Trustees' Reports - President's Report 2018

This annual report has a threefold purpose. Firstly it summarises and highlights for the listed membership what took place in the year. This aspect is covered more fully and in a more timely manner in the Guild Newsletters published quarterly. Secondly it acts as a repository for all the useful information needed about the Guild and as such serves as its handbook. Finally but not of least importance, it satisfies the obligations placed on the trustees of a registered charity to make public our operation.

In a year in which a new President is elected into office, by custom every three years, then the reporting of certain parts of the day-to-day aspects are most appropriately in the remit of the predecessor. As you will be well aware, at the AGM in April no candidate was put forward for the important office of President. Firstly then, I need to thank Joy Pluckrose for continuing in office during this hiatus period until my election at the General Meeting held at Leamington Spa in October.

In consequence events that took place during my tenure cover only a short period of the last quarter of the year. The delay that arose in this election is one with which the whole Guild membership needs to be concerned. It does not only apply to the post of President but to all elected officers be they at Guild level or within the three districts through which most of the work is carried out. It is good to see new people taking on jobs. They will need our encouragement and support to succeed in their role. As many of the long standing officers get older, they are more than happy to hand over to the younger more energetic membership and be around to transition them into their post. Successor planning has very much to be our watchword. Without this can the Guild’s existence be guaranteed?

The major event of the year that was driven nationally was “Ringing Remembers”. This was really the culmination of much ringing over the preceding four years to commemorate those ringers who lost their lives in The Great War in service to King and Country. In several parishes this mark of respect was also shown to all fatalities listed on local war memorials. Over the weekend of 10th & 11th November much effort was put into ensuring all the towers in the Diocese were heard ringing out at some point. Those on the Saturday were targeted at towers where a lack of ringers meant that they could not join in the coordinated Sunday ringing at either 12 noon or as part of beacon lighting at 7 in the evening. It is pleasing to welcome the new recruits to ringing through this publicity campaign who took part in this weekend. The Guild wishes them every success in their continued participation in all ringing activities and being regular Sunday service ringers.

During the year the established training activities have prospered. The Guild entered a team in the National Youth Ringing Competition and was well placed in its section. This by its very nature will always be a changing body of young people. This coming year we need to recruit new members to replace those who have moved on having reached the upper age limit. Likewise established Guild events and District events have taken place. The year ended with the Carol Service at Stoke St Michael’s. The “scratch choir” provided a good lead and we left a very good impression of ringers in general to those non ringers present. The relevant officers cover other events elsewhere in the report. The level of support at all these events could always be higher. I know that it is not for the want of trying different formats, different times of day, new ideas, that support remains variable. These activities are core to our continued existence as a viable ringing guild but are only worth organising if there is sufficient attendance.

Although the Guild and its Bell Repair Fund are comparatively small charities they are covered by the same regulations as any of the national household names. The four Trustees are given six main duties to discharge on behalf of the membership. How this obligation is discharged is briefly:

  1. Ensuring we are carrying out its purposes to the public benefit. This we achieve by the majority of our activities being those that enable us to fulfil our role of Bellringers within the Diocese of Coventry particularly provision of ringing for Sundays and other significant occasions. The Bell Fund meets this by the giving of its grants.
  2. Compliance with the governance document and the law. This we achieve by operating within the rules set out elsewhere in the report. Three major areas of the law which affect our operation are Safeguarding, Health and Safety and General Data Protection Regulations. These all have persons responsible for them including advising us and ensuring we maintain best practice in line with other nationally generated bell ringing related specific guidance.
  3. Acting in the Guild’s best interest. The decisions taken are by a majority of the members attending meetings throughout the year. The operation and activities of the Guild are kept under review to ensure continuing relevance.
  4. Managing the Guild’s resources responsibly. The finances and other assets are reported at each meeting, summarised annually and subject to audit. In the modern era this also includes strict management of the Guild’s social media presence and website content. Unfortunately there is little we can do about any reputational issues that arise from social media over which we have no control.
  5. Act with reasonable care and skill. The trustees bring a diverse range of non-ringing skill to the Guild. We ensure that specialist advice is sought as necessary either from within the membership or other qualified professionals. The Trustees meet as and when necessary to form a considered view on items that have come to our attention.
  6. Ensure we are accountable. The trustees are accountable to the membership through general meetings or direct contact. All members are entitled, upon request, to a copy of this report. The minutes of meetings are published and available to all. The annual return to the Charity Commission is made on time.

Andrew Alldrick


Trustee Annual Report - the Retiring President.

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye
I leave and heave a sigh and say goodbye -- Goodbye!,

Well… how wrong can you be? My three-year tenancy as President came to an end at the AGM in April and I had planned for a new President to take over. However, there were no nominations and no interest shown, and so the post was extended until the next business meeting in October. In some respects that paid dividends as it gave me the opportunity to tie up two loose ends before the handover.

However much forward planning goes into the forthcoming year, there are always spanners thrown into the works that need dealing with. At the end of 2017 I received a message to phone the Diocesan Office regarding a Legacy that had been left in Trust for the Bell Repair Fund. This was the beginning of a very tortuous journey that involved the Diocese, Legal Advisers, Financial Experts and numerous meetings – all of which is documented in the minutes of the Executive Committee Meetings, The General Committee Minutes and in a synopsis given at the AGM. In a nutshell, the legacy was from a ringer at Warwick, Phil Faulks, worth £670,000 to be held in Trust at The Diocese with the interest per year going to our BRF. Negotiations with The Diocese eventually came to a somewhat satisfactory end although there are still outstanding issues regarding the investment of this money by the Diocese between 2014 and 2017, the on-going investment from 2018, and with a possibility of establishing an independent Phil Faulks Charity with joint Trustees from the Diocese and The Guild.

The dreaded GDPR came into force at the end of May. Thank you to all who returned the forms sent out to each tower-these have now been collated and transferred on to electronic format, both of which are stored with The General Secretary. Unfortunately for those who did not return the forms, their names cannot be included in the Annual Report but their Guild Membership will be acknowledged as a number. Forms can still be completed – there is a copy on the website – and should be returned to The General Secretary.

The Diocese celebrated its 100 th Anniversary in September. However this was kept very low-key and The Guild was not encouraged to acknowledge this date.

Quite the opposite was true for the Commemorations of the 100th Anniversary of the End of WW1 on the 11 th November. All Ringers were encouraged to ring on that Sunday and an ambitious programme was undertaken by about 100 Members touring the County on Saturday 10 th November to ensure bells were rung in the silent towers as well. Predictably with our Members, they rose to the occasion, and bells were rung in every tower over the weekend. Focus was made on the Saturday at Newbold (Rugby Deanery), Warwick (Warwick District) and on the Sunday at Chilvers Coton (Coventry District) as each of these towers had significant reasons to be chosen: it is all documented in ‘Guild Matters’. But it goes without saying what a magnificent part you all played over that weekend – thank you.

I would like to thank you all for your great support over the three and a half years, for all the work done by the General Committee members, for the tremendous behind-the-scenes efforts made by The Executive Committee. On a personal note I could not have done what I have done without the wisdom, friendship and frankness of Annie Hall whom I thank from the bottom of my heart.

Joy Pluckrose

Trustees' Reports - General Secretary’s Report 2018

2018 may be remembered as one of the most significant years in The Coventry Diocesan Guild’s 112 year history. Four years ago, owing to the declining funds in the Bell Repair Fund, the Guild increased the subscription to enable it to carry on supporting towers which required maintenance or improvement to their peals of bells. It was therefore humbling when the Trustees were notified of the £670,000 legacy from Phil Faulks of Warwick through his Memorial Bell Fund.

The Guild Trustees worked with the Diocesan to ensure the terms of the legacy provided the best option for the Guild and we thank David Leafe of Warwick and Robert Cooles of the Central Council for their guidance and legal advice. The interest from this sum will be transferred directly to the Bell Repair Fund. This has made it possible for the Guild to offer to pay for a maintenance visit for every tower in the Guild that rings for Sunday Service. It is hoped, in the fullness of time, to be able to extend this offer to more towers.

Highlights of the ringing calendar always start well with the Guild social, this year hosted by the Warwick District. In February, there was general ringing to commemorate the centenary of the emancipation of women. The six bell striking competition was held at Bilton in March with 10 teams entering. The annual meeting was well supported in the Coventry District, held at Berkswell. In July the Rugby deanery arranged a wonderful ringing tour into Oxfordshire which included visiting a range of towers and enjoying cream teas and Morris dancing.

Coventry Spires, the Guild youth team, rang well in the RWNYC held in London, finishing 11 th out of a field of 22 teams. This is their fourth appearance in the competition, which has become one of the highlights of the ringing year. Quarter peals were rung in September to celebrate the centenary of the Coventry Diocese. The 8 Bell Striking competition held at Leamington Spa was won by the Rugby Deanery followed by the business meeting. Ringing tributes to the fallen in WW1, rang out over the weekend of 10 th and 11 th November. All towers, which rang as part of the Coventry Ringing Remembers commemorations, were listed on Bell Board to provide a full record of events. The carol service held at St Michael’s Stoke was a popular event at the end of a busy year.

The establishment of the Phil Faulks Memorial Fund was one of the main administrative challenges of the year. In addition, the GDPR required a comprehensive review of all documentation held by officers, past and present, in order to produce a new register. Grateful thanks to Joy Pluckrose for completing such a comprehensive review. The invitation to towers, and their PCC’s, to apply for the maintenance funding on their bells was completed during November and December and thanks to John Taylor’s of Loughborough for assistance in this area.

Ringing is such a great hobby, whilst providing a service to the church and community it serves. As in any community, sometimes one group may feel their needs are being overlooked and it is by working together that we can try and make everyone feel included, welcomed and valued.

Annie Hall

Trustees' Reports - Treasurer's Report 2018

Guild membership, as measured by those paying subscriptions during the year, decreased slightly again in 2018, although this could be partly explained by the fact that some towers appeared to be reluctant to part with their subs during the year. A certain amount of chasing up might have to be considered. The total paying their subscriptions last year was 475, against a revised 2017 figure of 515, the drop in numbers being fairly well spread throughout the Guild. At the time of preparing the accounts the Guild’s paying membership in 2018 was split thus:-

District Senior Junior Total Towers
Coventry District 118 3 121 21
Rugby Deanery 95 5 100 12
Warwick Archdeaconry 235 11 246 37
Unattached 8   8  
Totals 456 19 485 69

There are also 5 active life members resident within the Guild taking the resident membership to 480. My grateful thanks go again to George Wrycroft, Gerald Trevor and Sally Idle for their invaluable help in the collecting and recording of your subscriptions over the last 12 months. If you have not paid your subscription for 2019 by the time you read this (adults £10; juniors £2) I would urge you to send the money to one of these three as soon as possible.

This year the General Fund, despite increased expenditure on training and the youth team, and also the production of Guild handbooks, ended up with a surplus of nearly £200. This was a considerably lower surplus than 2017 mainly due to the loss of income from subscriptions as mentioned above. The Guild has reserves of £11,782 which is roughly equivalent to 3 years income which the Trustees regard as acceptable. This amount covers for any unexpected falls to income or years in which expenditure is above the norm.

The Bell Repair Fund (BRF) brought in almost £9,500 during the year, an increase of some £5,500, largely due to the income which we will continue to get from the Philip Faulks Memorial Bell Fund. Phil was a Warwick ringer until ill health prevented him from doing so and he died in 2016 leaving a large sum to be invested by the Coventry Diocesan Trustees with our Bell Repair Fund receiving the income earned. This is likely to increase our resources considerably hence the offer this year of the BRF paying for maintenance reports on many of the Guild’s towers. I would also encourage any towers thinking about work on their bells and fittings to apply to the BRF for a donation as with more cash available the donation could be a lot larger than those from the previous years. Just £100 was donated in 2018 – to Bidford-on-Avon.

The Bell Repair Fund has reserves of £37,195. These have benefitted from the allocation of part of the Guild subscription to be paid into the BRF and also from the Philip Faulks Memorial Bell Fund as outlined above. The very nature of the Fund means that the donations it makes to churches vary from year to year according to repairs, maintenance issues, and enhancementsthat occur and qualify for support. The donations made from the Fund vary from a few hundred pounds to several thousand according to the work needed. In simple terms with over 100 towers with bells in the Guild the Fund is equivalent to less than £400 per tower. The Trustees regard the current level of reserves as adequate. They are being proactive in using the money effectively by donating to churches having bell maintenance reports whilst still being receptive to funding any maintenance needed on bells/fittings; and augmentations to existing rings.

Thanks must go to David Leafe for examining this year’s accounts and for his advice to the Guild trustees. Finally if anyone else is interested in looking after the Guild’s finances please say so as it really is time that someone else took over – after all I’ve been doing this for 40 years now!

Simon Rogers – Hon Treasurer


Peal Secretary's Report - 2018

There was a total of 68 peals rung for the Guild in 2018, 2 less than in 2017. All were rung on tower bells making it the first year since 1994 that a handbell peal has not been rung for the Guild. This takes us to 4,304 peals since the Guild’s formation. The peals in 2018 were rung thus:-

Warwick Archdeaconry  - 21 (14 towers)
Coventry District - Tower Bell  - 14 (11 towers)
Rugby Deanery  - 23 (3 towers + 1 garage)
Outside the Guild  - 3 (3 towers)

Leading tower for 2018 was Church Lawford Plantagenet Ring with 24, followed by Warwick St Nicholas with 5, and Brinklow and Stoke with 3 each.

Methods were split thus:-

Doubles  - 2
Minor  - 23
Triples  -  1
Major  -  37
Caters/Royal  - 1
Royal  -  4

In 2018 20 methods were rung for the first time for the Guild – all Major methods, five of these being rung for the first time. Nine of these were rung by the band that rings monthly Monday night peal attempts and ten by the band that meets regularly at The Plantagenet Ring. There was also a series of Spliced Surprise Minor peals during which the band reached 34 methods, 41 being the next attempt perhaps.

Altogether 78 people (exactly the same number as last year!) rang in Guild peals during the year with 9 different conductors. Leading ringers were:-

48 - Ray Sheasby
47 - Simon Rogers (cond 43)
37 - Mike Dew, Andrew Alldrick
27 - Mark Sayers Peals rung in 2018
26 - Mike Chester (cond 10)
22 - Geoff Randall
21 - Julie Tarling
20 - Chris Stokes (cond 2), Ruth Stokes
19 - Peter Fleckney
15 - Philip Wild
12 - Sue Marshall

Just one Guild member rang their first peal during the year – well done to Peter Hollings, a young Kenilworth ringer, for this achievement.

Meanwhile for the Guild Ray Sheasby and Mark Sayers both rang their 600 th peal, Mike Dew, Andrew Alldrick and Paul McNutt all rang their 200 th , Chris Pickford his 150th , and Chris Idle his 50th .

At a more personal level Geoff Randall rang his 2600 th peal, Andrew Alldrick and Simon Rogers their 1200 th , Ray Sheasby his 750 th and Mark Sayers his 700 th . Of Geoff Randall’s 2,600, 1,162 have been rung for the Guild and he remains the leading peal ringer for the Guild.

Two peals were rung this year in memory of Guild members – one at Wellesbourne in memory of Ted Copson and one at Kenilworth remembering Harry Bodenham. Two peals were rung to mark the centenary of the Armistice – at Cherington and Great Wolford, the latter also remembering the Great Wolford villagers killed in World War I, this being marked by an exhibition in the church. Those killed in World War I were also remembered in peals rung at Southam and Radford Semele, while at Allesley a peal was rung to mark 100 years since Allesley ringer Private William Charles Beacham was killed in action.

In celebration peals were rung to mark the wedding of HRH Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Halford, Shipston-on-Stour, Packwood and Coventry Cathedral. Two peals were also rung to mark the centenary of the Coventry Diocese – at Cubbington and Church Lawford Plantagenet Ring. A peal at Church Lawford Plantagenet Ring was also rung to celebrate the 70 th birthdays of Ray Sheasby, Mark Sayers and Chris Stokes; while David Price’s 70 th was marked by a peal at Brinklow. Becki Johnson’s 40 th birthday was celebrated with a rare peal at Offchurch.

Well done to all those who rang firsts during the year and good luck to those who try something new in peal ringing in 2019.

Simon Rogers - Peal Secretary

Towers and Belfries Committee Report 2018

The Towers and Belfries continues its work with the body of people who give up their time and make their skills available to undertake maintenance and other minor work on bells within the Guild. The major purpose of this group is for the small jobs that do not require the specialised equipment or skills of the bell founders.

Most Guild members will be aware of the funding that has become available for inspection/minor maintenance of bells by the specialist bell hanging companies through the large legacy that now contributes to the BRF income. There had to be criteria for the first tranche of towers made offers and the piloting of this scheme which seems to have been well received. Its scope may be increased over the coming year. This will no doubt generate some more minor work for the committee or providing cost saving assistance to the founders if they are contracted for more significant undertakings.

Work has been undertaken at Snitterfield with further work possible. Assistance was given to Taylors with work at Stockton. This has seen the return of a ring of three as being ringable and generated interest locally in having their own band to ring them more regularly. More excitingly there is a good possibility of augmentation to 4 using a redundant bell.

When enquiries come from towers without their own ringers, often initial interpretation of what the churchwarden is asking about is more complex than the work to be undertaken. This was the case at Hatton where work to enable their contractor to replace the floor below the bells was required. This was done at no cost to the parish and as such always helps maintain a good relationship with Church.

Several towers continue to benefit from the regular minor maintenance of their bells by members of the committee who are local to the area. This is especially valuable where it ensures places with no regular band to be made easily available for other Guild activities. As part of the services the committee can now offer, is the making of stays. This will be about the correct size but still require final work to get the right fit. It will still be necessary to undertake the skilled problems of making and fitting Hastings type stays from plain wood blanks.

Regular liaison continues with Keith Chambers who is the Diocesan Bell Advisor. He does much to ensure that faculty applications for major work when they reach that stage, have already addressed the issues with which the DAC is concerned, considerably smoothing the path through this process. At St Nicholas, Radford in Coventry we continue to await a date when the bells can be removed, one of which is planned to be a replacement for another poor toned bell in an existing ring in the Diocese .

Finally there is the reminder that Health and Safety has to be the prime concern whenever working on or among bells and their fittings. The need for such vigilance was highlighted by what could have been a very serious incident (but fortunately was not) during the year. A cautionary note was sent out to all towers and also acted to ensure all our committee members continued to use and encourage best Health and Safety practices.

Andrew Alldrick
Tower and Belfry Committee Chair