1. Opening Prayer & Master's Welcome

    The Master Rev. Barry Fry, supported by the Honorary General Secretary Robert Cater, the Honorary General Treasurer Michael Bubb and the Minute Secretary Francis Mitchell, opened the meeting at 10.19 a.m. with a prayer. He welcomed everybody, especially those attending for the first time. The others attending were: Petra Ballantyne, Andrew Banks, Gail Cater, Peter Clarke, Peter Claridge, John Colliss, Andrew Craddock, John Davey, Gilian Davis, Mark Esbester, Lyndon Hatfield, Alan Hoar, Andy Ingram, Ian McCallion, June Mitchell, Brian Oakes, Joan Parry, Tony Smith, Peter Taylor, Rosalind Turrell, Jack Walters, Phil Watts, Mike Winterbourne, Roger Wright

  2. Apologies for absence

    Linda Bulpitt, Ceri Dodd, Wendy Ling, Barbara Townsend, Prisca Tremeer, Martin Waldron

  3. Loss of Members from death since the last Meeting

    Jim Bunch of Yateley and Bill Cope Life Member.

  4. Minutes of the last Meeting (20 November 1999)

    Minutes of the previous meeting were amended: Andrew Banks added to the list of attendees; Item 6 second sentence to read "Phil Watts offered to assist in producing Life Membership certificates, …"; 10 ii Date amended to "29 February 2000". They were then accepted by the meeting and signed by the Master as a true record.

  5. Matters arising from the minutes

    1. Bells of the Channel Islands

      Tony Smith reported progress and circulated a further draft of "Church Bells of The Channel Islands" in book form to the meeting. He thanked Mike Winterbourne and Jack Walters for their advice.

    2. Simulator repair

      The faulty port would have been repaired but for transport problems. Mike Winterbourne has arranged for it to be fixed on return from the Channel Islands.

    3. Insurance & BRF leaflets

      Mike Bubb reported that the Insurance leaflet has been finalised, but the BRF leaflet may need revision after this meeting. Copies of the Guild's Insurance Policy are available on request to the Treasurer. He confirmed that the situations described in the recent Ringing World "Tower Captain" article would be covered by the Guild's Public Liability Policy.

    4. Information for New Members

      800 further copies are to be printed with a minor amendment

    5. Setting up a Ringing Centre

      A London Livery Company, The Worshipful Company of Founders, is making money available to the Central Council to help set up Ringing Centres. Grants of up to 1200 pounds are available to help buy equipment.

      Bishopstoke is preparing a grant application. Further information on such grants is available from Gail Cater.

    6. Data Protection Act

      The inventory of personal data held by Guild Officers is almost complete, Bob Cater is awaiting the last two returns. Tony Smith explained that the Guild's position re the revised Data Protection Act was as detailed in recent Central Council articles in The Ringing World. We must comply with the provisions of the Act but there is no need to notify under it. Permission is required before individuals personal details can be published electronically, but not for records kept solely to administer the Guild. Printing names in the Annual Report is OK

    7. Data on Guild Web pages

      Tony Smith had requested all Guild and District Officers to complete a form granting or withholding permission to publish their name and address details on the Guild web site. All the Executive members had replied, 32 replies were still required from District Officers.

    8. Holy Land Tour

      Although interest had been lower than expected, the tour is likely to take place.

    9. Students/Associate Members rule changes

      The rule change outlined at the last meeting is a straightforward minor amendment. Bob Cater will copy it to all towers in the pre-AGM mailshot.

    10. Life Members' Certificate

      Phil Watts had scanned the Members Certificate, but Jack Walters doubted he could adequately reproduce the quality of the original engraving and appealed for assistance from someone with access to specialised computer equipment.

    11. Donation of bell to Guild

      Mark Esbester reported little progress on the provision of a frame for the small bell of less than half a hundredweight, donated to the Guild via himself for PR and teaching purposes.

    12. Supplementary BRF grants/"keeping bells local"

      Mike Bubb and Mark Esbester reported that while the BRF Trustees were considering how the BRF should respond to requests for supplementary grants to cover additional work found to be required when work had started, they reappraised the whole situation, including the need for a quicker response to work being planned and executed over a very speedy timescale.

      One solution was for the Executive Committee to be able to make limited grants, for approval at the AGM, perhaps only in urgent cases. Bob Cater stressed that for any such decisions to be seen to be democratic, full attendance at Executive meetings was vital.

      The Districts were asked for their opinions. A proposed BRF Rule change would be prepared for the November Executive meeting. If approved by the subsequent AGM, the rule change would also have to be approved by The Charity Commissioners.

      The Policy of reusing redundant bells locally whenever possible had been presented to Winchester DAC, it was intended to do the same for Portsmouth Diocese. Mark Esbester explained there was no need for a rule change as BRF rule 22 allows for this policy already.

    13. Guild Minutes available electronically.

      Minutes of the last Executive Meeting had not been made available via the Internet as agreed. The new Minutes Secretary has the required facilities to do this in future.

  6. Life Members under the "50 year rule"

    One possibility is to be checked in the archives to confirm date of joining this Guild. Other requests for consideration under the "Service to The Guild" clause were deferred pending more information.

    It was stressed that ALL requests for the Executive to recommend Life Membership at less than 50 years membership, for "Service To The Guild" must be made in writing with full supporting details and sent to the Hon Gen Sec at least one month before the Executive meeting to allow full and proper consideration of the facts.

    It was suggested that an alternative way was needed of recognising meritorious service to the Guild.

  7. Presentation of Reports for 1999

    1. Secretary

      The report distributed with the Agenda was accepted, with the number of recruits from the Ring In 2000 campaign ascertained at 640.

    2. Treasurer & Guild accounts

      The report distributed with the Agenda was accepted, though figures were needed from some Districts to allow calculation of the Total Financial Assets. The benefit was stressed of lending surplus District funds to the BRF for investing and accrual of interest. Mike Bubb reminded Districts of the need for up to date membership figures as at 31/1/2000 for Insurance. Jack Walters queried whether there was a need for a consolidated account showing District & Guild Finances. He agreed to discuss this with the Treasurer. If necessary, a paper would be prepared for the next Executive meeting and consultation with the Districts.

    3. Belfry Stewardship Committee

      The report distributed with the Agenda was accepted with minor amendments.

      Phil Watts informed the meeting of the provisions of The Church of England's Faculty Jurisdiction, its legal status as the Church's Planning Authority and the ostensibly significant involvement of this process in bell maintenance and restoration activities via the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) and Archdeacon's Certificate.

      He had discovered that the "De Minimis" list of items that can be "nodded through" by parishes is due for review in The Winchester Diocese and suggested the Guild take the opportunity to improve the situation whereby ringers are presently likely to not fulfil various legal obligations to the Churches because of ignorance of the very detailed rules.

      "That this Guild shall take the earliest opportunity to make formal representations to the Winchester DAC and Diocesan Chancellor to propose a more extensive list of activities and works that should be sensibly, properly and unambiguously reclassed as necessary and appropriate for care and maintenance under the "De Minimis" provisions of Faculty Jurisdiction, so that best practice in the stewardship of the bell stock across the Diocese may be better promoted."

      The meeting agreed that Hon Gen Sec, who is already in touch with the Winchester Diocesan authorities, should offer the Guild's advice and prepare (when the time was right) to make proposals to the DAC, prime DAC Bell advisors and contact the Archdeacons.

      The Central Council Tower & Belfries Committee's interest in this case was noted.

    4. Bell restoration work

      The report distributed with the Agenda was accepted, with some updates on several projects.

    5. Peal Recorder

      The report distributed with the Agenda was accepted with minor amendments and pending a check on another First Peal claim.

    6. BRF Fund Raising Committee

      The report distributed with the Agenda was accepted without comment.

    7. PRO & Inventory

      The report was distributed at the meeting and accepted, with carried forward balance shown as transferred to Central Fund.

    8. Education Committee

      The report distributed with the Agenda was accepted.

    9. "Ring in 2000" Group

      The report distributed with the Agenda was accepted with minor amendments.

      The Ring In 2000 Groups papers are to be archived with Jack Walters, plus any available accounts of Ring In 2000 activities supplied by the Group or anyone else.

    10. Librarian & Archivist

      The report distributed with the Agenda was accepted. Books borrowed from the Guild Library in Winchester Cathedral ringing chamber can be returned to No 1, The Cathedral Close. The books in the library have been revalued by the Central Council at £7,000. Insurance has been adjusted accordingly.

      The Librarian & Archivist accounts had been "checked by a responsible person". Jack Walters enquired whether other sub-committees felt this should apply as a matter of principle. Due to the usually small sums involved this suggestion was not greeted with universal enthusiasm. Peter Clarke offered to check sub-committee accounts on request from convenors.

    11. CC's Complaints advisers

      The report distributed with the Agenda was accepted. There had been no notification of any complaints in the Guild area in 1999.

  8. BRF Trustees' report & accounts

    The report was distributed at the meeting and accepted with some minor amendments.

  9. Preparation of Guild Report for 1999

    Tony Smith thanked all contributors to the Report for their swift response. It was very nearly complete, well ahead of schedule. When printed, copies would be sent direct to District Secretaries.

    Tony suggested that the report be given the more accurate title "Annual Report for 1999 & Handbook for 2000", as is the practice in some other Guilds already, which was accepted by the meeting.

    Gail Cater suggested the inclusion of a Contents page, the feasibility of which was to be investigated.

  10. "2000" Recruits and Young Ringers

    Bob Cater had written a paper, distributed with the Agenda, detailing the need to keep "Millennium Recruits" motivated and stressing the importance to the future of the Exercise of recruiting and retaining young ringers.

    The meeting agreed with his suggestion for each District to arrange a suitable activity specifically for their "Ring in 2000 Recruits" during the Year 2000.

    The proportion of young ringers seems to be decreasing. Only 10% of the Guild membership is aged under 16, with Senior members comprising 20% and increasing. Ideas were requested from the Districts on how to attract, encourage and keep young ringers, possibly including a Guild wide gathering of young ringers during this year. The Alton & Petersfield District's "Party Chime" was thought to be very successful, having proved popular with youngsters and the older helpers.

    These two requirements for special activities illustrated the need for the Guild to keep in touch with a changing society and provided a good chance to refresh Guild activities.

  11. BRF Fund Raising Committee - proposed Raffle

    Peter Claridge outlined the financial implications of a draw as proposed in his paper distributed with the Agenda, but revised to have tickets costing £1 each in books of five. After discussing likely ticket sales and distribution methods, the Executive Committee agreed that the Guild should fund the initial costs of the Draw and authorised Peter to get on with it, taking into account the District Secretaries' distribution networks and Hon Gen Sec's Pre-AGM mailing to all towers in May.

  12. Future events

    1. Guild Dinner - 29 April Winchester

      Ticket sales are going quite well, more are available to be sold by 10 April.

    2. Open Day Andover District - 1 May

      Barbara Townsend has the list of towers, everything is in hand.

    3. Striking Competitions - 20 May

      Nothing Further To Report.

    4. Guild AGM Winchester District - 1 July

      There will be 3 ringing routes leading to Winchester Cathedral. Lunch in Winchester Cathedral Refectory will be followed by service, meeting and light tea in the Cathedral. Ringing will be available on the way to a Barbecue at Shawford at 6.00.

    5. Inter-District Striking Competition IoW - 2 July

      This has been organised for Carisbrooke.

    6. Essex Shield Striking Competition - 16 September

      The Guild has been invited to take part, at Staplehurst in Kent. Peter Hill is arranging a band.

    7. Seniors & Life Members gathering Winchester - 30 Sept.

      Gilian Davis has arranged ringing at Winchester Cathedral from 4.30, plus the possibility of another tower with easier access; Evensong at 5.30; Meal in the Cathedral Refectory at 6.30. Selected speakers will be invited to share their reminiscences with the assembled company. District Secretaries had been invited to join the organising sub-committee, or to nominate someone else. Offers of accommodation were being sought for the longer distance travellers. The event was being subsidised by £50 donations from the Districts, 6 had agreed 2 still had to decide, plus £150 from Central funds. This had reduced the price of the meal to £7.50 per head. Invitations would be sent out with the pre-AGM mailing.

    8. Mid Monthly Meetings

      Bob Cater reported that these had been arranged for March, April and May. Details had been sent to all towers. The success of these would be judged before any more were organised.

    9. Education Committee events

      Mike Winterbourne reported that the Education day at Bishop's Waltham on 11 March had attracted 52 students, so would be split into three, with extra days on 13 May and 10 June. This was in addition to the planned events on 18 April, 30 September and 11 November 2000. Events for next year were being arranged for Saturdays 31 March, 28 April, 20 October and 10 November 2001.

  13. Date & place of next meeting

    This was confirmed as Saturday 18 November at St Barnabas Church Hall, at 10.15 am.

  14. Any Other Business

    1. Tony Smith offered to draft a rule change to cope with forthcoming changes in Archdeaconries and Cathedral administrative structure (EG Responsibilities of Dean and Provost).

    2. A question was asked on behalf of Rex Corke, whether there were any objections to him using the Guild badge on a small number of commemorative engraved glasses. No objections were raised and the desirability of having a range of good quality Guild glassware was discussed.

    There being no further business, the Master closed the meeting with a prayer at 1.17 pm.