Due to popular demand, as they say, I’m continuing this blog as an informal take on the Executive Committee’s deliberations. I think it is important for the membership to know what its officers are accomplishing on their behalf, but this is my selected view of the meeting.
The first and most important item was to welcome Stuart Aitken from Grayshott as the new Guild Master.
Ring for the King
Without doubt, the biggest publicity-related activity of the ringing exercise in the last year has been that connected with the late Queen’s death and the new King’s Coronation. ‘Ring for the King’ certainly caught the public imagination and resulted in the largest training campaign that most of us have known.
One interesting observation is that it seems that many more women and girls have taken up the challenge, compared with men and boys. We haven’t heard any convincing explanation for this.
Unfortunately, the Guild did not succeed in recruiting as many young ringers as we might have liked. Most youngsters get their news and plan their lives via social media, so we are keen to find younger ringers who would be willing to act as ‘influencers’ on the most popular current channels.
Although the Guild’s YR Facebook group is active, it is a closed group so is not intended for publicity. TikTok and Instagram were felt to have greater reach than Facebook among the target audience. If anyone is interested, please contact the Young Ringer’s group leader (David Pearson).
The Guild is also encouraging networking with other local Young Ringer’s groups.
Being a newcomer to the role of Master, Stuart has been wondering how best to keep in touch with the membership. Indeed it isn’t easy because although there is a list of members in the Guild Report, it is not suitable for mailshots, but not everyone is on the email groups. For historical reasons, contacts have been devolved down to District Secretaries and from them to Tower Captains. Stuart has set up a study group to consider whether there would be any advantage to using an on-line membership system, as done by the Surrey Association. There are pros and cons and no doubt Stuart will be pleased to hear from anyone with a view on the subject.
Membership rules have been changed so that that if you join after the end September in any year, your subscription will cover the remainder of that year and the whole of the next year. This is so that people elected at the Nomination Meetings will not be unfairly penalised by having to pay a full subscription for only a month or so before the next year is due.
Bell restoration plans at Guildford Holy Trinity and Old Woking are still progressing slowly. The only expenditure from the BRF was to Leatherhead towards the renewal of a bearing on the Treble. It is worth noting that this bell is often used by learners.
And on the subject of stays getting bumped, it was suggested that some of the timber in the Guild’s stock of ash is rather soft, resulting in stays breaking too readily. The situation is being reviewed. But stays from the bell maintenance companies can be around £50 to £60 each.
The Safeguarding rules were reviewed and it was agreed that they did not need any particular updating at this time, but all ringers should at least take the basic awareness course.
Overall, efforts on recruitment, training and ringing events means that ringers are busier than ever, but the resulting increase in the number of full-rate paying members is a just reward.