1. Welcome

    The Guild Master - Viv Nobbs, supported by the Vice-Master - Christine Hill, Hon. Gen. Secretary - Mo Routh, Hon. Gen. Treasurer - Mike Bubb and Minute Secretary - Tony Smith, opened the meeting at 10.22 a.m. The Master welcomed those present and said a prayer.

    The other members attending were Deb Baker (Communications), Andy Banks (A&P Exec Rep.), Martin Barnes (Belfry Stewardship), Nici Collins (Basingstoke Sec.), John Davey (Child Protection), Barry Fry (BRF Trustee), Maggie Hiller (Andover Sec.), Madeline King (A&P Joint Sec.), Christine Knights-Whittome (Education), David Mattingley (BRF Trustee, CC Rep.), Peter Niblett (CC Rep., Striking Competitions), John Palk (Report Editor), Bruce Purvis (Librarian & Archivist, Winchester Sec.), Matthew Wilks (Portsmouth Exec Rep.), and guests Rosalind Martin, Graham Nobbs, Hugh Routh and Jill Taylor.

  2. Apologies for absence had been received from Steve Castle, Michael Church, Edd Colliss, Sallie-Louise Ingram, Jane Le Conte and Mary Tester. Further apologies were received from Barry Downer.

  3. Loss of members through death since the last Executive Committee meeting

    Members stood while the Master read the following names and Barry Fry said a prayer.

    Len Barham All Saints’, Alton
    Simon Lipscombe-SmithStriking Competition Committee Convenor, Andover District Asst. Ringing Master, Ecchinswell Tower Captain
    Marjorie ManneringBuriton
    Bernard TilyardWhitwell
  4. Minutes of the last meeting

    The minutes of the meeting held on 7th March 2015 were proposed by John Davey, seconded by Mo Routh, and signed by the Master as a true record.

  5. Matters arising from the minutes

    1. Tony Smith said that on behalf of Mark Esbester he would be making the final prize draw for the W&P 200 Club after the meeting or at 12 noon, whichever is later. In answer to a question from the Vice-Master Tony advised members to cancel their standing orders once their payments for this year were complete.

    2. Mike Bubb asked about the Young Ringers’ Competition. Tony Smith said that Simon Lipscombe’s plans had been reported at the AGM but overtaken by his untimely death.

  6. Budget bids for 2016.

    The following bids were approved on the proposition of Bruce Purvis, seconded by John Davey.

    1. £300 requested by the Hon Librarian and Archivist.

    2. £40 requested by the Hon Report Editor.

    3. Nothing requested by the Belfry Stewardship Committee.

    4. £200 requested by the Communications Committee.

    5. Nothing requested by the Education Committee.

    6. £100 requested by the Striking Competitions Committee.

  7. Bell Restoration Fund - Report on Trustees’ meeting

    David Mattingley reported that the grant to Northington had been paid and the grants to All Saints’, Basingstoke, Ecchinswell, Wherwell and Houghton were outstanding.

  8. Election of additional members to committees

    The following were elected on the proposition of Christine Knights-Whittome, seconded by Andy Banks.

    1. Belfry Stewardship. Kieran Downer, Lexi Skeldon and Mark Warner.

    2. Communications. Rosalind Martin.

  9. Review of Guild Action Plan

    The Master read a paper (see Appendix A).

  10. Presentation on using Social Media

    Deb Baker gave a presentation. Tony Smith urged members not already on the WIN-PORT-BELLRINGERS mailing list to join. John Davey asked that those not on Social Media should not be forgotten. The Master thanked Deb for her presentation.

  11. Presentation about the new website

    Rosalind Martin gave a presentation. The new site works well on tablet and smartphone small screens and allows districts and towers to have and manage their own pages within the site. The website address will be different and Ros is arranging for links from other sites to be updated. The presentation was well-received and the Master thanked Ros.

  12. Change Ringing for the Future

    The Master read a paper (see Appendix B).

  13. Proposal that Elizabeth College, Guernsey, is listed separately in future Guild Reports

    A paper from the Channel Islands District officers had been distributed. College students have been trained at the Town Church since October 2013 by Duncan Loweth and they feel that having their own entry in the Guild Report would allow them to take part in Guild Striking Competitions under their own name. Tony Smith proposed and John Davey seconded that the proposal be accepted and this was agreed.

  14. Quarter Peal Project

    An email from Alan Buswell had been distributed. He plans to list every tower (by District) giving the number each has rung (published in the RW) year by year since 1960 with a summary for each District followed possibly by a chart. This may take some months to compile and Alan is not going to claim that it will be accurate. It was agreed that the Hon. Gen. Secretary should write to Alan suggesting that the results should be sent to the Hon. Librarian and Archivist and, in MS Word or text format, to the Communications Committee.

  15. Future dates

    ITTS Course 6th February 2016 Basingstoke area (TBC)
    Executive Committee Meeting12th March 2016St Barnabas’ Church Hall
    Inter-Tower Striking Competitions21st May 2016Basingstoke District (TBC)
    Annual General Meeting2nd July 2016New Alresford
    Executive Committee Meeting12th November 2016St Barnabas’ Church Hall
    Annual General Meeting17th June 2017
    Please note change of date
    C&S District
  16. Any other business

    1. The Master tabled a list (see Appendix C).

    2. Bruce Purvis and the Vice-Master spoke of the arrangements for the AGM, the 8-bell Inter-District Striking Competition in the morning, with other towers available, followed by lunch, the service and the meeting. The ADMs would be asked what they think about the possibility of a social event taking place in the evening.

    3. The Vice-Master spoke about the arrangements for the Central Council meeting over the Late Spring Bank Holiday weekend. The 2016 Ringing World calendar (featuring Guild towers) was available and plans were coming along well. There will be plenty of opportunities for Guild members, especially those from the Portsmouth and adjacent Districts, to help and more information would be available at the ADMs. The Master thanked the organising committee.

    4. The Master suggested that members take a look at the Association of Ringing Teachers’ new “Discover Bell Ringing” book that could form part of a future Welcome Pack.

    5. Andy Banks asked about Guild insurance and the Hon. Gen. Treasurer said it provided public liability rather than personal accident cover and the schedule was on the Guild website.

    6. Madeline King asked about the use of PDF or MS Word formats and Tony Smith and Rosalind Martin advised that PDF was best for distributing documents but MS Word format was preferred by the Communications Committee for material to be published on the Guild website.

There being no further business, the Master closed the meeting at 11.58 a.m.

[Following the meeting the final W&P 200 Club draw for the years 2013 to 2015 was made, witnessed by over 20 members of the Guild. The winners were as follows (given by club number and name) and Mark Esbester would distribute prize cheques soon.

1 x £300 - 121 Roger Barber;
1 x £250 - 43 Hugh Routh;
2 x £200 - 30 Chris Caryer, 132 Maggie Ross;
2 x £150 - 83 Christine Hill, 74 Tessa Smith;
3 x £100 - 19 Elizabeth Mather, 26 Marie Boniface, 20 Thomas Smith;
2 x £75 - 45 Emily Mather, 114 Jan Allnutt;
10 x £50 - 99 Lyndsey Smith, 77 Mary Tester, 58 Brian Oakes, 9 Andrew Routh, 23 Michael Esbester, 67 Mo Routh, 49 Chawton Tower, 52 Michael Bubb, 107 Steve Hough, 61 Malcolm Powell.]


Master’s Review of Guild Action Plan

The Action Plan was drawn up after much discussion with many District and Guild Officers and members across the Guild over a considerable time. Many views have been taken into account. We are still very aware that, to get the maximum benefit from the focus that this working document provides, we need to work hand-in-hand with Districts and to actively seek more volunteers.

We do realise that many members are working very hard indeed already - thank you to all. We do believe it’s essential we understand that potential volunteers need to know where we’re heading as a Guild, that any further input they might offer is appreciated and effective. None of us wish to invest our personal and precious time if it is to be wasted or not appreciated. If volunteers enjoy what they do, hopefully that will be rewarding and will result in their continuing to help us.

Since the Action Plan was agreed at the July 2015 A.G.M., we are well underway with the work of the newly formed committees. There has been a great leap forward in Communications … we will hear more about the new website from Ros Martin later on in this meeting.

I’ve asked Deb Baker, Convenor, to prepare a presentation for the Executive Committee Meeting next March, regarding the potential benefits to us all with the use of Social Media in ringing. When Christine Hill and I had an initial meeting with Bishop Tim of Winchester, in the summer, he was suggesting that we actively consider using “Apps.” more, for example, and to consider how our Guild website might reach out to a wider community. He is likely to consider my request, favourably, to have our new website linked to the Winchester Diocesan website, in due course. He suggested an idea for recruitment leaflets as well. The Dean of Portsmouth Cathedral, when we met, said he was actively considering including video footage of ringing in the rolling “Welcome” video presentation in Portsmouth Cathedral. This is all very positive indeed.

Before leaving Communications here, I would like to formally record our immense thanks and gratitude to all three Communications Committee members that retired in July - David Forder, Rosemary Oakeshott and Ian McCallion. They not only worked extremely hard for the Guild over many years but they continue to offer their help, expertise and advice to the new Communications Committee and the Principal Officers to effect a smooth transition; it’s all very much appreciated. Thank you.

Two other key projects then are in the areas of Education and Belfry Stewardship.


In the October 2015 Master’s Message, Section 2b of the Action Plan was highlighted, reminding of the potential financial benefits to Districts and members.

We have aimed to keep the whole application process simple and based on common sense here:

So, for two individual members annually from each District who are supported by their District in considering teaching new ringers, if they wish to apply for up to the maximum funding of £30 for each ringer on an Integrated Teachers Training Course place:

Regarding any alternative course, the ringers will be able to apply to the Guild Secretary. The four Principal Officers and the Education Committee Chairman will review and use their discretion to make a decision.

The maximum funding of £500 for one District each year, specifically “ … to improve the accessibility of, or the provision of, some sort of training scheme.”

We ask that the District Secretary writes to the Guild Secretary, by 28th February, with a basic outline of the project with estimated timescale and costs, listing the anticipated results and benefits and explaining how the project would improve the access or provision of a training scheme.

The four Principal Officers will review applications and make a recommendation to the Executive Committee in March for a final decision to be made. Subsequently, the Principal Officers would be permitted to use their discretion in when to make payment, including a payment on account, if it was deemed necessary, rather than waiting for the whole project to be completed.

Belfry Stewardship:

the new committee has drawn members from several Districts. It is busy already! New members have needed to take on board all that has gone before, all that might be required and what tasks need to be undertaken and prioritised. Once again, we’d wish to record our sincere thanks to Roger Barber who has worked so hard leading the committee for so many years and continues to help by guiding and supporting the new committee informally but very effectively.

There is a great deal of content in the Action Plan and in trying to execute the various items listed, aims and work are likely to overlap to some extent. A few more items here but as time is limited today, we will follow up with emails and website postings for further information.

2016 “Firsts Fortnight” for the Guild. 1st March - 15th March 2016. Please ask your District to consider choosing appropriate categories e.g. first quarter peal, first visit to another tower, first touch called. This gives a specific aim for a ringer and offers the District and Guild an opportunity to recognise individual achievements. The results can be posted on the website, of course.

2016 Guild Peal Festival. June 2016. A natural follow on to the 2015 First Peal initiative that is going so well. There is a good deal happening that month, so we’re anticipating a variety of footnotes! Let’s see if we can see a significant increase in “W & P” peals next year!

Young Ringers’ Events

a) South East Region Young Ringers Striking Contest. We’ve been invited by The Guildford Diocesan Guild Young Ringers to enter a team on Saturday 2nd April at Epsom. Details to follow. We will be discussing with a number of ringers who are actively helping young ringers’ groups already with a view to a team entering from our Guild. We have registered an interest.

b) We’ve been asked by The Salisbury Guild to consider a jointly organised ringing and social event, possibly in the summertime of 2016. Again this will be considered and discussed - more details will be made available, as soon as possible.

The Guild’s two main events:

a) Inter-tower 6 and 8 bell striking contests
21st May A.M.
- Details to follow.

We need active help if these contests are to survive and thrive. We are sure there are many benefits to be had apart from the competition element. The building of teams can be motivating and great fun, encourages team spirit and can help with retention of ringers. We will endeavour to work with a District and hope to make a good day out for ringers.

b) A.G.M Ringing Day 2nd July 2016

Hosted by the Winchester District, the day will include the Inter-District 8 bell striking contest. Again, efforts are being made to make the day enjoyable and arrangements are being made now. We will be asking for some feedback later in the meeting about the possibility of a social event taking place in the evening.

So, in rounding up here, we would ask for your support on these matters, please.

Please get to know the Action Plan well yourself and encourage your members to really engage with it, too. Consider what benefits might be had to help the local leaders who are trying so hard to sustain and improve ringing for Sunday worship across the Guild. Thank you.


Change Ringing for the Future.

“At the AGM of the Central Council of Church Bellringers on 29 May 2015, there was something a little bit different on the Agenda. Members were given the opportunity to participate more than usual, by taking part in group discussions with others from their regions. These discussions were wide ranging, covering the challenges they face and identifying opportunities for further cooperation with each other and the CC.

The flipcharts have all been written up, the post-it notes have all been collated and this summarises the key points, ideas and recommendations.

During the session, one member wrote on a post-it note ‘We are limping’ and this seems to be a reasonable summary! The good news is that some Guilds/Associations are in good shape, having done new things to modernise, so others who are struggling more have ideas they can learn from.

The most common challenges were recruitment and retention, particularly youngsters. The most common opportunities identified were a need for leadership training, plus working together more on recruiting and retaining. Overall, there are significant areas of concern and a need for urgent action.”

[Summary from article by Elva Ainsworth and Duncan Walker, The Ringing World, June 19, 2015, page 634

So it was proposed that Regional groups might be developed based on Heritage Lottery Fund areas, to assist with potential funding in due course. Subsequently, it was not considered by many to be a route to go down currently. One very positive thing that came out of the group discussions was the encouragement to reach out to neighbouring Guilds. This many are doing now, including the “W & P” and should help us all to benefit by way of pooling much-needed resources and good practices.


A few items for A.O.B.

Ropley update: From Andy Bonner at the church …
“Yes. The project is going ahead. We have appointed an architect and we plan to be reviewing the initial plans early December. I can’t guarantee that we will get all of the planning permissions or faculty, or when, but we are going ahead. Any donated money is held in a special account and is not in the general PCC funds.
The account name is ‘St Peter’s PCC, Ropley’.
The current situation is that we have gone through a process of investigating the existing foundations of the building and the wall structure to see if they can be repaired and / or reused and the reports on that should be in by the end of the month. We then have a review process to look at the initial plans that will be presented to the PCC and various bodies before the final plans are submitted for faculty. Nothing has happened with the bell repair but it is in the schedule as is the tower to return them to.
Thank you for all that you have done (are doing) to help us get the bells back into the church.
Best Regards, Andy (Andy Bonner)”

Master’s Madness (Spinnaker Tower Abseil) raised £400 in total - £200 for Ropley and £200 for Ecchinswell.

Centralised Teaching Centre(s) - an idea being given serious consideration; a sub-committee is being formed and is likely to be presented to the Executive in March. I’m in the process of engaging with District Ringing Masters and this particular subject will be discussed.
Meanwhile, please ask all members to consider their own thoughts and feedback. A few initial comments fed back informally have been very positive.

Welcome Pack - see the Discovering Bell Ringing booklet, plus a personal message and local contact information from The Master for each new member. More details to be distributed and then considered at the March Executive Meeting.

ART Awards - closing date 15th December 2015

National Mini Ring Striking Contest 16th April 2016
Per Simon Edwards - organiser “An 8-Bell Competition to be held at Pig le Tower, Marston Bigot, with other attractions (such as St Leonard’s and other local mini rings) open (TBC) - oh and copious amounts of beer, cider, chat and FUN :-)
Test: 168 of Triples, 224 of Major or an appropriate length (3 minutes?) of Call Changes. Practice time will be allocated, probably 5 minutes but may be shortened as necessary.”

Royal Celebrations including Patrons’ Lunch HM Queen Elizabeth will be 90 on Thursday 21st April 2016. Main celebrations over the weekend 10-12 June.

Heritage Open Days-: 8-11 September 2016
Master’s enquiry of 27th June 2015 … “Might we encourage multi entries to Open Heritage Days, please?” Response - “It’s always brilliant to get new churches involved” Registration is open: late March - 1st August - See more at: