President's Report

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