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