The Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers



  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, Judy Bishop, opened the meeting at 10.20 am with a prayer. The Master particularly welcomed Stephen Castle of the Education Committee and Bill Harris standing in for Linda Bulpitt.

    The others attending were:- Gail Cater, Gilian Davis, Elizabeth Johnson, Kim Matthews, June Mitchell, Joan Parry, Helen Tucker, Faith Webster, John Colliss, John Davey, Mark Esbester, Alan Hoar, Ian McCallion, Francis Mitchell, Brian Oakes, Andrew Pickett, Tony Smith, Phil Watts and Tony Webster.

  2. Apologies for Absence

    Linda Bulpitt, Ceri Dodd, Barbara Townsend, Val Welch, Peter Clarke, Andrew Craddock, Derek Jackson, Martin Waldron, Mike Winterbourne and David Whiting.

  3. Loss of Members through death

    David Brown of Buriton, Henry Thompson of Bentley and Rev Peter Manton (Life Member) of Jersey.

  4. Minutes of the last meeting (22 November 1997)

    Minutes of the last meeting, previously circulated by the Minute Secretary, were approved by the meeting and signed.

  5. Matters arising (not elsewhere on the Agenda)

    1. Channel Island Bells. Tony Smith said the original text had been written on an out-of-date computer but it had now been re-typed ready for proof reading by Rev D. Cawley. Phil Watts and Barry Fry also had drafts.

    2. "Ring in 2000" Group Leaflet. 10,000 copies of the leaflet, (the final version will have some colour and the word Diocesan included in the title) are being prepared. These will be displayed in public places and on the display stand and 10 copies per tower, plus 2 copies per ringer will be sent out with an explanatory letter from the 2000 Group via Bob Cater in early June.

    3. BRF grants - information requested from applicants. Mark Esbester said this would now take the form of an information check-list rather than questions and answers and Phil Watts asked if this could include any special problem faced by a tower e.g. ancient bell frames.

      Tony Smith reported from the Central Council Administrative Committee that up to 7th March, the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers Millennium Grants Ltd., had given 129 grants using £2.8 million of their £3 million pounds. Applications closed on 31st January when there had been 268 applications. Few towers applying just before the closing date are likely to receive grants. They were therefore making an application for extra funding. Botley, Whitchurch, Arreton and Shanklin had applied just before applications closed. It is hoped that Purbrook, Brown Candover and Hurstbourne Priors have been helped and it was generally felt that the publicity generated had brought bell ringing to the public's notice.

  6. Reports for 1997

    1. Secretary. The report was circulated and approved. Bob Cater was encouraged by the amount of activity within the Districts. The pie chart showed exactly how each member's Guild subscription was used.

    2. Treasurer's Report and Accounts. These were circulated. Mike Bubb is looking into Public Liability Insurance and the results will hopefully be ready for inclusion in the Guild Report so that every member knows exactly what they are covered for.

    3. The Belfry Stewardship Committee. The report and accounts were circulated and passed.

    4. Peal Recorder. The report was accepted although the final analysis of peals rung is yet to be submitted.

    5. Librarian and Archivist. The report and accounts were circulated and accepted.

    6. PRO Report, inventory and accounts were circulated and accepted.

    7. "Ring in 2000 Group" circulated their report which was approved. It was noted that "all the bells in Great Britain" should include the Channel Islands.

    8. Education Committee accounts were circulated and passed.

    9. Central Council Complaints Adviser Graham Grant's report was circulated and it was noted that Phil Watts is also a member of this committee. The Secretary will have this sorted out and mentioned in the report.

    10. Restoration Work in 1997. Phil Watts was anxious to know if there was any restoration work going on that the BSC did not have knowledge of. It was important that they should be kept informed so that an up-to-date picture of the condition of all bells was accurate.

      In his report All Saints, Odiham should read the treble was recast and the remaining 5 bells rehung. The recasting at St. Catherine, Wolverton was carried out by Taylors and not by Whitechapel and at St. Nicholas, Brockenhurst refurbishment of clappers, pulleys and other gear had been carried out by Whites of Appleton.

      The refurbishment of the Winchester College bells was finished and the bells had been rung. It was decided that the Guild should obtain a copy of the very good video showing this restoration work.

  7. Guild Budget for 1998 The Treasurer reported that there had been a dramatic reduction in dues paid in 1997, 62 members down - 42 full members down, 30 juniors down and 10 seniors up (A & P 11 down and Portsmouth 18 down)

    The Public Liability Insurance Premium has gone up to £500. All risks insurance premiums (trophies have now been added) travel and secretary's expenses had also gone up but next year will be the last of the simulator's depreciation. There had been a real loss of £100 this year compared to a real surplus of £150 last year. Ian McCallion was over budget because of the extra mailing for Ring in 2000. As a result an increase in the Guild subscriptions will be suggested at the AGM. After much discussion it was felt that seniors should at least pay enough to cover what they actually get, the Report and insurance for instance. Tony Webster suggested that a % of a subscription should go to the BRF, the District etc., which in fact would make calculation easier than at present.

  8. Districts' financial submissions to Guild Treasurer There seems to be confusion as to what exactly is required. It was felt the forms needed to be changed particularly for new treasurers. However treasurers will receive guidance from Mike Bubb who hoped he might call a meeting of District Treasurers later in the year.

  9. BRF Trustees' report for 1997 and BRF accounts These had been approved by the Trustees and were accepted. Tony Smith established that abridged accounts could be published in the Report as long as the full accounts, together with the Balance Sheet and Statement of Accounts were readily available.

  10. Information leaflet about Guild BRF. The leaflet is still to be finished by the Trustees, hopefully by May.

  11. Life membership proposals No-one had been proposed under the 50-year rule. The Master circulated a letter proposing Rex Corke, who had served for 50 years but had learned to ring in an adjoining guild. On an unanimous show of hands it was decided that he should be proposed as an honorary life member as was the case with Richard Green. Both members will be proposed at the AGM by the Master on behalf of the Executive Committee.

  12. Preparation of Guild Report for 1997 Tony Smith thanked those who had submitted information. He reported that all but one of the advertisers who had advertised in the last 5 years were advertising again and that one would advertise every other year. However present rates may not cover costs! Two quotes had been obtained and the cost of the report may yet be reduced. This year the Districts had received forms which could be photocopied as an easier method of gathering information.

  13. Possible Rule change re final date for payment of Guild subscriptions Bob Cater reported that throughout the ADMs members felt a calendar date around the AGM should be adopted. It was approved that the date should be changed to 30th June. Bob Cater and Tony Smith will re-write the rule for proposal at the AGM.

    A proposed rule change to elect District Officers at least every 3 years was also passed.

  14. Ring in 2000 Group - Business Plan for display boards Andrew Pickett went over the salient points of the business plan. Phil Watts praised the generosity of non-ringing suppliers who had given special prices for this project. During 1998/99 4 firm bookings have been received for the display stand (three of these are church fetes) and it is the intention to attend 6 shows. These have been concentrated in areas where large numbers of new ringers are needed to cover towers that have fallen silent. The Master suggested the stand should go to the New Forest and Hants show where it could probably use the church tent for free. A lengthy discussion followed on the funding of the project. Five Districts have each given £100 and the Portsmouth District is still thinking. It was agreed by a large majority that the Business Plan should receive £1000 over a 2-year period.

  15. Information for new members Bob Cater had circulated a paper and he stressed the point of making a positive link with new members by giving them a new member's pack. June Mitchell said the Isle of Wight give a certificate and badge, a short welcome note and a list of other towers and their practice nights. Bob Cater hoped that new members could receive a Guild Report in their year of election. A long discussion followed on various ways of getting copies no longer required by members or towers to these people. This year it was felt it would be a matter of trial and error but if there were spare copies they should go to new members.

  16. Guild Library - issues. The purpose of the library and the amount it is used is to be reviewed. With this in mind Kim Matthews has very kindly agreed to stand for one more year as Librarian and Archivist to facilitate any change. After the AGM Gail Cater will call together a working group to meet once or twice during the summer and then report back at the next Executive Committee meeting. This group will consist of Gail Cater, Stephen Castle, Gilian Davis, Kim Matthews and Tony Smith. Bob Cater said Derek Jackson may also be interested.

  17. Future Guild events

    1. Closing Date for ordering Tee shirts is 31st March.

    2. Guild Dinner - 18 April Winchester Cathedral Refectory. So far there are 32 paid up diners. Closing date for applications is 31st March.

    3. Open Meeting - 9th May, Isle of Wight. A special deal with Wightlink Ferries is being sought.

    4. Striking Comps 15 & 16 May. These have been arranged with the 6-bell at Wickham and the 8-bell at Upham and Bishops Waltham. A 10-bell competition will be held at Portsmouth on 12 September followed by a Barn Dance, called by June Mitchell, to be arranged by the Social Committee.

    5. Guild AGM - 11 July, Highclere. If more candidates than posts come forward, proposers will be asked to speak briefly on the candidates they have proposed.

    6. Education Committee Events. 2 very successful FTKs have been held and by June it is hoped that all Executive and Ring in 2000 committee members will have attended one FTK.

    7. Helping at Winchester Cathedral Refectory - Patricia Spink has this in hand. The next dates are 15 June and 1 December.

  18. Date and Place of next Meeting.

    The next meeting will be held on Saturday, 28th November, 1998 and the following meeting on Saturday, 27th March, 1999. Both meetings will be at 10.15 am at St. Barnabas Church Hall, Lodge Road, Southampton.

  19. Any Other Business

    1. Channel Island Bells. The possibility of including the bells of Guernsey and the other islands was discussed. At the moment it is the personal work of David Cawley, but each section could have its own author. The cost and printing are still being discussed but with 30 - 40, A5 size pages it is very suitable for printing as a pamphlet. Further discussion will take place with people in the Channel Islands and the options put before the next meeting.

    2. On May 10th David Bagley will be present at a course on "Simulators made easy". Contact Stephen Castle for the location.

    There being no further business, the Master closed the meeting with prayer at 1.25 pm.