Winchester and Portsmouth D.G.


There was a record attendance of over 50 members representing 11 towers at the quarterly meeting of the Alton and Petersfield District at Hawkley on April 12, and a presentation was made to Mr. Charles E. Bassett who had completed 42 years as District Secretary and Treasurer when he retired from the post in January this year.

The District Chairman (Rev. J. C. Day) Vicar of Froxfield, welcomed Charles and his wife, Rene, to the meeting and also present was Mr. Norman Bassett, Charles' father, aged 89, a Petersfield tower member for over 40 years, but now retired from ringing.

Ringing Masters, Ken Tipper and Clive Chennell-White together presented Charles with a cheque and a decanter and glasses engraved with the Guild's new badge design and the dates of his years of office. It was accompanied by a bottle from which to fill the decanter for the first time. Mrs. Bassett was presented with a bouquet and a basket of fruit.

(L. to r.) Ringing Masters Clive Chennell-White (Alton) and Ken Tipper (Petersfield) making the presentation to Charles Bassett.
Clive Chennell-White, Ken Tipper, Charles Bassett

Charles, who was taught to ring in 1926, was the first Secretary of the District, and was elected in 1933 at the age of 21, following the re-organization after the formation of the new Diocese of Portsmouth out of part of the original Diocese of Winchester. He used to cycle up to 100 miles per week in his younger days, ringing and instructing ringers, particularly at Hawkley, until he bought his first car for 30/-, a "Bull-nosed Morris". Before the war he recalls that every tower in the District had its Sunday Service band.


During his 42 years of service, he has rung peals in every tower in the District, his total to date being 131. His first was in 1930, conducted by George Williams and he became a member of the late Frederick W. Rogers' Surprise band. One notable peal was by a band of altar servers at Epsom in 1933, believed to be a unique performance. He has undertaken diocesan mechanical inspection, and has given advice and practical help to ringers and church authorities enabling them to keep their towers in good order. Since 1962, he has been captain at Warnford, where he is also a churchwarden.

At the tea a cake, which had been made by Mrs. N. de Combe and iced by Miss M. Tipper, was ceremonially cut by Charles amidst loud applause from all present.

Other business dealt with concerned the venues of the next practice and quarterly meetings, which are to be Warnford in June and East Meon in July.

Six new members were elected and the Secretary (David Hughes) gave details of the report of the Guild's Centenary Committee concerning their plans for celebrating this event in 1979. He requested that members should discuss the Committee's report in their own towers and bring forward their own ideas and views on those of the Committee at the next quarterly meeting.

The Chairman referred to the position of ringing at his own tower at Privett. The church is to be declared redundant in the near future and it was very doubtful whether the bells would continue to be available for ringing. It had been decided to hold an Open Day at Privett and Froxfield on July 26 with the bells available for visiting ringers at a small charge per head in aid of the Froxfield/Privett and Petersfield Bell Funds. Details will be published in due course.

D. M. H.

The Ringing World No. 3344, May 30, 1975, page 444