Wednesday 22nd March 2017
This years Central Council was hosted by the Surrey Association in and around Guildford. My weekend started badly, missing out on the first peal because of the National Disgrace that is the M25. Even allowing two hours extra to get there.
Saturday was better and I rang a good peal of Lincolnshire Surprise Royal on the amazing ten at Egham. The lads went tower grabbing and I joined them in the afternoon. Sadly no improvement in quality of ringing on these grabs. The same people trying to grab the tenors and not being able to cope. Trying to ring methods they are incapable of and generally annoying the better ringers. It has ever been thus. Some years ago in Lincolnshire the vice president of Council recorded some of the open ringing then played it back at the open meeting on standards. It was embarrassing. Things have not improved.
Interestingly St Nicolas Guildford, re-hung in 1986 by Eyre & Smith, have now been re-hung again this time by Taylors. What a difference Taylors have made. They go easily now, all turning at the same speed and the sound is excellent. I just hope for the sake of the parish that they will not need re-hanging again in 27 years time.
The meeting was held on the Monday. This year all four Suffolk Guild Representatives were there. It was a quiet and non eventful meeting. All the controversy surrounding the long peals of Cambridge in hand, not complying with the rules for record lengths and using Primrose in the Major, melted into acceptance by Council. These peals will be recognised as peals but will not be recorded as record lengths. A rule change was carried to allow the Ringing World to publish non-compliant peals in the future changing a historic decision. Ignoring this rule previously the Ringing World has published all peals. That is what they are there to do, to report what is rung. If what is rung is not right, the Central Council picks it up and reports it to the meeting.
There was confusion about possible duplication of effort between the Education Committee, Ringing Centre's committee, the Ringing Foundation & ITTS. Back in my time, we had a liaison between Education & Ringing Centres and it proved very useful.
There was discussion about Council. One view was that it was a Victorian institution and was thought badly of. The Council can only work through it's members, societies and their members. It can encourage good practice in ringing and co-operation. It was felt that some things were too prescriptive and that the image needs re-branding. I think it just needs new younger members who are not so fixated on the way things used to be.
The next Ringing Roadshow will be at Newbury Racecourse on 6th September 2014. These events have been hugely successful in the past so put the date in your diary now.
The publications committee are looking to publish on-line making most of their output downloadable only. As a collector of ringing books, I'm not sure that is a good thing.
The Ringing Trends committee presented a limited survey of young ringers to find out how they became interested in ringing. Comments suggested it appealed because it was different and other youngsters did not do it. Progress was slow unless you were in an area with lots of diverse ringing. Hopefully this survey will be expanded and the results shared. We could survey our own young ringers to find out what else is needed to keep them ringing.
The Public Relations committees Bell Funder contact is now Jay Bunyan. If you are starting a project contact will be very useful to establish where & how funds are available.
The Ringing World meeting was worrying. Firstly they told us that research confirmed that they could not sell it to youngsters, yet they sponsor the Young Ringers Striking Competition. Then they told us that they had sorted the mistakes in peals and quarters. Not so, in this week’s there is a peal of Lincolnshire Surprise Major in hand with five ringers. School boy error. It was then admitted that the accounts for 2011 were wrong. The mistake made it look as if the Ringing World was £11,000 shorter then they were. This is very worrying, in 2012 they made the General Manager redundant. Subscriptions continue to decline overall. On line subscriptions have increased dramatically. Complaints about certain pictures that appeared in the Ringing World earlier in the year were not raised. As I said at the Guild AGM, whilst I do not like the content, the Ringing World is exceptionally good value for money and they continue to produce it every week.
This is my last Council Meeting, I have attended 19 meetings, not missing one. In my time, I spent six years on the Education Committee, six years on the Peals Analysts Committee and three years on the Tower Stewardship committee. The Committees are the place where the work gets done and I have enjoyed contributing at committee level. Council so desperately needs younger ringers to help move the exercise forward. I would urge the Guild to seek out some of Suffolk’s talented youngsters and try to get them involved for the future of ringing for us all.David G Salter