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Central Branch AGM, 13th January 2018


St Vincent, Caythorpe

The bells were already ringing at St Vincent, Caythorpe when we arrived.

Access to the tower is from the outside of the church and not through the church, although I gather there is a sneaky door from the vestry to the tower stairs.

Ringing at St Vincent
Ringing at St Vincent

In the ringing room, Colin Ward had the ringing under control. There was lots of rounds, Plain Bob, some Grandsire, Stedman, even some Kent Treble Bob. We even managed some spliced Surprise major and 3 leads of Bristol Surprise Major.

We left 8 ringers in the ringing room to ring a bob course of Cambridge Surprise Major as a service touch and made our way down into the church. The local "ladies that do" were handing out the green service booklets and Les Townsend was getting to grips with the organ.

The members assemble for the service
The members assemble for the service

The service was conducted by the local lay preacher Tony Kingsman. The reading (read by the Branch Ringing Master, Colin Ward) was from Romans, Chapter 12. "For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."

Tony preached a short sermon on bellringing being teamwork which was pretty much the theme of the reading. Bells have been about since 400AD and are an important part of the church. Yes there is prayer and praise and reading of the scripture, but the bells are a public sign that the church is active. They mark our daily lives celbrating births and weddings they toll when a person has passed away.

The service proceeded smoothly apart from a slight mix up with the hymns. As the BRM later stated in his vote of thanks and para-phrasing a popular Morecambe and Wise sketch "Les played all the right hymns but not necessarily in the right order"

After the service we made our way to the Village Hall, which is a quite a trek from the church. Inside the inevitable cups of tea and coffee were being served. The meal consisted of a choice of 4 different soups with a nice big chunk of bread and a selection of sandwiches. Cakes had already been put out on the tables.

In the Village Hall

Once the raffle had been drawn, the AGM started.

John Nicholson has had to step down as President because of ill health. Colin Ward therefore took the chair until a new President could be appointed.

The AGM Agenda was quite long, but despite this the meeting proceeded quickly and smoothly.

Apologies were received, we had a minutes silence in memory of Ian Bland (Heckington) and Jim Sutherland (Wragby). Colin Ward gave the vote of thanks at the start of the meeting and then the members, having already read through the minutes of the previous AGM over tea, approved the minutes as a true record. There were no matters arising.

Claire Howard gave her report as secretary, Dot Mason gave her report as Treasurer, Chris Jackson gave a report on Fundraising and Colin Ward have a report as Ringing Master.

We then very quickly re-elected the officers. Sandra Underwood was willing to stand as President with no other nominees and all other officers and committee members were willing to continue in their current positions. The Officers of the Central Branch are therefore as follows:

President: Sandra Underwood
Treasurer: Dot Mason
Secretary: Claire Howard
Ringing Master: Colin Ward
Safeguarding Officer: Jonathan Clark
Guild Fund Raising Rep: Christine Jackson
Guild Committee Rep: By Proxy
Committee members: Gill Gladman, James Northway, Richard Short & Mick Stracey
Account Examiners: Alan Haines & Geoff Wilkinson

We then moved to Election of members. Harold Gibson was proposed by Les Townsend for Honorary Life Membership and it was agreed by the members that the application should proceed to the Guild committee.

There were 14 new members elected at the meeting, and also a couple of transfers from one tower to another.

We then moved to AOB

The Officers. From Left to Right
Dot Mason (Treasurer), Sandra Underwood (President)
Colin Ward (Ringing Master), Claire Howard (Secretary)

Chris Turner (the Guild Master) gave a report on forthcoming Guild events and the AGM in April.

Colin Ward gave a quick overview of the legal requirements for Risk Assessments for Health and Safety stating that they did not need to be particularly onerous and he was willing to help out any towers that needed to complete one.

Jonathan Clark gave an overview of the requirements for Safeguarding for Tower Captains and Ringing Teachers and also alluded to the fact that bellringers in general might need to do some basic online Safeguarding training.

Colin Ward discussed the Branch Programme of Events and a couple of the events were re-scheduled due to clashes with Guild Events like the Guild 6 Bell and the Young Ringers Day.

Dot Mason discussed the BRF applications and grants of which there had been only one to Brant Broughton for the rehanging of the bells.

The meeting was then closed and the members proceeded back to the tower for some more ringing.

Jonathan Clark (webmaster)