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The Society shall be called ‘The Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers’ (hereinafter called ‘The Guild’).
To unite the Church Bell Ringers in the Diocese of Winchester and the Diocese of Portsmouth (hereinafter called ‘the Guild area’) for mutual support consistent with:
promoting in co-operation with incumbents an appreciation and observation of the tower as part of God’s House.
the recognition of the position of ringers as church workers.
encouragement of ringing for Divine Service, cultivation of change ringing and the preservation of the church bells in an efficient condition.
The Guild shall consist of Patrons, Presidents, Vice-Presidents and Members. The following shall be appointed ex-officio:- Patrons: The Very Rev The Dean of Winchester, The Very Rev The Dean of Portsmouth; Presidents: The Right Rev The Lord Bishop of Winchester, The Right Rev The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth; Vice-Presidents: The Right Rev The Suffragan Bishop of Southampton, The Right Rev The Suffragan Bishop of Basingstoke, The Venerable the Archdeacons of Winchester, Portsdown, Bournemouth, The Meon and The Isle of Wight. The Guild area shall be divided into Districts, each being self-administered.
The Guild shall be affiliated to the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers and shall observe its rules and decisions. Representatives thereto shall be elected for a triennial period in accordance with the constitution of the Council. The Guild may pay fares and reasonable out of pocket expenses for not more than three days to its representatives attending the meetings of the Council. Representatives shall make a report of the proceedings to the next Annual General Meeting of the Guild.
The administration of the Guild shall be vested in an Executive Committee (of whom seven shall form a quorum) consisting of: the Master (Chairman), Vice-Master, immediate Past Master, Honorary General Secretary, Honorary Treasurer, Honorary Recorder of Peals, Honorary Librarian and Archivist, Honorary Report Editor, Minute Secretary, Public Relations Officer, Safeguarding Officer, Central Council Representatives, the Trustees of the Bell Restoration Fund, the Convenors of committees, and District Representatives (who shall normally include the District Secretaries or their proxies) to be elected by the annual District meetings. Districts with more than 100 members (associate and ringing) may send one additional representative. The Executive Committee has the authority to co-opt members on to the committee for special purposes, delegate any of its duties to sub-committee(s) or co-opted members and fill any vacancies arising among officers until the next General Meeting qualified to elect officers. The Executive Committee shall meet at least once annually. Reasonable expenses of members attending meetings of the Executive Committee may be defrayed by the Guild.
A General Meeting of the Guild shall be held annually in each of the following Districts in turn: District 1 Andover, District 2 Portsmouth, District 3 Winchester, District 4 Christchurch and Southampton, District 5 Basingstoke, District 6 Isle of Wight, District 7 Alton and Petersfield, to receive reports, a statement of accounts and applications for grants, to fix the place and date of the next Annual General Meeting and to transact any other Guild business. Every third year to elect a Master, Vice-Master, Honorary Secretary, Honorary Treasurer, Honorary Recorder of Peals, Honorary Librarian and Archivist, Honorary Report Editor, Minute Secretary, Public Relations Officer, Safeguarding Officer, Honorary Independent Examiner and Central Council Representatives. Officers elected shall remain members of the Administration (Rule 4) ex-officio for a period of three years when, with the exception of the Master and Vice-Master, they will remain eligible for re-election. The Master and Vice-Master will remain eligible for re-election unless they have previously been re-elected. The election of an officer(s) to fill a vacancy (Rule 4) must be confirmed at the next General Meeting of the Guild. A Special General Meeting may be called at any time upon a request to the Hon General Secretary, signed by either the Presidents, the Master or not less than twenty ringing members of the Guild. The Secretary shall give three weeks’ notice to the Guild of Special General Meetings, by posting to each local secretary, for display in the towers, particulars of the business.
There shall be the following classes of membership of the Guild:
Ringing membership shall be open to those ringers who normally reside within, or ring at towers within, the Guild area, and any ringer from outside the Guild area who wishes to be a full member of the Guild.
Life membership shall be conferred upon those who have completed 50 years ringing or associate membership of the Guild. The Executive Committee may also recommend any individual for election to life membership at an Annual General Meeting of the Guild in recognition of their services to the Guild.
Associate membership shall be open to non-ringers who wish to be associated with and support the objects and activities of the Guild.
Compounding membership shall be open to those ringers who reside outside the Guild area and who do not normally ring at a tower within the Guild area. Compounding members shall have no vote at meetings of the Guild and shall not propose or second a belfry election.
Probationary membership shall be open to those learning to ring at a tower within the Guild area. Probationary members shall have no vote at meetings of the Guild, nor be eligible to hold any District or Guild office.
All classes of member, with the exception of life members, may be elected at any District meeting.
Life members may only be elected at a General Meeting of the Guild.
Members may also be elected prior to a peal which is intended to be rung by the Guild, provided that at least half the band are already life and/or ringing and/or compounding members who have transferred from ringing membership, and subject to the peal being successful and the election being confirmed at the next meeting of the District in which the election took place. In the case of an election prior to a peal outside the Guild area, the election may be confirmed at the next meeting of any District.
Probationary members may also be elected at any tower within the Guild area, by two or more Guild members other than probationary members, and subject to confirmation at the next meeting of the District in which the election took place.
The Executive Committee shall have the power to veto any election, or to dismiss a member for misconduct; but the person concerned shall have the right of appeal to the next Annual General Meeting of the Guild. In the event of a dismissal, such members shall be debarred from further re-election for such period as the Executive Committee may determine, unless reinstated at the Annual General Meeting of the Guild.
On election, new members (excluding probationary and compounding members) shall be supplied with a copy of the current annual report (if available) free of charge.
Subscriptions fall due upon election and subsequently upon 1st January each year. A member who fails to pay his subscription for the current year by 30th June shall be deemed to have withdrawn from the Guild.
A proportion of each subscription shall be allocated to one or more ringing-related charities. The amount of the subscription and proportion allocated to each ringing-related charity for each class of membership shall be determined from time to time at the Annual General Meeting of the Guild, or at a Special General Meeting called for the purpose, and published in the Guild’s annual report.
Ringing members in full-time education or over the age of 60 and associate members over the age of 60 may pay a reduced subscription as determined at the meeting. Life members are not required to pay a subscription. The subscription paid by a probationary member will form part of their subscription as a ringing member if elected as such during the same calendar year.
A member, other than a probationary member, leaving the Guild area may transfer to compounding membership without further payment on application to their District Secretary.
Any increase in subscription or alteration in the proportion allocated to each ringing-related charity shall take effect immediately following the meeting at which it was made.
Members are appointed to the committees enumerated in paragraph b. of this rule at the General Meeting two years after the meeting at which the officers are elected. Members are appointed for three years and are eligible for reappointment. Notwithstanding the note in rule 24 concerning when an alteration to the rules becomes operative, a new committee shall be appointed at the meeting at which the committee is added to those enumerated in paragraph b. of this rule. The Guild may at any time dissolve a committee or alter its membership.
The following shall be the committees of the Guild:
Each committee shall appoint a convenor and shall report annually to the Guild. Each committee shall have the power to co-opt further members. Reasonable expenses may be paid.
The terms of reference of the committees shall be as follows:
Belfry Stewardship Committee. To give advice about bells and their fittings in any Guild tower; to inspect and report on all completed bell restoration works subject to grants from the Guild Bell Restoration Fund, and to continue the work of the Guild’s Bell Stock Survey.
Communications Committee. To enhance communication within the Guild by maintaining and developing the Guild website as the hub of news and information, maintain and develop the e-mail lists and social media presence and connect to the wider bell ringing community.
Education Committee. To improve members’ ringing abilities and confidence in all practical and theoretical aspects of bell handling and method ringing.
Striking Competitions Committee. To encourage improvement in striking across the Guild, through friendly and social competition, both between individual towers and Districts.
Teaching Hubs Committee. To provide advice on setting up teaching hubs, to maintain a record of those teaching hubs established in the Guild area, together with a record of the facilities offered and teachers active within those hubs, to provide an initial point of contact for potential new ringers who wish to learn to ring, and to provide a forum for sharing of experiences and best practice between teaching hubs.
Each tower in the Guild area, regardless of whether it has Guild members in its band or not, shall be deemed to be ‘in union’ with the Guild.
Each tower in the Guild shall appoint a local secretary, who will be responsible for conducting such correspondence as required, rendering an annual report to the District Secretary and collecting subscriptions from Guild members for transfer to the District Treasurer.
No tower shall be transferred from one District to another without the consent of the majority of ringers of the tower concerned and of the Annual General Meeting of the Guild.
In each District a Chairman, Ringing Master, District Treasurer and Honorary Secretary shall be elected and such other officers as the District may determine.
An Annual Meeting shall be held in each District as early in each year as is practicable, but not later than 21st February, to receive reports and statements of accounts, to transact any other business, including fixing the date and place of the next Annual District Meeting, and at least every third year elect District officers. Such other District meetings may be held as decided by the members, practice meetings being encouraged. Only members of a District may vote in the business of that District.
Each District Treasurer shall receive ALL subscriptions of members in his District, pay from the funds all the expenses of the District, and at the end of the year prepare a balance sheet which shall be independently examined and, after presentation to the Annual District Meeting, forwarded to the Honorary Treasurer of the Guild not later than 28th February, together with the proportion of the subscriptions due to the Central Fund and Guild Bell Restoration Fund (Rule 17). District funds may only be expended for administration and for such purposes as are sanctioned by these rules or by a General Meeting of the District concerned. First charge on District funds after administration shall be for instruction (whenever possible) in change ringing. If District funds prove insufficient for this charge, the deficiency may be met in whole or part by a contribution from the Central Fund. The instructor(s) may claim travelling expenses and any other out of pocket expenses.
Seventy per cent of all subscriptions, excluding the proportion allocated to the Guild Bell Restoration Fund, shall be allocated to a Central Fund for the general administration and expenses of the Guild and for any other purpose that the members in General Meeting may direct. The Honorary Treasurer shall receive, not later than 28th February, all monies due to the Central Fund and Guild Bell Restoration Fund and shall be empowered to disburse all accounts properly incurred in the central administration of the Guild, either in cash payments or by cheques drawn on the Guild current banking account, which cheques he shall be authorised to draw. He shall maintain a statement of central accounts. The remaining thirty per cent of subscriptions, excluding the proportion allocated to the Guild Bell Restoration Fund, shall be retained by the Districts for the purposes of meeting expenses of the Districts incurred under these rules. If there be any deficiency in the Central Fund, the Annual General Meeting of the Guild may, by resolution, require the Districts to meet the deficiency in proportion to the amount of each District’s receipts retained that year. At any time during the year the Executive Committee may, if necessary, direct the District Treasurers to pay over to the Central Fund all, or part of, the proportion of subscriptions actually received and due to the fund.
Districts are requested to compile a list of instructors who are willing to assist towers (Rule 16).
The Honorary Librarian and Archivist shall be responsible for the safe keeping of the Guild library and any other property acquired by the Guild unless other arrangements are made by the Executive Committee. He shall maintain an inventory of such books and property and shall render annually a report to the Executive Committee.
Local secretaries shall forward an annual report on the activities of their tower to their District Secretary not later than 4th January of the following year.
Each year the Honorary Report Editor of the Guild will issue a questionnaire to each District Secretary for completion. District Secretaries shall forward the completed questionnaires and an annual report on the activities of their District to the Honorary Report Editor for publication, not later than 28th February.
Funds permitting, an annual report shall be published, the contents of which shall be at the discretion of the Executive Committee. A copy will be supplied free to all life, ringing and associate members who have requested a copy. District Secretaries or District Treasurers will ask local secretaries how many of their members would like a copy of the report and shall forward the number required by the District to the Honorary Report Editor not later than 28th February.
Peals which are to be recognised by the Guild and have their details published in the annual report must be rung by bands composed entirely of members of the Guild other than probationary members, at least half of whom must be life and/or ringing members and/or compounding members who have transferred from ringing membership. An account of each peal including details of compositions on seven bells and above, together with the peal fee for each ringer participating, shall be sent to the Honorary Recorder of Peals within one month of the peal being rung. If the above conditions are not fulfilled, the peal shall not be recognised by the Guild, nor its details published in the annual report, excepting that the Annual General Meeting of the Guild shall be able to recognise such peals in exceptional circumstances. At the end of each calendar year, the income from peal fees shall be transferred to the Guild Bell Restoration Fund and to the General Fund (towards the cost of printing details of peals in the annual report). The amount of the peal fees and the proportions transferred to the Bell Restoration and General Funds shall be determined from time to time by the Annual Meeting of the Guild, or a Special General Meeting of the Guild called for the purpose and published in the annual report. Any alteration in the amount of fees and proportions in which they are transferred to the General and Bell Restoration Funds shall take effect on the following 1st January.
The Guild may accept responsibility for any damage done by members to the bells, etc. in any tower in which a meeting of the Guild is being held. In such circumstances the officers of the District concerned are empowered to take steps to make good the damage which shall be a charge on the District concerned. In the case of a General Meeting of the Guild, the Master, Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasurer will take the necessary action and make a charge on the Central Fund.
In the event of either: (a) redundant bells coming into the possession of the Guild or (b) the advice of the Guild being sought on the disposal or movement of redundant bells, the Trustees of the Bell Restoration Fund shall be empowered to decide upon the disposition of such bells or offer such advice as they feel is appropriate. Where possible, such decisions or advice shall be subject to confirmation by the Guild Executive or Annual General Meeting of the Guild.
No alteration or addition to the above rules may be made except at a General Meeting of the Guild or Special Meeting called for the purpose, when the number of eligible members voting in favour must be at least 20 and double those voting against the proposal. Notice of any such proposed alteration or addition must be given in writing, at least two months before the date of the meeting, to the Honorary General Secretary of the Guild who shall inform all tower secretaries of the Guild of this proposal at least one month before the aforesaid meeting. Any alteration or addition to the rules shall become operative on the following 1st January.
The fund shall be known as the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers Bell Restoration Fund.
The fund shall be registered as a charity.
The object of this fund shall be to provide financial assistance by way of grants to Churches, within the Diocese of Winchester and the Diocese of Portsmouth, incurring expenditure on the provision, maintenance, improvement or acoustics of their bells and bell installations, or for the maintenance of the fabric of their towers and belfries, to enable their bells to be properly rung in full circle.
References to ‘the Guild’ shall mean the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers. References to ‘the Executive Committee’ shall mean the Executive Committee of the Guild.
The Trustees of the fund, referred to hereinafter as ‘the Trustees’, shall be the Master, the Honorary General Secretary and the Honorary General Treasurer of the Guild, and two Trustees, one from each Diocese, elected triennially by the Annual General Meeting of the Guild.
The Honorary Independent Examiner of the fund shall be the Honorary Independent Examiner for the time being of the Guild.
The fund shall be administered by the Trustees.
An application for or proposal to make a grant from this fund shall be considered only at a General Meeting of the Guild or at a meeting of the Executive Committee, provided at least one month’s notice in writing has been given of such application or proposal to the Honorary General Secretary.
Following notice duly given, the Trustees shall consider such applications or proposals and shall make recommendations to the meeting of the Guild or Executive Committee at which the application or proposal shall be discussed.
Grants shall be made from this fund only for the purposes outlined in the objectives in rule 3 above. A grant may be made, subject to the requirements of rule 8a above, if approved by two-thirds or more of those members of the Guild present and voting at a General Meeting of the Guild or at a meeting of the Executive Committee. To be eligible to vote on such matters, members must fulfil the requirements of the Guild on voting. The Trustees shall inform the Guild of any grants approved at a meeting of the Executive Committee at the next General Meeting of the Guild.
Following such approval a grant shall be made, except that the Trustees shall be given absolute discretion to reduce, but not to increase, a grant, in the exceptional circumstances that they unanimously feel it in the interests of the fund and of the Guild to do so. They shall inform the Guild of any such action at the next General Meeting of the Guild.
Any payments drawn on this fund under rule 8 above, or required under rule 11 below, shall be made over the signature of the Honorary General Treasurer for the time being and one other Trustee of the fund. No payment shall be made until the work is satisfactorily completed. All administrative and other expenses incurred in respect of the fund other than those specifically relating to the acquisition and realisation of investments shall be borne by the Guild.
The Honorary General Treasurer shall prepare accounts, consisting of a balance sheet at 31st December each year, and an income and expenditure account for the year ending on that date.
These accounts shall be presented to the Independent Examiner of the fund who shall satisfy himself as to the correctness thereof.
These accounts, duly independently examined, shall be submitted for approval to the Annual General Meeting of the Guild next after the 31st December to which the accounts of the fund have been prepared.
The Trustees acting together shall have the power to invest or otherwise deal with the assets of the fund and such sums as the members of the Guild shall contribute or from time to time decide to transfer to the fund, in such manner as they think fit in the best interests of the fund.
If it shall be decided to dissolve the fund, such decision being taken only at an Annual General Meeting of the Guild, one month’s notice having been given by the Honorary General Secretary to Tower Secretaries of such intent, the assets shall be disposed of to either or between both of the following:-
To other charitable Bell Restoration Funds as the Guild may select
To the Cathedrals of Winchester and Portsmouth for the religious and charitable purposes of the said Cathedrals.
In the event of the Guild becoming defunct, it shall be allowed for the Registrar of Charities after five years non-working of the fund to cause it to be dissolved and its assets applied as under rule 12 a ii.
No amendment of, addition to, or deletion from these Rules shall be made which would cause the fund at any time to cease to be a charity in law.
No alteration or addition to the above Rules may be made except at a General Meeting of the Guild, or Special Meeting called for the purpose, when the number of eligible members voting in favour must be at least 20 and double those voting against the proposal. Notice of any such proposed alteration or addition must be given in writing at least two months before the date of the meeting to the Honorary General Secretary of the Guild, who shall inform all Tower Secretaries of the Guild of this proposal at least one month before the aforesaid meeting.
This page created by Tony Smith
Last updated 12 June 2021