Trustees' Reports - President's Report 2016

2016 has, yet again, been a very busy but exhilarating year for The Guild, the highlight of which was probably the 90-4-90 initiative for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth 11’s, 90th birthday.

The success of any event is a reflection of the planning and preparation put into it and the Quarter Peal week (and a bit) in June began with a germ of an idea in late 2015. The logistics and viability of such an event was chewed over by the Executive Committee and the General Committee long before the idea was put before the Members of The Guild themselves. Like a pot of water put on to boil, the response was quite slow at first (the date probably seemed a long way off) and I think we had misgivings as to whether we had bitten off more than we could chew. However things began to stir and one or two bubbles rose to the surface – volunteers who said they were willing to arrange one, two, three or even more quarters. Soon the pot was boiling fully and the whole week began to take shape. An audit of towers and ringers showed where the gaps were, where people needed help, where ambitions could be realised.

The week itself, culminating on June 12th, was driven by adrenalin and enthusiasm, the whole of The Guild carried along on a wave of determination to succeed, rarely before seen in The CDG! In all 95 Quarters were scored, with many milestones logged along the way, all of which is recorded for posterity in the July Newsletter.

Our Youth Team continues to flourish. Sadly we have to say ‘Goodbye’ to the ‘Oldies’ when they reach 19 but their places have been taken this year by a new influx of younger ringers. 21 Ringers, friends and family made the journey to London this year for the RW National Youth Striking Competition. Guided round London on trains, the underground, and buses, our very own knowledgeable tour guide, Chris Mew, made it a day to remember. The Team were placed in the same category as last year but we stick to our adage ‘It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game’. You couldn’t ask for any more from our team of polite, well-mannered, enthusiastic ringers that we are so proud of. And what other team could boast of having a ‘train picnic’ on the way home, everything provided by Ruby’s mum! Birmingham 2017 – here we come!

The Guild Teaching Strategy was implemented in the Autumn. Again after much planning, a scheme was devised to cover beginners through to Change ringing on 6, using three different towers. As I write this article I am waiting to see the feedback from clients, and to review/revise the programme from February 2017. These intense training mornings are only possible because we are lucky enough to have some very loyal and committed helpers, for whom we are very grateful. The number of towers involved with The Heritage weekend is unknown, but the publicity through local towers and the media, with its appeal for new recruits, resulted in a number of enquiries about bell ringing and a win-win situation for some towers with new learners. Welcome to all the newcomers.

Sadly at the other end of the spectrum we have said ‘Goodbye’ to a number of our elderly ringers this year: Doug Carr (Halford), John Findon (Stratford on Avon), Tony Pickering (Hillmorton), Ron Backholler (Ryton on Dunsmore), Beryl Griffin (Napton), Terry Handford (Whitnash), Graham Payne (Ilmington), Rosemary Furze (Henley in Arden), Doris Randall (Warwick)and Carol Evans (Aston Cantlow). As the average age of ringers in a tower is getting higher, with many of our ringers now in their 80s, the demise is woefully a fact of life.

Well done thou good and faithful servants. May they Rest in Peace.

Ideas are already in the pipeline for 2017 and the planning has begun! Generating a sense of ‘belonging’ which we felt so strongly in 90-4-90 is uppermost in our minds and 2017 sees us striving to stir up the embers again – embers which need refuelling in places.

I’d like to express my thanks to the ever-efficient Annie Hall, to the Executive Committee and the General Committee for their support. Thanks too go to the District Secretaries, Janice, Liz and Sue and the District Committees who do such a lot of work at the coal face. And where would the Guild be without its Members? Thanks for your loyalty which puts the CDG well and truly ‘on the map’.

Joy Pluckrose

Trustees' Reports - General Secretary’s Report 2016

When reviewing the Guild’s performance for 2016, the stand out event has to be the 90 quarter peals we challenged ourselves to ring in celebration of the Queen’s 90th birthday. It was an ambitious target, but our members rose to the challenge. During the first half of June, we rang 95 quarter peals in 94 towers. 195 resident Guild members took part representing 56 Guild towers.

They were assisted by 31 other ringers, many of whom ring in towers close to our borders. 12 members rang their first quarter peal and congratulations to Ray Sheasby who rang the most, 21!

What a wonderful achievement and illustrates how successful we can be when we pull together. It was great to see bands visiting towers, which rarely have their bells rung. In some villages, residents came to greet the ringers and sat and listened to the ringing. The celebrations were brought to a fitting end with tea in the Cathedral ringing room attended by ringers from across the Guild. See photo at the end of the report.

Two Guild social events were held in 2016, the first in January involved ringing at Ryton on Dunsmore and Stoneleigh. The second, in July, was held in the south of the County where we rang at Long Compton, Whichford and Great Wolford.

The Guild AGM, held at Rugby, saw the confirmation of 26 new members elected at District meetings. A new training strategy was discussed which has now been implemented, with training sessions running on the 4th Saturday of each month. The quarterly meeting, held in Bulkington, in October was well attended with 3 new Central Council members elected. Thanks to Chris Idle and Mike Chester for all their hard work in office and we wish Becki and Joy the best of success in their new role.

The Coventry Spires youth team again did well at the Ringing World National Youth competition held in London. This event goes from strength to strength and is now one of the highlights of the ringing year. 21 team members and their supporters travelled to the capital and enjoyed ringing at many of the City towers. 8 practices were held during the year. We held specific youth practices but also joined towers on their regular practice night. We rang at Stratford upon Avon for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare. The visit to the Cathedral is always great fun. The band is very welcoming and supports the young people to ring on 12 bells and some will try and ring the tenor.

A number of Guild Towers opened their doors for the National Heritage Open weekend. This event offers a great opportunity for the public to visit church towers and learn about bells and bell ringing. The District secretaries work hard to arrange monthly events for members. I, like them, am always open to new ideas about how we can improve Guild ringing events. If you have any new ideas, do let us know.

It is the warmth and welcome from members across the Guild which I think we should not take for granted. In most towers, there is a friendly ‘hello’ and an enquiry about what you can ring. All members are conscious of health and safety in their towers and the collective responsibilities to themselves and others. The fellowship of ringers and the challenge to ring well provide a common purpose which binds us together.

Annie Hall

Trustees' Reports - Treasurer's Report 2016

Guild membership, as measured by those paying subscriptions during the year, dropped in 2016, mainly due to a few towers “forgetting” to pay. The total paying their subscriptions last year was 505, against a revised 2015 figure of 561; the drop in numbers occurring mainly in the Warwick Archdeaconry, although it must be said that some of those members have paid up since, once they were reminded! At the time of preparing the accounts the Guild’s paying membership in 2016 was split thus:-

District Senior Junior Total Towers
Coventry District 134 3 137 21
Rugby Deanery 101 8 109 13
Warwick Archdeaconry 231 18 249 32
Unattached 10   10  
Totals 476 29 505 66

There are also 6 active life members resident within the Guild taking the resident membership to 511. My grateful thanks go again to George Wrycroft, Gerald Trevor and Sally Idle for their invaluable help in the collecting and recording of your subscriptions over the last 12 months. If you have not paid your subscription for 2017 by the time you read this (adults £10; juniors £2) I would urge you to send the money to one of these three as soon as possible.

This year the General Fund, mainly due to increased expenditure on training, newsletters and the Youth Team, together with a one off amount spent on producing peal books to clear the backlog of peals needing binding, ended up with a deficit of £651. We also donated £2000 to the Bell Repair Fund based on subscriptions collected in 2015, as well as the £5 element from subscriptions collected in 2016. Expenditure, apart from the aforementioned donation, remained much as always, although officers’ expenses dropped dramatically.

The Bell Repair Fund brought in over £6000 during the year, much better than the previous few years, largely due to the donation mentioned above plus the element of adult subscriptions collected during the year, and the excellent surplus (£600) from this year’s Draw Club. This year just £775 was donated to three towers and the Bell Repair Fund is now in a far more healthy position than a couple of years ago, thus ensuring that very meaningful donations will be given to churches considering work on their bells and fittings in future years.

The raising of subscriptions, with half of the adult subscriptions going to the Bell Repair Fund, has proved to be very successful. I have felt for a long time that the Bell Repair Fund is something to which we should all contribute, as we never know when we might need to call upon it for repairs etc, and this has proved to be the best way to support these ideals. Another way to support the BRF is of course the Draw Club, and thanks must go again to Joy Pluckrose and Chris Worley for their running of the Draw Club for the last 12 months. £600 has been raised for the BRF and I urge all members to consider supporting the BRF in this way.

Thanks too to must go to David Leafe for examining this year’s accounts. Finally if anyone else is interested in looking after the Guild’s finances please say so as it really is time that someone else took over – after all I’ve been doing this for 38 years now!

May 2017 turn out to be a good ringing year for you all!

Simon Rogers – Hon Treasurer


Trustees' Reports'- Ringing Master' Report

The Six Bell Striking Competition held this year at Stretton on Dunsmore achieved a very good standard by all tower and youth teams involved, with Warwick “A” being awarded first place, although the Coventry Cathedral team ran them a very close second place.,/p>

The District Eight Bell Striking Competition held at Bulkington was again well attended, with Warwick District “A” being awarded first place.

My thanks go out to all District Ringing Masters for organizing and running so many meetings and practices for all standards. This has enabled many of our learners to progress and achieve substantial improvements during the year.

The Saturday Morning training sessions started in September. This was a request from the questionnaire completed by members in 2014. The sessions have been well attended by learners from across the Guild and well supported by experienced ringers. In my opinion the learners have achieved a great deal not only for new starters, but also for those with less than 2 years’ experience. Many new friendships have developed during both the Saturday practices and organized outings, which we all hope will establish long term ringing groups and teams.

The successful Queens Quarter peal week just proves what we can achieve as a Guild. I will forever regard this as one of the greatest achievements by all involved.

The continued building of the youth team can only be an excellent way of development for the future of ringing. A massive thank you for all involved, especially all the parents who give up their time in transporting the Young ringers to all our practices around the Guild Towers.

Now for my aims in 2017

Saturday Teaching mornings to continue
More first time learners to be recruited
To ensure as many towers ring for Sunday Service
Our Youth Team ring Plain Bob Triples at the National Striking Competition to be held in Birmingham this Year.

Mark W Sayers

Guild Ringing Master

Peal Secretary's Report - 2015

There was a total of 67 peals rung for the Guild in 2016, one more than in 2015 and the highest total since 2008; 65 on tower bells and 2 on handbells, taking us to 4167 since the Guild’s formation. The peals in 2016 were rung thus:- 

Warwick Archdeaconry  - 22 (13 towers)
Coventry District - Tower Bell  - 16 (11 towers)
Handbell   2 (1 house)
Rugby Deanery  - 21 (5 towers)
Outside the Guild  - 6 (4 towers)

Leading tower for 2016 was Church Lawford Plantagenet Ring with 15, followed by Warwick St Nicholas with 6, and Allesley, Brinklow, Claybrooke, Honiley and Wellesbourne with 3 each. The first peal at Leek Wootton since augmentation to 6 was rung, as was the 100th on the bells (81 for the Guild) at The Plantagenet Ring in Church Lawford. Methods were split thus:-

    Tower Hand Total
Doubles  - 2 0 2
Minor  - 20 1 21
Triples  -  5 0 5
Major  -  34 1 35
Caters  - 3 0 3
Cinques  -  1 0 1

In 2016 15 methods were rung for the first time for the Guild – all Major methods, mainly Surprise Major. Nine of these were rung by the band that rings monthly Monday night peal attempts and six by the band that meets regularly at The Plantagenet Ring. Altogether 99 people rang in Guild peals during the year with 16 different conductors. Leading ringers were:-

46 - Ray Sheasby
39 - Simon Rogers (cond 31)
38 - Mike Chester (cond 13)
32 - Mark Sayers 29 - Andrew Alldrick (cond 2)
23 - Geoff Randall
21 - Mike Dew
14 - Peter Quinn

Just two Guild members rang their first peal during the year – well done to Linda Gatehouse and Cate Stokes for achieving this. Well done too to John Gwynne for conducting a peal for the first time. Also welcome back to peal ringing David Bell who rang his first peal for 45 years.

Meanwhile for the Guild, Geoff Randall rang his 1100th peal, Simon Rogers his 850th, Ian Thompson his 700th, Ray Sheasby his 500th and Simon Adams and Doug Kempton their 50th. At a more personal level Mike Chester rang his 2000th peal, Andrew Alldrick and Simon Rogers their 1000th, (also Simon’s 600th as conductor), Mark Sayers his 650th peal, Ray Sheasby his 600th and Mike Chester his 750th as conductor. Of Andrew’s 1000 peals 123 were rung for the Guild, Andrew having spent much of his working life in other parts of the country. Simon, on the other hand, has rung 844 of his 1000 for the Guild and is the leading conductor.

Simon Rogers - Peal Secretary