The Guildford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers has been notified that the late Miss Bridget Gordon, who lived in Woking and was a ringer at Send, has left a substantial legacy of the order of £180,000 to the Guild’s Bell Restoration Fund (BRF). This is an exciting development for the Guild. It provides us with an opportunity to make substantial grants to projects which might not otherwise proceed.
The Guild Executive Committee has decided that the most equitable way of disbursing this money would be to hold a competition, open to all towers in the Diocese, for large funding contributions to a few major projects. In spending this legacy such ambitious projects will be preferred to smaller ones which are already catered for by the BRF, although the latter will not be precluded.
The competition will take place in two stages. Stage One will comprise expressions of interest in carrying out significant projects; and Stage Two will require detailed proposals, fully costed, and the agreement of the relevant PCC (or equivalent). The following rules will apply:
- Bids shall be made either by captains/ringing masters of the towers concerned or by the relevant District or Guild Officers;
- Grants will only be considered for full-circle rings of bells hung for change ringing;
- Grants will not be limited to any specific proportion of the project cost;
- Projects can include re-casting/re-tuning of bells, augmentation, sound control, a new ring of bells for a tower currently without bells, installing a ringing gallery or new floors or rope guides in towers with long draughts, new frame or any other reasonable project which falls outside routine maintenance works;
- Projects supported by the legacy will be required to display a plaque acknowledging the generosity of Miss Gordon.
- A brief description of the project;
- The project’s objective;
- The benefits to be expected, in terms of the criteria listed above; and
- A rough estimate of the cost.
The bids will then be evaluated by the Executive Committee and those submitting them will be informed no later than the end of July whether they should proceed to Stage Two. Projects which are unsuccessful at Stage One will of course be free to apply for BRF funding in the normal way.
The criteria for evaluating bids will include evidence of:
- The extent to which the project benefits the continuity and furtherance of the ringing exercise for future generations;
- The improvement to be gained in the performance of existing rings;
- How the project will benefit the church;
- Consideration for the local community, eg sound control;
- Any improvements to be gained in the health and safety aspects of towers;
- Facilitation of recruitment and training and the development of change ringing, and how this will be approached;
- Feasibility and good value for money.