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.

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Jill Roberts

23rd August 1933 – 18th August 2019

Jill Roberts (or “Auntie Jill” as we affectionately called her) started ringing later in life than most (I first remember her when she would have been in her mid-50s). Most people who learn as adults don’t progress very far but Jill was very determined and learnt to ring up to and including Surprise Major.

Jill RobertsJill was a superb organiser of ringing tours. She was most accommodating, accepting requests from all those coming on the tour and sometimes she ended up squeezing in as many as 20 towers into a single day. She also had the knack for getting permission to ring at towers where everyone else was refused permission.

Jill also loved going on ringing trips organised by others. One of the most memorable holidays was in the summer of 2005 when she and Pat Halls travelled with me visiting all the towers in Scotland over one week followed straight after by all the towers in Northern Ireland over the following weekend.

On another busy day, Jill acted as my navigator on the Peak District open day. We visited 30 different churches in one day, with Jill, at the age of 70, ringing at all but one.

Jill made the national press earlier this year when she went to watch the Severn Bore with her dear friend Sue Marshall. Standing too close, she got caught up with the bore and ended up in the river!

Jill, of course, had many other interests. As well as tending her sheep and growing crops on her smallholding, she was a keen photographer, in particular taking pictures of dragonflies. She attended lectures given by the U3A, and she was still playing table tennis at the age of 85!

Jill was a most generous host, welcoming people to her cottage, perhaps for a hearty supper of lamb casserole followed by stewed fruit or maybe a cuppa and a slice of cake for those riding past on the National Cycle Route.

Jill’s funeral was held at Sutton under Brailes on 17th September, on a lovely, warm late summer’s day. Jill would have been pleased that the ringing before and after was to a suitably high standard.

Jill was adored by all of her many ringing friends and we will miss her terribly.

Tim Jackson

Independent Examiner

‘Ask not what your Guild can do for you, rather what can you do for your Guild?’

For the past 8 years, the Guild has been honoured to have David Leafe perform the duties as Independent Examiner. This year David has indicated he wishes to resign from the post and has advised us to look for a replacement.

We are grateful to David for all his help and guidance over the previous years, which was extremely valuable especially when we were negotiating with the Diocese over the Phil Faulks Memorial Fund.

With David’s imminent retirement we need to identify a Guild member who might be willing to take over from him. Is this something you could help with, or do you know anyone you could nominate to help?

The Guild has receipts and payments accounts and the examiner should have financial awareness and numeracy skills and ideally have experience of the charity sector. It is not necessary to be an accountant to carry out this duty. The role is mainly carried out in February, when the annual accounts are prepared. It generally involves scrutinising, over a cup of coffee or perhaps a beer, the prepared accounts and associated paperwork/evidence with the Treasurer, Simon Rogers, to check for accuracy and challenge any findings.

The role is different from that of an auditor in that the independent examiner is only required to confirm whether any material matters of concern have come to their attention, whilst an auditor is required to provide an opinion on whether a charity’s accounts give a ‘true and fair view’. <;p> p>

If you think you can help, or know someone who can, please contact .

More details on the role of the Independent Examiner can be found at

Central Council of Church Bell Ringers’ Annual Meeting held in London on 7th September 2019.

This year’s meeting was held in London at Goldsmiths College. It was the first of the new format of CC meetings. Rather than a 2-day event held on May Bank holiday, it is now a weekend event around the first Saturday in September. The formal business meetings are scheduled for the Saturday, a mini road show on the Sunday and open ringing to welcome people on Friday evening.

66 ringing societies are affiliated to the Central Council, but the Devon Association will lapse at the end of the year. There are 177 representatives on the council with 21 vacancies (1 in our Guild).

With the new structure, it is important as many members as possible attend to hold the new executive to account. In fact, there were 149 members present at the meeting and a further 30 observers, who are not CC members. Chris Mew received a special mention at the beginning of the meeting as it is 50 years since he was first elected to the council, representing a different society.

The usual meeting formalities were quickly addressed and reports adopted. Interesting points:

  1. The Council still has £15,000 left of the £20,000 grant they received for Ringing Remembers.
  2. The cost of the Council meetings is covered by contributions from members.
  3. The Council has £159,000 in the General fund.
  4. The library collection is valued at £88,000
  5. Total funds in the Council are £444,438.

Joy has written about the work of the Workgroups, so I will focus on other points of interest.

  1. There were 4617 peals rung in 2018, with Church Lawford (The Plantagenet Ring) recording the 9th highest tower scoring 25 peals.
  2. The Robert Kilby memorial peal will be attempted in the Coventry Guild, following the inaugural peal in Leicester last year. Robert bequeathed £10,000 to the Council on the condition a peal of Stedman Caters was rung each year with 1 person ringing SC for the first time. (Incidentally, Robert only rang one peal of SC at Chilvers Coton).
  3. The new website is still being developed but there was concern much of the old information has disappeared. The webmaster said, all the existing content is still there but clearer signposting was being developed.
  4.; is a new website aimed at young people going to college.
  5. The council is working to ensure there is a common plan for VE 75 to avoid some of the issues with Ringing Remembers.
  6. The direct membership of the council is still being planned
  7. More Tower Leadership courses are in the pipeline.
  8. The Council was reminded of the excellent publication, ‘Bells in Your Care’, which is aimed at incumbents. It addresses many of the challenges posed in churches with a peal of bells.
  9. The PRO is developing, ‘An event in a box’ which is aimed at those planning a recruitment event to attract more ringers. 1
  10. Chris Mew is standing down from the Safeguarding Advisor to the Council and his replacement was being sought.

The current President of the Council, Christopher O’Mahony, elected for 3 years in Edinburgh in 2017, has resigned and a new President needed electing. The Current Vice President, David Kirkcaldy, had not sought election and will complete his 3 years in the role.

Simon Linford was elected, unopposed, to the role as President for 1 year, but was not at the meeting. He attended the dinner in the evening, where he officially accepted the position.

The meeting concluded at 4.40, lasting 2 hours 40 minutes.


Joy and I agree this was the best meeting we had been to so far mainly because there was very little acrimony, despite criticism to the contrary from certain directions. The various groups were trying hard to establish themselves in the new format and most have a clear vision of what they wish to achieve.

With Chris retiring from the Council, there will be two vacancies within the Guild for Central Council Reps. Why not put your name forward for election? You can stand for as little as one year.

The next meeting will be held in Nottingham University, Jubilee Campus on 4-6 September 2020.

Work Groups

The various Workgroups have metamorphosed out of the original Committees and are made up of Members of The Council as well as volunteers with specific interests/expertise. Each Workgroup has a link person to The Executive.

The Groups are:

  • Communication & Marketing
  • History & Archive
  • Stewardship & Management
  • Technical & Taxonomy
  • Volunteer & Leadership

There is also a group which coordinates and reports on the International Societies

Their reports for 2018-2019 can be found on the Central Council website, 2019 Annual Meeting: Annual Meeting Papers/Supplement Pages 16-34

A member of each group was invited to outline their plans for the next 12 months.

Communications & Marketing

  1. To launch Phase 2 of the New Website
  2. To produce materials including Teaching Aids and Advice
  3. To produce an ‘Events in a Box’ package for Distribution
  4. To plan how VE 75 Day 2020 is marked by Ringers

Stewardship & Management

Their plan covered 30 objectives but basically centred round overseeing:

  1. Tower Infrastructures, Tower Operations and Major Projects.
  2. Health & Safety in Towers and Legal Liabilities.
  3. The effect of noise inside and outside towers, and tracking accidents in belfries.
  4. Updating and regulating Safeguarding.

Technical & Taxonomy

Their plan fell under 5 sections:

  1. Services – looking at projects 
  2. Methods – continuing to look at and develop frameworks
  3. Compositions – putting together the ‘Ultimate Collection’
  4. Dove – 11th Edition now published
  5. ICT – adding to new website

Volunteer & Leadership.

  1. To continue to produce ‘Leadership’ interviews to be published in the RW
  2. To continue to produce the Education Column in the RW
  3. To try to convene a Youth Conference in York in 2020
  4. To run a ‘Recruit & Retain’ Workshop at ART Conference in March 2020
  5. To support the work of Guild & Associations when setting up Ringing Centres

Ringing World AGM held in London 7th September 2019.

It is not usual for the Guild Central Council reps to comment on the AGM of the Ringing World, but this year was different. A proposal had been made to change the objects of the RW and this had been met with concern across the Guild.

Traditionally, the AGM has always been held on the same day as the Central Council. Two years ago, members of the Council had been invited to buy a share in the RW for £10, which gave us voting rights at the meeting. £10 was the limit of our liability if the company went broke.

Nigel Orchard was the retiring chairman of the RW, some might remember him for his time ringing at Warwick, and he conducted the meeting very professionally.

Key points worth mentioning from the meeting are:

  • The RW is now solvent thanks largely to the donations ringers make when their peals/quarter peals are published;
  • The RW National Youth Competition goes from strength to strength;
  • RW paper subscriptions continue to decrease but online subscriptions increase;
  • The survey of 3,000 ringers taken a couple of years ago wanted the RW to remain a weekly publication;
  • Reduction in plastic material this year with wrappers to become home compostable.

Then came the difficult proposal of changing the objects of the RW. Currently, it is:
"The Charity’s objects (“the Objects”) are to promote and foster the ringing of bells for Christian worship and on other appropriate occasions and in particular by the publication of educational and literary works connected with or related to the ringing of Church and other bells for Christian worship and on other appropriate occasions. [Memorandum of Association, 3] [10 March 1983].

The proposal to make the change was made by Canon David Grimwood, the new Chairman. There was a keen debate about the change, but the feeling of the meeting was it needed changing to reflect the change from a religious charity to an educational charity, with religious connections. The charity Commission had been approached and had given their approval for the change. One defining moment was when of the trustees said when then had commissioned work, they had asked if there was a reduction for charities. The answer was yes, but not for religious or political groups. A vote was taken and carried unanimously. The new objects are:

“To promote and foster the art, science and history of bells and bell ringing to bellringers and the general public, and in particular by publishing educational material and historical archives, facilitating communication, encouraging public interest and uniting the ringing community.”


Central Council of Church Bell ringers: Workshops:

Sunday 8th September 2019

It was impossible to get to all the Workshops due to overlapping times but the following contains information from three of them.

Volunteering & Leadership Workshop

“When you take hold of a Rope, you don’t know how it will take over your life”

The main aim of this session was to elicit what help Guilds and Societies needed from this Group to help them mobilise ringers, by developing teams, enhancing knowledge, giving guidance and materials where needed, and promoting life-long learning.

They are very much concerned by the age profile of many belfries and the need to recruit and retain younger ringers, and to help them develop/take over Leadership roles.

They are looking at encouraging more Regional Youth Festivals, a Youth Conference in York in 2020 and the possibility of an International Young Ringers’ Organisation.

Ringing centres were discussed: it was stated that these did not have to contain the all-singing, all-dancing Technological Aids but were towers of Good Practice offering outreach to others on a regular basis with planned programmes.

I have ordered a copy of ‘Training Times 13’ (didn’t know Training Times 1-12 even existed!) for information.

Insurance: Presentation by Marcus Booth, Ecclesiastical Insurance: Church Underwriting Manager – and a Bell Ringer!

This was by far the most intense workshop but offered to clarify many of the myths and legends surrounding Church and Guild insurances.

  1. Ecclesiastical Insurance is owned by a Charitable Trust – ‘All Churches Trust Ltd.’ All profits are distributed to Parishes on a Grant basis and £120 million has been donated since 2014!
  2. will give you templates for documents on H & S, Risk Assessment, Fire Risk Assessment
  3. Their Standard Policy – ‘Parish Plus’ (Most Church PCC s have this) covers the following 
    1. Physical damage to buildings through fire, storm, theft
    2. Loss of Income following physical damage
    3. Loss of money or goods in transit
    4. Liability for all Clergy, Employees and Authorised Volunteers – the Bell ringers come under the latter category
    5. Liability for all third parties and visitors – this latter category includes visiting ringers whether ad hoc or by arrangement but must have satisfied the Ringing Master of their capability to ring.
    6. Trustee Indemnity
    7. Personal Accidents – providing the equipment etc. that caused the accident has been well maintained.
    8. Legal Expenses
    9. Anything ‘In Connection’ with your usual activities
      These are all subject to the Policy Conditions that reasonable care has been taken on maintenance that reasonable precautions have been taken to prevent damage, and that reasonable care has been exercised for regulations to be observed.
  4. Is Bell Ringing a dangerous occupation? YES!
    Do we need to ensure the Church has Insurance Cover? YES
  5. Church & Cathedral Bell Ringers – Employers’ Liability
    1. Accidental injury of Employers or Volunteers where there is proven negligence:
      (i) Slips, trips, due to poor general maintenance
    2. Anyone approved by Vicar or PCC is an ‘Authorised Volunteer’. This covers
      1. Resident band
      2. Visiting Ringers whether on Sunday or Practice Night
      3. Visiting Ringers invited for a specific event
      4. Tower Tours – members of the public
      5. Any person performing maintenance e.g. clock winding, cleaning etc.
  6. Personal Accident Cover
    1. If you are engaged on a Church Activity. However these are age defined – at the moment 3 years to 80 years (the latter may be reviewed soon)
    2. Benefit is paid to PCC not individuals (You might have to put in a liability claim to receive compensation)
    3. The C of E Safeguarding Policy and the CCCBR policy on Safeguarding must be adhered to.
  7. Guild Insurance Guilds are only insured for events organised by the Guild itself or its Districts e.g. a BBQ that takes place outside the confines of a Church and therefore not covered by the Church Insurance. The cover is restricted to MEMBERS only.
  8. FAQs
    1. Are you insured when you ring on holiday? Yes, because you become an ‘Authorised Volunteer’ if the Tower captain has vetted your capability.
    2. Are you covered on an organised tower outing? Yes, as you are ‘Church Organised’ you are covered by your own Church’s policy. Your Vicar or PCC has in effect accepted the liability for the visits.
    3. Are you covered at a Branch Practice? Yes, because you become an ‘Authorised Volunteer’ if the Tower captain has vetted your capability.
    4. Are you covered for peals and quarter peals? Yes, because you become an ‘Authorised Volunteer’ if the Tower captain has vetted your capability
  9. How can you help Yourselves?
    1. Keep accurate records – timed and dated – of any incidents that occur in your tower.
    2. Ensure there are regular Inspections of your bells and fittings and that there is regular Maintenance. Keep a log of date and time of the above.
    3. Keep a Record of any accidents.
    4. Review Risk Assessment at least once a year at the Tower AGM or after an accident.
    5. Report any incidents that result in damage even if a claim is not made.
Draw Club Results: July - September 2019
Date 1st Prize (£25) 2nd Prize (£10) 3rd Prize (£5)
July 62 - Rodney Swallow 124 - Sandra Parker 108 - Janet Kirtley
August 62 - Rodney Swallow 8 - Sally Idle 28 - Sue Roderick
September 21 -Jill Montgomery 34 - Barbara Howes 126 - Martin Mellor


A Bell for Sue

I have decided that a more permanent and fitting memorial to Sue is appropriate, and the intention is to augment the 5 bells at Radway by adding a new treble bell cast in her memory. Sue rang her last Quarter Peal here on the 25th May and rests nearby.

The project at Radway is to augment the bells and install a ringing balcony. The cost to add a bell and hang it is about £15,000 if we take advantage of a reduction for supplying some labour. The Ringing floor has not yet been costed.

The Keltek Trust have already agreed a substantial grant and I am hoping for a similar one