Perhaps the biggest news is that the Central Council’s new constitution was adopted at their annual meeting held on the Spring Bank Holiday in Lancaster. Our Clyde Whittaker (a former resident member of the Leatherhead District) is a member of the new Executive, and has been largely responsible for getting the rules through the Council. Next year, the meeting is moved to take place in September and will be held in London. The Council wishes to become more responsive to the expectations of the 21st Century, but it is not yet clear what impact the changes will have.
The Guild’s Young Ringers had entered the Ringing World’s National Youth competition, and had an excellent day. They did not manage to get through to the finals, but nevertheless rang at four twelve-bell towers: St Mary le Bow, St Magnus the Martyr, Southwark and Cornhill. David Pearson, our YR organiser is keen for all young ringers (under the age of 19) to join their regular practices.
The Cathedral band took part in the National 12-bell competition. They came 12th, although the scores were close. The final will be at Guildford Cathedral in June 2021. The Guild was also taking part in the Essex Trophy. [Post-meeting note: they came 4th out of seven, and again the scores were close.]
The Bell Restoration Fund is always a major topic at the Exec meetings. Several projects are under way. Extra strengthening beams are needed at Guildford St Mary, and the committee approved a further grant towards this. A grant has been approved for a project to improve the sound control at Holy Trinity Guildford, which is now under way. Repairs had been undertaken to the 6th bell at Frensham where a bearing required replacement.
A structural survey at Farnham reported that significant work was necessary to the outside of the tower where buttresses and cladding renovation was needed. A fund-raising campaign for this and a bell augmentation project was being planned.
Work on the Bridget Gordon Legacy projects were underway at Send, Yorktown and Chertsey. However, it seems that the project for a new ring of bells at Byfleet may fail owing to the problem of creating a satisfactory access to the tower and other concerns.
The Library open day planned for early May had not attracted much interest.
The PRO asked for towers to share information on new recruits resulting from the ‘Ringing Remembers’ campaign, and also information on bell restoration projects. The website needed more ‘success stories’. The Winchester and Portsmouth Guild had started an initiative called ‘Tommy’s Travels’, a clear Perspex silhouette of a WW1 soldier which could be borrowed by towers organising a special ringing event around ringers who’d been lost. The Guildford and Leatherhead District representatives mentioned that quarter peals had already been rung in several of the towers who’d lost ringers. It was suggested that these could make good publicity, but the PRO has not been supplied with any information.
The conclusion would seem to be that the Guild and its members continue to be very active, but perhaps we should all do more to make this known by the wider membership and the public.