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West Lindsey Branch AGM, 16th January 2016

St. Andrew's, Epworth

I have never been to St. Andrew's Epworth before, but I have heard good things about it, so I was looking forward to ringing there.

I arrived at about 3:30 and made my way up to the church. The interior of the church is plastered and painted making it very light inside, unlike most stone built churches. The ringing room is a gallery under the tower at the back of the church with access via a staircase down the same corridor as the amenities.

Inside St. Andrew's

We rang a variety of methods including Grandsire Triples and half a course of Cambridge, before the last ring before the service.

Ringing in progress

The service was conducted from the green Bellringers Guild book, with hymns from the same. The service was led by the Revd Ian Walker, who preached a sermon on the Church bells being the voice of the Church. While a worthwhile activity in its own right, ringing has a higher purpose. It proclaims that the Church is here, open and alive. The bell has been described as the "English musical instrument" and bellringing connects us with our heritage. The organ was played by Roger Lord of the Northern Branch, who despite some interruptions, did eventually get to play Elgar's Nimrod after the service.

View from the Ringing Gallery

Tea was a cold buffet with the usual copious amounts of tea and coffee, with a variety of cakes and trifles for dessert. Once everyone has eaten, the meeting began.

There was a one minutes silence to remember Dr. John Ketteringham, who had passed away on Christmas Eve and whose Funeral was on Monday 18th January.

The apologies for absence were taken. The minutes of the previous AGM had already been circulated and were approved as a true record. There were no matters arising.

Ringing Master's Report. (Janet Clarke)

2015 has been a year of mixed fortunes. Successful events included the Haxey celebrations, the open day at Epworth and the branch outing. Otherwise attendance at meetings has been disappointing. It is good to see a lot of new learners not to mention some older ringers keen to progress. There have been several first peals and quarter peals.

The BRF "Fish" used for collections

5 teams entered the Branch striking competition. Messingham won with Gainsborough coming second. 3 teams entered the Guild 6 bell. Messingham came 4th in the Cup and Stow/Willingham won the Plate, with Gainsborough coming 2nd. 2 teams were entered in the Guild 8 bell coming 5th and 7th. West Lindsey contributed 5 ringers to the team of 8 young ringers who competed in the Ringing World National Youth Contest in Oxford. They did well, obtaining a 'B grade.

There are several ringers, but they seem to come from the same few towers. It is the same with the established ringers. Most ringers are happy just to support their local tower. Some suggestions on how to involve more people would be appreciated.

Treasurer's report. (Mary Brown)

The figures look reasonably healthy. The Belfry Repair fund has done well and collections at meetings have increased. There has been no expenditure during 2015, but there is one outstanding payment of £500 for the work done on Epworth bells. 4 adult and 2 Junior members were lost in 2015. This has been slightly offset by gaining 2 adult and one junior member during the year.

The Meeting

Guild Committee Report

Peal Compositions will only be included in the annual report at the Peal secretary's discretion. Alan Payne is temporarily acting as the BRF administrator. 7 teams entered the Guild 8 bell with 2 each from West Lindsey, Southern and Central Branches and one from the Eastern Branch. The Guild 6 bell generated some complaints because some ringers rang twice on the day. There are some proposed changes to the rules. No one is to ring in more than one competition on the day. Teams are to be nominated by the branch although any number of teams can enter. The Cup will be a method ringing contest and the Plate will be call changes. Branches are advised to have a safeguarding officer. The Central Council guidelines on the use of social media will be adopted. Joy Lord has been proposed and the Guild Safeguarding Officer. Guild AGM will be a faith lunch, similar to 2015, but with no workshops. There has been a suggestion that the 2017 AGM be condensed, with a possible later start with communion then lunch, AGM then ringing at the Cathedral.

Election of Officers

Melvyn Rose is standing down as president. Ian Till has been elected in his place. Joy Till is coming off the committee. Ian Till was a committee member, but he is now President, so that just leaves Edward Sellars and Ted Steel as committee members. Mike Scarf will become a committee member and Melvyn Rose will basically swap places with Ian Till and become a committee member. The list of officers is therefore as follows:

President: Ian Till
Secretary: Tracey Black
Ringing Master: Janet Clarke
Asst. Ringing Master: Alison Elwess
Treasurer: Mary Brown
Junior Member Rep: Ellie Sargeant
Fund Raising Rep: Susan Faull
Committee members: Edward Sellars, Mike Scarf, Melvyn Rose & Ted Steel
Auditor: Richard Hall

Tracey Black (Secretary) &
Melvyn Rose (President)

New Members

There were a number of new members proposed. 2 adults were proposed from Messingham, 5 adult members from Bottesford and one adult member each from Haxey, Stow, Willingham and Scotter. Also there were 3 junior members elected, 2 from Messingham and one from Willingham. The total was 11 adults and 3 junior members added.

Programme of events

There is a provisional programme of events. It can be viewed here

Grant Applications

There is an outstanding payment of £500 to Epworth. Also a grant of £1800 has been received by Epworth from the Guild BRF fund.

Any Other Business

There were a number of first peal and quarter peal certificates to hand out. There were no Honorary Life Members proposed.

Tracey Black thanked Melvyn for his term as president. He got a gift of a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and Pauline Rose (his wife) got some flowers. Pam Cooke gave the vote of thanks to all those who had helped in the smooth running of the AGM, including those responsible for the catering arrangements, the Revd Ian Walker for taking the service and Roger Lord for playing Organ.

The Ringing Gallery window from outside

Melvyn Rose declared the meeting closed. It had lasted 45 minutes (other branches take note!!)

Ringing continued on the bells until about 8:30pm.

Jonathan Clark (webmaster)