Saturday 4th July 2020
This year's meeting was held in Derby on Monday 31st May 2010. All four Suffolk Guild Representatives were present with Alan attending his first meeting and Richard his last one (currently). Alan attended the dinner the night before and I took part in the ringing on the Saturday including two peals for the Council. The later peal was the first of Glasgow Surprise Major to be rung for the Central Council.
The first point of the meeting was that all members with an interest in bell hanging or casting or other "money making" bell ringing enterprise, are required to register their interests with the Council Secretary. Yes I missed the point as well.
The poignant list of past members who had passed on during the year was followed with thoughtful prayers and as always emphasises the transient nature of Council. Even if it seems that some people have been on council for years this does pass.
What looked like a huge procrastination, the changing of the rules about Honorary Members, was next up. This was raised at the last meeting and the Admin committee undertook to look into it. There is a well founded view that Council is undemocratic because Honorary Members (who are not elected by member societies) fill up important positions and appear to run things rather than Council being run by elected members. Roger Bailey set out the case for some limited changes. In this day and age all Societies are going to need experience in some highly specialised areas. In the Council for example we need experience in tax, health & safety, insurance, law, engineering, the press and public relations. Not all of these skills can be found within the elected rump of council. Honorary members have traditionally been brought in to help in some of these areas. Currently the Council has 20 Honorary members or just about 10% of the membership of Council. Roger, whilst aware of the question of Honorary members voting counselled that that issue should not be addressed on this occasion. Instead he proposed abolishing Honorary members and replacing them with Additional Members. This and all the rule tidying up was carried very quickly without much debate. In am not convinced we have improved things. I cannot see why honorary members could not have been done away with altogether. Council has always been able to co-opt non-council members onto committees. So what is the problem?
The committee reports then followed. All have been published in the Ringing World for those with specific interests.
The Composition committee is looking at authorship. This is particularly important with some composers generating hundreds of compositions by computer and trying to claim authorship. A new booklet based on Trollope's "Variation & Transposition" is to be produced.
The Education Committee has produced a new booklet called "Teaching Tips" which is now available.
The Library Committee has just produced a DVD of the Ringing Worlds 1911 to 1940. (To be recommended) and it runs on real computers (Mac's). The Obituary Index is now fully available on line via the Central Council Library web site. With the imminent moving of the library, the committee is looking at what to do with a second bound set of Ringing Worlds. They may sell them or look to placing them in a suitable tower somewhere for access. Two issues here, it's now on DVD and the risk factor in keeping two complete copies of the RW together in one place is very foolish. The Methods committee is producing new guidance on method extensions. The touch of Grandsire Variable Hunt Triples rung last year, currently unacceptable as a peal because the calls used change the length of the lead, was raised but no useful way forward was forthcoming. Interestingly the old standard that it could be re-classed as "original" was wheeled out again.
Under International Development a question was asked if the "Isle of Man, Channel Islands and Northern Ireland" were classed as "international" thereby attracting grants from the Fred Dukes Fund. Nice try and it is being looked into.
From Publications a new book called "New Ringers Book" has just been released. Requests for a re-print of part two of the "History of Change ringing" were declined because of the costs involved. However the committee asked that if anybody is interested in continuing the series, which stops at volume 3, should get in touch.
The Ringing Centres Newsletter has just been released and is available on line. There will be no Founders Award for young ringers this year as no nominations had been received. Something we could do here? Do we have any young towers that would benefit from funding from the Founders? The committee will also be running regional seminars during the year. Look out for them.
The Ringing Trends Committee published their findings. It's up to the other committees and Guild to use the information and data produced. This data revealed that 80% of council members were over 50. Surprisingly they also showed a drop off of ringers between the ages of 20 and 40. Well of course, that's when most ringers have their children and other priorities arise in life. There was criticism that it has taken eight years to tell us what we already knew. But eight years ago there were council members who refused to believe what they were being told. During discussion on this report the question was asked; Is ringing more viable than the church of England? A very interesting point. This was referred to the Admin committee to try and establish trends with the Church. Perhaps it's time for a "Let's Save Ringing" committee. Guilds are going to be written to about retention rates.
The Towers & Belfry Committee will be holding a seminar at St Giles, Holborn in October, about Sound Control. The maintenance Handbook is being re-written.
Tower Stewardship (to which I have now been elected), reported the update of the Child Protection Guidelines in the Ringing World. The Rolls of Honour are to be added to in the form of a new book. Alan Regin again appealed to all ringers to report to him peal boards or plaques that refer to ringers killed in action.
Dove's Data Base advised that 50% of all entries in the 2000 edition have been updated. It is hoped to produce an eleventh edition at the end of the year.
The Rescue Fund reported that the two trebles of an eight stored at TES were lost as they were sold by the administrators. The back six however were now in the care of the Rescue Fund.
Stephen raised a question about having to ring a 720 of new minor methods in order to name them. This is very ambiguous and no guidance was offered from the officers. This is very complex as some new methods are only true if rung as 1440's. What happens if you ring a true 720 but in bits say spliced with a 552? or spliced with another 720 or 1440. I'm happy to explain in great detail if anybody wants to know the details.
And that was about that. Visits to Guildford, Hereford and Chester were confirmed and the Derby Guild thanked. 4.15 the main meeting was all over. Possibly a record.
Just to note that if we want Central Council to visit Suffolk to celebrate the 100th anniversary in 2023, we will need to make the invite within the next three or four years.
Subscriptions were down yet again. After a question from the floor we were told that there were 3140 subscriptions and 3 on line subscriptions. With towers the readership is estimated at about 7500.
Next year is the 100th anniversary and a Day Out in London is planed on the 26th March 2011. The peals that appeared in the first Ringing World will be re-published to encourage re-runs.
Guilds & Associations can get sponsorship packages from the Ringing World. The point was made from the floor that salaries now equated to 40% of turnover and this was recipe for disaster.
Stephen asked about an article written in November which has still yet to appear. No response. And the question of how the Ringing World dealt with delicate matters such as "offences against children" was again raised. Some of the recent correspondence was considered to be unbalanced and biased.
This meeting started at 4.45pm. The Foundation has done a lot of work trying to work out how to move ringing on and how to encourage large scale funding. Small grants have been issued this year but there is still a lot of work to do.
In the view of the Ringing Foundation one of the problems for the current state of ringing was poor teaching. (Interestingly the Ringing Trends Committee said that research showed that 20% of ringers were professional educationalists). Now it may just be a case of blame management or a restating of the views of Ofsted but it is interesting to those who believe that education standards have generally fallen in the last forty years.
Consequently the Ringing Foundation is looking in better teaching with possibly "professional" ringing tutors.