Wednesday 22nd May 2024

Annual Meeting of the CCCBR
Kingston-upon-Hull, Monday 23rd - 25th May 2015

This year’s meeting was hosted by the Beverley and District Society, the Headquarters Hotel being the Mercure Hull Royal Hotel, adjacent to Hull Paragon Station and conveniently situated for the City Centre events. As usual there were the ringing tours which were well supported. On the Saturday evening a “Beer & Pie” quiz evening was arranged in the Minerva Masonic Hall. This proved very popular (three barrels of Wold Top beer were consumed in no time).

Sunday started with ringing at Holy Trinity Church followed by a predominantly ringers’ service which was broadcast by the BBC in their Morning Worship slot at 8.00. More open ringing at various churches was available later in the morning. The Ringing Foundation Ltd was due to hold it’s AGM in the afternoon, but had to be cancelled due to a lack of a chairman after Brian Meads stood down at last year’s AGM. It is understood the AGM will now be convened later in the year, certainly by August, in London. Is this to wind up the company? We shall find out in due course.

The customary Ringers’ Service took place the same afternoon at Holy Trinity giving the opportunity for a good sing.

Sunday evening saw the CCCBR Reception & Dinner taking place in the Banqueting Hall of the Guildhall in the presence of the Lord Mayor of Kingston-Upon-Hull. A very pleasant evening and yet another occasion for meeting old friends and making new ones.

The real business of the AGM took place on Monday starting at 9.30am in the HQ hotel. The agenda follows the usual pattern of welcome, apologies, remembrances, minutes and matters arising followed by amendments to rules. The Council elected its first Public Relations Officer (Kate Flavell), then came the reports of the various committees. These reports give some idea of the wide scope of the Council’s activities. Some of the committees have started to hold workshops and discussions at various points around Britain to try to bring the work of the Council to the ringers it serves. However this year something different. A committee has been taking soundings on Change Ringing For The Future. Concerned at the apparent decline in the number of new ringers and ringing standards a report has been produced to try to find ways in which the Council can make recommendations of best practices in recruitment and training to introduce people to the world of ringing. Their report is available on the CCCBR website (unfortunately it is couched in managementspeak instead of plain language). Anyway, the meeting divided into regional discussion groups (break out groups) and each group met in separate rooms within the hotel. Our group consisted of reps from Hertford County Assn, Bedfordshire Assn, Ely Diocesan Assn, Cambridge University, Norwich Diocesan Assn, Suffolk Guild and Essex Assn. under an appointed chairman. We were invited to give views on co-operation (or otherwise) and communication between neighbouring societies and to share the things our respective societies do well or not so well. The views expressed had much in common and emphasised that whilst there is not a magic bullet, there are always ideas we can share and use. Some thought that just this chance of a proper discussion made it one of the most useful meetings for some time. The information from all the groups will be analysed and we can expect various reports and statistics from the Ringing Trends committee in the coming months.

After a lunch break, the full meeting resumed with all members ready for the AGM of the Ringing World Ltd (RW).  As well as the weekly publication, the RW sponsors the National Youth Ringing Contest, and also has Bellboard. There has been a lot of discussion about the future of the RW both in the magazine itself and in social media. The company continues to lose money, but we are informed that the board does not wish to eke out the reserves subsiding a loss-making operation until it has to close. It has plans for cutting costs, increasing revenue and providing a more comprehensive service. These plans are intended to be implemented this year, but there is a lot of detail to be worked out and it depends on the work of busy volunteers. They do not expect to get it right first time, but with the support and understanding of the ringing community they believe a new future for the company can be developed. Cessation of the printed version is not in the current plans. The chairman’s report was sympathetically received. Watch out for future developments.

After this the CCCBR AGM resumed with more committee reports and the filling of any vacancies that had occurred.

A long day but the meeting was ably chaired by Chris Mew, the current President, and came to an end just before 5.00pm. Next year’s Council AGM will be hosted by the Winchester & Portsmouth Guild and based in Southsea.

Peter Harper