Central Council Representatives
CENTRAL COUNCIL MEETING REPORT – SEPTEMBER 2019
It seems a lifetime ago, and it was certainly in a different, pre-Covid age, but for the sake of
completeness I report on the Central Council meeting held in Goldsmith’s College, New
Cross, London on 7 September 2019. Ian Self was unable to attend, but Helen (at her last
meeting as a Representative) and I were present.
This was the first meeting of the Council for many years not to be held on the Late Spring
Bank Holiday weekend, and was also the first one since the major changes to the Council’s
structure and governance agreed at previous meetings had been implemented.
Accordingly, after an informal supper and quiz on the Friday evening for those attendees
who had already arrived the formal business began on the Saturday morning with the Annual
General Meeting of The Ringing World Limited. Although the circulation of the printed copy
of the magazine had continued to fall its financial position was much improved, with a
surplus recorded thanks to the continued generosity of those supporters who had sent in
donations with peal and quarter peal reports and on other occasions as well. The routine
business of an AGM continued without any great incident, with the only (slightly) contentious
issue being a change to the owning company’s charitableobjects which lessened the linkage
between the charity and the advancement of religion. A good and constructive debate saw
this change approved.
The Council’s annual meeting itself followed in the afternoon. As a result of the changes
mentioned above, the seemingly endless procession of committee chairmen and women
coming to the podium to report at length or mercifully less which had been such a feature of
previous CCCBR gatherings was replaced by much shorter presentations by the workgroup
leaders who although fewer in number had replaced the committee chairmen. Perhaps
because this was the first meeting in this new format there was little of note to report,
although this is not in any way to decry the enormous amount of voluntary work which the
committees in their time and workgroups which replaced them had been undertaking
throughout the year. At the end of the meeting the President, Christopher O’Mahony, who
had found it necessary for work reasons to relinquish his office a year before his term was
due to end, confirmed that Simon Linford from Birmingham had been elected to succeed
him. Simon thanked the Council for his election by means of a pre-recorded video
message, it not having been convenient for him to be present in person. So one of the
shortest Council meetings I can recall ended after approximately three hours.
In the evening the new President, having caught a train to London from Birmingham that
afternoon, was able to join many of the members at a Reception and Dinner which brought
the day’s proceedings to a close. On the Sunday a fascinating mini-Roadshow featuring
displays and presentations on all aspects of ringing was held, and during this I was delighted
to receive on behalf of the Guild the Highly Commended award given to Mary Jones for her
entry in the competition for the inaugural Westley Award for new entrants to the world of bell
maintenance. Steve Coleman, familiar to many for his various ringing books and articles,
then led a team in an interesting presentation on the wartime ban on ringing. How topical
that now seems in the light of what has happened this year!
It had been planned to hold the 2020 meeting in Nottingham, but that, and our chance to
explore the city’s modern tramway system, has now been postponed to September 2021.
Central Council Report for 2020
The Council meeting for 2020 was not held, as plaaned, in the City of Nottingham but was to
be a virtual meeting held on zoom and attended by 150 people.
The meeting started promptly at 10:30 and members were welcomed in prayer by the Rev
David Grimwood. We were reminded to think of friends and family that we have not been
able to see during lockdown. The first business of the meeting was to vote on acceptance of
the Clerical Guild to affiliate to the Council, when the vote was counted they were approved
by 95% of the vote.
Simon Linford, chairing his first full Council meeting, kept the business flowing and injected
a very relaxed style and the occasional note of humour.
A minutes silence was observed in memory of those who had passed to higher service since
the last meeting, their names were read out by the Secretary. The minutes of the previous
meeting were approved by 87% of the meeting. There are now 66 affiliated societies although
the Society of Sherwood Youths have now disaffiliated.
The accounts were presented by the Treasurer, having been audited, the Council’s total assets
at the end of 2019 were valued at £435k, the General Fund and Publications having made
small surpluses. From next year, the accounting year end is to be moved from the current
calendar year in line with the financial year at the end of May.
The presentation of the accounts was followed by the presentation of the Workgroup report.
Much of the Council’s work is carried out by what used to be called Committees but have
now been replaced with Worgroups. There are now 8 of these and between them they cover
every aspect of ringing.
The first of these groups, the Stewardship and Management Workgroup has spent much of
the year trying to get ringing through the Covid19 crisis. The most important item to come
out of their report was the Westley Award for Tower Maintenance, which this year was
present to Sue McClaughry from Calstock for huge amount of work that she put in on the
Calstock restoration project. I am sure that all Guild members would wish to extend their
congratulations for Sue on this magnificent achievement.
The Volunteering and Leadership Workgroup are presently focussing on making contact with
lapsed ringers and have been publishing articles on education in the Ringing World.
The Universities Workgroup is a new group that has been set up to support younger ringers
transition into university or further education.
Historic and Archive Workgroup, deals with historical records and the Central Council
Library, which is housed at Worthen near Shrewsbury. The workgroup is responsible for the
furthering the digital publication historical records.
Communications and Marketing. Have concentrated on developing the social media platform.
Have also been involved with recoding ringing interviews.
Senior Stakeholders, Involved mainly liaison between church bell ringers and the church of
England. Particularly relevant during the Covid19 crisis.
Technical and Taxonomy. Dealing with method ringing, peal compositions and also
responsible for maintaining the Dove database.
Schools & Youth Group, responsible for dealing with the development of ringing amongst
young people working alongside ART.
After all of the above workgroup leads had reported, the President of the Council Simon
Linford looked forward to the rest of 2020 and coping with the restrictions placed, as with all
other aspects of live, on ringing.
A motion to allow small ringing societies to register was also passed by a majority of 76%
It was a strange and possibly unique meeting although it is possible that we will have to meet
remotely again at this time next year. I am pleased that the meeting was able to happen but I
missed the usual face to face contact with old friends.
The Ringing World AGM.
The AGM of the Ringing World took place just after the linch break of the meetingchaired by
the Chairman of the Ringing World David Grimwood.
Although subscriptions were down slightly due to an accounting correction, sales of
merchandise were good but income from advertising and donations were down. Continued
investment in the business included the appointment of an Assistant Editor and a Digital
The Editor was congratulated on keeping the journal a thought leader and for keeping people
together during difficult times.
The meeting itself, as usual was not without moments of controversy it was observed by one
member that the amended constitution had not been registered at Companies House within
the required 15 days and then during the debate on a motion to change the charitable structure
of the company, Andrew Wilby suggested that the Trustees were not being honest with the
membership over changes to the constitution and also the future of the paper.
The motion to change the structure was defeated.
We shall see what next year brings..