Taking wine with the "W & P"

The 23rd Annual Dinner of the Winchester and Portsmouth Guild was held on Saturday, 4th April at the Vine Inn, Ower, near Romsey attended by 72 members and guests. Guild Master, The Reverend Barry Fry, welcomed those present but sadly Tom Chapman who was to have proposed "The Guild" was unable to attend due to a sudden illness earlier in the week. Tom had already prepared his speech so he sent it to the organising committee just in case and finally Guild Secretary, Derek Jackson, read it for him.

In the speech Tom Chapman proposed the Toast to the Guild giving an account of his early ringing days at Bishopstoke, how he was taught to ring by the late George Pullinger and how he himself had taught a new band to ring at Bishopstoke. He asked to take wine with those who had known George - there were five members present - and then with those he had taught at that tower - there were three members present. He had returned to the Guild for occasional peals i.e. two of his learners' 1,000th peal together and his first with them. He came for an attempt for his own 40th anniversary peal but after all the nostalgia he confessed it was a disaster due to a late start, mistakes and poor striking and he felt that the conductor was in a dilemma so Tom set his bell up about half way through and the party adjourned to the nearby "Cricketers" pub where the ringing was better!

The response was given by John Croft who gave a brief potted history of the formation of the Guild. He then recalled some amusing incidents of his early ringing days in the area. Amidst laughter he asked those who had shared a particular incident to take wine with him! He concluded with the message that we must go on attracting new recruits to our art to ensure its survival into the next century.

A touch of Plain and Little Bob Royal was rung on the Guild's handbells by Gail Cater, John Colliss, Andrew Craddock, Ian McCallion and Peter Niblett before Bob Cater proposed the toast to "The Visitors". Bob had consulted a dictionary about the definitions of "visitors" when he was in the USA recently and gave a summary of his findings. He reminisced about events which both he and Christopher Groome had shared since their university days in the early 1960s.

Christopher Groome, President of the Central Council, was accompanied by his finacée, Ruth. He responded by saying that he had come to enjoy himself but he did have a serious message to deliver in that ringers must get their act together in the changing modern society in which we live today. He explained that the ringers' tea is a survivor of Victorian times when most guilds and ringing associations were formed. He invited past and present members of the Central Council to take wine with him before expressing his good wishes for the 1990s and the next millennium.

The evening concluded with a draw from the BRF's "200 Club" in which Nicholas Hussey, Malcolm Donaldson and Mo Routh were successful. The Master thanked Margaret Aylieff and members of the Social Committee for arranging the dinner.


The Ringing World No. 4227, May 1, 1992, page 425