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Elloe Deaneries Branch AGM, 3rd February 2018

A good attendance helped to make a successful AGM day at Holbeach. Members and visitors totalled 37 in number and the bells were rung to a variety of methods prior to the service being led by the Branch President, Father Jonathan Sibley. He did this at short notice as the local minister, Rev Rosamund Seal was unable to attend at the last minute. The organ was played by Les Townsend and we are grateful for his repeated visits to help. The service followed the Guild service book with Michael Slater doing the reading.

An excellent buffet tea was provided by Meg Newey and her team in a conveniently sited area under the raised floor of the ringing chamber in the west end of the church where we also stayed for the AGM. The President, Father Jonathan Sibley, welcomed the members and visitors including the Guild Master, Chris Turner, and the Guild Secretary, Helen Brotherton.

Pauline Stebbings from Sutton St James and a long-time member of the branch was remembered following her death in Jan 2018.

Reports from the Officers indicated that although 2017 had been a quiet year in terms of Branch activity, additional efforts were being made to create interest and participation in the Branch. Paul Doades has arranged some additional Monday night branch practices with the first one in January 2018 being very well attended. A working party had carried out some repairs and maintenance on Donington bells with the intention to get the bells being rung again. Carrie Staley presented the accounts which were formerly accepted and approved. The membership level had fallen from 77 in 2016 to 66 in 2017 but later in the meeting four new members were elected. All the existing officers were re elected but for second year there was no candidate or nomination for Secretary. Alan Payne (Southern Branch) will continue as Acting Secretary but an appeal was made to find someone from within the branch to take over.

The meeting agreed to a proposal of a £200 BRF grant to be made to Spalding for work on clapper refurbishment including a new wooden clapper for the tenor.

The Programme for 2018 was presented and included some additional events to try and increase the level of interest. Young Ringers attention was drawn to the competition in London (RWNYC) and to the Guild Festival at Boston on July 7th and 14th respectively. It was confirmed that the Guild 8 bell striking competition will be hosted at Long Sutton on October 13th starting at 5.00 pm.

The meeting closed with the Grace.

There was more ringing after the meeting and the Raffle realised £45 for the Branch BRF.

Alan Payne