The annual general meeting of the Basingstoke District of the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild was held at Basingstoke on January 28th and drew a record attendance of ringers who were anxious to try the ring of eight at St. Michael's Church, which have recently been restored. The service was conducted by the Vicar of Basingstoke, and an address was given by the Rev. D. L. Board, Rector of Wolverton and a former secretary of the district. The church was the scene of a disastrous fire last autumn, when the roof, which was being repaired, caught fire and caused the destruction of the organ. The church was still in scaffolding, and temporary lighting and a miniature organ were in use.
There were 106 ringers present at the meeting, which was conducted by the district chairman, the Rev. G. H. Jeudwine.
The secretary (Major J. G. Stilwell), in his report, said that there had been a slight decline in membership during the year, but if there had been a decline in quantity there had been a corresponding increase in quality. The district had at last returned to the peal-ringing arena. Four peals had been rung by Basingstoke (mainly men from St. Michael's), and one, the first peal of Stedman in the district, by Yateley. The record of the St. Michael's men was interesting, for they had no tower of their own at the time, yet they could ring peals on tower bells and even provide a brass band (of handbells) to head a procession at a quarterly meeting. There seemed to be a moral to be drawn - to leave the ropes alone sometimes and study on the handbells.
A brief account followed of the steps leading to the decision to recast the treble, 3rd and 4th bells in addition to the 2nd and tenor, and how the district decided to adopt the 3rd in memory of Mr. Henry White and Mr. Frederick Wilson at the cost of £19 10s.
A collection was then taken towards the cost of the 4th bell and amounted to £2 2s. 6d. It is hoped that the Guild will make a contribution for the same purpose, as it is the Guild's jubilee year and its nursery was Basingstoke.
Quarterly meetings had been well maintained, with an average attendance of 38, and two combined practices with the Andover District had been held.
Quarterly meetings were arranged for April 22nd, July 8th and September 23rd at Yateley, Silchester and Overton respectively. The annual meeting will be held at Basingstoke on January 27th, 1940.
All the officers were re-elected and a number of new members were elected.
After the meeting further ringing took place at St. Michael's and All Saints' towers, and methods rung ranged from Grandsire Triples to a course of London Surprise Major, which, unfortunately, came to grief one lead from home. Nearly all the towers in the Basingstoke District were represented and there were many visiting ringers, including Mr. George Williams, the Master of the Guild. Those present expressed pleasure and satisfaction at the improved tone and "go" of the bells at St. Michael's since the restoration, which was carried out by Messrs. Taylor and Co., of Loughborough.
The Ringing World No. 1455, February 10th, 1939, page 93