Our first formal meeting of the year and since Lockdown was imposed will take place via Zoom, on Saturday 13th February. As you will see from the attached agenda we shall open the Zoom ‘room’ fifteen minutes early to allow people to sign in and be admitted. The link for the meeting is:-
or, if you with to sign in with the meeting id and passcode these are:- Meeting ID: 883 8896 9942 Passcode: 135246
I fear that because I can only compose in plain text the link will not work simply by clicking on it, but it should work if you copy it and paste it into your browser. The link will work, however, from the agenda. The accounts (long since signed off) and District Report will follow in due course, with my apologies for creating two instalments of the process of notification.
Advantages: We do get to meet; no travelling; your choice of sandwiches and cakes for the virtual ringers’ high tea.
Disadvantages: I have zero experience of hosting, we’ll just have to see how this goes; thank goodness Andrew knows what he’s about. No ringing … though I could set up a Ringing Room if anyone fancies catching hold afterwards.
The decision has been made to move back the date for the Alton & Petersfield District AGM to the 23rd January 2021. Minutes of the previous AGM will be sent out to your tower contacts in the very near future.
If you would like a copy sent to you individually, please let me know.
Hoping you all have a safe and relaxing Christmas and, if your plans have been affected by recent tier changes, that you can still find ways to stay in contact with those who can no longer be with you in person.
For the last nine months, there has been very limited activity, and many ringers may not even have touched a bell-rope in this time. Even if they have, they will not have rung any methods.
However with the roll out of the vaccination programme, there is the real prospect that from late spring or early summer next year we will gradually be able to return to ringing all the bells and holding practices in our towers. But we still have this winter to get through.
Things have been happening behind the scenes to prepare for the recovery and we plan to issue regular District newsletters with news and interesting items to help keep members engaged and informed.
In this issue we include details of a programme of webinars which the Guld Education Committee will be launching in January.
During lockdown a number of District towers have been holding regular virtual pub sessions and quizzes. using Zoom. Some have also been holding virtual practices using Ringing Room, one of these being the Mayflies group which Micki Nadal has written about on page 2
Please do send us articles for inclusion in the next issue, which will be published at the end of March. Articles should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Christmas ringing relaxation
The Central Council of Church Bellringers have agreed special arrangements for ringing over the Christmas period with the House of Bishops Recovery Group. Essentially between 23 and 27 December no matter which tier, we can ring for 15 minutes, provided that the ringers are 1metre + socially distanced, and those not in the same bubble are wearing face masks. Further details on the Central Council Website
Have you subscribed?
Around 50% of Winchester District members have now subscribed to the Guild’s new membership and communications database. We are now able to send this newsletter to each of you direct instead of it being ‘cascaded’ via tower correspondents and posted on tower notice boards. This is not practical in the current pandemic.
However, as we are only reaching about half of the membership, do tell your friends about this newsletter and pass a copy on if they have not seen it.
On Saturday 14th November, Edmund Wratten delivered a webinar on ’coursing order’ and how it can be used to help your ringing. There was an excellent turnout with 35 members Zooming in.
Following this success, a series of interesting webinars is planned for the period up to Easter. These will be held on
Sat 16th Jan
Sat 30th Jan
Sat 3th Feb
Sat 27th Feb
Sat 13th Mar
Sat 27th Mar
The final programme and joining details will be published in the next Guild Newsletter, to be issued at the beginning of January. Topics will include
Listening Skills: Have you struggled to pick out your bell from the others? How do you know if it you or someone else that is wrong?
Ways of Learning Methods: This will cover the circle of work, the blue line and place bells, and how you can break this down into chunks of work that you can learn.
Calling simple touches: Starting from the perspective of someone who has never called a bob before, we will cover the basics up to the stage where you can call a 120 of Plain Bob or Grandsire Doubles.
History of bells and ringing in the Winchester and Portsmouth Dioceses: This webinar will look at some of the more interesting aspects of the bells in our towers.
Recruitment and Retention – how to get more new ringers and how to retain them: This workshop developed by the Central Council’s Volunteer and Leadership workgroup will look at the problems facing us and how we might overcome them.
The webinar link will be open from 10.00am for people to logon and perhaps have a chat. Each presentation will start promptly at 10.15am, followed by the opportunity for questions and answers.
Depending on the content, each webinar will last between 60 and 90 minutes
If you’ve not already done so, complete our questionnaire and we will make sure you receive details of the upcoming webinars.
Each Saturday between the webinars we will hold Ringing Room practices using Zoom and breakout rooms, so that people can practice the topics that have been covered in the previous weeks, with an experienced band in a supportive environment.
Restoration at Twyford
The £91,000 scheme to carry out a major overhaul of the frame and fittings, including recasting of three of the bells is being supported by a grant of £7,500 from the Guild’s Bell Restoration Fund. The work will be carried out by White’s of Appleton.
However, Jennie Richardson reports that, because of Covid-19, fund-raising has ground more or less to a halt, so the start date for the works is not yet certain.
Currently, because of the pandemic, most Sundays just one bell is chimed, although the band did manage to ring three bells in memory of William Davies, who was on horseback and lost in fog on the local downs until he heard the bells ringing.
His will of 1754 left money to the ringers to ring for 30 minutes on 7 October each year.
Towards the end of May this year, when the Mayflies were emerging from the River Test in droves and buzzing round my head in the garden, I decided to take the plunge and set up a virtual tower in Ringing Room.
I didn’t want to call it after a particular tower, as I realised virtual ringing would not be for everyone and I wanted to attract people from all over the place, which seemed to me one of Ringing Room’s advantages.
The Ringing Room Take-Hold Lounge on Facebook showed that evening sessions often experienced some time lag, so 5pm seemed a good time – before people’s supper and the evening online rush. With the mayfly hatch in full swing, the name seemed a ‘no-brainer’.
So, at the beginning of June and with the help of fellow ringer Derek Smith, we had a go, just the two of us and then let various ringing friends know that Mayflies would be open for business Monday to Saturday at 5pm. We were immensely lucky that our brilliant District Ringing Master Edmund Wratten joined us to give us direction and advice from his base and our former Kings Somborne Captain Sue Spurling joined us from her new home in Sussex.
With old ringing friends from Kings Somborne, Braishfield, Sparsholt, Winchester and Houghton and new ringing friends from London, Epsom and Staffordshire we can generally count on between 6 and 10 people each day, although if there are only 4 or 5 initially, we’ll ring Minimus methods.
A little gossip tops and tails our practices, but on the whole ringing is what we are there for. For our local band the advantages of Ringing Room are huge – we normally ring at six-bell towers, so the chance to practice and learn 8, 10 and 12 bell methods is fantastic.
We have really progressed with learning touches and for those prophets of doom, who say that in the ‘real’ ringing world we will all be back to square one, I have this to say: the brain will, I’m sure, retain a lot of what we are learning about ‘what to do instinctively at a bob or a single’ and although we may have to relearn straightforward bell handling and using rope sight (and we fully appreciate this may take some time), when we are settled into a plain course of Bob Doubles and a bob is called, we will remember what we are supposed to do.
I don’t see Ringing Rooms just as a lockdown facility either – it will be just as useful for learning methods when things are back to normal, but with the added advantage of being able to practice in a real environment too.
Just as lockdown changed our lives, I believe Ringing Room has changed ringing practices too and given those of us lower down on the learning curve the opportunity and the confidence to metaphorically punch above our weight and try things we would be light years from trying in a real tower.
Kings Somborne and Mayflies Towers
Ropley Church is being rebuilt
In June 2014, our beautiful church was destroyed by fire. Two of the bells were cracked, one beyond repair and will need to be recast. Now at last, the rebuilding of the church is well under way, with the new roof installed and new tower built!
The rebuilt St. Peter’s will provide a wonderful venue for services as well as a place for the Village to gather. The space created will complement other village facilities and will be widely used by the village school, social clubs, concerts and meetings seven days a week, not only an hour on Sundays.
St. Peter’s was insured by Ecclesiastical Insurance for £2,854,962. Thus far a substantial sum in addition to this has been successfully raised. The current shortfall for Phase 1, to achieve a useable building was £201,500 (October 2019). Phase 2 fundraising for stained glass windows, bells, clock, furniture etc will follow.
Work undertaken so far includes the installation of the base of the new bell-frame by Matthew Higby & Co., and an order has been placed to recast one bell and weld and heat treat the other five bells.
Because of the damage done by the fire, the bells will be hung within an independent steel structure within the walls, and the ringing room will move to the ground floor level.
The bells will be the largest hung in a free standing tower, but we are assured that they will handle well!
Carol Ward (nee Herring) RIP
I have, I am afraid, sorrowful news to impart.
Carol served many years as the tower correspondent for the Candover Valley Ringers, and hers was a welcome presence at District meetings – including last December’s carol service at Northington, at which she – with the rest of the CVR – was a most gracious host.
Carol was also a doughty campaigner in the cause of combatting the cancer which eventually took her. I shall miss Carol very much indeed, as I am sure many in the District will.
News from around the towers
Hursley: The band have been meeting for a Zoom call and quiz on Tuesday evenings as well as other chats, ringing room sessions and quarter peal attempts on other evenings. As tiering allows we have been exploring our Minimus range on 1, 4, 6, 8 of the 12 and that we have been using the 14 on Ringing Room to practice our handbell carols. The band are also holding a virtual Christmas dinner on 18th December. Peter Hill.
Lockerley: Have been meeting on Zoom on Thursday evenings for a chat followed by some virtual ringing and also on Sunday mornings. During the summer months the band were also able to meet socially distanced outdoors. Gary Davies.
Old and New Alresford: Have been meeting fortnightly on Friday evenings for virtual pub and quiz sessions on Zoom. We have installed extract fans in both towers to improve the ventilation which has enabled us to ring some of the bells on Sunday mornings and for a wedding, before we entered Tier 2.
Romsey Abbey: The bells are sounded on Sundays and for other special occasions by the Ellacombe apparatus, so most of the band have not rung a bell for nine months. It was fortunate we decided not to remove the Ellacombe apparatus when the bells were rehung in 2007!
Sherfield English: Various numbers of bells have been chimed for services by single households in the band. We have run our regular Thursday training sessions with the Romsey improvers using Ringing Room and Zoom. Nearly all are now able to ring inside to Plain Bob Triples and Cloister Triples without crib sheets! Using visual aids most can ring Stedman.
The new learning environment has encouraged counting places and listening to the ringing as well as upskilling internet knowledge. More ringers have run the practice and called touches. We have also learnt about and used place notation and coursing order, sparked by Edmund’s webinar. Ringing Room allows us to go past Sherfield 8 bell restrictions – if we have lots of ringers we open up a second tower so everyone rings more. We also have completed plain hunt Maximus (16 in here we come!).
We have just realised that we should achieve ringing all the methods set out in Martin’s 2020 wish list without attending the tower! Martin Daniels.
Sparsholt: The band have been meeting every Monday since first lockdown in March. At first it was a weekly quiz evening with attempts at Ringing Room on Tuesday evenings. We also met socially outdoors in the warmer summer months, for a drink and also a picnic. Since September we have met virtually in the Ringing Room with the sessions led by Edmund Wratten. Anyone wishing to join us on Monday evenings at 7.15pm would be very welcome. Jenny Watson.
Winchester Cathedral: The band have been meeting for a chat most weeks and when tiering permits have been ringing six bells for fifteen minutes before Sunday services. The large ringing room helps with social distancing. To keep the fellowship up some members have also been meeting up for walks and cycle rides. Steve Lamb.
W&P Diocesan Guild
Muster, Hants & Wilts.
Monday, 7 December 2020
1260 Bob Minor
1–2 Mary Edelsten (Winchester)
3–4 Ian Redway (New Alresford)
5–6 Gary Davies (Winterslow)(Cond)
First virtual quarter peal: 1-2
A new ring of eight for the District
When we retired to New Alresford three years ago, we had intended putting the Charmborough Ring in the loft at the back of our garage, when not in use.
However, we soon came to the conclusion that hosting it up and down was not something that we wanted to do regularly.
Instead Matthew Higby has recently cast us a new ring of eight, with a tenor of about ¾ cwt in E♭ which will be permanently hung in our garage in the spring
Although light, they will have galvanised steel wheels and handle like bells considerably heavier than they are.
The intention is that besides being available for quarters and peals, we will also run regular training sessions – a bit like Tulloch and Alderney. We also plan to work with local schools to help bring fresh blood into our local band.
As for the Charmborough Ring, they will remain available to help with recruitment post-pandemic. If you would like to hire them for an event next year, please visit the website: www.charmborough.org
Roger & Cathy Booth
Greetings to all members in what has been a very difficult and challenging year due to the pandemic.At the ADM last February I indicated that I would not be seeking re-election as chairman in February 2021.
Please feel free to contact me either by phone or email if you are interested in filling this post.It would be good if someone did come forward as I feel the district would benefit from a fresh face.
I am willing to continue as Executive Council Representative if re-elected.
As I write there is hopeful news of vaccines. I hope that next year we shall be, in time, to be able to meet and ring more normally.
May I take this opportunity of wishing you a very happy Christmas and all the best for 2021. Stay well and safe.
District Annual General Meeting – Saturday 13th Feb 2021
The District Annual General Meeting will take place on Saturday 13th February 2021 at 3pm by Zoom teleconference. To join, click on this link:
This meeting will include the presentation of officers reports and the District Accounts for 2020.
At the meeting nominations will also open for all the officer posts in the District. John Croft has indicated that he does not wish to stand again for the post of Chair, and Bruce Purvis does not wish to stand again as Secretary. We also need to fill the vacant Newsletter Editor post, to help the Guild Comms team.
The District relies on volunteers such as John and Bruce to carry out all of its work. It’s not what the District does for you and your tower, it’s what you can do for the District, and there will be a lot to do to help ringing recover after the pandemic. Please do consider how you can help. The more people that share the load, the better.
Following a decision at the Guild AGM in September, no subscriptions will be collected next year, membership will last two years and a combined Annual Report will be published in 2022 for 2020 and 2021.
Copy for the next issue of this newsletter should reach us by Sunday 14th March email@example.com
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St Peter’s Church Bell ringer John Leary, one of the young ringers, tolled the tenor bell on behalf of the band paying tribute to the fallen, before the Sunday Remembrance Day commemorations in Petersfield. John, photographed in the St Peter’s Church Bell Tower is standing by the photograph, on the right of the picture of the Rev Victor Wardle former assistant Priest at Petersfield and a bell ringer. He died in an internment camp in Japan on 4th January 1945.
A poppy wreath was taken to the Petersfield War Memorial on Sunday afternoon and placed there on behalf of the St Peter’s Church Bell ringers by Caroline M Welsh, bell ringer, with the following card inscription.
We wanted to share with the Guild some fond memories from last years Ypres visit by the Alton & Petersfield District.
We felt especially at this significant time of year sharing a very moving and memorable clip of Emma Hornsby, Sam Marriot and Roger Barber from A&P District laying a wreath on behalf of the Guild would be fitting in time for Armistice Day.
The short clip was filmed during the Last Post Ceremony with over 2000 attending the Saturday 28th September 8pm ceremony at the Menin Gate Ypres Belgium. The band played ‘The Armed Man by Karl Jenkins’ as we watched the wreath laying by groups, families and societies from as far as Australia and Canada. There weren’t many dry eyes.
Just over a year on, our world is a very different place. We hope, and pray that by this time next year we’ll all be in a much better place and sharing once again the delightful sounds of our bells deliver across communities.
Channel Islands District future move to the Salisbury Diocesan Guild.
As you may be aware from previous statements to the Executive Committee or the recent AGM papers circulated, the episcopal oversight of the Channel Islands is planned to be transferred to the Salisbury Diocese. This decision which was approved by both Houses of Parliament in July 2020. There is still ongoing work to complete this process which is expected to be completed in 2021.
In discussion with the Master of the Salisbury Diocesan Guild of Ringers we both felt it was important to understand the wishes of the Channel Island District members, as to whether they wanted to remain in the W&P or to move with their churches to the SDG.
Over the summer there has been much discussion in the Channel Islands District and a vote of all district members returned a 65% wish to move to the Salisbury Guild. The W&P and SDG will be working over the c oming months to agree the final date and what needs to be put in place for a clean transfer.
This will be a sad day for the W&P, having enjoyed many years of association with the Channel Islands. We have made many friends in the ringing community through close association, and I am sure that we will continue to enjoy ringing together in the future after the move.
We will keep you up to date as things progress and perhaps – COVID allowing – we can mark the transfer in due course with a decent bit of real ringing!
Hoping you all stay safe and well,
Master – Winchester & Portsmouth Guild of Church Bell Ringers.
First Ringing Since Lock Down at St Peter’s Church Norman Bell Tower Petersfield Hampshire
A group of joyous St Peter’s Church Bell Ringers rang on Sunday 2nd August for the first time since lock down in March.
To comply with social distancing, the band rang up four of the eight bells, ringing rounds and call changes finishing with a ring down in Peal. The ringers are now allowed to ring for fifteen minutes for Sunday service and for weddings.
Mrs Vanda Leary, St Peter’s Church Warden has placed the ringing performance on the St Peter’s Church Face Book Page for those wishing to hear the ringing.
Names of ringers in the photographs:
Names of ringers in the photographs:
Left to Right: Jackie and John Downham, Mary Broadbridge, Tower Captain, and young ringer John Leary who rang the heavy 15 ½ Tenor bell which dates back to 1770.
Unconfirmed Minutes of the Annual District Meeting held on Saturday 8th February 2020 in the Parish Hall, Hursley.
1. Chairman’s Welcome. The Chairman, John Croft, opened the meeting at 5.28 p.m., with a welcome to those present, including the Master of the Guild, Peter Jordan, and our other visitors, and with thanks to the Rector and Wardens for the use of the bells, to the Rector, the Revd William Prescott for leading the service, to Gary Davies for playing the organ and to the Hursley Band for hosting the day and in particular Christine Hill and her helpers for laying on a splendid ringers’ tea [applause], and all those present for supporting the meeting.
2. Attendance. The following 28 members of the District (representing eleven bands and unattached), and three guests signed the attendance register: Robert Eames and Roy LeMarechal (Bishopstoke) Janice Higgins, Christine and Ian McCallion, Tessa and Tony Smith, and Martin Waldron (all of Hursley), Micki Nadal (King’s Somborne and Stockbridge),Gary Davies and Brenda and John Palk, (all of Lockerley and East Tytherley), Roger Booth (New Alresford), Caroline and Martin Daniels and Jennifer and Nigel Herriott (all of Romsey), Rodney Skinner (Ropley), Jenny Watson (Sparsholt), John Colliss, and Bruce Purvis (Winchester Cathedral), Paul Fitzgerald and Christine Knights-Whittome (Wonston), Joyce Croft, and Trisha Shannon (all unattached); Charlotte Colliss (Swanmore), Pete Jordan (Guild Master – Basingstoke) and Jennifer, Martin Waldron’s partner, comprising the guests. Also present were Christine and Peter Hill, Jinny Kufluk, Christine and Barry Saunders and Derek Stewart (all of Hursley), Caroline Fairley (Winchester Cathedral), John Croft and Edmund Wratten (all unattached); a total of 35.
3. Apologies for absence. Apologies for absence were received from Amanda Bayford, Jen Churchill, Drew and Sue Craddock, John Gawne-Cain, Philip Gillibrand, Andrew Glover, Carol Higgins, Sara Janssen, Elizabeth.Johnson, and Charlotte and Jonathan Smith.
4. Minutes of the Previous Meeting. Subject to amendments (‘Northington’ from ‘Broughton’, item 9, Future Events refers and ‘Elizabeth Johnson’ from ‘Rodney Skinner’, item 10 no. 3, Channel Islands District refers) adoption as a true record of the minutes of the Autumn District Meeting held on 9 November at Easton Parish Hall was proposed by Rob Eames, seconded by Jenny Watson and carried on a show of hands.
5. Matters Arising.
Minute 5, ‘Romsey Show’: John Palk remarked that the potential for securing as many as 60 names for follow-up at the Romsey Show was a ‘pipe-dream’, and questioned the value for money of the outlay of £300. Roger Booth disagreed and explained that at similar events there had often been as many as 50 or 60 enquiries. On this occasion some 15 people had left their details to be contacted, and some of these had started lessons, but there could be better follow up by local towers. Events such as this had the potential to be excellent value for money, both in terms of PR and attracting new ringers, and when so much money was locked up in District, Guild and BRF funds, a great deal of outreach work was possible for the outlay of a very small proportion of these funds. Nigel Herriott observed that, at Romsey at least, recruitment was not a problem. Roy LeMarechal pointed out that the Romsey Show was visited from across the county of Hampshire and beyond and many other towers would benefit.
Minute 5,’Donation to the Youth Ringers’ Outings’: Tony Smith reported that the £100 offered to the organiser to support these outings was taken up in due course.
Minute 5, ‘Ringing World National Youth Competition’ Martin Daniels sought reassurance that the failure of any District ringer to be chosen for the Guild entry for the RWNYC did not mean that the District’s offer of financial support would not be renewed. The Treasurer confirmed that the offer was on-going.
Minute 9 ‘Future Events’. The Secretary remarked on the resounding success of the Carol Service at Northington.
6. Loss of members through death. None notified.
7. Confirmation of belfry elections.
Emily J Crowder of Kensington on 9 November 2019 prior to a peal at Bishopstoke, proposed by Roy LeMarechal, seconded by Graham Wright.
Douglas Page and Oscar Schultz of Winchester College on 12 November 2019, proposed by Alec Graham, seconded by Caroline Fairley.
Madeleine McHardy of Sparsholt on 6 January 2020, proposed by John Cleverley, seconded by Jenny Watson.
Hephzibah Murray of Winchester College on 28 January 2020, proposed by Caroline Fairley, seconded by Edmund Wratten.
Christine Hyde of Sherfield English on 4 February 2020, proposed Caroline Daniels, seconded Martin Daniels.
Hannah Whaites of Wonston on 8 February 2020, proposed by Gerry Cornick, seconded by Christine Knights-Whittome.
8a. Election of new ringing members.
Richard Eames of Bishopstoke, proposed by Roy LeMarechal, seconded by Peter Clarke.
George Mansfield, Bailey Riches, Harriet Riches and Nathan Smith of New Alresford, proposed by Ian Redway, seconded by Roger Booth.
Jon Butler and Alison Jones of Romsey, proposed by Andrew Glover, seconded by Rhoda Willson.
Che Haefner and Claire Webster of Winchester College, proposed by Alec Graham, seconded by Caroline Fairley.
Ella Kesterton, Rianne Li and Esther Sweeting of Winchester College, proposed by Caroline Fairley, seconded by Edmund Wratten.
Milena Nunn of Wonston, proposed by Christine Knights-Whittome, seconded by Gerry Cornick.
8b. Presentation of Certificates. Membership certificates and badges were taken for members at Bishopstoke, Lockerley and East Tytherley, and Sherfield English, and certificates for members at Romsey.
9. Officers’ Reports. Secretary’s Report: the secretary’s report was presented for scrutiny for errors and omissions: with none noted it could be forwarded to the Guild Report Editor for publication. Treasurer’s Report and accounts: adoption of the accounts, as usual carefully examined by John Colliss, was approved by the meeting, and they were signed and dated by the Chairman.
10. Election of Officers. The Chairman, in standing down prior to the election, remarked that if elected he was prepared to serve for a further term of one year, but felt it was right not to remain in office for too long, so that the District might benefit from the new ideas and new directions that could result from a change of chairman. So the District has the coming year to give due thought to choosing his successor. The Secretary echoed these sentiments, adding that if he were elected this year would mark a decade in post. The Treasurer was happy to continue in post, though he ‘would not be offended if anyone else wished to take over as treasurer’. The other sitting officers, bar the Newsletter Editor were likewise willing to stand for 2020, and John Colliss was willing to continue as Independent Examiner of the accounts. The offices were filled as follows:-
Chairman: John Croft, proposed by Peter Hill, seconded by Nigel Herriott;
Secretary: Bruce Purvis, proposed by Nigel Herriott seconded by Roy LeMarechal;
Treasurer: Tony Smith, proposed by Roy LeMarechal, seconded by John Palk;
Ringing Master: Edmund Wratten, proposed by Nigel Herriott, seconded by Bruce Purvis
Joint Ringing Master: Jenny Watson, proposed by Bruce Purvis, seconded by Trisha Shannon;
Executive Committee Representative: John Croft, proposed by Nigel Herriott, seconded by John Palk;
Independent Examiner of Accounts: John Colliss, proposed by Bruce Purvis, seconded by Martin Daniels;
Webmaster: Andrew Glover, proposed by Christine Knights-Whittome, seconded by Bruce Purvis;
Newsletter Editor: Following a brief discussion on the need for a newsletter in current circumstances, the meeting agreed to leave the editorship vacant; candidates for all other posts elected on a show of hands.
11. Future Events. The Secretary advised the meeting that the year’s programme was still at an early stage of compilation, with district practices for February and September being established and – most importantly – the location of the next Annual Meeting being settled, at Twyford on 13 February 2021. Concerns were raised – and duly noted – regarding the date for the Spring District Meeting falling on 9 May, conflicting with VE Day commemorations taking place that weekend, and regarding the staging of the Stockbridge Ringing Festival in the height of summer, likely to be busy with weddings and the Trout’n’about Festival on Sunday 2 August – and for which the Charmborough Ring has been booked. The date of 2 May for the Spring District Meeting and an autumn date for the Festival of Ringing were proposed.
12. Guild Striking Competitions. The Secretary reminded the meeting that the Guild Inter-District 8-bell competition would take place on the morning of the AGM on Saturday 13 June at Alton, with the draw at 10.30 a.m. The Guild Inter-Tower competitions (6- and 8-bell) would take place at Fawley and Eling respectively on Saturday 16 May, with draws at 3.00 p.m. The Inter-District 10-bell competition would take place at All Saints’, Basingstoke on Saturday 5 September, with the draw at 10.30 a.m. Tony Smith volunteered to organise a team for the Inter-District 8-Bell Competitions, and his offer was accepted with gratitude.
13. Guild Master. Pete Jordan, the Guild Master, said that when he was learning to ring, he was amazed at the time and effort that was devoted to teaching new learners. Ringing was a hobby, undertaken voluntarily, and he wished to thank us all for our efforts in the teaching and learning process, for our commitment to Sunday service ringing, and for taking on roles at tower, district and guild levels. He thanked us all, very much indeed. Secondly, Pete drew the attention of the meeting to the Heritage section of the Guild Action Plan, which included a planned initiative to record peal boards throughout the Guild. Allan Yalden, the project co-ordinator, requested that photographs of peal boards be sourced and copied – or taken from scratch and sent via e-mail – to him. Caroline Daniels enquired how Allan could be contacted: the answer was “via the Guild website”.
14. Any Other Business.
Beyond Bob Doubles, February. Edmund Wratten gave notice of the next Beyond Bob Doubles practice, at East Tytherley on Wednesday 26 February, concentrating on triples and major methods such as Grandsire, Stedman and Little Bob Major.
Guild Report. John Palk reminded the meeting that the provision of copies of the new Guild Report was on an opting-in basis, requiring members to request their copies through their tower secretaries.
Format of meetings. Nigel Herriott observed that our average age was now above 60 years. “Six or seven years ago” our ADM at North Stoneham had “filled the church”, and he wondered whether the format for District meetings of ringing – service – tea – business meeting was still viable as our age-profile gradually increased and people were retiring from ringing as they got older. Caroline Daniels enquired rhetorically whether there were any people coming into ringing in their twenties. The Secretary agreed that, although the traditional format of meetings had been subject to change during his tenure, the level of interest and attendance did concern him, and he proposed to organise a meeting of interested parties, including tower reps and the contributors to this discussion, to address just this issue. Tower Reps’ meetings were usually held in June. Roger Booth suggested the issue was not served well by a delay of four months, and that a meeting in April would address the issue to greater effect.
Bell Restoration Fund. The collection for the BRF raised £27.
The UK government has advised against all unnecessary social contact with immediate effect. The Prime Minister advised in a press conference of 16th March that now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel.
The Central Council has released a statement in response to the UK government. They advise that If you haven’t already decided to cancel ringing activities, it seems that now is the time to do so. The Ringing World agrees with this statement. It is hard to interpret the government’s guidance in any way other than that all planned ringing activities in the UK should now cease.
I have been made aware that ringing has been suspended at the following towers due to COVID-19 concerns:
Alton, St. Laurence, All Saints and Holybourne – all ringing suspended.
Alverstoke – all ringing cancelled until further notice.
Basingstoke, St. Michael’s – all ringing cancelled until further notice.
Blackmoor – all ringing suspended.
Bournemouth, St. John’s, St. Peters and Scared Heart – all ringing suspended.
Bramshott – all service and practice ringing until at least the end of March where the situation will be reviewed.
Brockenhurst – no ringing until further notice.
Buriton – all ringing suspended.
Catherington – ringing cancelled, but may be some limited Sunday ringing if services continue.
Christchurch Priory – all ringing suspended until further notice.
Eling – all ringing suspended.
Froxfield – all ringing suspended.
Havant – all ringing suspended until further notice.
Hawkley – all ringing suspended and the tied practices on 6-8-10th April postponed.
Hursley – all ringing suspended until further notice.
Newport – all ringing cancelled until further notice.
Portsmouth Cathedral – all ringing suspended.
Purbrook – all ringing cancelled until further notice.
Romsey – all ringing suspended until further notice.
Selborne – all ringing cancelled until further notice.
Shanklin – all ringing suspended until further notice.
Shedfield – all ringing suspended until further notice.
Southampton (St. Mary’s, St. Michael’s and Bitterne Park) – all ringing suspended.
Steep – all ringing suspended.
Titchfield – all ringing suspended.
Upham – all ringing suspended until further notice.
Upton Grey – all ringing cancelled until further notice.
Warnford – all ringing suspended.
West Meon – all ringing suspended.
Wickham – all ringing suspended until further notice.
Winchester Cathedral – all ringing suspended until further notice.
Wonston – no practices until further notice.
Portsmouth District – all District events are cancelled including the April QDM.
Winchester District – all District events and the striking competition in May are cancelled until further notice.
Please let me know via firstname.lastname@example.org of any other cancellations and I will add them to this list.