The 22nd Annual Dinner of the Winchester and Portsmouth Guild was held on Saturday 20th April in the Treetops Restaurant at Marwell Zoological Park. The Restaurant, which provides cafeteria facilities to those visiting the zoo during the day, was attractively decorated for the occasion and fresh flowers were on every table. The upward trend in the number of members and guests attending the Dinner over the last few years was maintained and a capacity crowd of over 100 enjoyed the five course meal of Hors d'Oeuvres, Goujons of Plaice, Roast Loin of Pork, Lemon Sorbet and Cheeseboard.
The Dean of Winchester, the Very Reverend Trevor Beeson, who is a Patron of the Guild, spoke of the contribution of ringers to the church and the community and proposed a toast to the continued well being of the Guild. In reply, Denis Chapman, who is a past Chairman of the Christchurch and Southampton District, mentioned recent and proposed bell restoration in the area and gave an autobiography of his time in Doncaster, when his interests had been the three Rs - Ringing, Railways and Racing, and subsequently in Canterbury and Gloucester.
The company was then entertained to three leads of Treble Bob Major sparklingly rung on handbells by Gail Cater, Lesley Belcher and Margaret and Tom Chapman. This was followed by the first draw for prize winners in the "200 Club" which is Mark Esbester's latest scheme for raising money for the Guild Bell Restoration Fund. The draw was made by the Dean, and the winners of the first prize of £50 and two prizes of 25 were, respectively, your correspondent, Adrian Lewis and Ann Esbester.
The last two speeches were in lighter vein with Martin Hough, who is a Joint Ringing Master and Belfry Adviser in the Basingstoke District and Tower Secretary of the Liss Campanile, proposing the health of the visitors: He confessed that this was the first Guild Dinner he had ever been to, and we hope he does not carry out his threat that it would be the last as well! Martin recalled with pleasure weekends in Somerset and Devon ringing lots of big heavy bells ("Somernabbs") which Graham Nabb, one of the visitors, had organised when he lived in Hampshire. Responding, Roger Bailey said that although he was practised in speaking in public as a lecturer, he was unused to after dinner speaking. His apology was unnecessary, however, and the reminiscences of his frequent visits to the W & P were received enthusiastically. Although not a formal toast, Roger asked all to rise and drink to lots more years of fun.
The Social Committee received many compliments on organising a most enjoyable Dinner. A bar extension had been arranged and, despite the frozen beer, it was late before the last guests departed to the distant roar of wild animals.
The Ringing World No. 4177, May 17, 1991, page 466