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 10.17 a.m. with a prayer. He welcomed everybody and reminded those present that there were only 1,000 hours left until the next Millennium. The others attending were:- Gail Cater, John Davey, Gilian Davis, Ceri Dodd, Mark Esbester, Alan Hoar, Sarah Hutchinson, Elizabeth Johnson, Wendy Ling, Ian McCallion, Francis Mitchell, Tony Smith, Barbara Townsend, Prisca Tremeer, Rosalind Turrell, Jack Walters, Faith and Tony Webster and Mike Winterbourne.

  2. Apologies for absence

    Linda Bulpitt, Peter Clarke, John Colliss, Andrew Craddock, June Mitchell, Joan Parry and Martin Waldron.

  3. Loss of Members through death since the Guild AGM

    J. Jeffery Hill, All Saints, Basingstoke, Bryan Mackrell, St. Lawrence, Alton, Jonathon Moon, SS Peter and Paul, King's Somborne, Jack Wallace, St. Lawrence, Alton, Jack Wimlett (LM), St. Mary, Andover and Simon Wood, St. Mary, Liss. Cynthia Attoe from Newton Valence (a learner for the Millennium not yet elected member) and Barbara Townsend's husband were also mentioned.

  4. Minutes of the last Meeting (27 March, 1999)

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

  5. Matters arising not elsewhere on the Agenda

    1. Channel Islands' Bells

      Tony Smith reported progress on "Church Bells of the Channel Islands" and circulated a draft of the text for inspection. At David Cawley's request Mr. Smith would write indicating the Guild's preparedness to publish the book which Revd Cawley could forward to the Sharpe Trustees seeking permission to use Sharpe's text. It is anticipated that the whole book would be the copyright of the Guild and any profits would go to the BRF. The Master, Hon. Secretary and Hon. Treasurer were authorised to approve expenditure publishing the book.

    2. Simulator enhancement.

      Mike Winterbourne reported that the simulator was in the Andover District and following a technical repair it would be in the Channel Islands before the end of the year.

    iii. & iv. Public Liability Insurance and BRF grants.

    Michael Bubb said that explanatory leaflets would be circulated with these minutes. They will be properly printed for distribution.

    1. W & P Information Line.

      Ian McCallion reported that the information line is working well and now has 50 members.

    2. WWW - keeping up to date

      Ian McCallion had prepared a form for Guild and District Officers to give or withhold permission for their personal data to be placed on the Guild website. Tony Smith explained that the new Data Protection Act 1998 comes into force in March 2000 although the regulations for notifying the Data Protection Commissioner were not yet known. In preparation the Hon. Secretary will be writing to the Officers and Districts to identify and record personal data held by the Guild.

    3. Donation of bell to Guild

      Mark Esbester reported that the bell will be used as an exhibit on education days. A wooden frame is being made to hang the bell via Phil Watts and Graham Grant.

    4. Essex Shield Striking Competition.

      The competition took place in Dorking in September and a band organised by Peter Hill came fifth out of eight entries.

    5. Guild Calendar for 2000

      There will be no calendar this year as Roy LeMarechal was abroad at the time information was needed by the printers.

    6. Possibility of setting up a Ringing Centre in the Guild

      This year a London Livery Company has donated a total of £25,000 to the Central Council to be allocated in £2000 portions to assist individuals in setting up ringing centres all over the country. There will also be an annual prize of £100 for the ringing centre producing the best results. To receive this funding an individual would have to present a business plan, to include methods of fundraising, teaching, venue, details of health and safety regulations, child protection act etc., It was noted that a group at St. Marys, Shinfield in Berkshire have a project in its infancy where a tower being soundproofed would perhaps be available to other organisations. Mike Winterbourne, who has already given thought to setting up a ringing centre reported that Whitchurch are putting in soundproofing in conjunction with their new bells and this too may prove a useful venue particularly as a back-up following education days. It was agreed that this should be looked into further.

  6. Life Members under the "50 year" rule

    There were no new Life Members. Phil Watts offered to try and produce Life Membership certificates, hopefully ready to present to all Guild Life Members at the 2000 Celebration meeting in September.

  7. Preparation of Guild Report for 1999.

    Tony Smith reminded District Secretaries and Treasurers of the timetable for returning forms for the Annual Report and asked them to help him to get the information as accurate as possible. He also asked that when reports were prepared on computer they were e-mailed or passed to him on diskette to avoid the need for retyping. He will also extract relevant information to assist the Central Council in reprinting and updating Dove's Guide.

  8. Reports and account of Sub-committees for 1999

    1. Striking Competitions.

      John Colliss' report was received with thanks and accepted. It was noted that none of the Committee members is prepared to stand for re-election in 2000.

    2. Social

      John Davey's report was received with thanks and accepted.

  9. Library and Archive matters

    Jack Walters reported that the George Williams Memorial Library had moved to Winchester on 13 September. He thanked Kim Matthews, Gilian Davis, Bob and Gail Cater and the Clerk of Works' team at the Cathedral for their help and particularly Hugh Routh who dismantled and reassembled the bookcase. The contents of the library are available for use by appointment with Jack and he is producing an inventory, shelf plan and a routine system for accessibility and a system for loans. He may propose a new arrangement for the custody of the Guild Handbells.

  10. BRF Fund Raising Committee matters

    1. Possibility of raffle.

      June Mitchell had received no further news of the raffle from Peter and Wendy Claridge.

    2. Sale of further Guild artefacts.

      New Guild Sweatshirts are available but orders must be in by 29 January 2000 to June Mitchell.

  11. BRF matters

    There were none.

  12. Belfry Stewardship Committee matters

    Phil Watts reported the following points

    1. The bells were back in Brown Candover.

    2. Three bells in Portsmouth Cathedral were due to be quarter turned.

    3. Crawley. Following an inspection by the Whitechapel Foundry in 1998 it was found that the 3 was cracked and the fittings were very old and of no further use. The parish had incurred considerable expense in providing a new parish room but as a new band of ringers were to be trained it was decided to keep the bells ringing by the Guild installing new pulleys, refurbishing the clappers and general maintenance. This will be the Guild's biggest undertaking yet and the parish will underwrite the £1000 needed. It was suggested that they apply for a BRF grant, especially as new ropes will also be required.

    On behalf of the BSC Phil Watts suggested that the Guild be able to award supplementary grants to churches where a BRF grant had been approved and where unexpected circumstances during the works revealed more extensive works were required.

    Mike Bubb said that the BRF Trustees had looked into Phil's proposal in advance and were in sympathy with it. They would discuss it further and report back at the next meeting.

    Phil also spoke about the relocation of redundant and surplus bells. The following proposition was agreed:

    "That it shall be a principal policy of the Guild to value and promote best practice in the care, maintenance and regular use of Church Bells and their fittings within their present locations, and for their intended purposes.

    Further, in pursuing this policy, if occasions arise when a bell or bells become(s) legitimately redundant or surplus to the reasonable requirements of a particular Church, the Guild shall:-

    1. endeavour to foster and facilitate their re-use elsewhere as castings, taking due account of the history and tonal characteristics of each bell.

    2. endeavour to seek out and facilitate opportunities for their reuse - whenever possible as a first priority, within close locality to their original home, or else within the same Diocese, or if necessary within the area of the Guild or of a neighbouring or other Guild."

    Mike Bubb again said the BRF Trustees will report back to the next meeting about the matter.

  13. "Ring in 2000" Group matters.

    1. Ringing at noon on 1/1/2000

      As a result of the recruiting and teaching over the last two years, it now appears that all towers with ringable bells should be ringing though it may not be possible to ring every bell in every tower.

    2. Certificates for towers and Members.

      Draft certificates for all towers stating that the bells had been rung for the Millennium were approved and will be printed. On another certificate for Members, suggestions for slightly revised words were made.

    3. List of all relevant recruits.

      A list will be compiled throughout the Districts to include all recruits from September 1997 to 1 January 2000.

    4. Winding-up of the Group

      The group has had its last meeting. Public Libraries are a good point of distribution of information. The material assets, the display stand and any remaining leaflets will be transferred to the Public Relations Committee. Any money left will be handed back to the central fund of the Guild. Francis Mitchell and the Group were thanked for all their hard work.

  14. Celebratory activities in 2000

    1. Meeting of Guild Life Members and "Senior" Members.

      It was agreed that Gilian Davis should set up a committee to liaise with all Districts and to proceed with the arrangements for this meeting. It will be held in Winchester on either 2nd or 30th September with a meal in the Cathedral Refectory. An informal format, with reminiscences, will be encouraged and there could be 120 members attending plus their companions. The Executive Committee approved £150 to start the arrangements, each District will be asked by the Secretary to contribute £50, the balance being met by the participants.

    2. Peals in all towers and quarters by Members.

      It is hoped to ring a peal in every tower and to keep a special record of these peals. Copies of date touch compositions will be available from District Secretaries. (Attached)

    3. Pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

      To date booking is rather slow. An insert from the organising company will appear in the Ringing World next year.

    4. W & P mid-monthly meetings.

      The events would comprise a tower in the late morning, a pub lunch, followed by a tower in the early afternoon. Bob Cater will arrange the first two meetings as a trial run and more details will be given at Annual District Meetings.

  15. Information for new Members

    1. For Probationary Members

      A sample leaflet had been circulated and was accepted with some minor alterations. 800 will be printed and every District should have a stock by 1 January.

    2. For "Full" Members.

      The sample booklet was accepted in principle. 400 copies will be printed.

  16. Budget bids for 2000

    The following budgets were approved:-

    i.Public Relations Committee£400
    ii.Librarian and Archivist£150
    iii.Belfry Stewardship Committee£250
    (in two equal instalments - the second to be returned if unused)
    iv.Report Editor£50
    v.Life Members Celebration£150

  17. Student Membership of the Guild

    Following considerable discussion a vote was taken and it was agreed that concessionary membership rates could apply to those in "full time education" and not just to those members "under 16". It was not agreed that this should also apply to those members who are "registered unemployed". At present under 16's do not have a vote on financial matters. It was agreed to seek removal of this restriction. Both these items require Rule Changes, which will be put to the Guild AGM for consideration.

  18. Concessionary subscriptions for Associate Members.

    A proposal that Associate Members should have similar concessionary rates was accepted and Rule Changes will be drawn up for the Guild AGM's consideration.

  19. Executive Committee minutes on W & P Information Line.

    There was no objection to the Executive Committee minutes being displayed on the W & P Information Line.

  20. Resignation of Minute Secretary and replacement.

    The Master, Rev. Barry Fry thanked Judy Bishop for her work as Minute Secretary. Francis Mitchell was welcomed as her replacement and was duly co-opted as Minute Secretary until the 2000 AGM.

  21. Future Events

    1. Guild Dinner - 29 April, Winchester Cathedral Refectory. The guest speaker will be Michael Henshaw, the Central Council Vice-President. Money remaining from this year's Dinner will subsidise next year's ticket prices.

    2. Open Day Andover District

      1 May. All ringable towers will be open. (Refreshment and toilet facilities will be listed) The cost will be 50 p. for each tower - £1 for Hurstboume Priors and Whitchurch - Day tickets £7.50

    3. 6 & 8 bell tower striking competition

      This will be held on 20 May in the Andover District.

    4. Guild AGM

      1 July, Winchester. There will be a service in the Cathedral, lunch and the Meeting in the Refectory and evening BBQ at Shawford.

    5. Inter-District striking competition

      This will be held on 2 July on the Isle of Wight.

    6. Meeting of Life and "senior" Members

      This will take place on 2 or 30 September in Winchester. (Now fixed as 30th September)

    7. 10-bell striking competition

      The present committee should start making arrangements for this event.

    8. Education Committee events.

      These will take place on 11 March at Bishops Waltham, April 8 at Stockbridge and April 18 at Winchester

  22. Date and place of next Meeting

    The next meeting will be held at St. Barnabas Church Hall, Southampton at 10.15 a.m. on 4 March, 2000. The provisional date for the November meeting is 18 November.

  23. Any other business

    1. Tony Webster asked for a Rule Change so that subscription changes come into effect on 1 January each year.

    2. Ian McCallion would like to be notified of any special happenings, television programmes etc, and requested that any press cuttings be sent to him. Likewise any data from conveners that should go on the Web or in the Guild News.

    3. Mark Esbester hoped that in future when work is to be carried out on bells (such as the work at present in Portsmouth Cathedral) the church authorities would inform the District.

    4. Bob Cater had received complaints after the last AGM that Members had not been able to hear the speakers. It was suggested that officers stand up and say who they are before addressing the meeting and that children playing outside be appropriately quiet.

    There being no further business, the Master closed the meeting with a prayer at 1.45 p.m.