Ringing World AGM held in London 7th September 2019.
It is not usual for the Guild Central Council reps to comment on the AGM of the Ringing World, but this year was different. A proposal had been made to change the objects of the RW and this had been met with concern across the Guild.
Traditionally, the AGM has always been held on the same day as the Central Council. Two years ago, members of the Council had been invited to buy a share in the RW for £10, which gave us voting rights at the meeting. £10 was the limit of our liability if the company went broke.
Nigel Orchard was the retiring chairman of the RW, some might remember him for his time ringing at Warwick, and he conducted the meeting very professionally.
Key points worth mentioning from the meeting are:
- The RW is now solvent thanks largely to the donations ringers make when their peals/quarter peals are published;
- The RW National Youth Competition goes from strength to strength;
- RW paper subscriptions continue to decrease but online subscriptions increase;
- The survey of 3,000 ringers taken a couple of years ago wanted the RW to remain a weekly publication;
- Reduction in plastic material this year with wrappers to become home compostable.
Then came the difficult proposal of changing the objects of the RW. Currently, it is:
"The Charity’s objects (“the Objects”) are to promote and foster the ringing of bells for Christian worship and on other appropriate occasions and in particular by the publication of educational and literary works connected with or related to the ringing of Church and other bells for Christian worship and on other appropriate occasions. [Memorandum of Association, 3] [10 March 1983].
The proposal to make the change was made by Canon David Grimwood, the new Chairman. There was a keen debate about the change, but the feeling of the meeting was it needed changing to reflect the change from a religious charity to an educational charity, with religious connections. The charity Commission had been approached and had given their approval for the change. One defining moment was when of the trustees said when then had commissioned work, they had asked if there was a reduction for charities. The answer was yes, but not for religious or political groups. A vote was taken and carried unanimously. The new objects are:
“To promote and foster the art, science and history of bells and bell ringing to bellringers and the general public, and in particular by publishing educational material and historical archives, facilitating communication, encouraging public interest and uniting the ringing community.”