Winchester Annual District Meeting Minutes – February 2022

Winchester District Annual Meeting – 12th February 2022

Held at 4pm in St. Mary’s Church, Easton, SO21 1EH and via Zoom

(Ringing from 3pm and following the meeting)

UNCONFIRMED MINUTES

Attendees: The following 34 people, representing 17 towers attended the meeting, either in person, or via Zoom.

In person – Elizabeth Skinner (Bishopstoke), Jinny Kufluk (Hursley), Charlotte and Jonathan Smith (Kings Worthy), Gary Davies (Lockerley and East Tytherley), Andrew Johnson and Elizabeth Johnson (New Alresford), Andrew Glover (Romsey), Jenny Watson (Sparsholt), Micki Nadal (District Secretary, Stockbridge and Kings Somborne), Paul Fitzgerald and Christine Knights-Whittome (Wonston), Caroline Fairley and Bruce Purvis (District Chairman) (Winchester Cathedral), John Croft (unattached), Pete Jordan (Guild Chairman, Basingstoke St Michael). Also present were the following five members from the host tower, Easton: Judy Bishop, Pam Chrismas, Sara Janssen, Lyn Russell and Trisha Shannon, and the District Ringing Master, Edmund Wratten (unattached). 

Via Zoom – Amanda Bayford (Crawley), Christine and Ian McCallion and Tony Smith (Hursley), Margaret Goodfellow (Kings Worthy), Jen Churchill, Carol Higgins and John Palk (Lockerley and East Tytherley), Roger Booth (New Alresford), Rodney Skinner (Ropley), John Colliss (Winchester Cathedral), Charlotte Colliss (Swanmore –  guest).

  1. Chairman’s Welcome: Chairman Bruce Purvis warmly welcomed guests to the ADM, particularly welcoming Guild Master Pete Jordan, and thanked Judy Bishop and her colleagues for arranging the tower and church facilities and refreshments for the meeting and Andrew Glover for organising the technical aspects of the hybrid meeting.
  1. Apologies for absence:  These were received from Roy LeMarechal (Bishopstoke) and Brenda Palk (Lockerley and East Tytherley)
  1. Minutes of the previous meeting held on November 13th 2021 were agreed nem con and signed.
  1. Matters arising: John Palk remarked that some of the Insurance matters discussed at the Executive Committee Meeting were still outstanding.  Roger Booth advised that Helen Woolford (Guild Honorary Treasurer) had written a paper explaining the situation; also that Ecclesiastical Insurance could offer an online presentation.  Guild Master Peter Jordan reported that the issues were being discussed with Marcus Booth from Ecclesiastical.

  1. Loss of members through death: John Collier and Brian Billimore, both formerly of Easton.  A minute’s silence was held in memory of these former members. 

  1. Confirmation of belfry elections
    • Probationary members:

Geoff Robinson of Kings Worthy on 4 January 2022, proposed by Ted Banks, seconded by Jonathan Smith.

Richard Lording, Dylan Price and Stuart Price of Hursley on 11 January 2022, proposed by Peter Hill, seconded by Christine Saunders.

Jill Fuller of Winchester Cathedral on 6 February 2022, proposed by Lucy Hopkins Till, seconded by Mike Hopkins Till.

Norman Boakes of North Stoneham on 8 February 2022, proposed by Robert Ryder, seconded by Alison Martin. 

Tim Conway, William Knowles and Clara Knowles of Cheriton on 10 February 2022, proposed by Roger Booth, seconded by Caroline Fairley.

  1. Election of new members:

David Dunning of Broughton and Houghton, proposed by Bob Gosse, seconded by Jenny Hebburn.

Craig Robb of Cheriton [lapsed, re-election], proposed by Roger Booth, seconded by Caroline Fairley.

Christine Hyde of Sherfield English, proposed by Caroline Daniels, seconded by Martin Daniels.

Marion Attree and Madeleine McHardy of Sparsholt, proposed by Jenny Watson, seconded by John Cleverley.

  1. Officers’ Annual Reports
    • Secretary’s Report:  copies were distributed. The move to adopt the Secretary’s Report was proposed by Bruce Purvis and agreed nem con.
    • Treasurer’s Report: – There were no questions to Treasurer Tony Smith from the floor.  The move to adopt the Treasurer’s Report was proposed by Bruce Purvis, agreed nem con and signed as a true record.

  1. Election of Officers: The following people were proposed and elected for posts as follows:

Chairman Bruce Purvis proposed by Jenny Watson and seconded by Elizabeth Johnson;

Secretary Micki Nadal proposed by Bruce Purvis and seconded by Andrew Glover;

Treasurer Tony Smith proposed by Bruce Purvis and seconded by Christine Knights-Whittome;

Joint Ringing Masters Edmund Wratten and Roger Booth, proposed by Elizabeth Johnson and seconded by Micki Nadal;

Executive Committee Representative Roger Booth, proposed by Bruce Purvis and seconded by Andrew Glover;

Independent Examiner of Accounts, John Collis, proposed by Bruce Purvis and seconded by Jenny Watson;

Webmaster Andrew Glover, proposed by Trisha Shannon and seconded by Micki Nadal;

Newsletter Editor Roger Booth, proposed by Bruce Purvis and seconded by John Croft.  

John Croft was thanked for his work as Executive Committee Member and it was agreed he would review his decision to step down if meetings were once again held in person.  Roger Booth agreed to carry on as Newsletter editor, but would co-opt people to help with the task over the next year.

  1. Future events: 

Attendees welcomed the list of proposed events.  John Palk questioned who would pay for the use of the Charmborough Ring at 2 events.  Micki Nadal reassured him that the Trout ‘n About Committee would be paying for the use of the ring in Stockbridge.  Roger Booth hoped to obtain a grant from the Education and Training Development Fund for its use at the Alresford Show, adding that no funds had yet been raised for that purpose.  There was also a possibility of the ring being installed at the Cheriton Fête, which would not necessarily result in a claim on District funds, but any contributions would be gratefully received.

  • Twyford Bells – Andrew Johnson gave attendees an update of works in progress at Twyford.  Four bells would be taken out on Tuesday 15th February and the other four on Wednesday 16th, all to be taken to Appleton to be retuned (1,2,6 and 7), recast (3 and 4) and newly cast (5), with the existing 5 (the last survivor of the original 1766 ring) being retained as a chiming bell. The frame would be retained, the running gear replaced.  The fundraising was nearly complete.

  • Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – Initiated by Roger Booth, a wide -ranging discussion took place between attendees.  Roger intimated that is was not certain that the Twyford bells would be in place in time for Jubilee celebrations; he suggested that it would be good if a quarter-peal could be attempted within the District.  It was agreed by all that ringers would be encouraged to help out at as many towers as possible over the weekend.  Attention would be given to publicise events in parishes where bells are not often rung.  It would be essential to co-opt helpers to organise the various ringing events around the district.  Bruce Purvis would start the process for this in the near future.  John Palk suggested establishing the plans organised by each PCC.  Judy Bishop aimed to organise a quarter-peal in Easton on Thursday 2nd June and would be asking for help from ringers for this event.  Jenny Watson advised that the CCCBR had requested all towers to ring on the morning of Friday 3rd June when a service of thanksgiving was taking place.  Micki Nadal felt that an element of flexibility was required as many ringers would be involved in organising village and street parties.  Elizabeth Johnson felt it would prove impossible to have all the bells rung on Friday as there were simply not enough ringers.  Andrew Glover suggested the district aims to have every tower ringing at some point over the weekend.  Roger Booth emphasised we should encourage all standards of ringing, not just quarter peals, and that less experienced bands’ ringing should be encouraged equally enthusiastically.

  • Beyond Bob Doubles – In response to an enquiry from Jenny Watson, Micki Nadal explained this was a wish list rather than written in stone and would depend on the availability of our Ringing Masters Edmund Wratten and Roger Booth, who would jointly put together a programme based around Easton, Cheriton and Stockbridge (the use of these towers being kindly offered at the meeting).

  • District Practices – These would be arranged at suitable towers spread around the District.

  • Quarter-Peal Fortnight – The idea was received enthusiastically.  Andrew Glover suggested it be incorporated into the Jubilee weekend.

  • Striking Competitions – With Andrew Glover’s warm support for a competition, Bruce Purvis offered to research a simpler form of striking competition (Strictly Come Ringing) used in his daughter’s Diocesan Association [Derby].

  • Winchester Cathedral Tower Visit – The visit on 31st August had been proposed to the Cathedral ringers.  A response is still awaited.

  • QDMs – The next two meetings would be held on Saturday 7th May and Saturday 12th November.

  • Carol Service – This would be held on Saturday 3rd December at Twyford Church.  Micki Nadal had organised a priest and an organist for the service.

  1. Register of ringers – Following questions from the floor on whether this useful directory could be reintroduced in an updated format, attendees agreed it would be useful to investigate whether, data protection rules applying, it could be resurrected.  Andrew Glover explained the use of the consent form for GDPR and that it had proven ‘incredibly difficult’ to secure people’s consent.  Tony Smith offered to contact tower correspondents to find out what, if any, information their members would be happy to provide.  It was felt by attendees that, as a minimum, the directory should include e-mail addresses and phone numbers, and preferably home locations, if not addresses.

  1. Guild Master’s Address

Pete Jordan thanked attendees for their warm welcome at this, the 6th meeting of 7 he would be attending.  He was enjoying meeting people face to face once again and added that it was encouraging to see ringing getting back to normal.

  • Guild Secretaryship – Pete advised attendees that the Guild still needed to fill the role of Guild Secretary as no replacement had been found for Steve Lamb.  In June the Guild triennial elections would be taking place.  Any volunteers for the post would have the opportunity to try out the role for three or four months before undertaking a permanent commitment at the Guild AGM.

  • Guild action plan – Pete explained that, as part of the action plan, a new ringers’ welcome pack was being produced for new probationary members.  The Guild certificate had been revamped and incorporated into an A5 booklet with Guild and District information included, plus an introduction to the work of the Central Council and information on young ringers’ groups.  The aim was to supply these to new probationary members; they would probably be issued to towers via the district secretaries or via John Palk with the Guild report, with the District Secretaries holding the balance of the copies.

Bruce Purvis thanked Guild Master Pete Jordan for his presentation.

  1. Any other notified business
    • Subscriptions – Roger Booth reminded attendees that it had been over 10 years since the Guild had reviewed subscriptions and members were starting to question what, apart from the Annual Report and third party (public liability) insurance, was provided.  Insurance is covered under PCC insurance.  Some members, on the other hand, felt that existing subs, with only£2 for probationers, was too little and with churches under increasing financial pressure we will need to help more if we want churches to restore bells.  In some guilds up to 20% of restoration costs are provided.  With various restoration projects assisted and others in the pipeline, the amount of money in the BRF (bell restoration fund) has reduced considerably and will further do so, and this will need to be replenished.  In 2009 the age profile of the Guild consisted of 33% seniors paying reduced fees.  By 2019 this percentage had increased to 50%, reducing Guild income.  By increasing subscription levels, the BRF could be topped up and monies available for recruitment and training.  An additional idea would be to set up a District Young Ringers Group and to pay the first year subscriptions to the new Young Change Ringers Association.  By increasing the amount going into the Guild Training and Development Fund, more would be available to help towers.  John Palk felt that an increase in subscriptions to members who already felt they received little from the Guild could be counter-productive.  Bruce Purvis would support an increase in subscriptions to say, £15 or £20, provided an increased amount was put into Guild training, recruitment and advertising.  Elizabeth Johnson reminded attendees that, in the past, as well as the 200 Club, other fund raising events were organised by the Guild, such as dinners and open days.
    • Church closures – Bruce Purvis reminded attendees of GS2222 and brought their attention to St Barnabas’ Church in Southampton which, due to small congregations, was due to be sold to developers, with no plans for the fate of the bells, a ring of 6 which were hung in 2000.  He encouraged attendees to study the lists of those churches likely to be in some danger of closure and to consider the bells at risk from this.  Micki Nadal remarked that there were several churches at risk of closure and members would get a feeling for which churches were under threat from the list.  John Croft added that there were 900 such churches at risk nationally over the coming years, mostly in outlying areas.  Andrew Johnson added that once closure of a church was mooted, its bells had to stay put until the future of the church was determined, although local planning rules might afford some protection.  Elizabeth Johnson remarked that once a church was closed it could be difficult to get the bells out.
    • Youth ringers – It was felt that the District needed to establish a strategy for the future, using school visits, youth groups, such as Scouts and guides, open days and presentations as a basis for recruitment. In addition, towers with only one or two younger ringers could join together to provide small hubs.  Roger Booth would come back with detailed proposals at the next quarterly meeting.

Bruce Purvis thanked members for their participation.  The meeting closed at 5.30pm.

Chairman ……………………………………………………….………  Date ………………………

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