Trustees' Report 2019

This annual report has a threefold purpose. Firstly, it summarises and highlights, for the listed membership, what took place in the year. This aspect is covered more fully and in a timely manner in the Guild Newsletters published quarterly. Secondly, it acts as a repository for all the useful information needed about the Guild and as such serves as its handbook. Finally but not of least importance, it satisfies the obligations placed on the trustees of a registered charity to make public our operation.

The four trustees are the elected officers of President, General Secretary, Treasurer and Ringing Master and form the Executive Committee of the Guild. They also serve as the trustees of the separate Bell Repair Fund (BRF) charity. The inevitably close relationship between these two charities means that this one report covers the work of both and that separate meetings of each charity are not held. The trustees meet reasonably regularly on an as required basis, and usually before other Guild meetings so that we can have a consensus view of items that will arise. The same meeting is used to consider applications for grants to the BRF.

In line with modern communications methods there are frequent email threads between us as well as phone calls and even face-to-face conversations when we actually met during our normal course of diverse ringing activities. Items very specific to their elected post appear as necessary elsewhere in this report. This is complimented by the reports of other elected Guild officials who are not on the executive. These later people are invited from time-to-time to exec meetings to assist the trustees when their specialisms will help develop Guild views and policies on the diverse range of matters for which the trustees are responsible.

Somewhat unusually for recent times, there has been no national event in 2019 requesting the involvement of ringing which has provided an additional focus for Guild activities. Our regular calendar has been maintained and reports on these are below. Much of the Guild’s important work occurs through the three districts (well one district, one archdeaconry and one deanery!) and their reports are within the handbook section of this report.

The Central Council, following the latest Church of England recommendations, updated their guidance on Safeguarding and included other related general safe working practices. In recognition of the importance of this within all our ringing activities, the Executive, along with our Safeguarding officer, have produced a new booklet and guidance on Safeguarding. This has been issued to all towers within the Guild and you are urged to ensure it is read, put on display or made readily available to all involved in the ringing at your tower.

The Guild has continued to offer their members and local churches a number of services. Following the introduction of the Maintenance Report Initiative, 71 towers have been offered the opportunity to have their bells serviced and inspected by a professional bell hanger. Many have taken up this offer and have subsequently applied for further grants towards the repairs to their bells. The rope store continues to operate and now the Guild can offer stays at cost price, again saving many churches great sums of money. Thanks to Graham Nabb and Ian Wilson for running these initiatives. Members of the Tower and belfry committee also offer their time and labour to help keep the cost of repair and restoration down.

The two striking competitions were very well attended. The 6 bell striking competition was held at Radford Semele with 12 teams competing, more than for many years. The 8 bell competition, linked to the 6 monthly meeting at Allesley was also well represented with all Districts entering two teams.

The Coventry Spires youth team entered teams in both Guild competitions as well as entering the Ringing World National Youth Competition held in Liverpool. This event becomes more popular each year and we are grateful for the support we receive from family and friends to accompany the team to this annual event. In addition to the practices for the striking competition, outings are held for the youth team along with a monthly Sunday afternoon practice arranged by Alec Chaplin.

Monthly training mornings are run by the officers of the Guild supported by willing volunteers. These sessions allow learners to have the opportunity to ring with proficient bands and have plenty of rope time. For the first time a First Aid course was run by a Guild member attended by 17 others.

The Carol Service, held at Brinklow, continues to be the best attended event of the year. Again nearly 100 members and friends attended with the Guild choir adding much to enhance the atmosphere of the event.

The Guild was asked to ring the Central Council memorial peal for Robert Kilby. This was successfully scored at Warwick in December.

Ringing was arranged in support of Notre Dame after the devastating fire on 15th April. By request of the Government, this took place on Maundy Thursday breaking with tradition of not ringing in Holy Week.

Two Central Council members resigned this year. Congratulations to Chris Mew for completing over 50 years as a member of the council. His guidance and support have been greatly appreciated by the Guild. The Guild now only has 2 representatives and because of the size of the membership is entitled to 4.

REMEMBERING MEMBERS WHO HAVE PASSED AWAY DURING 2019

Robin Guy from Clifton upon Dunsmore

Kate Moir from Warwick

Angela Elliott from Southam

Frank Spiers from Bidford on Avon

Jill Roberts from Sutton under Brailes

Susan Marshall from Kineton Stewart

Smith from Rugby

Dorothy Ogle from Willoughby

MAY THEY REST IN PEACE AND RISE IN GLORY

Andrew Alldrick, Annie Hall, Simon Rogers, Mark Sayers

 

Treasurer's Report 2019

Membership subscriptions are the major contributor to financing the Guild’s activities. Those paying subscriptions during the year, increased slightly in 2019. The total paying their subscriptions last year was 511, against a revised 2018 figure of 489, the increase in numbers being fairly well spread throughout the Guild. At the time of preparing the accounts the Guild’s paying membership in 2019 was split thus:-

District Senior Junior Total Towers
Coventry District 122 10 132 20
Rugby Deanery 103 5 108 12
Warwick Archdeaconry 250 9 259 38
Unattached 12   12  
Totals 487 24 511 70

There are also 5 active Life Members resident within the Guild taking the resident membership to 516. Our 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 2020 by the time you read this (adults £10; juniors £2) we would urge you to send the money to one of these three as soon as possible to the Treasurer.

This year the General Fund, despite increased expenditure on the youth team ended up with a surplus of £438. The Guild has reserves of £12,260 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 (BRF) brought in over £25,000 during the year, an increase of some £16,000, entirely due to the income which we will continue to get from the Philip Faulks Memorial Bell Fund, hence the offer last year, continuing into this year, of the BRF paying for maintenance reports on most of the Guild’s towers. We would also encourage any towers thinking about work on their bells and fittings to apply to the BRF for a donation as with more cash available the donation could be a lot larger than those from the previous years. Five donations were made last year, totalling £3700, mainly for frame painting, re-bushing clappers and making the 3 bells at Stockton ringable; as well as £2,400 for maintenance inspections at 17 churches. If your bells have not been inspected yet - please let us know.

The Bell Repair Fund has reserves of £56,584. Of this £25,000 has been committed to Snitterfield, £4,500 to Radway and £2,000 to Kineton; as well as nearly £2,000 to 3 other churches. 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 just over £500 per tower. The Trustees regard the current level of reserves as adequate. They are being proactive in using the money effectively by donating to churches having bell maintenance reports whilst still being receptive to funding any maintenance needed on bells/fittings; and augmentations to existing rings.

The balance sheets for both funds are later in this report. Thanks must go to David Leafe for examining this year’s accounts, and indeed for his advice and guidance to the Guild trustees over the last 9 years. He has decided to step down from this role and a replacement is needed as soon as possible.

The trustees are grateful to all those who take on responsibilities at various levels to help in the functioning of the Guild. The continuing health and activities of the Guild are only possible through people willing to give additional time to their ringing activities away from being “on the end of a rope”. As noted above there are known vacancies for Central Council representatives and an independent examiner. Next year the term of office of the president expires. The treasurer would be pleased to hand on the responsibilities if anyone else is interested in looking after the Guild’s finances. After being in post for over 40 years he really feels it is time that someone else took over! Planning for our successors is always on the agenda of the trustees. Without volunteers coming forward who knows what lies for the future well-being of the Guild and the continuation of what the membership cherishes as traditions?

Although the Guild and its Bell Repair Fund are comparatively small charities they are covered by the same regulations as any of the national household names. With the much-welcomed substantial increase in BRF income and thus its ability to give an increased number of and financially significant grants, a minor change to its formal reporting to the Charity commission has occurred. The four Trustees are given six main duties to discharge on behalf of the membership.

  1. Ensuring we are carrying out its purposes to the public benefit. This we achieve by the majority of our activities being those that enable us to fulfil our role of bellringers with Coventry Diocesan Guild Report 2019 9 the Diocese of Coventry particularly provision of ringing for Sundays and other significant occasions. The Bell Repair Fund meets this by the giving of its grants. 
  2. Compliance with the governance document and the law. This we achieve by operating within the rules set out elsewhere in the report. Three major areas of the law which affect our operation are Safeguarding, Health and Safety and General Data Protection Regulations. These all have persons responsible for them including advising us and ensuring we maintain best practice in line with other nationally generated bell ringing related specific guidance.
  3. Acting in the Guild’s best interest. The decisions taken are by a majority of the members attending meetings throughout the year. The operation and activities of the Guild are kept under review to ensure continuing relevance.
  4. Managing the Guild’s resources responsibly. The finances and other assets are reported at each meeting, summarised annually and subject to audit. In the modern era this also includes strict management of the Guild’s social media presence and website content. Unfortunately, there is little we can do about any reputational issues that arise from social media over which we have no control.
  5. Act with reasonable care and skill. The trustees bring a diverse range of non-ringing skills to the Guild. We ensure that specialist advice is sought as necessary either from within the membership or other qualified professionals. The Trustees meet as and when necessary to form a considered view on items that have come to our attention.
  6. Ensure we are accountable. The trustees are accountable to the membership through general meeting or direct contact. All members are entitled, upon request, to a copy of this report. The minutes of meetings are published and available to all. The annual return to the Charity commission is made on time.

Simon Rogers – Hon Treasurer

Accounts1
 
Accounts2

Public Relations Report 2019

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 - 2019

There was a total of 64 peals rung for the Guild in 2019, 4 less than in 2018. All but one was rung on tower bells. This takes us to 4,368 peals since the Guild’s formation. The peals in 2019 were rung thus:-

Warwick Archdeaconry  - 18 (11 towers)
Coventry District - Tower Bell  - 6 (4 towers + 1 house)
Rugby Deanery  - 33 (4 towers + 1 garage)
Outside the Guild  - 6 (4 towers)

Leading tower for 2019 was Church Lawford Plantagenet Ring with 26, followed by Warwick St Nicholas with 7, and Stretton-on-Dunsmore, Stoke and Claybrooke with 3 each.

Methods were split thus:-

Doubles  - 1
Minor  - 16
Triples  -  0
Major  -  45
Caters  - 1
Royal  -  1

In 2019 29 methods were rung for the first time for the Guild – all Major methods, one of these being rung for the first time. Twelve of these were rung by the band that rings monthly Monday night peal attempts and fourteen by the band that meets regularly at The Plantagenet Ring.

Altogether 76 people (two less than last year) rang in Guild peals during the year with just 6 different conductors. Leading ringers were:-

51 - Ray Sheasby
48 - Simon Rogers (cond 47)
35 - Mike Dew
29 - Mark Sayers 
28 - Chris Stokes (cond 9)
25 - Mike Chester (cond 10)
23 - Ruth Stokes
21 - Andrew Alldrick, Peter Fleckney
17 - Philip Wild
14 - Geoff Randall
13 - Alison Williams
11 - Julie Tarling

Just one Guild member rang their first peal during the year

Meanwhile for the Guild Mike Chester rang his 1150th, Simon Rogers his 950th, Ray Sheasby his 650th and Chris Stokes his 100th. At a more personal level Andrew Alldrick and Simon Rogers both rang their 1250th peal, Ray Sheasby his 850th and Mike Dew his 1000th – a peal of M Delight Major at his own ring.

Five peals were rung this year in memory of Guild members – two (at Clifton-on-Dunsmore and Warwick St Nicholas) in memory of Robin Guy, who rang 138 peals for the Guild and contributed enormously to ringing at Clifton and in the Rugby area; and three in memory of Sue Marshall (at Church Lawford Plantagenet Ring, Claybrooke and Stretton-onDunsmore), an extremely talented ringer who rang 72 peals for the Guild and contributed greatly to ringing in the Kineton area. One peal was rung to mark the 100th anniversary of Remembrance Day – the first on the bells at Pillerton Hersey.

In celebration several peals were rung to mark birthdays including one of Sixtieth for Jane Rogers’ significant birthday. Peals were also rung to mark the weddings of Isobel Dew (Mike and Janet’s daughter) and Sebastian King; and of Emma Swallow (Rod’s daughter) and Robert Pennington; and also to welcome two new grandchildren (within a week of each other) for Simon and Jane Rogers. A peal at Tysoe was rung to mark the 300th anniversary of the casting and installation of the bells in the tower. The Guild was approached by the Central Council and duly rang the Robert Kilby memorial peal – Stedman Caters at Warwick St Mary – Robert Kilby having been a ringer in the Leicester area.

Well done to all those who rang firsts during the year and good luck to those who try something new in peal ringing in 2020.

Simon Rogers - Peal Secretary

Towers and Belfries Committee Report 2019

The Towers and Belfries continues its work with the body of people who give up their time and make their skills available to undertake maintenance and other minor work on bells within the Guild. This extends into providing the semi-skilled labour to help the founders when major schemes are undertaken. This enables a significant financial saving for the PCC and in effect can be seen as a further sum given by the Guild as part of any grant from the BRF

Many towers offered funding that has become available for inspection/minor maintenance of bells by the specialist bell hanging companies through the large legacy that now contributes to the BRF income, have had such work undertaken. This has shown that in many places no maintenance takes place. Also, where other more costly work that requires the founders/bell hangers’ special knowledge and skill has been identified, then often it transpires that PCCs are either in such a perilously financial state or have zero interest on the bells that it will not go ahead due to no hope of funding.

Time has been spent interpreting the maintenance visit reports for PCCs and local ringers to enable them to prioritise work. In the course of this a lot has been learnt about what frame painting entails and anyone who needs to know more about what a “proper” job necessitates, with an associated high cost, should contact the committee. We have a list of criteria that will be looked at by the BRF trustees when grant applications for such work are made.

Towers continue to benefit from the regular minor maintenance of their bells by members of the committee who are local to the area. This is especially valuable where it ensures places with no regular band to be made easily available for other Guild activities. As part of the services the committee can offer, is ash for stays being made available to purchase. This will be about the correct size but still require final work to get the right fit. One, far too often debated subject with which we can only offer sympathies, is that of purchasing and repairing bell ropes. We have to face the fact that this is a very niche market and that tails ends are about the only use for the traditional natural material of hemp (hence quality issues).

Having said that, less maintenance takes place then this is fully understandable when Health and Safety and other regulations has to be the prime concern whenever working on or among bells and their fittings. I do, however, get some enquiries about becoming more involved in this very necessary “ringing” activity. Please, please follow up your maintenance interests!

Regular liaison continues with Keith Chambers who is the Diocesan Bell Advisor. He does much to ensure that faculty applications for major work when they reach that stage, have already addressed the issues with which the DAC is concerned, considerably smoothing the path through this process

Andrew Alldrick
Tower and Belfry Committee Chair