Trustees' Reports - President's Report 2017

My first priority when coming into Office in 2015 was to run a ‘Health Check’ on the state of the Guild – its current status, what was going well, what needed to be done to ensure at least a status quo, and what would help to ensure that after three years the Guild would be in as good a position as it was then, or even better. I would like to think that it’s improved – but do not take credit for that. The Guild is all about people and it is you, the Membership that has kept this Guild alive and very much kicking. I thank you all for your support and enthusiasm for initiatives put forward both through your local Districts and from the Guild Committee.

Health & Safety, Safeguarding, and Caring for Bells have featured prominently in matters discussed this last year and as much information as possible has been sent out to Incumbents and PCCs, not only to highlight their responsibilities to you and your band but also to ‘educate’ those PCCs and Incumbents where there are bells but no ringers. There are nominated Officers on the Committee for advice in any of these areas – see website,

The CRAG report was published too late for discussion at the Guild AGM but we hope we have circulated the details of the Central Council Meeting in May, so that you can judge for yourselves the metamorphosis that is taking place ‘at the top’. We wait with bated breath to see the proposals for ‘Individual Membership’ and the effect that will have on the Membership of the Territorial Guilds like ourselves.

Southam, Priors Marston, Bidford, Pillerton Hersey, and Bishop’s Itchington – to name but a few – have benefitted from Advice on their bells given by Guild Officers and some also, financially, through the BRF. The Draw Club continues to financially support the BRF and we thank all those who support the venture.

The Training Strategy has out-topped itself this year and a ‘fourth dimension’ to it added. The unstinting support of more experienced ringers is the key to the progress made by those taking part in the scheme and again we are very grateful to this merry band.

Attendance at District Practices, District Meetings, Guild Meetings, and Striking Competitions etc. still fluctuates, but on the whole there are pockets of very good work being done. The turnout for the ‘King Richard III’ tour was beyond expectations and showed the diversity of age and experience within the Guild. We now have a number of octogenarians ringing regularly in our Churches and a young 8 year old underpins the opposite end of the spectrum. It would be an interesting exercise for the incoming President to take a stock of ages across the Membership!

2018 Sees many significant ringing opportunities – Archbishop’s Visit, Diocese’s Centenary, Royal Wedding, End of WWI. Much planning needs to be undertaken Nationally, across the Guild and in your local towers. I hope you will give your usual support to all initiatives that are planned.

Finally, I could not have done what I have done over the three years without the wonderful help and encouragement I have had both from the Executive Committee and the General Committee.

Joy Pluckrose

Trustees' Reports - General Secretary’s Report 2017

The variety of activities available to members across the Guild continues to increase. The support for hosting the Lichfield Mobile Belfry at the Kenilworth show is one example. Members from all districts were involved in assembling, running and dismantling the belfry over a sunny weekend in June. The position of the belfry at the entrance to the show enabled us to attract the public to see church bell ringing and have a go.

Two Guild Social Meetings were held during the year; in January we met at Church Lawford before progressing to Wolston for more ringing and some delicious cakes. The second in July was a themed outing to Leicester. 5 towers were open during the day and this was well supported by members from across the Guild.

The AGM was held at Wellesbourne, with the learners who had attended the Guild Training Mornings ringing quarter peals at local towers before the meeting. Four quarters were recorded, including some ringers ringing their first quarter peal. 12 new members were elected/notified as members of the Guild. The Quarterly Business Meeting in October was held at Brinklow. This was proceeded by the 8 Bell Striking competition where 2 teams from each district competed in this good natured competition. Congratulations to the Rugby A team on their success.

Two other Striking competitions were held during the year. Attendance at the 6 Bell Competition in March has continued to increase. The Guild Youth Team gave their best performance so far at the Ringing World National Youth Competition in Birmingham. They finished 7th out of a field of 19 teams.

The Guild Newsletter continues to be published 4 times a year and is sent to all towers keeping them informed about future events and containing reports on different activities. After a number of years producing the newsletter, Freda Bennett and Margaret Ingman decided to retire. Thanks for all your hand work and a warm welcome to Rosemary Spencer for taking on the role.

The number of towers opening their doors as part of the Heritage Open Weekend continues to increase. The event offers an opportunity for the public to visit Church towers and learn more about bells and bell ringing.

The annual Carol Service continues to be the most supported event of the year. Nearly 100 members attended the service at St Mary’s Warwick. Both Warwick towers were open for ringing and the theme of the football match played in the trenches in 1914 marked a link to next year when we will be commemorating the Centenary of the end of WWI. The Ringing Remembers campaign was launched in November and the challenge to recruit 1400 new ringers from across the Country has appealed to the public imagination.

The addition of a new peal of bells in Pillerton Hersey was a wonderful ending to the year. The news, we received in December, of a substantial legacy to the Guild could mean we will be able to help additional towers and bells for many years to come.

Annie Hall

Trustees' Reports - Treasurer's Report 2017

Guild membership, as measured by those paying subscriptions during the year, decreased slightly in 2017, as there were a significant number of members paying their 2016 subscriptions a little late. The total paying their subscriptions last year was 510, against a revised 2016 figure of 551, the drop in numbers being fairly well spread throughout the Guild. At the time of preparing the accounts the Guild’s paying membership in 2017 was split thus:-

District Senior Junior Total Towers
Coventry District 125 3 128 21
Rugby Deanery 102 8 110 14
Warwick Archdeaconry 254 14 258 37
Unattached 4   4  
Totals 485 25 510 72

There are also 6 active Life Members resident within the Guild taking the resident membership to 516. 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 2018 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, despite increased expenditure on training and officers’ expenses, ended up with a surplus of over £1,100. There was less expense involved for newsletters and the Youth Team and no one-off amounts spent and the £5 element from subscriptions for the Bell Repair Fund came to £2,635. The Guild has reserves of £11,593 which is roughly equivalent to 3 years income, which the Trustees regard as acceptable. This amount covers for any unexpected falls to income or years in which expenditure is above the norm.

The Bell Repair Fund brought in over £4,000 during the year, largely due to the element of adult subscriptions collected during the year, and the excellent surplus (£540) from this year’s Draw Club – thanks to Joy Pluckrose and Chris Worley for running this over the last 12 months. In 2017 £7,100 was donated to two towers, including the highest amount we have donated thus far - £6,500 to Pillerton Hersey. The news received at the beginning of 2018 that a large sum of money left in a legacy with the Diocesan Trustees, the income from this being available for use by the Guild Bell Repair Fund, means that very meaningful donations can now be given to churches considering work on their bells and fittings in future years.

The Bell Repair Fund has reserves of £27,825. These have benefitted from the decision by the members to raise the annual Guild subscription and allocate the increase to the Fund. The very nature of the Fund means that the donations it makes to churches vary from year to year according to repairs, maintenance issues, and enhancements that occur and qualify for support. The donations made from the Fund vary from a few hundred pounds to several thousand according to the work needed. In simple terms with over 100 towers with bells in the Guild the Fund is equivalent to less than £300 per tower. The Trustees realise the level of the Fund is dependent on its income from the Coventry DG and its income is dependent on the number of subscribing members. The Trustees regard the current level of reserves as adequate but note that any exceptional demands for support could quickly deplete them.

Thanks must go to David Leafe for examining this year’s accounts and for his advice to the Guild trustees. 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!

Simon Rogers – Hon Treasurer


Trustees' Reports'- Ringing Master' Report 2017

The Six Bell Striking Competition held this Year at Berkswell gave all those competing a real challenge and when the Warwick “A” band was awarded First Place all agreed that a good performance had been achieved.

The District Eight Bell striking Competition, held at Brinklow, proved to be a really good afternoon, with the Rugby “A” Team, who produced a very good performance, in First Place, followed closely by Warwick “A” Team. Colin Lee from the Oxfordshire Guild, judging the event for the first time, was more than impressed by the overall standard of all the bands competing.

Can I thank again both Berkswell and Brinklow Bands for laying on a most enjoyable afternoon for the 2 Guild Striking Competitions. The teas and cakes were of the highest quality and enjoyed by all those that attended.

For the third year in succession the Guild entered a team in the Ringing World National Youth Competition. This year they rang changes and almost made the final. Better luck in 2018 and thanks for everyone for supporting Coventry Spires.

Our 3 District Ringing Masters have again achieved very successful Saturday meetings and training Days throughout the Year. So many of our new ringers have enjoyed and gained many new skills from these ringing sessions.

This has been our second year of Saturday Morning Training sessions, with many new starters and the continued further skills development by those that started in the First Year, so leading to First in quarter qeals by so many of our new ringers. This has been achieved by the commitment shown by our team leaders and helpers for each of the three towers used in the Guild.

Now Guild Ringing Aims for 2018

  1. More First Time Learners to be Recruited
  2. Saturday Teaching Mornings to be continued
  3. Surprise Major and Minor practices to be continued for all Districts

Mark W Sayers - Guild Ringing Master

Peal Secretary's Report - 2017

There was a total of 70 peals rung for the Guild in 2017, 4 more than in 2016 and the highest total since 2008; 69 on tower bells and 1 on handbells, taking us to 4,236 since the Guild’s formation. The one handbell peal rung this year was in fact the 600th handbell peal for the Guild – the first having been rung in Nuneaton on April 27th 1910. The peals in 2017 were rung thus:-

Warwick Archdeaconry  - 22 (11 towers)
Coventry District - Tower Bell  - 18 (11 towers)
-   Handbell   1 (1 house)
Rugby Deanery  - 23 (5 towers)
Outside the Guild  - 6 (4 towers)

Leading tower for 2017 was Church Lawford Plantagenet Ring with 19, followed by Warwick St Nicholas with 7, Allesley and Wellesbourne with 4, and Claybrooke, Honiley and Lighthorne with 3 each.

Methods were split thus:-

    Tower Hand Total
Doubles  - 5 0 5
Minor  - 23 1 24
Triples  -  0 0 0
Major  -  35 0 35
Caters  - 2 0 2
Royal  -  4 0 4

In 2017 21 methods were rung for the first time for the Guild – all Major methods. Nine of these were rung by the band that rings monthly Monday night peal attempts and eight by the band that meets regularly at The Plantagenet Ring. There was also a series of 6 minor peals during which the 41 “standard” Surprise Minor methods were rung (almost) alphabetically.

Altogether,78 people rang in Guild peals during the year with 13 different conductors. Leading ringers were:-

45 - Ray Sheasby
44 - Simon Rogers (cond 39)
36 - Mike Dew
33 - Andrew Alldrick (cond 2)
30 - Mike Chester (cond 13)
22 - Mark Sayers 20 - Geoff Randall (cond 1)
15 - Peter Fleckney, Chris Stokes (cond 5), Ruth Stokes, Sue Marshall (cond 1)
13 - Julie Tarling
12 - Alison Williams

Just one Guild member rang their first peal during the year – well done to Ryan Kirby, a young Kineton ringer, for achieving this. Also welcome back to peal ringing Jane Kempton who rang her first peal for 30 years.

Meanwhile for the Guild Mike Chester rang his 1100th peal, Simon Rogers rang his 900th, Peter Quinn his 350th, Jane Rogers her 250th, Mike Dew his 150th and Mick Angrave, Lucy Gwynne, Phil Wild, Sue Marshall and Chris and Ruth Stokes their 50th. At a more personal level Geoff Randall rang his 2500th peal, Peter Fleckney his 2400th, Chris Pickford his 1900th, Simon Rogers his 1100th, Ray Sheasby his 700th and Nick Allsopp his 100th. Of Geoff Randall’s 2,500, 1,123 were rung for the Guild and he remains the leading peal ringer for the Guild.

Some peals have been rung this year in memory of Guild members – one at St Nicholas Warwick following the interment of the ashes of Doris Randall, another at St Nicholas Warwick in memory of Margaret Pratt from Bulkington and 3 peals, at Stratford-upon-Avon, Snitterfield and Aston Cantlow in memory of Michael Gray, former Guild Secretary and President, these three towers being where he did much of his ringing. A peal was also rung at Allesley by past and present Guild officers on the centenary of the death of Harry Kettle, who was an Allesley ringer and also Secretary of the Guild (then the Warwickshire Guild) when he was killed in action in France on November 28th 1917.

In celebration peals were rung to mark the 70th wedding anniversary of HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Philip at Burton Dassett and St Nicholas Warwick. Peals were also rung to celebrate the weddings of 3 Guild members – at Farnborough prior to the wedding of Jon Tallis and Amy Patterson, at Allesley on the morning of Jonathon Chester and Amelia Corry’s wedding and at Kenilworth 2 days after George and Lauren Kempton’s wedding. A peal at St Nicholas Warwick, of Old Codgers Surprise Major, was also rung to celebrate the 70th birthdays of Geoff Randall, Ian Unsworth and Jim Insley.

Well done to all those who rang firsts during the year and good luck to those who try something new in peal ringing in 2018.

Simon Rogers - Peal Secretary