Category Archives: Belfry Stewardship

Belfry Stewardship Committee members for WP Guild

2017 WP GUILD REPORT – BELFRY STEWARDSHIP COMMITTEE

The new committee has been “finding its feet” this year and been finding a balance with work commitments. This has sadly resulted in the resignation of Kieran Downer and Lexi Skeldon due also in part to living on the Isle of Wight.

The committee has had a couple of meetings this past year and went on a training course looking at the bells of East Tytherley, West Tytherley and Lockerley. Instruction was given by Hugh Routh and the committee is hugely grateful for his time, enthusiasm and continued support, it is much appreciated.

The committee has carried out the following tower inspections  this year:-

All Saints, Basingstoke – Augmentation to 10 with the addition of a new treble

All Saints, Houghton – Two of the old three now hung on deadstocks and set up for chiming. Installation of a new frame and a new light ring of six installed

St Andrew, Sherborne-St-John – Rebushing of four clappers and the installation of a wooden shaft to the tenor clapper.

St Stephen, Baughurst – Rebushing the clappers of the four bells in the lower frame

St Mary, Breamore – Clappers rebushed, bearings serviced and the frame repainted

St Mary & All Saints, Droxford – Inspect on general condition prior to being rung for a wedding after a time of being silent.

Income                                                                        Expenditure

Balance b/f £103.90                                            Balance c/f £103.90

Martin Barnes

Recommended Actions for Towers re Recent Insurance Meeting between CCCBR and Ecclesiastical Insurance

Recommended actions from the meeting are to be vigilent against a current wave of metal thefts, and to have a clear tower evacuation plan displayed in our ringing chambers. The full text of the minutes is reproduced below for your convenience or is in pdf form here: CCCBR Ecclesiastical Meeting April 2016 

It’s always useful to have an plan to copy – anyone want to send one in for others to use as a start point? send to wpbells@gmail.com

CCCBR and Ecclesiastical Insurance Group meet in London

A report of a meeting held in April 2016, between CCCBR (represented by Christopher O’Mahony and James Smith) and Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (represented by Marcus Booth and Kevin Thomas). Ecclesiastical insures a large majority of churches with bells, though it is not the only insurer offering insurance to churches.

This was one of a series of regular meetings between the two bodies, aiming to continue constructive dialogue with regard to health and safety in bell towers, minimising and mitigating risk in bell towers, and other matters relating to good stewardship of bells and bell ringers. Key areas of discussion were as follows:

“Template” Health & Safety policy for Guild insurance renewals

Whilst there is no compulsion, Ecclesiastical strongly recommends that Associations should identify an officer as having overall responsibility for Health and Safety, should have a Health and Safety policy, and should conduct risk assessments for Association-sponsored events (and maintain a log of these assessments). Over the past year, CCCBR has developed, in consultation with Ecclesiastical, a “template” Health and Safety policy for Associations.

*Further advice is also available on the Tower Stewardship section of the CCCBR website

Tower Open Days and “things to ring for”

As in most years, there are plenty of “things to ring for” in 2016, such as the Queen’s 90th birthday, the BBC’s Music Day, Heritage Open Days, and more. Organisers of these events are encouraging as much ringing as possible. Ecclesiastical is completely supportive of these initiatives, whilst at the same time exhorting ringers to take a commonsense approach to risk, and Health & Safety. For instance:

  • If ringing at a church where the bells have been out of use for any length of time, do please take sensible precautions to ensure that the bells are ringable, and there is no risk of personal injury or damage to bells, frames or the church building; 
  • If opening up a tower to members of the public, do please conduct risk assessments (examples available on the CCCBR website).

Incidents

  • Accidents – there have been two anecdotal reports of injuries during 2015, but neither of these has progressed to become a claim.
  • Metal theft – Ecclesiastical reports that metal theft is on the increase again, and that they are receiving up to 6 metal theft claims per week. Ecclesiastical encourages all ringers to remain vigilant as we pursue our craft.

Bell tower evacuation protocols

Following some excellent articles in the Ringing World, it was noted that some towers have welldrilled and well understood evacuation protocols. Tower captains are encouraged to have a clear evacuation plan, with key points clearly visible in the ringing room.

Insurance implications for redundant churches

Ecclesiastical and CCCBR note that the Church of England is considering many options with regard to its huge portfolio of church buildings and reducing congregations. It was noted that, if a church building is facing redundancy, there can be some grey areas regarding insurance. CCCBR proposes to establish a multi-constituency working party to consider these issues and develop relevant guidance.

Guidance Notes

As a standing item, Ecclesiastical and CCCBR continue to review their Guidance Notes, giving each party the opportunity to provide input to the other.

Radio telecommunications masts

On behalf of the Towers & Belfries Committee, questions were raised regarding radio telecommunications masts and Health & Safety concerns. Churches continue to be approached by telecommunications providers, seeking to use towers and spires to house their equipment. Ecclesiastical noted that insurance relating to such installations would be the responsibility of the telecommunications providers, but also felt there is currently little data to provide evidence of health risk to bellringers from radiation from these installations. Nevertheless, the Tower Stewardship Committee will work with the Towers & Belfries Committee to clarify any areas of concern regarding the installation of telecommunications masts in bell towers.

General

Ecclesiastical reiterates its offer to Associations and Central Council regarding Public Liability, Employer’s Liability and Personal Accident insurance (Employer’s Liability typically includes unpaid volunteers as well as actual employees). Obviously, a number of insurers offer these insurance products to Associations and it is not our role to make recommendations as between particular insurers. Associations wishing to discuss insuring with Ecclesiastical may wish to approach Ecclesiastical direct, on: churches@ecclesiastical.com 0345 777 3322

From time to time enquiries are made about the possibility of a nationwide insurance scheme for ringers, however discussions with Ecclesiastical indicate that such a scheme remains of doubtful viability for commercial, practical and also regulatory reasons. All in all it was a positive meeting, and the group is scheduled to re-convene in April 2017. We encourage all bellringers to familiarise themselves with the very useful Guidance Notes published by the CCCBR Tower Stewardship Committee. Latest versions can be found here

Christopher O’Mahony CCCBR Vice-President CCCBR Tower Stewardship Committee

A Brief Report on Our Executive Committee  Meeting

STARTING WITH THE REALLY IMPORTANT BIT:

At the Guild AGM in Alresford on 2nd of July The Guild Committee needs a whole new team of officers to be elected.

This incredible Committee has steered the Guild into a new era. The Plans are in place, the signposts show the way and the commitment to improve, educate and modernise this vibrant and active community is stronger now than ever before. SO, Please think seriously about helping us to keep the Guild and ringing moving forward. If you have been a secretary or treasurer for a school committee, if you can take minutes or type them up from a Dictaphone recording, if you like collecting data or think ringing needs to have a different voice in the Central Council, now is the time to say ‘do you know what? I could give it a try’. The posts becoming vacant are:

  • Master
  • Vice-Master
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • Librarian
  • Peal recorder
  • Report Editor
  • Minutes Secretary
  • CC reps (five of them)
  • Child Protection Officer
  • Independent Examiner
  • BRF Trustees for the two dioceses

Other Noteworthy Items:

On a cold and sunny morning on 12th of March The Executive Committee Meeting was held in St Barnabas Church Hall in Southampton. 24 members were present with 8 apologies.

We all stood whilst the names of those who have passed away since November were read out.

  • Roy Grayson    (Purbrook)
  • Roy Howard    (Freshwater)
  • Tom Metcalfe    (Blackmoor)
  • Ramon A Stone (life member, West Meon)
  • David Yates    (Arreton)
  • Martin Routh    (Former Tower Captain at Amport)
  • Colin Nicholson     (Formerly of St Peter Port)

With no matters arising from the last minutes the reports and accounts were accepted.

Interesting and noteworthy was that;

  • Our Hon. Librarian and Archivist Bruce Purvis had asked for a budget increase to buy volumes of Order and Disorder which contain ringing extracts from 18th and 19th century newspapers.
  • The Belfry Stewardship Committee planned on visiting and inspecting Droxford.
  • The Bell Restoration Fund gave a report on the Trustees’ Meeting; David Mattingley said there were grants outstanding to All Saints’, Basingstoke augmented from 9 to 10 and awaiting sign-off by the Belfry Stewardship Committee, Houghton where work had started, and Ecchinswell where fundraising was continuing. At Wherwell higher priority work in the church had been identified and so the outstanding grant would be reduced to zero and the church asked to reapply when they were in a position to proceed with the bell restoration. A new grant application had been received from Northington where the plan was now to augment from 3 to 6 at a cost of £17,000 of which £13,500 had already been raised. The Trustees recommended a grant of £2,000. The Trustees agreed with Hugh Routh who pointed out that work on three clappers which was part of the original project specification had not been done and we should not pay grants towards the same work twice.
  • Greg Jordan was elected onto the Striking Competition Committee
  • These fine folks will be presented with Life Membership certificates at the AGM, after completing 50 years of membership!   Congratulations to you all: John Croft (Winchester District Chairman), Alan Hoar of Odiham, Maureen Routh of Steep and  Ronald Tipper of Buriton.

The Master reviewed The Guild Action Plan and  suggested the setting up of 3 working groups:

  • A small working group will be set up to consider the content, format and production costs of The Annual Guild Report. Discussions revolved around how many reports to print IE 1 per person or 1 per  tower, sending it out digitally and if it could be produced in a more cost effective way.
  • Interestingly, A working group to consider the compilation, presentation and costs of books, listing performances rung between 2014 and 2018 commemorating the WWI fallen, to be presented to Winchester and Portsmouth Cathedrals, and that the working group be authorised to register interest with the Heritage Lottery Fund.
  • Excitingly, A working group to consider the possibility of a centralised Ringing Training School for teaching new ringers.

The Committee were happy to support a funding request of £400 towards travel expenses of a joint team of young ringers from the Isle of Wight and Channel Islands Districts to represent the Guild in the competition at Epsom on Sat 2nd April 2016. The rest of the money would be found by the youngsters and their families by fund-raising. We wish them well.

After much discussion a rethink was agreed on the ‘welcome pack’ for new ringers. Whilst people though it (The ART Discover Ringing booklet and a contacts list) was a good idea, just who to give it to e.g. not many probationary members become ringers and how to get it to them was of concern.

The Communications Exec member gave a presentation on Social Media extolling its virtues and its pitfalls.

Future Dates worth noting are;

In the ‘Any Other Business’ section issues discussed were;-

  • The arrangements for the Central Council (CCCBR) weekend at the end of May are well under way. There has been a good response to calls volunteers and Guild members are encouraged and welcome to attend the open meeting and Songs of Praise service both on Sunday afternoon.
  • If a volunteer can be found the requests for Guild sweatshirt production can continue.
  • If there was a form for making a bequest to the Guild. The answer was no it can be put into your Will.
  • Ropley Church was expected to be rebuilt between 2016-2018.
  • The Master promoted the Mid-Monthly Ringing Tours & the next one is on 13th April.

We were all done by 12:00  Then a long and very fast quarter peal of Grandsire Doubles ensued.

2nd Hand Wheels, Headstocks and Fittings Available

Roger Barber (former convenor of Belfry Stewardship Committee) Writes

  1. Some wheels and headstocks that were been rescued  from Chawton.
  2. The fittings from All Saints, Alton.

Please contact me for more information and to make  “Recipient collects” arrangements –

Contact Roger Barber - Telephone: 01730 895887 Address: 24 Rushfield Road, Liss, GU33 6LW