1. Master’s welcome

    The Guild Master - Mike Winterbourne, supported by Vice-Master - Pete Jordan, Hon. Gen. Secretary - Heather Frazer, Hon. Gen. Treasurer - Ros Brandwood and Minute Secretary - Tony Smith, opened the meeting at 5 p.m. The Master welcomed all present, thanked the incumbents and tower captains for the use of their bells, Rev. Dominic Furness for taking the service, Peter Murdock-Saint for playing the organ and Maggie Cobb and her team for the superb tea. He said a short prayer to open the meeting.

  2. Striking Competition results

    David and Flick Warwick had judged the Inter-District 8-bell Striking Competition at Ringwood that morning. The following results had been announced and certificates presented to the team captains.

    Position District Method Score Drawn
    1stWinchesterGrandsire Triples86%1st
    2ndPortsmouthGrandsire Triples82%3rd
    3rdChristchurch & SouthamptonGrandsire Triples75%2nd
  3. The following 59 members signed the attendance book: Lizzie Hough (Alverstoke), Heather Frazer, and Lynne & Pete Jordan (St. Michael, Basingstoke), Ann & Roy LeMarechal (Bishopstoke), Kim Matthews (Sacred Heart, Bournemouth), Julie & James Hodkin, and Jennie Overton (Brockenhurst), Ros Brandwood (Burghclere), Graham & Harry Cane (Buriton), Marie Boniface (Catherington), Rosalind Martin and Rosemary Rogers (Christchurch), Robin Milford (Curdridge), Roger Liscoe, and Gill & Robin Wilson (Hinton Admiral), Faith & Tony Webster (Hordle), Tessa & Tony Smith (Hursley), John Palk and Mark Warner (Lockerley), Margaret Cobb, Sallie, Andy & Isla Ingram, and Peter Melville (Milford-on-Sea), Nikki Brown (Netley), Elizabeth & Andrew Johnson (New Alresford), Robin Winckworth (Petersfield), David Mattingley (Portsmouth Cathedral), Allan Yalden (Purbrook), Deb Baker (Rotherwick), Mary Tester (Shorwell), Peter Murdock-Saint (Sopley), Barry Fry (St. Barnabas, Southampton), Colin Butler (Southampton City Centre), Edd Colliss (Swanmore), Mike Winterbourne (Tangley), Michael Church (Upton Grey), Peter Niblett (Whitchurch), Alan Hutchinson and Bruce Purvis (Winchester Cathedral) and Christine Knights-Whittome (Wonston).

    Apologies for absence had been received from Ian Rees (All Saints, Basingstoke), Greg Jordan and Jon Soar (St. Michael, Basingstoke), David Cooper and Valerie Harris (Blackmoor), Mark Esbester (Catherington), Graham Nobbs (Carisbrooke), Kerry Mann (Dogmersfield), Ruth & Derek Jackson (Eling), Valerie Williams (Froxfield), Francis Bray and Elizabeth Ramsbottom (Hinton Admiral), Maggie Hiller (Kingsclere), Jen Churchill (Lockerley and East Tytherley), Polly Osborne (Minstead), Martin Barnes and Nici Collins (Rotherwick), Viv Nobbs and Jill Taylor (Ryde), Jane Le Conte (St. Peter Port), Jenny Watson (Sparsholt), Mo & Hugh Routh (Steep), Margaret Winterbourne (Tangley), Lisa Ashforth (Wickham), Jacqui & John Downham (Winchester Cathedral), Paul Fitzgerald (Wonston) and Joyce & John Croft (Unattached). Further apologies were received from Mary Sterry (Lyndhurst).

  4. Loss of Members from death since the 2016 AGM

    The meeting stood to remember: Kay Alonzo (formerly of New Alresford), Alan Anstey (formerly of St. Michael, Basingstoke), Phillip Davis (formerly of Godshill and Shanklin), Nigel Miller (formerly of Ryde and Arreton), Brian Orange (King’s Somborne), Michael Pointer (formerly of Romsey), Ruth Roberts (Christchurch), John Smith (formerly of Ryde and Shanklin), Christopher P K Smithies (Sacred Heart, Bournemouth) and D Kenvyn Walters (formerly of Yateley). Barry Fry said a prayer.

  5. Minutes of the 2016 AGM

    The minutes of the 2016 AGM at New Alresford were adopted on the proposition of Christine Knights-Whittome, seconded by John Palk, and signed by the Master as a true record.

  6. Matters arising

    There were no matters arising.

  7. Life Membership

    Graham Cane (Buriton), David Cooper (Blackmoor), Roy LeMarechal (Bishopstoke), Rosemary Rogers (Christchurch) and Valerie Williams (East Meon) had completed fifty years’ ringing membership of the Guild. The Master presented Graham, Roy and Rosemary with their Life Membership certificates (applause), David’s certificate was taken by Graham Cane and Valerie’s certificate was taken by Elizabeth Johnson.

  8. Officers’ and Committee Reports for 2016

    There were no comments and the reports were adopted en bloc on the proposition of Colin Butler, seconded by Bruce Purvis.

  9. Bell Restoration Fund

    1. Trustees’ Report and Accounts for 2016

      There were no comments on the Report and Accounts.

    2. Grant proposals

      The Hon. Gen. Treasurer reported that there had been one new grant application received too late for consideration at the Trustees’ meeting earlier that afternoon.

  10. Report of 2017 Central Council Meeting

    David Mattingley read a report (see Appendix A). Andrew Johnson commented on the differences between the constitution of the current committees and the anticipated workgroups, and Peter Niblett commented on the ambition for direct membership of a Central Ringing Organisation.

  11. Confirmation of election by the Executive Committee to the office of Hon. Gen. Secretary

    At its meeting in November the Executive Committee had elected Heather Frazer to temporarily fill a vacancy as Hon. Gen. Secretary. Michael Church proposed and Barry Fry seconded this election should be confirmed. There were no other nominations.

  12. Action Plan Update

    A paper from the Immediate Past Master had been distributed (see Appendix B). On behalf of the Guild the Master had sent good wishes for a speedy recovery to Graham Nobbs.

  13. Motions

    (A) Tony Smith proposed and John Palk seconded on behalf of the Executive Committee that the wasteful printing of unwanted copies of the annual report be reduced by asking members to request copies in advance. Specifically that rule 18 Reports be sub-divided and 18.c amended by deleting the words struck through and inserting the words underlined.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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 except probationary and compounding members. 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.

    Following questions the motion was passed nem. con. by the required majority.

    (B) Andy Ingram proposed and Mike Winterborne seconded that a Guild Ringing Schools Committee should be setup. Following questions the motion was passed nem. con. The Master proposed that Andy Ingram, Sallie Ingram and himself be elected to the new committee, with power to co-opt, and this was agreed.

    (C) Tony Smith proposed and the Master seconded on behalf of the Executive Committee that the relationship between the Guild and its committees be formalised. Specifically, that in rule 4 Administration “Convenors of sub-committees” be amended to “Convenors of committees”, that the following two new rules be added after the existing rule 8, that existing rules 9 to 22 be renumbered 11 to 24, and that cross-references between rules be adjusted accordingly.

    The motion was passed nem. con. by the required majority.

    (D) Tony Smith proposed and Bruce Purvis seconded on behalf of the Executive Committee that in future the Annual General Meeting should normally be held on the third Saturday in June instead of the first Saturday in July although, in accordance with rule 5, the place and date are fixed at the previous Annual General Meeting. Following inconclusive discussion, Barry Fry proposed “next business” and this was agreed.

  14. Future Guild Events

    30 September 2017 District Officers’ Forum St. Barnabas’ Church Hall, Southampton
    7 October 2017Inter-District 10-bell Striking CompetitionAll Saints’, Basingstoke
    14 October 2017Education CoursePlain Hunt & Trebling to Doubles methods, Goodworth Clatford
    4 November 2017Education CourseStedman Triples, Milford-on-Sea
    18 November 2017Executive Committee MeetingSt. Barnabas’ Church Hall, Southampton
    10 March 2018Executive Committee MeetingSt. Barnabas’ Church Hall, Southampton
    19 May 2018Inter-Tower Striking CompetitionsVenue TBA
  15. Date and place of 2018 AGM

    This would be held on Saturday 16 June 2018 at Basingstoke.

  16. Any other business

    1. The Master proposed a vote of thanks to Rachel Anderson for the massive amount of research work she has done on the WWI Commemoration Project. She returns to live in Australia on Sunday, but is committed to continue helping us at a distance (using email and Skype) for the foreseeable future and intends to return to the UK to attend one of the special WWI Cathedral services in Spring 2019 (applause).

    2. The Hon. Gen. Secretary had received an invitation from the Master of the Essex Association, John Harpole, for the Guild to enter a team in the Essex Trophy 10-bell Striking Competition at All Saints’, St. Albans, on 9 September, the test piece being a plain course of Superlative No.2 Surprise Royal. In view of the short notice it was suggested that the invitation be publicised on the Guild mailing list and anyone interested in organising a team given a deadline to respond.

    3. The Master said that the District Officers’ Forum would discuss the Action Plan and the role of District Executive Committee Representatives.

    4. Roy LeMarechal had CDs of the Centenary Bells album for sale at £10 in aid of the Bell Restoration Fund. [Post-meeting note. Roy subsequently agreed with the Hon. Gen. Treasurer that monies would go to the Training and Development Fund.]

    5. The Master thanked Sallie and Andy Ingram and the Christchurch & Southampton District for organising the day.

    6. David Mattingley said that the CCCBR Rolls of Honour are likely to have hundreds of names added (due to searches in local newspapers) and it is possible that some of the additional names will be from the Winchester Diocese (as it was before 1927).

There being no further business, the Master closed the meeting at 6.02 p.m.


Central Council 2017 - Edinburgh.

This year’s meeting saw the five representatives of the Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild travel to Edinburgh.

The day before the meeting, we were provided with an update on Council Review Action Group or “CRAG” - the body set up to review the Central Council, and to make recommendations to improve its structure - and an optimistic talk on the Church Buildings Council. These were both broadcast via the internet, and remain available to watch on YouTube.

Fortunately, the election of members to committees now occurs prior to the meeting. With a full agenda ahead of us, many were glad that this was the case.

Mention was made by the out-going president Chris Mew, of the current stand-off at York Minster. Chris’s further attempts to speak with the Dean, had been ignored. However since the meeting, I note that the appointment of a new Head of Bell Tower has now been announced (a member of the former band - Angela Mitchell), and so ringing at York Minster seems certain to recommence shortly.

With Christopher O’Mahony stepping up from Vice-President to become President, there was an election for Vice-President between Peter Wilkinson of Chester and David Kirkcaldy of Sussex. Following a vote, David was elected as Vice-President. The meeting also elected a new Treasurer (Andrew Smith) and a new Public Relations Officer, in Caroline Stockmann.

The motions of the meetings started with the CRAG proposals. Those that have taken the time to review the CRAG report and/or the subsequently issued frequently asked questions, will perhaps have already heard the outcome of these motions. All CRAG motions were passed. The Executive will publish a plan by the end of 2017 and make a formal report to the Council meeting next year. Whilst not inevitable, the Council will transfer management of its affairs to a new Executive, which will be able to hold Work Groups accountable for their work. Committees will be reduced into a smaller number of Work Groups. The formal business meeting should also become significantly shorter, and a suggestion was made to have an annual ringing festival. Communication links should be opened up with individual ringers during 2017-18. Some of this will require additional help from ringers, and it is anticipated that those in favour of the CRAG reforms will be forthcoming in offering their services.

A well-thought motion to delay the proposals (whilst not delaying the implementation of those proposals) was defeated.

The Methods Committee had various proposed motions to relax rules of what a method is, how peals can be rung, the standard of ringing expected during peals, and allowing non-extents during peals of Triples and below.

The Ringing World gave an overview of the activities of the journal, which has largely been turned around with the help of staff, the installation of new software to automate quarter peals and peals from BellBoard to print, and the support of donations, particularly from quarter peal ringers. Remote working may be a future cost saving possibility.

Next year’s meeting will be held in Lancaster.


2015-18 Action Plan Update - 17th June 2017 at A.G.M.
This review covers the period 2nd July 2016 to 16th June 2017

The plan was drawn up, taking into account areas of need identified by members, to enable ideas to develop, provide continuity and help move the Guild towards being a more relevant entity for its members, hopefully making it accountable and to demonstrate to members how their subscriptions are being used.

The initial 3-year plan included 7 areas of Ongoing Work:

This past year has seen 3 main Guild events:

The feedback available from the 8 Districts is that generally positive activities continue to take place in many areas of ringing. It’s encouraging to see many Districts holding training events, outings including visits to special towers, ringing festivals, quarter peal events, both general and dedicated practices and young ringers’ events. Two very positive observations I’d like to highlight: the majority of Districts have held their own Striking Contests, at least one annually and in some cases more than one … so they’re still popular! One District reported that Teacher Training had taken place, so excellent news!

There is much evidence of continued mutual support between towers and cross-border participation generally. There are a number of informal, personal initiatives that are continuing or have started up such as special practices, quarter peal clubs, handbell groups and the like. These are much enjoyed, appreciated and to be encouraged. It’s disappointing that the available Guild funds in this area were not taken up this year … please spread the word. It is easy to claim! The Officers will undertake to expand the channels of communication reminding of available funds and how to apply. The Guild is keen to support Districts in a number of ways. Please submit more feedback from your members and consider making specific requests for Guild support - what would help you the most?

The website is showing the Guild resources available to members. The Executive Committee has agreed to the hire of the Charmborough Ring for a P.R. event; no firm plans are in place as yet.

The work of the Communications Team and the election of a Public Relations Officer have helped focus and continue to develop the Central Liaison item in the Action Plan. Much useful information is circulated to members from Central Council, for example. Both the Communications Team and the P.R.O. have responded to enquiries from potential new ringers via our website and referred to us by Central Council and the A.R.T. Administration. The P.R.O. is working particularly with our main stakeholder, the Church, in both Dioceses and with local media and community. Feedback from the clergy, media and the public is generally good and encouraging.

Good teamwork between local leaders in two Districts, encouraged and supported by the Guild resulted in a team entering the Ringing World National Youth Contest in 2016. It’s great news that a W. and P. team will be entering on 1st July 2017! We’re delighted to record that the Elizabeth College, Guernsey, band won the 2017 Sarah Beacham School Group Award presented during the A.R.T. Annual Conference hosted by us. Our young ringers were once again invited to join the Salisbury Association youngsters on their outing. The feedback for young ringers events held has been positive.

As requested by many members - loud and clear - included in the ongoing review of Guild administration has been the matter of the Annual Report, thanks to the Report Editor and two willing volunteers. There is a specific proposal on today’s agenda accordingly. The Executive may wish to further consider the overall process of the Report, its content and method of distribution.

The date of our Annual General Meeting has been changed; again another item on today’s agenda. This is to try to avoid clashing with the RWNYC in particular. The further aim is send out a positive signal to our young members in this respect.

There are a number of Key Projects in the Action Plan: Communications, Education and Belfry Stewardship. Each of the committees have published reports in the latest report. All the committees’ work has been well received once again.

The Principal Officers and the Communications Team will be meeting again to discuss the Membership Database project in more depth, including human resources needed and costs, before referring back to the Executive Committee.

During the year, there has been a Training and Development Fund set up within the General Fund to offer financial support to members, especially those aged under 25 years, aimed to enhance and enable the development of a ringer or a group of ringers.

There is an item on today’s agenda proposing the formation of a Ringing Schools Committee with a view to the provision of centres for teaching new ringers. If approved, the new committee will work closely with the Education Committee but will be a separate entity.

Specific feedback from members for Belfry Stewardship is for a pro-active approach to be considered whereby churches, including those with no bands, might be reminded of the Committee’s work and encouraged to apply for Guild B.R.F. grant funding if appropriate, even for relatively small works. The matter of the amount of B.R.F. monies invested was a matter for discussion on social media. Both the Belfry Stewardship Committee and the B.R.F. Trustees have been made aware of these items of specific feedback.

One event listed was our hosting of the 2017 Annual Conference of The Association of Ringing Teachers held over two days in March in Old Basing. There was a great variety of interest on offer apart from the business meeting. Some of our own members were presenting training sessions, several local ringers worked very hard throughout, especially on catering duties, and some members took the great opportunity to enjoy the whole experience of meeting friends, learning new skills and having fun. The feedback was very positive indeed and a local newspaper ran an article on the event.

The two remaining Future Event in the current Action Plan are:

The Officers together with the Executive Committee will be working towards presenting a new Action Plan at the 2018 A.G.M. Meanwhile, District Officers and Executive Committee Members are asked to continue to promote the Action Plan benefits available to members. Individual members, towers and Districts are encouraged to consider applying for Guild support and to continue to feedback constructive comments using any of the available communication channels.

Viv Nobbs
Immediate Past Master