Trustees' Reports - General Secretary’s Report 2018

2018 may be remembered as one of the most significant years in The Coventry Diocesan Guild’s 112 year history. Four years ago, owing to the declining funds in the Bell Repair Fund, the Guild increased the subscription to enable it to carry on supporting towers which required maintenance or improvement to their peals of bells. It was therefore humbling when the Trustees were notified of the £670,000 legacy from Phil Faulks of Warwick through his Memorial Bell Fund.

The Guild Trustees worked with the Diocesan to ensure the terms of the legacy provided the best option for the Guild and we thank David Leafe of Warwick and Robert Cooles of the Central Council for their guidance and legal advice. The interest from this sum will be transferred directly to the Bell Repair Fund. This has made it possible for the Guild to offer to pay for a maintenance visit for every tower in the Guild that rings for Sunday Service. It is hoped, in the fullness of time, to be able to extend this offer to more towers.

Highlights of the ringing calendar always start well with the Guild social, this year hosted by the Warwick District. In February, there was general ringing to commemorate the centenary of the emancipation of women. The six bell striking competition was held at Bilton in March with 10 teams entering. The annual meeting was well supported in the Coventry District, held at Berkswell. In July the Rugby deanery arranged a wonderful ringing tour into Oxfordshire which included visiting a range of towers and enjoying cream teas and Morris dancing.

Coventry Spires, the Guild youth team, rang well in the RWNYC held in London, finishing 11 th out of a field of 22 teams. This is their fourth appearance in the competition, which has become one of the highlights of the ringing year. Quarter peals were rung in September to celebrate the centenary of the Coventry Diocese. The 8 Bell Striking competition held at Leamington Spa was won by the Rugby Deanery followed by the business meeting. Ringing tributes to the fallen in WW1, rang out over the weekend of 10 th and 11 th November. All towers, which rang as part of the Coventry Ringing Remembers commemorations, were listed on Bell Board to provide a full record of events. The carol service held at St Michael’s Stoke was a popular event at the end of a busy year.

The establishment of the Phil Faulks Memorial Fund was one of the main administrative challenges of the year. In addition, the GDPR required a comprehensive review of all documentation held by officers, past and present, in order to produce a new register. Grateful thanks to Joy Pluckrose for completing such a comprehensive review. The invitation to towers, and their PCC’s, to apply for the maintenance funding on their bells was completed during November and December and thanks to John Taylor’s of Loughborough for assistance in this area.

Ringing is such a great hobby, whilst providing a service to the church and community it serves. As in any community, sometimes one group may feel their needs are being overlooked and it is by working together that we can try and make everyone feel included, welcomed and valued.

Annie Hall