The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

Minutes of the Third Session of the 42nd Council (119th Annual Meeting), held in the Royal Beach Hotel, St Helen’s Parade, Portsmouth on Monday 30th May 2016, at 9.30 a.m.


Life Members: Alan Frost, David Kelly, Andrew Stubbs.
Additional Members: Roger Booth, Robert Cooles, Robert Lewis, Peter Trotman, Jane Wilkinson, David Willis.
Ex-officio: Mary Bone, Nigel Orchard, Alan Regin, Andrew Taylor.
Ancient Society of College Youths: Richard Allton, Leigh Simpson, Andrew Wilby.
Australian & New Zealand Assn: Peter Harrison, Christopher O’Mahony, David Smith*, Derek Williams#.
Barrow & District Society: David Hibbert.
Bath & Wells Dio. Assn: Roland Backhurst, Jay Bunyan, Michael Hansford, Richard Newman, George Wyatt.
Bedfordshire Assn: Patrick Albon, Richard Horne, Sue Silver.
Beverley & District Society: James Blackburn.
Cambridge Univ. Guild: Robert Flockton, David Richards.
Carlisle Dio. Guild: Christine de Cordova, Duncan Walker.
Chester Dio. Guild: David Jones, Michael Orme, Peter Wilkinson, Stefan Zientek.
Coventry Dio. Guild: Michael Chester, Christopher Idle, Christopher Mew.
Derby Dio. Assn: Andrew Hall, Susan Hall, Patricia Halls, Gill Hughes.
Devon Assn: Robert Brown.
Devonshire Guild: Leslie Boyce, Lynne Hughes, Fergus Stracey.
Dorset County Assn: Maureen Frost.
Durham & Newcastle Dio. Assn: Barbara Wheeler.
East Derbys & West Notts Assn: Brynley Richards.
East Grinstead & District Guild: Kate Desbottes.
Ely Dio. Assn: Philip Bailey, George Bonham, Sue Marsden, Paul Seaman.
Essex Assn: Fred Bone, Paul Cammiade, Vicki Chapman*, Wendy Godden, Stephen Nash.
Four Shires Guild: Christopher Povey.
Gloucester & Bristol Dio. Assn: Mark Davies*, Derek Harbottle, Patrick Hickey, Angela Newing.
Guild of St Agatha: Anne Bray.
Guildford Dio. Guild: Anne Anthony, Beryl Norris, Christopher Rogers.
Hereford Dio. Guild: John Croxton, Jenny Lawrence, Colin Ward.
Hertford County Assn: Tony Crowther, Geoff Horritt, Margaret Horritt.
Irish Assn: June Kelly, Julia Lysaght.
Kent County Assn: Douglas Davis, David Grimwood, Philip Larter, Catherine Lewis, Caroline Stockmann*.
Ladies Guild: Carolyn Dawson, Helen Webb, Jan Wyatt.
Lancashire Assn: Giles Blundell, Ernie de Legh-Runciman, Beth Ingham.
Leicester Dio. Guild: Carol Franklin, Andrew Preston, Arthur Rees, Winifred Warwick.
Lichfield & Walsall Archd. Society: Stuart Hutchieson, Andrew Ogden.
Lincoln Dio. Guild: Philip Green, Christopher Sharp, Christopher Turner.
Liverpool Univ. Society: Richard Andrew.
Llandaff & Monmouth Dio. Assn: Jonathan Lewis, Pip Penney.
Middlesex County Assn & London Dio. Guild: Linda Foddering, John Manley*, Peter Kemp, Clyde Whittaker*.
North American Guild: Alan Ellis, Beverly Faber, Anthony Furnivall, Tina Stoecklin (alternate member)#.
North Staffordshire Assn: Jan Hine, Tim Hine.
North Wales Assn: Antony Diserens, David Raggett.
Norwich Dio. Assn: Michael Clements, Maureen Gardiner.
Oxford Dio. Guild: Ken Davenport, John Harrison, Lucy Hopkins Till, Alan Marchbank, Bobbie May, Timothy Pett.
Oxford Society: Bernard Stone.
Peterborough Dio. Guild: Simon Dixon*, Nick Elks, Jane Sibson, David Westerman.
St David’s Dio. Guild: Ian Hastilow.
St Martin’s Guild: James Ramsbottom.
Salisbury Dio. Guild: Tom Garrett, Julian Hemper, Andrew Howes, Anthony Lovell-Wood, Julian Newman.
Scottish Assn: Ruth Marshall.
Shropshire Assn: Alan Glover, Peter Woollam.
Society of Royal Cumberland Youths: John Barnes, Ben Duke, Ian Oram, Derek Sibson.
Society of Sherwood Youths: Jane Woolley.
South African Guild: James Champion.
Southwell and Nottingham Dio. Guild: George Dawson, Anne Sladen, Robin Woolley.
Suffolk Guild: Veronica Downing, Peter Harper, Stephen Pettman.
Surrey Assn: Jeremy Cheesman, Kate Flavell, Paul Flavell, Richard Wallis.
Sussex County Assn: Stephen Beckingham, Anne Franklin, Graham Hills*, David Kirkcaldy, Margaret Oram.
Swansea & Brecon Dio. Guild: Paul Johnson, David Katz.
Truro Dio. Guild: Norman Mattingley, Helen Perry, Robert Perry, Ian Self.
Univ. Bristol Society: Richard Webster, Robert Wood.
Univ. London Society: Jacqui Brown.
Winchester & Portsmouth Dio. Guild: Michael Church, David Mattingley, Peter Niblett, Vivien Nobbs, Anthony Smith.
Worcestershire & Districts Assn: Alison Hodge, Paul Marshall, Stuart Piper, Alan Roberts.
Yorkshire Assn: Barrie Dove, Peter Kirby, Deborah Thorley, Susan Welch.

Durham University Society, Leeds University Society, the National Police Guild, Oxford University Society and the Veronese Association were not represented.

The Chair was taken by the President, Chris Mew.

1. Opening Prayer

Richard Wallis, Surrey Association, led members in prayer.

2. Report as to membership and subscriptions

The Hon Secretary, Mary Bone, reported that 66 societies were affiliated to the Council with 193 representatives; there were 8 vacancies. There were 6 Life Members, 8 Additional Members and 7 ex-officio Members. [Post-meeting note: all subscriptions have been received.]

3. Welcome to new members

The President gave a warm welcome to new and returning members (indicated by * and # respectively in the list of those present).

4. Apologies for absence

Apologies had been received from Revd John Baldwin, Bill Butler and David Thorne (Life Members); Alan Baldock and Stella Bianco (Additional Members); Tim Jackson, Brian Meads and Bill Purvis (ex-officio); John Atkinson (Beverley & District Society), James Clarke (Guild of Devonshire Ringers), Michael Williams (Durham University Society), Andrew Gunn (Four Shires Guild), William Nash (Gloucester & Bristol DA), John Couperthwaite (Guildford DG), Jane Mason (Hereford DG), Alison Brittliff and Chris Fletcher (Lancashire Assn), Bill Dowse (National Police Guild), Bruce Butler (North American Guild), Ray Ballard (North Staffs Assn), Peter Adcock and Jenny Brunger (Norwich Diocesan Assn), Mark Bell (Oxford US), Sue Wilkinson (Scottish Assn), Mary Jones (Truro Diocesan Guild) and Eles Belfontali and David Roskelly (Veronese Assn). Further apologies were presented from Mervyn Way (Devon Assn), Tim Collins (Dorset County Assn), Howard Smith (Durham & Newcastle DA) and Andrew Mills (Southwell & Nottingham DG).

5. Loss of members through death

Members stood in silence as the Hon Secretary read the names of the following members and former members who had died since the last meeting: Frank Lewis (Kent County Assn 1990-2008 and 2014-); Ronald Noon (Peterborough DG 1951-1954); Terence Hampton (St Martin’s Guild 1975-1986); Peter Mackie (Ancient Society of College Youths 2014-); Freda Willgress (Ladies Guild 1990-1993); John Chilcott (Ancient Society of College Youths 1960-1963); Edward Mould (London County Assn 1990-2005); Andrew Barnsdale (Sussex County Assn 2012-2016); Denis Frith (Lincoln DG 1972-1993). Peter Wilkinson, Chester Diocesan Guild, led members in prayer.

6. Minutes of the 2015 Annual Meeting

The Minutes of the meeting held on 25th May 2015 had been published in The Ringing World of 2nd October 2015.

The Minutes were approved and signed by the President.

The President asked members wishing to speak to wait for a microphone and to give their name and that of the society they represented. He informed members that the proceedings were being live streamed to the Internet and were also being recorded to assist with the Minutes.

The President reminded members to declare any relevant interest in the bell-related trade before speaking at the meeting or proposing a candidate for election. The President asked members to treat each other with courtesy as all members were volunteers.

7. Matters arising from the Minutes not covered elsewhere on the agenda

No member wished to raise any matter.

8. Annual Report of the Council
(RW 6th May 2016, p469-470)

The Hon Secretary noted that two further representative members had resigned and their vacancies had been filled and one other vacancy had been filled since the Annual Report was prepared and that the figures in the last 2 sentences of paragraph 4 should therefore read “… 6 Life Members, 8 Additional Members, 7 ex-officio Members and 193 Representative Members. There are 8 other vacancies.” She further noted that in the last line of paragraph 6 the reference should be to the 6th May 2016 issue of The Ringing World.

Adoption of the report was then proposed by the Hon Secretary, seconded by the President and agreed.

9. Accounts for 2015
(RW 6th May 2016, pp470-472)

The Hon Treasurer, Andrew Taylor, reported that the independent examiners had issued an unqualified report. The net movement of funds for 2015 was a deficit of £3,074. Interest receivable was similar to that in 2014 but was expected to fall again in 2016. The expenses of the Council meeting were higher than in 2014. Total funds, including Gift Aid, raised towards Christchurch NZ were £15,219 of which £10,000 was paid to leave a balance of £5,219. Donations towards the Kilifi project totalled £4,530 of which £2,476 has been paid, leaving a balance of £2,054.

Looking ahead, the Hon Treasurer noted that the Administrative Committee had decided to re-visit proposals for changing the basis of the affiliation fee and thus a motion to increase the fee for 2017 had not been submitted. The deficit for 2016 would be met from reserves. Andrew concluded by stating that he would be unable to stand for re-election in 2017 due to pressure of work and other commitments.

The Hon Treasurer formally proposed the adoption of the Accounts; Michael Church seconded and adoption of the accounts was agreed.

10. Election of Life Member

Jane Wilkinson proposed that John Barnes be elected to Life Membership of the Council. Jane recalled that John had urged the creation of a bell restoration funds committee and had become the founding chairman of this Committee upon its creation at the 1975 meeting. John had served the Committee for over 40 years and was still the parish contact for the Committee with some 30 contacts each year. John was always willing to assist and visit parishes and had spent many hundreds of hours on this work. Alan Regin seconded.

Voting was by paper ballot and the proposal was carried by a large majority.

11. Election of Additional Members

Three Additional Members would complete their three-year term at the end of the meeting. The following advance nominations, duly proposed and seconded, had been received: Stella Bianco and Robert Cooles. Alan Glover announced that Stella Bianco wished to withdraw her nomination.

After a ballot Robert Cooles was declared elected. Twelve vacancies remained unfilled.

12. Change Ringing for the Future

The President introduced this item, referring to the debate at the Open Meeting held the previous day. He acknowledged that the pace of change in the Council appeared slow but assured members that much was being achieved and planned: public relations had improved with better communication both with ringers and to the wider public; the website was being re-designed; Council committees were working better together; the Council had good relationships with outside bodies such as EIG and CBC and with the Church of England on safeguarding issues; the long-term future of Dove was being secured; all committees had been asked for their work plans for several years ahead so that the Administrative Committee could work on an overall future strategy and business plan for the Council; a motion to change the committee elections procedure appeared on the agenda and, if passed, this would gain time at the annual meeting for more discussion on important issues; and a number of options would be considered for the affiliation fee and the future funding of the Council. The President stated that the Council intended to work closely with societies and to improve contact with society officers; to this end a number of regional meetings would be held to establish a two-way dialogue. The Founders’ Company had offered a grant to assist with an education and training initiative. He concluded by saying that he hoped to see education and training programmes with appropriate budgets in every society.

Members commented on the need for a vision to inform all Council activities and on the need to explain the Council and its work to ringers. Overseas representatives urged the Council to consult and work with them as well as with UK societies. The President responded that a vision should recognise the distinction between what the Council could achieve and what should be the responsibilities of local societies. He agreed that the Council’s work should be explained to ringers directly as this would circumvent problems with communication in many societies and added that the Council’s new website would allow ringers to sign up to a single email contact list themselves.

The President repeated his request to members to be courteous to each other in debate and encouraged those speaking in debates on the motions to be as brief as possible.

13. Motions

(A) Removal of References to the Ringing Foundation

Tony Smith proposed on behalf of the Administrative Committee:

That the second sentence of Rule 5(iii) be amended to read:

That the second sentence of Rule 5(iv) be amended to read:

That Rule 9 be deleted, existing Rules 10 to 23 be renumbered 9 to 22, and that the references in existing Rules 4(iii)(b), 15(i) and 23 to “Rule 10,” “Rule 23” and “Rule 18” be changed to “Rule 9,” “Rule 22” and “Rule 17” respectively.

That paragraph (iii)(e) of existing Rule 15 be deleted.

The Hon Secretary seconded. The President recorded the Council’s thanks to present and past directors of the Ringing Foundation.

The motion was put to the vote and carried.

(B) Change of Procedure for Committee Elections

Tony Smith proposed on behalf of the Administrative Committee:

That the third sentence of Rule 6(ii) be amended to read:

That the second, third and fourth sentences of existing Rule 15 be amended to read:

That paragraphs (ii) to (vii) of existing Rule 15 be renumbered (iii) to (viii), that the references in paragraph (i) to “paragraph (ii)” be changed to “paragraph (iii)” and the following new paragraph (ii) be added:

That existing paragraph (iv) of existing Rule 15 be amended to read:

That the first sentence of existing Rule 18 be amended to read:

Tony referred to the advance notice of this motion given at the previous year’s meeting and to members’ strong support for it then. The motion removed limits to the size of all committees except the Administrative Committee and introduced advance nominations.

Committee members would serve for 3 years as at present and would be eligible for re-election upon the expiry of that term. The Hon Secretary, seconding, stated that the nomination deadline in 2017 would be 29 March.

Some members expressed concern that there might be too many nominations for a committee to work effectively or insufficient nominations received by the deadline, while others commented that committees needed new members and that a number of committees already had insufficient members. Tony reminded members that committees would still be able to co-opt members to serve for the current year and that this power could be used in cases where insufficient nominations were received or where new members of Council were elected after the deadline. In reply to Mark Davies, he explained that the nomination deadline was in line with that for other Council positions. Robert Wood added that committees should ensure they provided information on their work to prospective members.

The motion was put to the vote and carried.

(C) Terms of Reference of the Committee for Redundant Bells

Robert Wood proposed on behalf of the Committee for Redundant Bells:

That existing Rule 16(x) (Terms of Reference of the Committee for Redundant Bells) be replaced by the following:

Robert explained that the revised Terms expanded the Committee’s remit to include buildings other than churches which contained rings of bells and referred members to the more extensive policy document available on the website. The motion was seconded by Helen Webb.

The motion was put to the vote and carried.

(D) Proxy Voting

Ernie de Legh-Runciman withdrew the motion:

That the following paragraphs be added to existing Rule 20 to permit voting by proxy:

Ernie explained that the motion was being withdrawn in the light of comments on it received during the weekend and to allow more time for debate on the remaining motions.

(E) The Council’s Responsibilities and Relationships

John Harrison proposed:

That the Council should make a declaration to clarify its relationship with ringers, with churches and with other ringing service providers, and that to give it prominence the declaration be recorded as a new “Decision” as follows:

(K) Responsibilities and Relationships

  1. The Council’s primary rôle is to provide support and services to bellringers - those who practice change ringing (methods and called changes) on tower bells in the English style or on handbells.

  2. The Council recognises its responsibility to undertake actions locally or globally that will help to ensure the long term future of ringing by supporting the development of all aspects of the art, science and practice of ringing, and fostering a sustainable community of competent, motivated ringers.

  3. The Council recognises the church as an important partner for the ringing community - most ringers are members of church bands that provide a service within their church communities and most ringers depend on the use of bells in churches. However, the Council seeks to promote ringing as a non-denominational living tradition open to all.

  4. The Council supports ringing for many reasons, including for church services, community celebrations, the development of skills and the personal satisfaction of ringers.

  5. The Council will seek opportunities to develop an appetite for ringing and a respect for ringers in the wider community and in all organisations with an interest in bells.

  6. The Council recognises the need to ensure the long term availability of bells suitable for ringing, whether in churches, former churches or other buildings in civic, commercial or private ownership, especially in an era of closing churches.

  7. The Council recognises itself as one of a number of providers of services to ringers, and will seek constructive synergy with other service providers, taking a leading rôle in helping different agencies to work effectively together.

  8. The Council recognises that its responsibility to ringers includes seeking to ensure the continuity of any service on which the ringing community depends, if the original provider is no longer able to do so.

John opened his remarks by expressing his strong support for the Council and explained that the motion was designed to address the negative image of the Council among many ringers by making a public commitment of the Council’s rôle in providing support and services to ringers. He stressed that the motion was not anti-church and drew an analogy between ringing and music: both had their own traditions, history and skills of which performance for church services was only a part. The Council needed to think long-term and recognise the changing environment in which ringers now operated. John summed up the motion as having two key points: the Council must improve its relationship with ringers and it needed a “grown-up” relationship as a partner with the churches and other providers of services to ringers. John concluded by saying that he and the seconder wished to remove the phrase “non-denominational” from the last sentence of the third point. Ruth Marshall, seconding, recalled her experience of learning to ring at a secular tower and reminded members of the position of ringing in Scotland where many rings of bells were now housed in non-church buildings. The Council and ringers needed to look at new ways of continuing to ring when churches were declared redundant and to be open and welcoming to all.

Tony Furnivall supported the motion and called for a clear and attractive mission statement. Alison Hodge proposed that the second part of the first point be deleted so that it read “the Council’s primary rôle is to provide support and services to bellringers”, thus enabling the inclusion of those who rang only rounds and those ringing in the Veronese style. Ernie de Legh-Runciman seconded this amendment. After some further proposals for alternative wording had been suggested the amendment was put to the vote and carried. Robert Brown suggested that a change in the Council’s name should be considered; John Harrison replied that this could be considered if the next motion was passed.

The motion as amended was put to the vote and carried.

(F) Review of the Council’s Rules and Activities

John Harrison proposed:

That the Council appoint a Working Group to undertake a detailed review of its rules and activities, and to make recommendations for modernisation. Specifically:

  1. That the Group report, with appropriate recommended changes, to the 2017 Council meeting.

  2. That the Group consist of 5 Council members who are not officers and preferably not committee members, 5 recent former Council members (having left in the period 2008-2014) and 5 representatives from territorial societies who are not in either of these categories.

  3. That the Council commit funds to the Group to cover hire of meeting facilities, members’ travel and secretarial costs.

  4. That the Group should consult relevant parties including ringers at large (via a survey), representatives of relevant churches and other tower bell owning organisations, ringing societies and the Charity Commission.

  5. That the scope of the review shall include but not be limited to: the Council’s legal Objects and its name, the Council’s structure and governance, the Council’s size and membership (for example whether being a federation of ringing societies is the best way to engage with individual ringers).

John stated that this motion would commit the Council to reform of its rules and activities. The group would operate with a definite timescale, have a balanced membership and carry out wide consultation with ringers and other relevant bodies, including via a survey. The last point indicated some of the items for review including investigating ways of offering individual ringers a stake in the Council. Ruth Marshall seconded the proposal.

A number of points were made in discussion: that a vision statement should be a prerequisite; that organisational change could be a distraction from defining the Council’s mission and strategy; that the proposed membership excluded those with experience, for example with Council committees; that the timetable was unrealistic; that organisational change did not preclude work on strategy; and that a fixed timescale was important. Peter Wilkinson proposed an amendment to remove the phrase “who are not officers and preferably not committee members” from point 2. John and Ruth responded that the review group would obviously consult Council officers and committee chairmen and benefit from their experience; however the proposed composition of the group would enable the officers and others to continue to focus on their regular work. The amendment was seconded by Angela Newing, put to the vote and lost. Further discussion then continued on how the group should be selected and the importance of reflecting a wide range of views and not just the personal views of group members. The Vice-President, Christopher O’Mahony, stressed that the officers should not be involved in the selection of the group. Peter Harrison suggested that guild secretaries be asked to circulate their members for expressions of interest and that a deadline of 30 June be set. John Harrison commented that the process should be transparent with the aim of producing proposals that would be workable and capable of gaining majority Council support. Jane Wilkinson proposed that points 2 - 5 be deleted as too specific. Pip Penney seconded this amendment. John Harrison repeated his comment that the process needed to be transparent and that the group should conduct wide-ranging consultations amongst ringers and other bodies. Andrew Wilby urged caution and warned of the effect on the Council’s image if inappropriate proposals were brought forward in 2017. The amendment was put to the vote and lost.

The motion was then put to the vote and carried by majority.

(G) Amendments to Decision (D) PEAL RINGING, Decision (E) METHODS and Decision (J) CALLS etc

Peter Niblett proposed on behalf of the Methods Committee:

  1. That Decision (D) PEAL RINGING be amended as follows, to allow a wider range of possible lengths for peals of Doubles, Minor and Triples:

    1. Add a new part (c) to Decision (D)B.2:

      “Not more than one touch shorter than an extent in which any of the possible rows at that stage occurs at most once.”

    2. Add a new part (d) to Decision (D)B.4:

      “Not more than one of the following:

      1. a touch with the tenor as cover as permitted in 2(c) above;

      2. a variable cover touch shorter than an extent in which any of the possible rows, treated as being at the next higher stage, occurs at most once.”

    3. Add a new part (e) to Decision (D)B.6:

      “Not more than one of the following:

      1. a touch at the lower stage as permitted in 4(d) above;

      2. a touch at the higher stage as permitted in 2(c) above;

      3. a mixed stage touch shorter than an extent with a cover bell when ringing the lower stage, in which any of the rows possible at the higher stage occurs at most once.”

  2. That Decision (E) METHODS be amended as follows, to allow a bell to lie still for more than four consecutive blows:

    1. Delete the current Decision (E)A.6 in its entirety

    2. Add a new Decision (E)A.6: “No bell shall lead or lie continuously for the entire plain course of the method.”

  3. That Decision (E) METHODS be amended as follows, to allow a new method to be named by ringing a true touch of 1260 changes or more for a Triples method (1250 changes or more for a method at higher stages):

    1. Replace the existing Decision (E)A.4 with the following text:

      “A new method shall be named and published in The Ringing World, subject to D.2 and D.3 above, and to the power of the Council to change the name or leave it unnamed if it considers it necessary, by the band that first

      1. rings an extent or round block as permitted in Part B.2 of the Decision on Peal Ringing; or

      2. in the case of Triples only, rings a touch of at least 1260 changes, or in the case of higher stages, rings a touch of at least 1250 changes, otherwise complying with Parts A to D of the Decision on Peal Ringing; or

      3. includes it in a multi-method peal complying with Parts A to D of the Decision on Peal Ringing.”

  4. That Decision (J) CALLS be amended as follows, to allow calls that extend the length of a lead:

    1. Add the following text to the end of Decision (J)A.2: “(c) by inserting additional changes between two rows, altering the length of a lead.”

  5. That Decision (D) PEAL RINGING be amended as follows, to allow peals of Minimus on handbells:

    1. Delete Decision (D)B.1 and renumber existing Decisions (D)B.2 to (D)B.7 and references to them.

    2. Add a new Decision (D)A.15: “One or more umpires shall be present during any peal by a single ringer.”

Peter introduced the motion by saying that this was based on responses to proposals for modernisation of the Decisions received at the open meeting held at Southwark in 2015 and on the ringing theory email group. He apologised for an error in the motion as worded: the first line of 3.a should read “Replace the existing Decision (E) D.4 …”. Peter stated that each part of the motion was independent of the others; they relaxed some current conditions in the Decisions and imposed no further restrictions.

On part 1 of the motion, Peter confirmed that a single partial extent could be rung at any point in the peal and that 240s of Doubles were already permitted.

Part 2 of the motion would allow a bell to lie still for more than 4 consecutive blows. Peter commented that the safeguard of not permitting this for the entire plain course of a method would avoid confusion as to which stage was rung. Richard Allton proposed, seconded by Tim Hine, that the wording should be “No bell shall remain in the same place continuously”. Peter responded that link methods already exist in which this occurs and he therefore opposed the amendment. The amendment was put to the vote and lost. In reply to Stephen Pettman, Peter said that current non-method blocks would become methods, with “Block” included as part of the name of the method.

Part 3 of the motion would allow new methods of Triples or higher stages to be rung and named in quarter peals of at least 1260 changes for Triples and at least 1250 changes for higher stages. Peter explained that this amendment had been seen as a key issue during the consultations of the past year. He noted that this provision would not be retrospective and recommended that existing provisional names be respected. Peter confirmed that the amendment related to quarter peals of a single new method; it did not allow a band to name a new method if it had been rung to a quarter peal of spliced Triples or above. Peter recognised the anomaly that only a single lead of a new method needed to be rung in a peal of spliced Triples or above for it to be named and suggested that further changes to this part of the Decisions could be considered in future.

Part 4 of the motion clarified the position on the way in which calls could be effected and Part 5 would permit peals of Minimus on handbells with the safeguard that one or more umpires be present if the peal were rung by a single person.

Peter concluded by formally proposing the motion, which was seconded by Fred Bone.

The motion was carried.

Members adjourned for lunch at 12.30 p.m. The President reminded members to initial the attendance sheets to signify their consent to membership of The Ringing World Ltd and asked them to notify any items of any other business to the Hon Secretary during the lunch break. The meeting resumed, after the Annual Meeting of The Ringing World Limited, at 2.52 p.m.

13 (H) Revision of Decisions on Peals, Methods and Calls

Peter Niblett proposed on behalf of the Methods Committee:

  1. That the Council recognises the need for a framework of definitions for Peals, Methods and Calls in order that method collections and peal records can be maintained.

  2. That the Council agrees that these definitions should reflect current ringing practices and also that they should not inhibit future developments in ringing, and should not impose value judgements on what people choose to ring.

  3. That the Methods Committee shall, in consultation with other interested parties, prepare revised Decisions that are consistent with points 1 and 2 and address points that have been raised in the consultation process to date. The Committee shall prepare a draft before the end of 2016.

  4. That the following areas shall be considered in scope for the revision:

    1. Relaxation of restrictions imposed by the current Decisions (for example peals on simulators, methods that are false in their plain course)

    2. Requirements on how peals are reported

    3. Requirements for Record Peals

    4. The process for recording and handling non-compliant peals

    5. The structure and presentation of the Decisions, and definitions of the terms used in them.

The President explained that this was an enabling motion and invited Peter Niblett to introduce the motion. Peter noted that the first two points established a framework with the remaining points providing scope for the Methods Committee to work on further changes to the relevant Decisions The consultation process had revealed many radically different views and the Committee would try to find a balance between some of these opposing views. The Committee’s website would be used to present draft proposals. Peter encouraged members and others to respond to the request for comments and drew attention to the timeline given in the third point. Robin Woolley seconded the motion. Tony Furnivall stated that the North American Guild urged the Committee to conduct further consultations in a transparent and public way and to use the ringing theory email list. John Harrison urged the Committee to consider alternative solutions to the issue of compliant or non-compliant peals.

The motion was put to the vote and carried.

The Ringing World, October 14, 2016, pages 1046 to 1050

14. Committee Reports

(The reports were published in the Central Council Supplement to The Ringing World of 6th May 2016. The relevant page numbers are shown against each report.)

The President asked committee chairmen and those nominating candidates for election to be ready at the microphone so that this part of the meeting could be conducted as efficiently as possible.

(a) Administrative (pp472-473)

Adoption of the report was proposed by the Hon Secretary. She apologised to members for the delay in publication of this year’s Supplement, which had been caused by IT problems at the office of The Ringing World, and thanked Fred Bone and Jacqui Brown for their assistance with its production. The Hon Secretary noted a minor change to the Guidance on Committee Expenses which introduced a deadline for the submission of claims. She drew attention to the forthcoming meeting with Historic England (formerly English Heritage) and the Church Buildings Council in July and asked members to notify her or David Kirkcaldy of any item which should be raised at the meeting. She thanked members for continuing to support the electronic circulation of papers for the meeting, thus saving a considerable sum which would otherwise be spent on copying and postage. The Vice-President, seconding, spoke on initial plans for the 2018 annual meeting to be held at Lancaster University. The report was adopted.

David Kirkcaldy had become an ex-officio member of the Committee. Angela Newing and Andrew Wilby retired. Helen Udal was no longer a member of Council. The following members were proposed, seconded and elected to fill the 4 vacancies on the Committee: Giles Blundell, Pip Penney, Clyde Whittaker and Andrew Wilby.

(b) Peal Records (pp473-477)

Richard Allton proposed adoption of the report. He noted that the three additional new methods rung on tower bells in 2015 had now been published and would be included in the 2016 analysis. Ben Duke seconded. John Harrison queried if the peal at Throwley should now be reported differently; Tony Smith commented that this peal had not been compliant with the Decisions at the time it was rung. Adoption of the report was agreed.

Andrew Barnsdale had died. Alison Brittliff and Derek Sibson retired. There were 3 vacancies on the Committee. The following members were proposed, seconded and elected: Paul Cammiade and Derek Sibson. One vacancy was unfilled.

(c) Public Relations (pp478-480)

Proposing adoption of the report, Kate Flavell thanked members for their co-operation in planning ringing for the Heritage Open Days in England in September. She asked members to complete and return the BBC survey on ringing circulated that day. Kate referred to ringing for the 90th birthday of Her Majesty the Queen and encouraged towers to ring during the Patron’s Lunch on Sunday 12th June. A seminar for public relations officers would be held in 2017. The Committee planned to focus on ringing for St George’s Day in 2017. Lynne Hughes seconded the report. Tina Stoecklin asked if Scotland could be involved in Heritage Open Days ringing. Kate replied that other heritage events were held throughout the UK. She also responded to requests for clarification of question 6 in the BBC survey. Adoption of the report was then agreed.

Matthew Sorell was no longer a Council member. Bruce Butler, Lynne Hughes and Michael Orme retired. The following members were proposed, seconded and elected to fill the 4 vacancies on the Committee: Bruce Butler, Michael Orme, Caroline Stockmann and Clyde Whittaker.

The meeting agreed that item 14 (m) should be taken next so that committee members could maintain existing travel arrangements.

(m) Education (p485)

Duncan Walker proposed adoption of the report. He announced that Tim Hine had now become chairman of the Committee and thanked members for their support during his time as chairman. Lucy Hopkins Till seconded. Roger Booth asked if the Committee intended to cooperate with the Association of Ringing Teachers in producing publications. Duncan replied that ART was well represented on the Committee but there was still a case for separate publications. Pip Penney added that ART publications were available for sale to the wider ringing community. The report was adopted.

In view of the adoption of Motion (B) the Committee size was increased and the following members, having been proposed and seconded, were declared elected: Christine de Cordova, Tim Hine, Gill Hughes, Pip Penney, David Smith, Caroline Stockmann and Susan Welch.

(d) Publications (pp480-481)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Beryl Norris, who announced that the new edition of Organising a Bell Restoration Project was now on sale, seconded by Jan Wyatt and agreed. The meeting resolved to send good wishes to John Couperthwaite, chairman, who was absent due to ill health.

Peter Mackie had died. John Couperthwaite retired. The following members were proposed, seconded and elected to fill the 2 vacancies on the Committee: John Couperthwaite and Mike Hansford.

(e) Redundant Bells (p481)

Robert Wood proposed adoption of the report. David Westerman seconded. Robert Perry informed members that the Truro diocese now had a “festival church”. Adoption of the report was agreed.

Robert Cooles and Robert Wood retired. The following members were proposed, seconded and elected to fill the 2 vacancies on the Committee: Robert Cooles and Robert Wood.

(f) Ringing Centres (pp481-482)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Leslie Boyce. Leslie noted that the latest edition of Training Times was now available electronically and drew attention to the fact that the Committee was currently without a chairman. Committee members had spent time considering various options for its future, including disbanding the Committee, forming a smaller Committee with a limited brief, continuation of the present situation or becoming a working group as part of another committee. Phil Bailey seconded the report. John Harrison urged the Committee to review earlier proposals for a merger of the Education and Ringing Centres committees; Leslie replied that he hoped the committees would work closely together. The report was adopted.

Matthew Sorell was no longer a Council member. Leslie Boyce and Pip Penney retired. There were 3 vacancies on the Committee. Two members were proposed, seconded and elected: Leslie Boyce and Maureen Frost. One vacancy remained unfilled.

(g) Ringing Trends (p482)

Tim Pett proposed adoption of the report. He regretted that the Committee chairman, Elva Ainsworth, had felt obliged to resign in October following publication of a letter in The Ringing World on data protection aspects of the planned survey. The survey was currently on hold. Deborah Thorley, seconding, announced that the remaining members of the Committee had all now resigned with immediate effect.

Robert Wood expressed his disappointment at this but pointed out that this was the result of a letter from a single ringer. David Smith stated that ANZAB would have been unable to comply with the Committee’s original request for data but had responded with suggestions on a way forward; publication of the letter in The Ringing World had not been inappropriate. Tony Furnivall considered that an international membership organisation would provide a solution to data protection issues. The Vice-President commended the Committee for the quality of the information collected and analysis made over the years, adding that the new Council website would provide a facility for individual ringers to subscribe and submit relevant data. The report was adopted.

No member responded to the President’s request for nominations. Stefan Zientek noted that the Committee’s expertise would be needed by the Review Working Party (Motion F). John Harrison recalled the background to the establishment of Ringing Trends as a permanent Council Committee and stressed the need to find a way to continue the Committee’s important work.

(h) Towers and Belfries (pp482-483)

Adoption of the report was proposed by David Kirkcaldy, who reported progress on the new Maintenance Handbook and updated guidance on mobile telephone installations, seconded by Chris Povey and agreed.

Tim Collins had resigned. Roland Backhurst, Alan Frost and Bernard Stone retired. There were 5 vacancies on the Committee. The following members were proposed, seconded and elected: Roland Backhurst, Alan Frost and Bernard Stone. Two vacancies were unfilled.

(i) Tower Stewardship (p483)

Proposing adoption of the report, Ernie de Legh-Runciman referred to his recent email (4th April) to Council members and for the need for better communication between relevant Council committees. Ernie suggested that representatives of Tower Stewardship, Bell Restoration, Towers and Belfries and the Committee for Redundant Bells should meet regularly and that the committee structure should be reviewed. Chris Sharp seconded. Stephen Pettman asked if there had been any changes to the most recent document on safeguarding and if the same document had been sent to dioceses. The President confirmed that this was the case. Ian Hastilow remarked that the committees also needed to work with DAC bell advisers. Adoption of the report was agreed.

Alan Chantler and James Smith were no longer Council members. Peter Kemp retired. The following members were proposed, seconded and elected to fill the 3 vacancies on the Committee: Mike Hansford, Julian Hemper and David Mattingley.

(j) Bell Restoration (pp483-484)

Peter Wilkinson proposed adoption of the report. He noted that 2 specific projects - the bell restoration seminar in Somerset and updating Organising a Bell Restoration Project - had been completed. Peter referred to the advertisement in the 1st April issue of The Ringing World seeking applications for a grant; 29 expressions of interest had been received and a shortlist of 5 projects would be forwarded to the company concerned for a decision. The Committee would welcome invitations to hold further bell restoration seminars in the regions. Peter confirmed that the Committee co-operated with other Council committees in its work. Jay Bunyan seconded and adoption of the report was agreed.

Jay Bunyan, Ian Oram and Peter Wilkinson retired. The following members were proposed, seconded and elected to fill the 4 vacancies on the Committee: Jay Bunyan, Graham Hills, Ian Oram and Peter Wilkinson.

(k) Biographies (p484)

Adoption of the report was proposed by John Harrison. John noted that 940 biographical records were now available on the website and that 40 articles had now been published in the “Prolific Peal Ringers” series. John thanked Pat Halls, who was not seeking re-election, for her work, especially in dealing with the backlog of records, and Bill Butler for the “Prolific Peal Ringers” series. Bobbie May seconded and the report was adopted.

Richard Andrew, Pat Halls and John Harrison retired. The following members were proposed, seconded and elected to fill the 3 vacancies on the Committee: Richard Andrew, Anne Anthony and John Harrison.

(l) Compositions (p485)

Paul Flavell proposed adoption of the report. He referred to the number of composition resources which existed in the online collection and stated that he would be standing down as Committee chairman. Richard Allton seconded. Mark Davies asked for the Committee’s views on Graham John’s compositions website. Richard Allton responded that the 2 sites complemented each other and that there would be migration problems if they attempted to merge. The report was adopted.

Richard Allton and Paul Flavell retired. The following members were proposed, seconded and elected to fill the 2 vacancies on the Committee: Richard Allton and Paul Flavell. Veronica Downing stated that George Salter had just resigned as a Suffolk Guild Central Council representative and therefore there was a further vacancy on the Committee. This vacancy was left unfilled.

(n) Information and Communications Technology (pp485-486)

Adoption of the report was proposed by David Richards. Dave thanked Douglas Davis for his work on the proposed new Council website which was currently on display and asked members to view this and provide feedback by the end of August. The new system would allow committees to update their own web pages directly. Dave also announced that the Committee was able to provide a repository and support service for the preservation of digital ringing resources. Douglas Davis seconded and adoption of the report was then agreed. The Vice-President congratulated the Committee on their progress with these projects during the year.

David Richards, Leigh Simpson and Peter Trotman retired. The following members were proposed and seconded to fill the 3 vacancies on the Committee: David Richards, Leigh Simpson and Peter Trotman.

Dave Richards added that the Committee would be happy to assist with the proposed survey of ringers but the responsibility for this should remain with the Ringing Trends Committee.

(o) Library (pp486-487)

Proposing adoption of the report, Alan Glover paid tribute to the work of Stella Bianco, retiring chairman. Linda Foddering seconded and adoption of the report was agreed. It was announced that Linda Foddering would become chairman.

Stella Bianco would no longer be a Council member. Ian Self retired. There were 2 vacancies on the Committee. One member was proposed, seconded and elected: Ian Self. One vacancy was unfilled.

(p) Methods (p487)

Peter Niblett proposed adoption of the report. This was seconded by Leigh Simpson and agreed.

Peter Niblett and Robin Woolley retired. There were 3 vacancies on the Committee. Four members were proposed and seconded to serve on the Committee. In view of the adoption of Motion B the meeting agreed that all should serve and the following were declared elected: Mark Davies, David Grimwood, Peter Niblett and Robin Woolley.

15. Report of the Stewards of the Carter Ringing Machine Collection (RW 6th May 2016, p487)

Adoption of the report was proposed by James Blackburn, seconded by George Dawson and agreed.

16. Report of the Steward of the Rolls of Honour (RW 6th May 2016, pp487-488)

In proposing the report for adoption, Alan Regin noted the publication in the current Ringing World of information on those ringers who fell during April to June 1916. Alan reminded members of the anniversary of the commencement of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July and asked societies to inform him of any commemorative ringing organised to the memory of those ringers who lost their lives. The centenary of the battle of Jutland, in which 3 ringers died, would be marked on 31 May. Alan thanked Yvonne Cairns and Kathryn Pearce for their assistance with family history research. Robert Wood seconded and adoption of the report was agreed.

17. Report of the Stewards of the Dove Database (RW 6th May 2016, p488)

In the absence of the Stewards, the President proposed adoption of the report. He referred to the vast amount of work undertaken by the Stewards and informed members that progress was being made on ensuring the future viability of the service with plans to host the Dove database on the BellBoard server. He urged any member interested in working as a Dove Steward to contact him. The Vice-President seconded. Ernie de Legh-Runciman asked if Dove would be able to link with the new Church of England online records system; the President replied that the Church Buildings Council was interested in supporting the work done on the pNBR. The report was adopted. The meeting agreed that a message wishing Sid Baldwin, John’s son and the developer of the Dove mobile app, a speedy recovery should be sent.

18. Central Council Rescue Fund for Redundant Bells (Registered Charity no. 278816)
Report and Accounts
(RW 6th May 2016, p488)

Adoption of the report was proposed by Robert Cooles and seconded by Helen Webb. Fred Bone asked for an assurance that the charity’s entry on the Charity Commission website, which showed an overdue annual return and an out-of-date list of trustees, would be updated urgently. This assurance was given and the report was agreed.

19. Future meetings

The President reminded members that invitations had been accepted for future years as follows:

Ruth Marshall outlined plans for the visit of the Council to Edinburgh in 2017.


The Hon Secretary reported on attendance at the meeting as set out in the table below and thanked Stephen Franklin for compiling the attendance records.

20. Other Business

(a) The Vice-President invited expressions of interest for the positions of Vice-President and Treasurer in 2017.

(b) Helen Webb urged members to support the BellRingers Strike Back Against Blood Cancer event on 25th June.

(c) Julian Newman asked about the position of the Ringing Trends Committee; the President confirmed that there were currently no volunteers to serve on the Committee.

(d) Alan Regin asked any ringer who would be attending the Somme commemoration at Thiepval on 1st July to contact him.

(e) Kate Flavell reminded members to return the BBC survey sheets.

(f) James Ramsbottom asked if, with no members, the Ringing Trends Committee still existed; the President responded that the Committee did exist but had no members.

(g) The Hon Secretary reminded members to return badges and, especially, badge holders.

(h) The Hon Secretary stated that the nomination deadline for Council officers, stewards, independent examiners and committee members would be 29 March 2017.

(i) The President sought agreement for the ballot papers to be destroyed and this was given.

Votes of Thanks

The President thanked all committee members and stewards for their work for ringing and the Council throughout the year and thanked members for their support during the difficult discussions at the day’s meeting.

The President moved a comprehensive vote of thanks to all those involved in the Council’s visit to Portsmouth: to the organising committee of the Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild: Christine Hill, Michael Church, Charlotte Colliss, Claire Partridge, Maureen Routh, Tessa Smith and Tony Smith; to all the members of the Guild who manned the Reception / Help Desk; to ringing members from local towers who acted as stewards for the ringing tours; to Guild members who acted as stewards at The Royal Beach Hotel and to the tellers and microphone operators; and to all those Guild members involved in any way with the arrangements; to the Rt Revd Christopher Foster (Bishop of Portsmouth), to Councillor David Fuller (Lord Mayor of Portsmouth), and the Master of the Guild Viv Nobbs for their welcome at the dinner; to the Revd Canon Jo Spreadbury, Precentor, for leading the Songs of Praise service and giving the address at the Cathedral; and to all the incumbents and ringers of local churches who made bells available during the weekend.

The President declared the meeting closed at 5.20 p.m.

Summary of Attendance
Fully represented37110-
Partly represented245720
Not represented5-6

Life Members33
Ex-officio Members43
Additional Members62


The Ringing World, October 28, 2016, pages 1094 to 1096

(Archivist’s note: also absent were Matthew Cracknell (Durham & Newcastle Dio. Assn), Adam Crocker (Leeds Univ. Society), George Salter (Suffolk Guild) and Brian Sanders (Yorkshire Assn))

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