Guild Newsletter

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October 2020 Edition Available

The latest newsletter is available to view as "Current Edition" and a printable version has been put into "Downloads".

Please note that the deadline for the following edition 31st Deceber 2020 and items submitted after this date may have to be held over until the April 2021 edition.


Guild AGM 2020

It is now over 6 months since the Guild was forced to cancel the AGM owing to the Coronavirus. Since then ringing has stopped across the world, only beginning to re-emerge in the last few weeks within strict guidelines.

The Trustees of the Guild are very conscious of the legal requirements to hold an AGM to discharge our obligations to the Charity Commission and also to keep our members informed of the performance and plans for the Guild.

It seems it is unlikely the Guild will be able to meet and hold an actual meeting within the next few months. Consequently, It has been decided to hold the AGM by Zoom on Saturday 24th October at 10.30 am.

It is the Guild’s intention to send invitations to all members to attend the AGM through an email inviting them to register to attend the meeting. A code to dial into the Zoom meeting will them be sent to those who register on 23rd October.

Papers for the meeting will be available, on request after 10th October. Members will be asked to submit questions prior to the meeting to ensure the smooth running of the meeting. The minutes of the last meeting held on 19th October 2019 in Allesley can be found on the Guild website.

The Trustees recognise this new method of conducting the AGM may cause concerns for some members but in these exceptional times, we think it is the best way of keeping Guild business operating until we return to some form of normality.

Annie Hall
General Secretary.

Ringing World AGM

Held by Zoom on 5th September 2020.

This was the third Ringing World AGM Joy and I had attended and it was by far the most feisty. We attended the meeting virtually, but socially distanced in Joy’s sitting room. A much more conducive way to attend because we could discuss the points raised without fear of being interrupted or shushed.

It was the Canon David Grimwood’s first meeting as Chairman and I think we were all a little startled at the way it progressed. The meeting was scheduled to start at 2.00 but the Central Council meeting was still in full swing at that time. The formality of AGM’s dictate they must be held at an advertised date and time, so it was proposed to adjourn the CC meeting and restart it 15 minutes after the close of the RW AGM. This was very professionally handled by the President.

In 2018, the financial position of the RW was healthy, showing a surplus of nearly £10,000. During 2019, they had faced some challenges and the accounts showed a deficit of £1445. Much of this was due to the adjustment to overseas postal costs where they had been overcharging members who were then able to reclaim these costs. However, subscriptions had continued to fall, and in fact the RW has lost on average 76 subscribers every year for over 30 years. They do have assets of £347,047 and liabilities of £141,391 which leaves a general reserve of £205,658, which represents about 6 months’ worth of expenditure.

All of this was before COVID had struck. This year, the RW is expected to make a loss of £35,000 owing to losing £3k month in donations and their investment in a new digital assistant.

After the formalities of the AGM, the main item on the agenda was the resolution to convert the RW to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. This would not affect the charitable objectives or the editorial operation, but would simplify the admin with one governing body and would avoid liabilities for members and directors. It seemed very straight forward until the Board were challenged on these points and accused of being disingenuous and their points misleading. The concern was this move would distance the RW from the owners who are the current Guilds and members who had come to their rescue before. They were criticised for releasing the papers only that day, which had not allowed people the time to review their position. The meeting got quite ugly with all sorts of accusations being made. A vote was taken on the resolution, and even though more than 50% of the meeting agreed with the idea they did not get 75% required for its adoption. The idea of corporate membership of the RW was discussed and the Board agreed to write to all the Guilds to canvass their opinion.

The meeting only lasted 1 hour 20 minutes but we certainly needed the 15-minute break to flatten the ruffled feathers before we could conclude the CC meeting.

Annie Hall

Report of The Central Council AGM


The meeting should have taken place at Nottingham University but of course that was prevented due to Covid 19. Instead it was held by ZOOM and Annie and I metaphorically walked into unknown territory! However we need not have feared, we were led every step of the way by brilliant organisation and Techno skill.

We had both been asked to register some weeks before the actual meeting and had received the ‘secret link’ for login on the day. Although we could have logged on in our own homes we decided to meet and socially distance in my house so that we could debate controversial issues together: after all, we vote on your behalf, not on our own behalf, and therefore must look to your needs and what is best for The Guild.

We were asked to login between 10.15 and 10.25 and once logged in we were able to see, and join in the live chat, and Annie sent The Coventry Guild’s greetings to all the attendees. When the meeting began at 10.30 134 attendees had signed in and another 44 were following the proceedings on YouTube – perhaps potential delegates for the future.

So, how did it all work? Only 4 faces appeared on the screen – The President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer, although all our mug shots could be seen by the behind-the -scene Techno. He also had the power to keep us mute until we were asked to speak, (when you would appear in a small box at the bottom of the screen.) Oh if only we had that power at some meetings!!

A word of caution here- if you wanted to speak you had to put your hand up – so sudden movements could have added you to the list of questioners: a bit like inadvertently bidding for something at an auction!

Voting for motions was easy too: Proposing and seconding a motion was on a ‘first past the post to hit the button’ basis, then the motion popped up on your screen, you hit the appropriate box, and submitted it. Within a few seconds when voting closed the result came up on the screen. In many ways this was a better way because it was always a secret ballot and therefore, probably, more realistically reflected people’s feelings.

The other advantage of using this method was that you could hear everything the leaders and participants said unlike the ‘real meeting’ when microphones are rushed around the auditorium to the speaker, by which time you’ve probably missed half of what is being said.

  • The Business followed the usual Agenda with the report of 66 Societies now being affiliated. It was recorded that 14 Present and Past members of the Council had died over the last twelve months and there was a minute’s silence of respect.
  • The most contentious issue in the first part of the meeting was the application by the Clerical Guild to be affiliated. There were strong reasons given on both sides, but with the debate about small societies in the offing, the on-going possibility of individual membership, Annie and I felt this was not the time to support this application, despite the fact that we both agreed that we believe ringing should still have a religious connection, not purely secular. The motion did gain its 75% support and was carried.
  • The most long-winded session was the updates from the individual workgroups, although it was agreed that the work done in COVID 19 Risk Assessment and guidance on how to (or how not to) manage the return to ringing had been ‘ahead of the game’. To some this was seen as ‘Nannying’ but to others it gave them a reassurance that basically we were all in the same boat.

(Full Workshop reports can be found on the CCCBR website: Council Papers P16-P37)

Two new Workgroups have been instituted over the year:

  1. “The Senior Stakeholder Liaison” Workgroup
    This group has been tasked with making links between the Church of England, the Government, Amenity Groups and Major Fund holders with the aim to ‘put ringing on the cultural map’ and to strengthen the links with Church Authorities.
    Currently there are 42 Diocese which will undergo restructuring and we will be asked to send letters to our Bishops to ask two questions: How do they believe we contribute to the cultural landscape of their Diocese, and how will Guilds be affected by the re-structuring? It was pointed out that both these questions are a bit ‘woolly’ and we were advised that the group would be putting out more specific guidelines and questions for people to ask.
    Watch this space!
  2. The Young Ringers, Schools, Youth Group Liaison Workshop.
    This group had been tasked with making contact with groups such as Guides and Scouts, Boys and Girls Brigades and schools with a view to recruitment, possibly via badges, or voluntary work options. A link with lessons, and handbells was suggested for schools.
    We felt this was ‘re-inventing the wheel’ and Annie pointed out to the meeting that a lot of this work had been done by ART and also CDG had already got their lesson plans from time spent at Warwick School, which she was willing to share.

Simon Linford then outlined what the aims were for the future which would involve several of the groups.

a. Covid 19: these would continue to be put out as guidance, updated on Fridays, but should be looked at with local assessments of the pandemic.

b. He asked -Would it be useful for Individual Guilds to build strategies with their own Bishops?

c. Direct Membership still to be addressed

d. Reduction of size of Council reps still to be addressed

e. Mobile Belfry Construction: plans in progress for first one: easily transported, can be erected in an hour, can be borrowed by any Guild. Taylors have already offered the first bells and framework. Hopefully more than one will eventually be available and each stored in a different part of the country.

f. New Residential Courses: the hope is to encourage local Guild to organise their own with Guidance and materials from the Council. The initial main focus (when permitted) will be in the NW.

This provoked a lot of discussion from the ‘been there, done that’ brigade, most of which could have been avoided.

g. Strategic Priorities: being explored – see RW articles from Simon Linford.

  • Financial reports and acceptance went through without a problem, Officers were elected as had been notified and reminders made of the Governance Review that would have to take place in 2022.
  • Then we came to Item 17 – the motion to allow smaller ringing societies to join the Council as Registered Small Societies. What a can of worms this opened! The long-winded debate that has raged through the RW in recent weeks continued here – to such an extent that the whole meeting had to be adjourned because the CC Meeting was now encroaching on the RW AGM which many of us had booked into. Time now 2.15pm!

Apart from a small 10 minute ‘comfort break’ earlier there had been no breaks at all, so coffees and lunches had to be taken ’on the hoof’ whilst still attending the meeting! However, the lunch was much better than we normally get at CC Meetings and it wasn’t the usual ‘bun-fight’!

Unfortunately the RW AGM also ran into difficulties and overran its time! – see separate report.

  • The Meeting Resumed at about 4pm and the debate on item 17 continued, not without a lot of hot air, harsh criticisms, and massive concerns over the ‘Safeguarding’ issues. If only Simon Linford had ‘kangarooed’ the debate we would have finished a whole load earlier! However at the final vote the motion was approved.
  • Future Meeting venues:
    2021 Nottingham, based at St Mary’s
    2022 No Offer
    2023 Suffolk
    2024 Devonshire Guild

The meeting finally closed at 5.30pm

There will no doubt be criticism over the length of the meetings but overall this was one of the better meetings I have attended due to the organised way it was conducted

Guess the Tower

Here are 70 towers from the Diocese.  All have at least 3 bells hung for ringing, but not all of them are ringable!

See how many you can get before looking online!!

Alderminster Brinklow Whichford Exhall Allesley
Bishops Tachbrook Avon Dassett Warwick, St Mary Southam Farnborough
Dunchurch Tredington Coughton Whitnash Fenny Compton
Cherington Harbury Ufton Weston under Wetherley Stoneleigh
Barford Cubbington Fillongley  Tysoe Kineton
Foleshill Ettington Snitterfiled Grandborough Willoughby
Honiley Withybrook Honington Leamington Hastings Ladbroke
Rowington Willey Shipston on Stour Hatton Aston Cantlow
Leek Wootton Salford Priors Mancetter Clifford Chambers Hillmorton
Leamington Spa RC Stoke Lighthorne Newbold on Avon Napton on the Hill
Radford Semele Long Itchington Nuneaton Shilton Clifton on Dunsmore
Frankton Offchurch Henley in Arden Ilmington Lillington
Bubbenhall Burton Dassett Preston on Stour Ryton on Dunsmore Ashow
Wormleighton Wolvey Ansley Bedworth Claverdon
Guess the Tower - 2

Here are 70 more towers from the Diocese.  All have at least 3 bells hung for ringing, but not all of them are ringable!

See how many you can get before looking online!!

Chris Pickford has kindly donated one of his Warwickshire “Pevsner” Architectural Guides as a prize to the winner. It will be signed by the author.

Please use this answer sheet and send it to Mike Chester,  by Tuesday 2nd June. The winner will be announce as soon as he can mark all the entries!


1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15
16  17 18  19 20 
21 22 23  24 25
26 27 28 29  30
31 32 33 34 35
36 37 38 39 40
41 42 43 44 45 
46 47 48 49 50
51 52 53 54 55
56 57 58 59 60
61 62 63 64 65
66  67 68 69 70
Guess the Tower - Answers
Alcester Beaudesert Bishops Itchington Bourton on Dunsmore Wootten Wawen
Ansty Astley Sutton under Brailes Halford Coventry Cathedral
Keresley Tidmington Rugby Kenilworth Chadshunt
Leamington  Spa Alveston Monks Kirby  Warwick, St Nicholas Stretton on Dunsmore
Atherstone Radway Meriden Shotteswell Butlers Marston
Newbold Pacey Chilvers Coton Priors Hardwick Ullenhall Oxhill
Sherbourne Pillerton Hersey Bidford on Avon Priors Marston Brailes
Studley Wolston Long Compton Bulkington Marton
Berkswell Bilton Wappenbury Corley Wellesbourne
Church Lawford Stratford upon Avon Burton Hastings Stockton Walsgrave
Guess the Tower

Here are 50 towers from the Diocese.  All have at least 3 bells hung for ringing, but not all of them are ringable!

See how many you can get before looking online!!

1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15
16  17 18  19 20 
21 22 23  24 25
26 27 28 29  30
31 32 33 34 35
36 37 38 39 40
41 42 43 44 45 
46 47 48 49 50

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