Dear friends!

What a busy year it’s been - great things achieved! There were many special ringing performances, including those to commemorate major events and anniversaries such as 800th of the signing of The Magna Carta, 70th of V.E. Day and in the ringing world, 300th of the first recorded peal with the splendid initiative and results from First Peal 2015 that our Guild embraced wonderfully. Well done all involved in these special events!

Ringing for special occasions offers ringing very good Public Relations opportunities. Certainly, the Magna Carta event gave ringing much media coverage, including locally on Radio Solent. This all helps us to obtain benefit for ringing as a whole by portraying a positive image of the ringing community.

The Guild’s Action Plan, agreed at the A.G.M., has been very useful - helping us all to take stock, to review what we’ve done over the years and to focus our volunteers efforts on moving forward in a number of areas in a very positive manner. A couple of major developments, I believe, have been the financial review - permitting some change of focus on where money is allocated for good use and the implementation of our new website. Volunteers working very hard right across our Guild area need Guild support - these two steps have reflected this, to some extent, hopefully. Funding (including for individual ringers) and good communications are vital resources and The Guild is offering! All of this is in the early stages and we hope to see even more progress.

Much more is still able to be done and, as we’ve said on numerous occasions, the Action Plan is not “Set in stone”. We welcome your feedback and input. Please use your Executive Committee Representatives to facilitate this two-way line of communication, available to all members.

The various committees are working hard for us all; we have seen several new committee members - thanks to all and welcome! Training courses, for example, are numerous, mostiy well-attended and certainly in demand.

Volunteer resources are vital to progress - thanks here to all ringers; we believe we are now in a position to focus on a number of specific areas - where our ringing activities might dove-tail even more with the two Dioceses’ Mission, particularly where there might be churches with a potential redundancy issue, Recruitment and Retention, Teaching the Teachers, a review of the format of the Guild report and the recording of special ringing for those that gave their lives in World War I - the records to be collated in special volumes and presented to the two Cathedrals.

As I write this, many of our volunteers are working very hard to ensure that the Central Council’s Annual Conference in our Guild, in May, runs smoothly. There is to be an Open Meeting - a sign of a change for sure - please consider attending. Yes, we might have preferred this development and others much sooner; we need to pool all available resources, I suggest, he they in this forum or that, this Association or that Guild, in a formal way or very informal, in a church or in a secular setting. Our ringing helps teach us to work together, so let’s all continue to pull together and use ALL available resources for the benefit of ringing. I’m a half-full person, hope you are?

Vivien Nobbs