1. Welcome

    The Guild Master - Mike Winterborne, supported by the Acting Hon. Gen. Secretary - Mo Routh, Proposed Hon. Gen. Secretary - Heather Frazer, Hon. Gen. Treasurer - Ros Brandwood and Minute Secretary - Tony Smith, opened the meeting at 10.20 a.m. The Master welcomed those present and said a prayer.

    The other members attending were Michael Church (CC Rep.), Nici Collins (Basingstoke Sec.), John Croft (Winchester Exec Rep.), Barry Fry (BRF Trustee), Maggie Hiller (Andover Sec.), Sallie-Louise Ingram (C&S Sec.), Andrew Johnson (CC Rep.), Christine Knights-Whittome (Education), David Mattingley (BRF Trustee, CC Rep.), Viv Nobbs (PRO), John Palk (Report Editor), Bruce Purvis (Librarian & Archivist, Winchester Sec.), Hugh Routh (A&P Exec Rep.), John Simpson (Belfry Stewardship), Mary Tester (IoW Sec.), Matthew Wilks (Portsmouth Exec Rep.), Allan Yalden (CC Rep.) and guest Martin Barnes.

  2. Apologies for absence had been received from Lisa Ashforth, Deb Baker, Edd Colliss, John Davey, Greg Jordan, Pete Jordan and Barbara Townsend. Further apologies were received from Gill Gardner and Peter Niblett.

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

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

    Andrew Barnsdale Unattached
  4. Minutes of the last meeting

    The minutes of the meeting held on 12th March 2016 were proposed by Tony Smith, seconded by Matthew Wilks, and signed by the Master as a true record.

  5. Matters arising from the minutes

    There were no matters arising.

  6. Election of Honorary General Secretary

    Heather Frazer was elected on the proposition of the Master, seconded by the Acting Hon. Gen. Secretary.

  7. Bell Restoration Fund - Report on Trustees’ meeting

    David Mattingley reported on the status of outstanding grants. Houghton had been signed-off by the Belfry Stewardship Committee and the grant paid; Ecchinswell were still fund-raising; the installation of the bells for Northington had been delayed by the ill-health of the bell hanger but the bells were ready and the work expected to be complete by March 2017; the clapper work at Baughurst and Sherborne St John was complete; and the completed work at Breamore was awaiting sign-off by the Belfry Stewardship Committee. A grant application from Ryde would be considered at the next meeting.

  8. Proposal to set up a Training and Development Fund as a Designated Fund within the General Fund

    The Master explained that the Fund would be able receive donations from Robin Milford’s proposed new W&P 200 Club which had been discussed at the AGM. He proposed the setting up of a Fund with the following terms of reference:

    The proposal was seconded by Bruce Purvis and agreed nem con. The Master further proposed that the surplus from organising the 2016 CC meeting should be split between the new Fund and Public Relations projects. This was seconded by Christine Knights-Whittome and agreed nem con.

  9. Expenses and Central Council representation

    The Master was concerned that the expenses incurred by CC reps in attending CC meetings could deter some suitable candidates from seeking election. Tony Smith pointed out that Guild rule 3 already provided for expenses to be paid to CC reps but hoped they would only be claimed when needed. As a CC rep. for 36 years he said he and many other CC reps had been pleased that they were able to cover their own expenses as part of their contribution to the Exercise. Viv Nobbs reiterated the Guild’s need for peoples’ talents.

  10. Updates from working groups

    1. Annual Report. Several versions of a paper by John Palk had been distributed. However as the working group had not met in person and the paper did not have the agreement of the other members of the working group, the Master referred the paper back and said he would meet with the working group.

    2. WWI Commemorative Ringing Record. A paper by Viv Nobbs had been distributed. Viv said the size and direction of the project was likely to depend on availability of external funding. An Expression of Interest form had been submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund whose response was encouraging and they invited us to submit a full application. Andrew Johnson queried whether there would be big enough congregations to justify cathedral services. Mo Routh had approached both cathedrals when the project had first been mooted and they were happy, in principal, to accommodate us at a regular evensong.

      Following further discussion Viv proposed and Bruce Purvis seconded that the Executive Committee authorises the Principal Officers, after they have reviewed the working group’s project, to permit a formal application for appropriate Heritage Lottery Funding for the Guild’s WWI project “Creating and sharing an archive of 104 years of commemorative bell ringing honouring WWI fallen.” This was agreed nem con.

    3. Ringing hubs. David Mattingley read a paper (see Appendix A). In reply to a question from Tony Smith, David said they would be working together with the Education Committee who usually arranged four separate courses through the year rather than the regular Saturday morning sessions envisaged for the hubs. John Simpson also spoke of the value of ringing hubs.

    4. Database. A progress report by Graham Hounslow had been distributed. Tony Smith thought that the requirements should consider all likely types of users including, for example, District Secretaries and Treasurers who might enter members’ elections and subscriptions paid, and members who might maintain their own contact details. Not all requirements would necessarily be implemented initially but would influence the design. However he suspected the costs of developing and maintaining a database were likely to be prohibitive and he thought there was no prospect of the Central Council undertaking such a project. Viv Nobbs said that Simon King, who had been expected to provide the technical leadership of the project before he relocated to France, did not think the project would need huge sums of money. The Master agreed that more work was needed on the requirements.

  11. Proposal for a One day Public Relations and Recruitment Event - Portsmouth Spring 2017

    A paper by Viv Nobbs had been distributed. Viv proposed and Mary Tester seconded that the event be held. In reply to a question from Andrew Johnson, Viv explained the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth would be in office until the end of May and she suggested that Easter Monday might be a suitable day, depending on the availability of the Charmborough Ring and the Portsmouth Guildhall Square. The proposal was agreed nem con.

  12. Education Committee Future Costs

    Christine Knights-Whittome explained the discussion papers had been distributed for information and provided the background to the costs of attending Education Committee courses. Mo Routh asked why we did not charge more or was it thought this would put people off? Christine didn’t think it would put people off but said they tried to keep the charges as low as possible. Mo thought that if people paid more they might value the courses more. Viv Nobbs reminded the meeting that the Action Plan supported Education Committee courses.

  13. Budget bids for 2017

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

    2. £60 requested by the Hon Report Editor.

    3. £600 requested by the Public Relations Officer. A supporting paper had been distributed. John Simpson recommended Vistaprint for cost-effective printing of fliers.

    4. £50 requested by the Belfry Stewardship Committee.

    5. £150 requested by the Communications Committee.

    6. Nothing requested by the Education Committee.

    7. £250 requested by the Striking Competitions Committee. A supporting paper had been distributed.

    8. £300 requested by the WWI Centenary Project. A supporting paper had been distributed. Andrew Johnson thought the ink costs prejudged how papers would be printed. Viv Nobbs said paper and printing would be of archival quality.

    Michael Church enquired why costs weren’t visible in previous year’s accounts. Tony Smith thought 2015 was unusual in having no transfers from the Central Fund to committee funds. Mo Routh said she had advised the Striking Competition convenor to include all possible expenditure in the budget, some of which might well not be spent. Michael said it was important to consider how expenditure was to be funded and it would be useful if this was all drawn together in one paper in future years. The Hon. Gen. Treasurer agreed. Hugh Routh thought the subscriptions were much too low when compared with hobbies other than ringing. Andrew Johnson thought that many towers wouldn’t bother to remain members of the Guild if the subscriptions were substantially increased. Michael said that any proposed increase in subscriptions should be supported by a paper to the March meeting before being proposed to the AGM.

    The bids were approved en bloc on the proposition of Bruce Purvis, seconded by John Croft.

  14. ART and the 2017 conference

    Sallie Ingram said the Association of Ringing Teachers Conference 2017 would be held on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th March in Old Basing and would include a short AGM, seminars and workshops [see ART website for full agenda].

  15. Future dates

    Quiz Night 26th November 2016 The Happy Cheese, Ashurst
    Education Course11th February 2017Raising and lowering in peal, Bishopstoke
    Education Course4th March 2017Grandsire Doubles and Triples, Shedfield
    ART Conference11th/12th March 2017Old Basing
    Executive Committee Meeting18th March 2017St Barnabas’ Church Hall [Post-meeting note. Rescheduled for 25th March 2017.]
    Inter-Tower striking competitions20th May 2017Venues TBA
    Annual General Meeting17th June 2017Milford on Sea, C&S District
    Executive Committee Meeting18th November 2017St Barnabas’ Church Hall

    Following discussion Tony Smith proposed and Bruce Purvis seconded that in future the AGM should normally be held on the third Saturday in June and a proposal to this effect should be made to the next AGM. This was agreed nem con.

  16. Any other business

    1. Bruce Purvis apologised for raising a substantive item under any other business. He referred to the project to install a ring of bells in St George’s Memorial Church, Ypres, and suggested members of the Guild be invited to contribute to the £3000 cost of an inscription on one of the bells in memory of the 56 Winchester Diocesan Guild members who died in WWI. Barry Fry pointed out that a substantive item could not be raised under AOB and Bruce said he would seek its inclusion on the agenda of the March meeting.

    2. Christine Knights-Whittome said the Education Committee courses relied on helpers and asked anyone not already on Sallie Ingram’s list but prepared to help to contact Sallie.

    3. Following the answer to her enquiry at the March meeting Christine Knights-Whittome had taken it upon herself to arrange for more Guild sweatshirts to be produced and sought help with distribution. The Master warmly thanked Christine for her efforts and said there would be a further order in March.

There being no further business, the Master closed the meeting at 12 noon.


Ringing hubs were, I believe, first mentioned in the Guild action plan in which the education, along with communications and belfry stewardship, were to be key projects over 2015-18.

I quote the relevant part of the action plan,

“Encourage districts to be more flexible in their ringing programmes - possibly encourage ringing hubs within a district but ensuring other towers are not forgotten or the help to them diminished”

And you will see that the minutes of the March 2016 Executive meeting show that the “setting up of a working group … to consider the provision of centre(s) for teaching new ringers”.

Wanting further clarification on what was being envisaged by our previous Master, I asked Viv what she wanted from the setup.

She said, “To encourage … ringing and the cultivation of change ringing by increasing the number of proficient ringers across the Guild”.

It was clear that the group had a broad remit. The initial purpose of the focus group is to investigate (and introduce, if necessary) the possibility of teaching schools within the Guild.

The working group met on 15 June to discuss the aims, possible types of model, syllabus and hardware.

Further discussion by the group is needed, and I very much regret that more discussion has not taken place. That said, I believe the group is in agreement with the following.

The training will focus on teaching safe and consistent bell handling up to rounds standard, and further into elementary change ringing as students progress. The group acknowledged that various factors needed to be considered between where teaching was most needed, versus a supply of good teachers, and the potential availability of good training facilities.

Various types of models to be used were suggested, from intensive term- holiday courses, to weekly evening courses. It was felt that a Saturday morning (roughly 10-12 o’clock) would probably be the most popular for students and teachers.

A charge per student per session was considered appropriate, which would be used to cover tower donations and course material. Various “rewards” for learners at set stages should also be able to be supported by this charge.

In setting up a teaching centre, various costs will be incurred, and sought from the Guild. There could be initial costs in setting up a venue as a suitable venue and as such, a budget submission will be made to the Guild for its approval to cover certain envisaged costs, and the risk of any shortfall.

Further discussion is needed to be had on the syllabus, but it was considered that Learning the Ropes schemes (levels 1 and 2) provides students and teachers with clear goals and would provide a consistent, graded approach which can be easily adopted in different areas.

The group considered that good teaching venues would have (amongst other things):

As mentioned earlier, there is much further discussion to be had before a submission is formally made to the Guild both for approval of any ringing centre(s), and any budget but hopefully this summary of discussion has been useful.