1. Opening Prayer and 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, Andrew Case, opened the meeting at 10.20 with a prayer.

    The others attending were:- Linda Bulpitt, Gail Cater, Gilian Davis, Ceri Dodd, Ruth Jackson, Elizabeth Johnson, Kim Matthews, June Mitchell, Joan Parry, Barbara Townsend, Liz Watts, Faith Webster, Val Welch, Catherine Wood, John Colliss, John Davey, Mark Esbester, Ian McCallion, Andrew Craddock, Alan Hoar, Derek Jackson, Francis Mitchell, Tony Smith, Brian Oakes, Phil Watts, Raymond Walsh, and David Whiting.

  2. Apologies for Absence

    Apologies were received from:-
    Martin Waldron, Malcolm Powell, and Helen Tucker.

  3. Loss of Members through death

    The meeting stood in silence to remember Olive Collins of Ringwood, and Patrick Page (Honorary Life Member) of Titchfield.

  4. Minutes of the last meeting (7 December 1996)

    Minutes of the last meeting had been circulated by the Minute Secretary. Subject to the addition of reference under any other business to a letter received from Outram Haythorne regarding the Guild rules, the minutes were approved by the meeting and signed.

  5. Matters Arising (not elsewhere on the Agenda)

    1. Essex Shield Striking Competition. The Secretary reported that no formal invitation had yet been received, but that if the Guild is invited to enter, Stuart Heath has agreed to arrange a band.

    2. Inventory of Guild Property. The Secretary had received information from some Districts, but had not heard from Portsmouth, Winchester, or the Isle of Wight. Those District Secretaries were asked to forward to the Secretary inventories of Guild property held by them including a valuation, before the end of March, Ian McCallion reminded District Secretaries that he had asked to be advised of the whereabouts of model bells within Guild towers.

    3. Channel Islands bells. The Master had been in touch with Revd D Cawley who was still collecting some information.

    4. Simulator electrical check. Gail Cater advised that the Guild's simulator had been checked for electrical safety by a ringer who was also an electrician.

    5. Derek Jackson referred to an earlier minute regarding the level of subscription to be paid by students at universities within the Guild's area. The Secretary reported that he had advised the Southampton University ringers of the Guild's decision at the time by letter and agreed to do so again.

    6. Letter from Outram Haythorne regarding rule changes. Tony Smith advised that he would be talking to the Secretary about changes which might be required to the Guild Rules, but mentioned one inconsistency identified by Outram Haythorne which was that the rules refer to a peal fee "per ringer" whereas the report refers to a fee "per rope" and should be altered to accord with the rules.

  6. Secretary's Communications

    1. Colin Cook of Winchester had contacted the Secretary regarding a Service to be held at Winchester Cathedral on 4 May in connection with the Wessex Children's Hospice at Sutton Scotney. The organisers of the Service would be writing to all District Secretaries in Wessex inviting towers to ring quarter peals on that day.

    2. The Public Relations Advisory Group of the Central Council were organising a Roadshow to be held at Solihull on Saturday 12 April - full details to be published in the Ringing World.

    3. The Central Council BRF Committee was seeking views as to the setting up of a Bell Fund by the Central Council. Because of the timescale for replies, the Secretary had discussed the matter with the Master and 10 other officers of the Guild and had replied that the Guild had some reservations as to the potential conflict with similar funds of Associations and also as to how grants would be disbursed. The majority of consultees were however in favour.

    4. The Secretary had provided a copy of an article which had appeared in the Ringing World regarding work with children following the provisions of the Children Act 1989. The Master advised that all parishes should have received advice from their Diocese and it was the responsibility of each PCC to formulate a policy covering volunteers working with children. The Master agreed to write an article on this subject for inclusion in either the Annual Report or the Guild Newsletter.

  7. Reports for 1996

    1. Secretary. The Secretary's report had been circulated with the agenda and was approved with minor amendments.

    2. The Treasurer circulated an amended copy of his report and the accounts at the meeting and these were agreed.

    3. Belfry Stewardship Committee. Phil Watts had prepared the report which was agreed. The previous day had been the deadline for returns from the pilot survey. Only two forms had so far been received from East Meon and Steep, but both of these were very thorough reports for which the Committee expressed their thanks.

    4. Peal Recorder. This report had also been circulated with the agenda and was agreed subject to minor amendments suggested by Ceri Dodd.

    5. Education Committee. The accounts had been circulated with the agenda and were noted.

    6. Social Committee. The accounts had been circulated with the agenda and were noted. The revised report had also been circulated with the agenda, and this was agreed subject to a small alteration.

    7. Librarian. The report and accounts had been circulated with the agenda and were agreed subject to a minor amendment.

    8. Public Relations Officer. The Report, inventory and accounts had been circulated with the agenda and were agreed, subject to minor amendments to the report, Ian McCallion reported that 40 forms had been returned from tower secretaries who wished their details to appear on the Guild's Web pages and this information would now be added to the existing pages by David Forder.

    9. Southampton City Centre Parish. Derek Jackson reported that he had recently been appointed as tower captain and that restrictions to ringing times had been imposed by Southampton City Council in response to complaints received regarding the bells. There was to be only one practice each month on a Friday evening at St Michael's with ringing by visitors limited to four occasions each year. At St Mary's, visitors were to be restricted to the third Saturday of each month between 9.30 and 2 pm and held either before, after, or instead of peal attempts.

    10. BRF Fund Raising Committee. The report and accounts had been circulated with the agenda and were agreed.

    11. Restoration Work in 1996. Phil Watts had prepared this report on behalf of the Belfry Stewardship Committee and this was agreed subject to a minor amendment in respect of Upton Grey.

    Ruth Jackson asked that all amended reports should be sent to her on diskette or white paper by 15 March.

  8. Guild Budget for 1997

    The Treasurer had prepared a budget paper which had been circulated with the agenda. This indicated a slight excess of income over expenditure.

  9. BRF Trustees Report and Accounts

    These had been circulated with the agenda papers. The Treasurer mentioned that the accounts were in a new format to comply with future requirements of the Charities Act. He would establish whether the whole of the report and accounts needed to be published in the Annual Report. The Treasurer advised that another requirement of the Charities Act means that the BRF needs to redefine its auditor as an independent examiner. There may also be a need to do this for the Guild itself, but the Treasurer was making further enquiries and would propose any Rule changes which might be needed.

  10. Life Membership Proposals

    Mark Esbester advised that the Portsmouth District had recently been made very welcome at Fareham for its ADM and this had reminded members that Alan Sturgess of Fareham had been elected to the Guild over 50 years ago. Frances Mitchell agreed to ask Malcolm Powell (Portsmouth District Secretary) to check the position.

    Alan Hoar advised that Cynthia Kemp of Overton had been elected to Guild membership in 1947 although due to illness her membership had not been continuous. It was agreed that Cynthia Kemp be recommended for Life Membership of the Guild at the AGM.

  11. Life Membership - suggested change of rules

    Districts reported back on the discussions at their meetings regarding this matter. All but one of the Districts preferred the present arrangement rather than the amendment which had been proposed and the matter was left for Linda Bulpitt and Catherine Wood to reconsider.

    Hugh Routh had written to suggest that perhaps there ought to be Life Membership of the Exercise conferred on those who have rung for 50 years having served various Guilds. This proposal was commended by the Executive Committee and Tony Smith would discuss with the Secretary the best way of putting the suggestion to the Central Council.

  12. Millennium Ringing Group

    The Secretary had circulated with the agenda a note of a meeting of the group held on 2 February 1997. It was agreed that the group should continue its work and the next meeting was expected to be on 20 April. The Secretary asked that Districts appoint a "Millennium Co-ordinator" to attend the meeting: otherwise perhaps the District Secretaries could attend. Gail Cater reported that the Education Committee had discussed the paper and over the next two to three years they expected to be concentrating on teaching handling and tower management skills.

    Gail Cater commented that she had had no response to her request for members to serve on the Education Committee and it was suggested that all Executive Committee members approach any Guild member who might be willing to serve the Guild by joining one of the committees to be elected at the AGM.

  13. Keeping track of Guild membership

    The Secretary reported his concern regarding the present systems in place for recording membership records. It was agreed that a sub-committee consisting of the Secretary, Tony Smith, Ceri Dodd, Barbara Townsend, Ruth Jackson, and Gilian Davis be invited to prepare a paper on this topic for the next Executive Committee meeting.

  14. Future Guild Events

    1. Dates for 1997 mentioned at the meeting were as follows:-

      March31Open Day (BRF)Basingstoke District
      April12Education Day - Bob Doubles and MinorAndover area
      19Guild DinnerRingwood
      May166 Bell striking CompetitionBishopstoke
      17Inter-District and 8 Bell Striking CompetitionBasingstoke
      July5Guild AGM and Open Meeting re BRFSouthampton
      November22Executive CommitteeSt Barnabas, Southampton

  15. Date and Place of Next Meetings.

    The next meeting was to be held at 10.15 am on Saturday 22 November. Members were reminded that there would be a car boot sale in the hall and therefore cars would need to be moved from the church car park at the coffee break.

  16. Any Other Business

    1. June Mitchell advised that she was about to send off the next order for sweatshirts and she expected to be able to deliver these during the course of the Basingstoke Open Day on 31 March.

    2. The Secretary advised that all papers required for the Guild AGM and advertising material for the Autumn from Committee Convenors needed to be with him by 31 May 1997 at the latest.

    There being no further business, the Chairman closed the meeting with a prayer at 12.45.