bournemouth, Alan Sturgess from Fareham and Cynthia Kemp from Overton,
The Secretary had received a letter from the Council for Social Responsibility of the Winchester Diocese describing plans for "Bells for Burma", an event taking place in January to mark Burma's 50 years of independence. Posters would be circulated in September with details.
All these reports are in the Guild Annual Report. Tony Smith proposed and Barbara Townsend seconded their adoption en bloc. Carried nem con. There were no questions.
The Treasurer apologised for printing mistakes in the accounts in the Guild Report. He had circulated a revised balance sheet at the meeting as the accounts had actually been audited.
John Colliss proposed and Andrew Craddock seconded the adoption of the accounts. Carried nem con. There were no questions.
Once again the Treasurer apologised for misprints in the report and the correct accounts were circulated at the meeting. He thanked Michael Church for the assistance he had given based on the 1993 Charities Act. Adoption of the accounts was proposed by Tony Smith and seconded by John Davey and carried.
The Master said a full report of the meeting can be seen in "The Ringing World" pages 683-686.
David Thorne had been made a Life Member and Barry wished him well in his retirement.
Tony Smith's Methods Committee had proposed acceptance of variable cover peals and this was adopted.
Barry congratulated Michael Church on becoming chairman of the Board of "The Ringing World"
There was discussion on the problem of ringing all the London church bells for the Millennium at noon on 1st January 2000. It was suggested that they might be rung later in the day instead. This came up again under AOB.
On the subject of Millennium ringing, the Secretary pointed out that the first five minutes of the service will be listening to the bells. He has had a request that this be organised from the Bishop of Winchester but not yet from the Portsmouth diocese.
Each District Secretary was invited to collect a copy of the Central Council's video "Teaching Bellhandling" for the use of District members.
Mark Esbester spoke on behalf of the trustees, describing each proposal:
Botley - Augment from three to six with a new frame hung lower in the tower and a new ringing room. Cost will be £46,500 and the project will probably be dependent on Millennium funding which has been applied for. Proposed grant £4750.
Hawkley - The tenor has been recast because of poor tone but the work has not yet been paid for. Cost is £5235. Proposed grant £500.
Hurstbourne Priors - Retune and rehang this challenging ring of six in an eight bell frame. Cost will be £40,000. Proposed grant £4500.
Lymington - Clapper assemblies need refurbishment and there may be more work needed in the future. Cost is £1422. This request caused much discussion by the trustees. It could be argued that such work is routine maintenance and such small jobs may not be considered in the future. Perhaps Districts could consider giving help. Proposed grant £100
St. Barnabas, Southampton - It is hoped to create a new ring of six utilising an existing bell in a new frame. Some details still have to be settled and the job may be dependent on securing Millennium funding. Cost is in the region of £44,000. Proposed grant £4500.
Shorwell - Retune and rehang the five in a six bell frame with new fixtures and fittings. Cost is £27850. It is proposed that a grant of £3000 be made on condition that the tower roof be made waterproof and the ingress of birds is prevented as much of the present deterioration has been caused by water.
Whitchurch - Rehang the eight in a ten bell frame, retune some bells and add two new tenors to make a 27 cwt ten finishing the work that was begun in 1990. Cost is £60,000. The grant proposed is for £5000 with the condition that it will become available only on completion of the project.
Wolverton - Recast the cracked fifth at a cost of £7700. Grant proposed is £800 on condition that the tower be waterproofed and bird-proofed.
Cheriton - The request has been deferred as the project is still at the planning stage. It is hoped to make repairs to the tower roof, bells and fittings and provide a new first floor ringing chamber above the vestry.
Shanklin - This request has also been deferred until the work is more precisely defined.
Whitwell - This request was withdrawn as it is unlikely to proceed.
The trustees would like to record their thanks to Phil Watts and the Belfry Stewardship Committee for their reports which have been most helpful. Total estimated cost is £232,707. Total grants proposed £23,150.
Several jobs are dependent on Millennium funding, (Botley, St. Barnabas, Shorwell and Whitchurch) and may not proceed if this help is not forthcoming.
There were no questions. The proposals were voted en bloc and carried nem con.
The Master said that the BRF had now been set up for 25 years and it was good to be able to respond to the blip of the Millennium so positively.
Philip Chalk thanked the Guild on behalf of Hurstbourne Priors. Such help gives great encouragement to a small community such as his.
There had been an Open Meeting to discuss the BRF in the morning, and the trustees always welcome members' views.
The Public Relations Officer, Ian McCallion addressed the meeting. A Video and booklet on "Starting a new band" have been distributed to each district.
A "W&P Ring in 2000" committee has been formed in response to the Central Council initiative. Convener is Andrew Pickett and members are Ian McCallion, Phil Watts, Mike Winterbourne, Alan Hoar, Gareth Higgs, Rex Corke, Francis Mitchell, Barry Fry, Barbara Townsend, Robert Cater, and Helen Tucker and Joan Parry as corresponding members.
There is a three stage plan to ensure ringing in every tower:
Work out how many bells we have, start teachers' classes and make a full list of ringers including non-Guild members and lapsed ringers.
Improve the condition of the bells and fittings, have more publicity at local level, more teaching including tower management to try and cut down the annual 10% turnover (the average across the Guild).
Assign individual people to individual bells and make sure that single bells will be chimed.
Ian has the logo and poster from the Central Council on diskette available for anyone interested. Preparation for Ring in 2000 needs to start now.
Barry Downer asked if there was an IOW district member on the committee. The district secretary was a corresponding member but someone could stand in and attend the meetings if they wished.
Education - The following, proposed by the Executive, were elected en bloc: Mike Winterbourne, Barry Pointer, Rex Corke, Rachael Seamons, Graham Hedges, Lee Pinnington, Steve Castle.
Striking Competition - John Colliss was proposed by John Dodd and seconded by Ian McCallion. Michael Church was proposed by Tony Smith and seconded by Mark Esbester. Stuart Heath was proposed by Robert Cater and seconded by Mark Esbester. Accepted nem con
Belfry Stewardship -John David, Phil Watts, Hugh Routh, Ken Waller, Graham Wright and Barry Downer were proposed by Robert Cater and seconded by Mark Esbester. It is possible to co-opt on to this committee and it would be helpful to have a member from each district. (At present there is no representative from the Portsmouth, Basingstoke or Christchurch and Southampton districts).
BRF Fund Raising - June Mitchell (convener) and Angela Athawes were proposed by Robert Cater and seconded by Barry Fry. These two were happy to proceed and the Secretary would try to get more members.
Social - Robert Cater was proposed by Tony Smith and seconded by John Colliss. John Davey, proposed by the Chairman, agreed to act as treasurer. They were elected nem con. The Secretary asked for the feelings of the meeting of holding the Guild dinner in the Winchester Cathedral Refectory. There was general approval. [Date is 18 April 1998].
Ring in 2000 - Robert Cater formally proposed the group Ian mentioned in item 12 and John Davey seconded.
Report Editor - Ruth Jackson had expressed her readiness to stand down as Report Editor two years into her term of office. Tony Smith was proposed by Robert Cater and seconded by Ian McCallion to act to the end of the triennium. Carried nem con. The Master extended thanks to Ruth for all her work.
Tony Smith, on behalf of the Executive proposed that the title of "Honorary Librarian" be replaced by "Honorary Librarian and Archivist" in Guild Rules 4 and 17 to reflect increased duties. Carried nem con. The Secretary asked that things of an archival nature such as ringing memorabilia be sent to Kim Matthews.
Michael Bubb, on behalf of the Executive and the BRF Trustees proposed changes as follows to comply with new requirements of the Charities Act 1993. Tony Smith proposed amendments in the interest of consistency and wording was agreed by the meeting as follows:
Guild rule 5 replace "Honorary Auditor" by "Honorary Independent Examiner"
Guild rule 14 replace "audited" by "independently examined"
BRF rule 5 replace both occurrences of "Honorary Auditor" by "Honorary Independent Examiner"
BRF rule 9b replace "Auditor" by "Honorary Independent Examiner"
BRF rule 9c replace "audited" by "independently examined"
The Secretary asked for volunteers to help in the Cathedral Refectory on 21 October and 15 December. Those interested should contact him.
Stuart Heath had agreed to arrange a band for the Essex Shield Competition on 20 September. The Master thanked him.
Notices have gone out to towers with information on the Education Sub-Committee Autumn events,
The Isle of Wight District has offered to organise the 1998 Tower Open Day for the BRF on 9 May. Thirteen towers will be available, (not including Shorwell).
The Master proposed to change the date to 11 July because of a clash with the usual first Saturday in July with a General Synod meeting. This was agreed. The meeting will probably be held at Highclere.
Roy LeMarechal said he was producing a 1998 Guild calendar in conjunction with "The Ringing World". It would be in colour, A4 shape and 2000 copies would be printed by "The Ringing World". The W&P would have 1000 to sell and the cost would be £3.50 each.
Mark Esbester held the 200 Club draw. Winners were: Andrew Case, Stephen Noyes, Wendy Ling, Jack Wimlett, Peter Hill, Phil Watts and Andrew Routh.
Lyndon Hatfield said a chime of six bells had been discovered at Sarisbury Green after a bride had requested bells for her wedding. Phil Watts and Graham Wright were to investigate and advise whether they could be rung for the wedding next Saturday.
Tony Webster notified the meeting of the arrangements for the rest of the evening. North Stoneham bells were available and there was a barbecue at the Woodmill Outdoor Centre, Swaythling.
The meeting concluded at 15:22.