Guild Newsletter

The Guild Newsletter is published quarterly and is distributed to the Districts at each of the quarterly Whole Guild Meetings which are held in January, April, July and October, in rotation between the districts.

Articles for inclusion in the next newsetter should be sent via email to

They will be published on receipt on this website and included in the next available edition of the newsletter. They can be accessed from the tabs at the top of this page.

Please ensure that all items for inclusion are sent in by approx. a fortnight prior to a meeting to allow time for the collation and printing of the Newsletter. The deadline is always shown in the current edition.

The current edition can be read online via the appropriate link in the Newsetter menu, as can PDF copies of previous newsletters.



Annual Meeting 2019 – Booking now OPEN!

I am pleased to announce that the outline programme of events and the online booking form for this years’ Central Council meeting from 6-8th September 2019 based at Goldsmiths College, London is now available on the Central Council’s website:

The programme is open to all ringers and I hope you will find a great deal to interest you, whether it is the social evening on Friday 6th September, the chance to come and discuss the Council’s work on Saturday 7th September, the mini roadshow, exhibition and speaker events taking place on Sunday 8th September, or the opportunity to visit St. Paul’s Cathedral and ring at some iconic London churches.

Over the coming months we will be sharing more information about the speakers, exhibitors and opportunities available at the mini roadshow.

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To register, simply use the link or QR code. If you plan to come for more than one day, you can also find details of nearby accommodation. We look forward to welcoming you to Goldsmiths and hope that you find it an informative and inspiring weekend.

David Kirkcaldy
Deputy President,
Central Council
Chair of the London 2019 Organising Committee

Mike’s 80th Birthday Quarter Peal


The Quarter Peal Band (Pictured in ringing order).

Dunchurch, Warwickshire, St Peter
Saturday 1st June 2019 (17) 
1280 Plain Bob Doubles
(Haynes’s Variation).
1. Edward M.F. Haynes (Grandson);
2. Andrea C. Haynes (Daughter);
3. Mike Bennett;
4..Estella J. Haynes (Granddaughter);
5. S. Clarke Walters;
6. William R. Haynes (Conductor & Son in Law).
80th Birthday compliments to Mike Bennett and Barrie Hendry of Wedmore, Somerset.
1st Quarter away from cover – 1.

The day started very well with the Quarter Peal at St. Peter’s, Dunchurch, where Mike has been Tower Captain for many years. Following the QP, a family meal and get together was held at the Dun Cow at Dunchurch with tea and birthday cake at home later in the afternoon.

Alfred George Frank Spiers MBE 1925-2019

Frank in 2011Frank was born in January 1925 the second child of Alfred and Victoria Spiers who kept the Bull’s Head in Bidford on Avon, Warwickshire. His younger brother, Fred, in due course took over the tenancy from his mother. The tenancy had passed to his mother on the death of his father when Frank was 9 years old. Frank could often be seen behind the bar helping his brother and this became the watering hole of the ringers.

From a very early age Frank was a boy chorister at St Laurence Church just over the road from home. He never moved far from his beloved Church. At the age of about 12 Frank was invited into the tower by the then captain, Arthur Shorey.

After schooling in the Village Frank, at the age of 14, started work at the BSA factory in Redditch later moving to the Austin Motor Company at Longbridge finally working on car bodies as a sheet metal worker. He initially cycled the 12 miles to Redditch before moving to a motor cycle which he subsequently added a side car. In the 1950s this was exchanged for a car. After being demobbed Frank returned to The Austin and remained there until retirement.

At the age of 18, when called up for military service, he decided to join the Grenadier Guards and after training served time in Germany finally returning to Caterham where he was a Drill Instructor until he was demobbed. He was very proud of his time in the Grenadier guards, a member of the local branch of the Grenadier Guards Association and almost always wearing his Guards tie. No surprise our sallies are the colours of the Grenadier Guards! Prior to Military Service, Frank was an amateur boxer something which he was able to continue with whilst serving with the Guards, representing them in various competitions.

In 1953 Frank married Gian, a marriage which was to last until 2002 when Gian died. They had two children, Jill and John. Frank was very proud of his children and their achievements.

In 1995 Frank was awarded the MBE for ‘’services to Bidford on Avon’’. Locally Frank was known as Mr Bidford, a tribute to all the village organisations to which he was involved. He was a Parish Councillor for 45 years, a Church Warden and a member of the Royal British Legion. Perhaps I should add here that Frank enjoyed his football as a youngster playing for the local team and later as a referee travelling to various games in the area. He was also involved in raising funds for the village cricket pavilion. Sport would often be a topic of conversation with fellow ringers. Space does not allow me to list all his activities during his lifetime.

Returning now to Frank’s ringing and looking at Tower records, it appears that Frank’s first quarter peal was in 1955. Ringing at Bidford was rejuvenated in the 1970s when Frank asked Michael Homans how to teach new ringers. This was the start of the new band.

In the 1980s Fred and Joan Munday, Pam Craney, myself and my husband all moved into the village. This was really the moment when Frank was able to progress and enjoy his ringing. In the period to 2006, which was his last quarter peal he rang a minimum of 58 quarter peals, conducted one of Plain Bob Doubles. On Bidford bells Frank would normally be ringing the 7th or the Tenor. Frank was not a peal ringer but did ring 9 peals with Peter Border and Chris Mew conducting them.

Whilst Frank did not take office he was a member for over 50 years of both the W&DCRA and the Coventry Guild of Bellringers, also joining the Fours Shires Guild and would always try and attend meetings. He enjoyed the monthly outings with the FSG and in the early years he would have a day out with Gian sorting out the lunchtime pub. At the May outing Grandsire Doubles was rung as attribute to him, a method which he would ring on these days out and would sometimes call. He would often comment that ringing took him to ‘some lovely parts part of the country’.

In late April 2019 Frank was taken to hospital and subsequently discharged to the care home home in Bidford, where he had been for just over a year, where he died peacefully on 7th May.

The congregation of 240, for his funeral, shows the regard and affection with which Frank was held. There was half muffled ringing prior to the Service with the local band ringing Frank out of Church. Whilst the burial was taking place in the Churchyard next to the Church a quarter peal was rung.

Sandra Parker

Bidford on Avon, Warwickshire St Laurence
Wednesday, 29 May 2019 in 47m (14)
1273 Grandsire Triples
Composed by C Montague Meyer
1 Richard Lewis-Skeath
2 Annie Hall
3 Karen French
4 Roger Hunt
5 Ray Sheasby
6 Mike Chester
7 Simon Rogers (C)
8 Richard Spray
Rung immediately after the funeral service of A G Frank Spiers MBE (1925-2019).
Frank was born in Bidford and it was his home for his whole life. He was fully involved in village life throughout his life including playing and refereeing football, working on the parish council and being fully involved as a parishioner at this church. He learnt to ring in 1939 and was tower captain for may years, only giving up ringing when not well enough to do so. He was awarded the MBE in 1995 for services to Bidford.
Further details of Frank's life can be found at
400th quarter - 3.

The Quarter Peal Band

Richard, Karen, Richard, Mike, Annie, Simon, Roger, Ray.

Bellringers’ Sunday - St Peter’s Dunchurch - Sunday 28th April 2019.

Last autumn, our vicar Rev. Pat Townshend, told us that during the next year (2019), she intended to celebrate the work of the various groups that operate within the church. This was to be achieved by reserving the 4th Sundays for these services. I have to say at this point that in the 50 odd years of ringing at St Peter's we had not been featured or celebrated in this way.

We discovered that not only was our special service to take place in April but that Bishop Christopher was to be present that morning. No pressure then. I asked if it would be possible to include the Ringers' hymn and one of our Guild prayers in the service. We aimed to ensure that all our ringers (11 in total) could be there, but unfortunately two were due to be on holiday on that date.

Bishop Christopher had last been at Dunchurch for the installation of our vicar and before that he came to dedicate our new ringing floor. So he knew a little bit about us. We currently have a band of ringers ranging in age from 13 through to 80 years, with varying abilities as you might imagine. Two have been ringing at Dunchurch for over 50 years and have already been presented with 50 year Guild membership certificates. Others have been ringing at St Peter's for many years, so a faithful band. Our more recent ringers include the vicar's husband who was our Ringing Remembers recruit and two teenagers, one only ringing for 3 months but who is showing great promise.

We were very fortunate that the day before the service, our district hosted the Guild AGM, and we were able to negotiate the loan of one of the Guild Publicity pop up stands to display during the service.

So, on Sunday 28th April, during the pre service ringing, with just 10 minutes to go, there was a tap on the door. It was the vicar who asked our Tower Captain Mike, to say something to the congregation about ringing during the service. Poor Mike!

The church was full and towards the end of the Communion service, the Bishop asked us to stand with him in front of the congregation while he talked to Mike. We all thought that Mike did a great job when he thanked the congregation for their continued support of the ringers, and especially their appreciation of our ringing floor, installed in 2011. Very diplomatic I thought.

I’m pleased to say that the Ringers’ hymn and the Guild Prayer were included in the service. The Bishop made a comment about the spread of ages in our band and added that it showed continuity. He concluded by giving a blessing to all of our ringers, ending a very special day indeed.

Bishop & Bellringers

The photo, taken by our Churchwarden, unfortunately just misses out two ringers who were also standing with us. We are left to right: Our Vicar Pat, Graham our Ringing Remembers Recruit is behind Bishop Christopher, Simon Benton, Mike Bennett (Tower Captain), Lauren Fowler, Maddie Pratt, Freda Bennett, Richard Pope, Jill Montgomery and Tony Osborne (just out of the photo).

Included in this report I would like to mention those that were unable to be present, Bruce Caldwell, on holiday in Wales and Jo Brady who was cruising the canal and river network.

Freda Bennett

First Aid Course.

12th October 2019 at Ryton on Dunsmore Church.

Course Tutor: Mark Butler. Mark is a ringer at Leamington Spa and also a St John’s Ambulance trainer. He is running this programme for the Guild as a volunteer and we are grateful for the contribution of his time and expertise.

This is a bespoke course lasting 6 hours, with the following aims:

  • Provide a basic first aid course suitable to people using the church and bell tower
  • To cover basic life support including basic use of an AED using as much practical activity as possible
  • To discuss and explore documentation, minor cuts / splinters / burns, bruises and head injury
  • Have an overview of legislative requirements.
  • How to administer CPR
  • How to control external bleeding
  • Recognise and manage shock
  • Recognise the signs of sepsis
  • Safe use of first aid equipment.

The programme is being held in Ryton on Dunsmore Church room. We have access to the bell tower, so some of the practical sessions will be held in the belfry.

The course will start at 9.30 and finish at 3.30. Lunch will be provided and tea and coffee available during the day.

There is no charge for attending the course, but the Guild is asking participants to pay £20 towards the cost of the church room hire and refreshments.

For further details please contact .

Ian Thompson’s 70 Years of Ringing

On Sunday 5th May members of the Cathedral Band treated Ian Thompson to lunch at Weston Hall Bulkington to celebrate his 70 years milestone of ringing and also as an appreciation of his loyal support to the Cathedral Band over the last 30 odd years.

Although his health has forced him to give up ringing on a regular basis he still attends the Cathedral on a Sunday where he enjoys listening to the ringing and offering help and advice.

Ian Thompson Lunch

Joy's 50 Years

It is very appropriate that Joy Pluckrose was presented with her 50 years membership certificate at the AGM, as she has done so much of the research that has been necessary to find out when ringers were approaching this milestone

Joy Pluckrose

Here she is, being presented with her certificate by Guild President, Andrew Alldrick.

April 2019 Edition Available

The latest newsletter is available to view as "Current Edition" and a printable version has been put into "Downloads".

Please note that the deadline for the following edition 15th June 2019 and items submitted after this date may have to be held over until the Ocotber 2019 edition.


Using the Website Message Board

If you want a message put onto the website, please follow these simple steps

  • Click here - the link is at the bottom of the messages if you forget this one. It is also on the "News and Notices" menu.
  • Click on
    • Practice Night Information, or
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  • Click on "New Topic"
  • Fill in the form with:-
    • Your name
    • A subject line for your message - not the whole message, something such as, "6-Bell Practice at XXXXXX on Thursday  XX December - this appears on the website
    • Type in the details in the "Message" box
    • Click in the "I am not a robot" box
    • Click on "Submit" to post the message

It is very simple to do. Please give it a go

Coventry DG Brokerage Scheme

The Guild is hoping to be able to give a helping hand to ringers and towers in the area by arranging for ringing support for what YOU want to be able to do next.

Do you need some ringers to provide a steady band around a learner in a given method?  Do you just need the odd ringer extra so you can make the next step with your, or your tower's, ringing?  Do you need a conductor for a quarter or a peal?  Do you want to ring a quarter peal or a peal and don't know the next step?

Help is at hand!  Simply download the CDG Brokerage file that you can find from

, in both pdf and Word format, complete it and then send it off.