Minutes of the Annual District Meeting held on Saturday 13th February 2016 in the Parish Rooms, the Abbey Church of SS Mary and Ethelflaeda
- Chairman’s Welcome. The Chairman, John Palk, opened the meeting at 6.07 p.m., with a welcome to those present, including visitors, and with thanks to the Romsey and Sherfield English Bands for hosting the day and to Kathryn McGregor and her helpers for laying on a splendid ringers’ tea [applause], to the Revds Christopher Pettet and Canon Timothy Sledge for the use of their bells, and the latter for leading the service, and to Gary Davies for playing the organ at the service.
- Attendance. The following 34 members of the District (representing eight towers and unattached), and three guests signed the attendance register , as follows:- Janice Higgins, Christine and Peter Hill, Christine and Ian McCallion, Jenifer Smith, Tessa and Tony Smith, (all of Hursley), Jen Churchill, Gary Davies, Carol Higgins, Rosemary Oakeshott, Bren and John Palk (all of Lockerley), Elizabeth Johnson (New Alresford), Phil Watts (North Stoneham), Caroline and Martin Daniels, Jennifer and Nigel Herriott, Charlotte Meader, Martin and Rhoda Willson (all of Romsey), Rodney Skinner (Ropley), John Colliss, Jackie and John Downham, Mary Edelsten, John Gawne-Cain, Bruce Purvis (all of Winchester Cathedral), Gerry Cornick, Christine Knights-Whittome (both of Wonston), John and Joyce Croft, (unattached); Charlotte Colliss, Graham and Viv Nobbs (Guild Master) comprising the guests; also present was Edmund Wratten (unattached).
- Apologies for absence. Apologies for absence were received from Apologies for absence were received from Amanda Bayford, Andrew and Sue Craddock, Alec Fry, Sam Fussell, Andrew Glover, Mike Hayward, Hugh Hill, Sue Holder, Andrew and Theo Johnson, Jane Pridmore, Trish Spink, Sue Spurling, Jenny Watson and the remainder of the Winchester College band
- Minutes of the Previous Meeting. Subject to a point of fact (six quarters, not five, scored during the Ringing Festival), the minutes of the Quarterly District Meeting held on 8 November at Sherfield English, were proposed by Bruce Purvis, seconded by Elizabeth Johnson and adopted on a show of hands.
- Matters Arising. Caroline Daniels suggested that if the Chairman would be willing, he be co-opted to organise and assist with running a pitch at the Romsey Show: her suggestion met with the enthusiastic support of the meeting, and John was pleased to agree. The question of finance was deferred for consideration under AOB, as per the Agenda.
- Confirmation of belfry elections.
Ringing members: Kate Shaw of Hursley prior to a peal at Hursley on 28 November 2015: proposed by Christine Hill, seconded by Tony Smith. Compounding members: Tim R Palmer of Sheffield prior to a peal at Bishopstoke on 29 December 2015: proposed by Roy LeMarechal, seconded by John Colliss.
Probationary members: Jenny Hebburn of Broughton on 4 January 2016: proposed by Mike Hayward, seconded by Bob Gosse. Michael Ward of Romsey on 4 January 2016: proposed by Martin Daniels, seconded by Caroline Daniels. Derek Stewart of Hursley on 5 January 2016: proposed by Christine Hill, seconded by Peter Hill. Peter Wild of Twyford on 5 January 2016: proposed by Angela Forder-Stent, seconded by Andrew Johnson. Anne Hibbert of Hursley on 12 January 2016: proposed by Christine Hill, seconded by Peter Hill. Rosie Cardoe and Richard Jenkins of Broughton on 8 February 2016: proposed by Bob Gosse, seconded by John Palk. Markus Finner of King’s Somborne on 8 February 2016: proposed by Sue Spurling, seconded by Ron White. Alec Graham and Luca Lombardo of Winchester College on 9 February 2016: proposed by Hugh Hill, seconded by Lucy Hopkins Till. Robert Abbott of King’s Somborne on 11 February 2016: proposed by Jane Pridmore, seconded by Bruce Purvis. 7. Election of new ringing members. Sue Welch of Broughton: proposed by Mike Hayward, seconded by Jen Churchill. Micki Nadel, Nigel Pridmore and Dawn Williams of King’s Somborne: proposed by Jane Pridmore, seconded by Sue Spurling. Sam Fussell and Susie Holder of Lockerley: proposed by Gary Davies, seconded by Jen Churchill. Stephanie Hodnett of New Alresford: proposed by Ian Redway, seconded by Elizabeth Johnson. Filip Hargreaves of Romsey: proposed by Andrew Glover, seconded by Adrian Hargreaves. Alexander Davies and Harry Rodgers of Winchester College: proposed by Hugh Hill, seconded by Bruce Purvis.
- Officers’ Reports. Treasurer’s Report and accounts: The accounts, as usual carefully examined by John Colliss, were proposed by Tony Smith and seconded by John Croft. Secretary’s and Ringing Masters’ Reports: Subject to corrections to the Secretary’s report, both reports were proposed by their authors and seconded by others present. All three reports were adopted on a show of hands.
- Election of Officers. The chairman advised that John Croft, who had made known his willingness to stand as from this year remained ready to take office if called upon. The treasurer was happy to continue in post, though he ‘would not be offended if anyone else wished to take over as treasurer’; the secretary and other sitting officers were likewise willing to stand for office for 2016,and John Colliss was willing to continue as Independent Examiner of the accounts. There remained two vacant offices: the (extra) Executive Committee representative, because of the size of the District’s membership, and the Newsletter editor, from which the Chairman felt bound to step down on account of his resignation as Chairman. Following discussion, the offices were filled as follows:-
Chairman: John Croft, proposed by John Palk, seconded by Bruce Purvis;
Secretary: Bruce Purvis, proposed by John Palk, seconded by Elizabeth Johnson;
Treasurer: Tony Smith, proposed by Bruce Purvis, seconded by Elizabeth Johnson;
Ringing Masters: Edmund Wratten, proposed by Gerry Cornick, seconded by Jacquie Downham; Joint Ringing Master: Jenny Watson, proposed by Gerry Cornick, seconded by Jacquie Downham;
Executive Committee Representative: John Croft, proposed by Bruce Purvis, seconded by John Palk
Independent Examiner of Accounts: John Colliss, proposed by Nigel Herriott, seconded by Peter Hill;
Webmaster: Andrew Glover, proposed by Charlotte Meader, seconded by Christine Knights-Whittome.
Newsletter Editor: John Palk, proposed by John Croft, seconded by Joyce Croft;
all elected on a show of hands.
- Future Events. The following events were planned: 9 March: District Training Evening, Hursley*; 23 April: District Practice, open day and ringing for St George’s Day, Houghton; 9 May: QDM and Striking Contests or Training, Easton*; 11 June: Training Morning: Raising and Lowering, Micheldever; 21 June: Tower Reps’ Meeting, Winchester; 9 July: Training Session: Conducting Doubles Methods, Sparsholt; 5 August, QDM and Walk Mottisfont to Romsey*; late August/Early September: Young Ringers’ Outing; 31 August: District practice, Winchester; 10 September: Romsey Show; 17 September: District Outing, Berkshire/Oxfordshire borders*; 8 October: Training Session: Conducting Minor Methods, Old Alresford*; 15-31 October: Peal and Quarter-Peal Fortnight; 12 November: QDM and Education Day, Ringing on Higher Numbers and Social Evening, Bishopstoke; 3 December: Carol Service, Cheriton*; 15 January: District Practice, North Stoneham; 11 February: ADM, Barton Stacey. All events apart from those asterisked in the list above were confirmed, including the 2017 ADM at Romsey.
The Secretary reported that the May meeting was provisionally scheduled for a training event in view of the perceived lack of interest in striking competitions. The Treasurer called for a straw poll, which revealed that 9 people were in favour of striking competitions and none were against, suggesting that if suitably promoted striking competitions would attract lively interest and participation, sentiments echoed by Nigel Herriott, who spoke of a genuine commitment to be exploited.
Christine Knights-Whittome reminded the meeting of the Guild Education Day on plain hunting and treble ringing to Doubles methods, on 19 March, at St Mary Bourne, also of sessions planned for 22 March (Tuesday in Holy Week) on the use of simulators, and on Friday 6 May on ringing on a mini-ring. She also pointed out that there was no event planned for 3 September as shown on the circulated calendar of events.
- Guild Striking Competitions. The Secretary reminded the meeting of up-coming Guild striking competitions, comprising the Inter-tower six- and eight-bell competitions on Saturday 21 May, at Eversley and Hawley (nr Camberley) respectively; the inter-district competition on the morning of the AGM on 2 July. There would be no 10-bell competition this year.
- Guild Master. The Guild Master, Viv Nobbs, opened her slot with “A great big thank-you, to everyone here – and not here – for all that you do for ringing in whatever capacity”, and welcomed John Croft, the incoming chairman, as the new Executive Committee representative. She went on to remind the meeting of the following:-
- The Guild Action Plan – which she hoped we had all heard of. It had been compiled after extensive consultation throughout the Guild and over a long period of time. Underpinning its objectives was the need for more volunteers, and the Guild working hand in hand with the districts. For all those volunteers throughout the guild, they needed “to know where the Guild was going” – its aims and objectives: these are all detailed in the Action Plan, available on the website.
- The AGM was fast approaching, and all the offices were up for election, for which we should consider standing.
- Striking competitions: Harking back to the earlier discussion on the District competitions, the Guild Master reminded the meeting that the competitions had a lot to offer as social events apart from the participation in the contests. They were a great way to enthuse younger ringers, who enjoyed all aspects of competition days. Apart from the Guild and district competions, Viv reminded the meeting about the inaugural South East England Youth Striking Contest, hosted by the Guildford DG, on 2nd April at Epsom Common. Viv had secured entry slots for two teams from the Guild and encouraged our younger ringers to apply. (Further details at http://guildfordguild.org.uk/inaugural-south-east-england-youth-striking-contest/)
- Recruitment, teaching and retention. On these linked issues, Viv referred the meeting to the Education section of the Guild Action Plan, which detailed the financial incentives for ‘getting involved’. There was £500 per district per year available, to assist with access to a recognised training scheme: the closing date for applications was 29th February.
- The Firsts Fortnight, 1st-15th March was a Guild initiative to encourage and celebrate first-time achievements of all kinds – from handling upwards. It was all about inspiring people, and capturing their interest. There were more details on the website, at wpbells.org/firsts-fortnight, and we were encouraged to post our firsts there. Edmund Wratten offered to help with any aspect of the initiative.
- Central Council Meeting, Portsmouth. Viv handed over to Christine for this item: Council would be meeting in Portsmouth over the weekend of the Spring Bank Holiday, Friday 27th-Monday 30th May, and help would be wanted with the stewarding at the various meetings and helping at the towers open during the weekend.
- Youth Funding. The Guild Action Plan detailed financial incentives for young ringers needing training and development, and Viv exhorted us all to encourage our young ringers to exploit these opportunities.
- Finally, whatever issues members of the district had, Viv urged us to contact our Executive Committee reps to raise them.
- Any Other Business.
In opening this section of the meeting, the Chairman recalled the – fortunately temporarily – shaky start to his term of office seven years ago, when the District Committee comprised himself as Chairman and Rosemary Oakeshott as Secretary and Treasurer, and his relief that before long the District’s affairs were placed on a more secure footing with Mike Hopkins Till’s appointment as secretary, and subsequently, up to the present time. He thanked the District for their continued support and wished his successor, John Croft, well for the future. At this point he was presented by the Secretary with a copy of Ron Johnston’s Bell-ringing: the English Art of Change-Ringing, on behalf of the committee, and a card signed by everyone at the meeting. [Applause, photo-call].
- District Outing. The secretary advised that the outing would take place this year on 17 September, and in the Vale of Newbury/Berkshire Downs/south Oxfordshire area.
- Houghton. The chairman – referring to the District Practice on 23 April, which would also serve as an open day for the new ring at Houghton – advised that the bells were being installed at the present time.
- Education and Training. The secretary urged the meeting to let the masters and him know of any specific training needs, which the district would do its best to accommodate.
- Support and outreach to local towers. The chairman advised that there was a problem in the district of some towers having early-stage learners attending, to the detriment of the practice needed by the towers’ own bands. Christine Hill advised the meeting that because Hursley were now training a couple of learners from scratch on Tuesday evenings, they could accommodate small groups of learners at a similar stage, but cautioned that it would be advisable to telephone in advance to be sure the practice was going ahead. The Secretary volunteered to post ‘ad-hoc’ practices around the district, in addition to the regular monthly schedule of events.
- Budget for Extraordinary Expenditure. The chairman advised the meeting that because there was no provision under guild rules for a standing budget for specific ventures, events such as the Romsey Show had to be referred to district meetings to vote a budget. He suggested that it would be useful to have a budget for the District’s presence at the 2016 Show of £100, though he anticipated that actual expenditure would be far less, as resources from the 2015 show had been carried over. Tony Smith proposed a budget of £100, Bruce Purvis seconded the proposal, carried on a show of hands.
- Angela Forder-Stent. Elizabeth Johnson reported that in the New Year Honours, Angela Forder-Stent, Tower Captain of Twyford, had been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to her local community, at the time of the floods two years ago. Locally the award was recognised by a quarter-peal at New Alresford on 10th January (http://bb.ringingworld.co.uk/view.php?id=988172 refers).
- Cathedral Refectory Helpers’ rota. Elizabeth Johnson reported that following the resignation of the Guild’s team of volunteers at the Cathedral Refectory, en masse, owing to shabby treatment by the Refectory’s subcontractors, Kudos, a meeting had taken place at which the difficulties had been aired and addressed. In the hope that problems had been resolved, Jennifer Baxter had agreed to continue as co-ordinator, and sought help from anyone prepared to volunteer for the rota.
- Ringing World Calendars. Christine Hill advised that these calendars, featuring Guild towers, were now available at half-price – £4.00 – and she had some available for purchase.
- Bell Restoration Fund. The collection for the Bell Restoration fund raised £31 exactly.
The meeting closed at 7.03 p.m.
 The date for the August QDM should have been shown as 13th August, and will be noted under Matters Arising and corrected under Future Events at the next Quarterly Meeting.
 The date for the District Practice at North Stonehamshould have been shown as 17th January 2017, and will be noted under Matters Arising and corrected under Future Events at the next Quarterly Meeting.