GUILD SECRETARY’S REPORT 2020
Like I suspect almost everyone else, when I wrote the 2019 version of this report I was
totally unaware of the word “coronavirus”, and if anyone had told me then that in a year’s
time we should be unable to ring and be in a state of lockdown I should not have believed
them. The impact of this terrible virus upon bell ringing is of course a minor issue in the
grand scheme of things, but nonetheless it is something which we shall need to continue to
deal with for probably years to come. The imposition of the lockdown and if I am honest my
own inexperience at the time with Zoom, led to a significant delay in the holding of this
meeting and also caused all the officers of the Guild to enjoy an unanticipated extension to
their time in office.
As in all other years I have provided administrative back-up for meetings of the Standing
Committee, which continued as normal up until early March since when the committee has
not met, and I have also carried out the other duties of the post including the issuing of Long
Service Certificates and, much more sadly, recording the deaths of those who rang with us
in the past but whom we no longer see. The Committee has continued to receive regular
reports on the Guild’s finances and has noted progress with various bell restoration projects.
A number of grants have been made from the Bell Restoration Fund.
In the period since we last met John and Jacqueline Davis moved away to Somerset, which
meant that John relinquished his post as Bell Restoration Officer. We owe him a very great
deal for his work in helping to maintain the infrastructure upon which we all rely for the
continuance of our art. He was replaced in this post by Sue McClaughry from Calstock who
has started her time in office with great enthusiasm. We congratulate Sue on winning the
Westley Prize, awarded each year to someone relatively new to bell maintenance. Mary
Jones from Towednack was highly commended in the same event last year, which means
that in its first two years the judges have recognised the work of two of our tower leaders,
something unique to Cornwall. In other areas Jonathan Young has continued his work on a
revision of the Guild Rules – this was intended to be implemented at this year’s meeting, but
consideration of this has had to be postponed until the current crisis has eased. Martin
Spittle has undertaken an enormous task in overseeing a complete overhaul of the Guild
website, which has transformed its ease of access and for which all users of thee website
owe him many thanks. “An Clogh” in its online version goes from strength to strength, and I
think we all recognise how much work Ian Self puts into each edition.
A major consequence of the coronavirus hiatus has been a loss of contact as ringers can no
longer visit each others’ towers or attend district meetings and practices, but Carolyn Howell
and Hayley Young have done a tremendous amount of work in arranging a series of different
events on Zoom each Sunday evening. These have included talks on a variety of ringing
subjects, Zoom practices, and quizzes, and if you haven’t logged in yet I do encourage you
to check out what is on offer each week. I think we all recognise that the post-Covid picture
will look very different from the position at the beginning of March, and social contacts like
these events will be a great source of help and encouragement as we learn from each other
how best to move forward when the present restrictions are eased.
I must also report that in August the Guild received notification of prospective legal action by
a Cornish ringer against it and against one of its officers. The claim alleges defamation and
harassment. The Guild denies these allegations and having received legal advice is taking
the steps necessary to protect its interests. I cannot say more at this stage.
This concludes my thirty-seventh and final report as your Secretary. It has been an
enormous privilege to have served in this way and to have met and rung with so many
people in doing so. My sincere thanks go to all Guild officers and members with whom I
have interactedover the years. The challenges we face in 2020 are – Covid apart – in many
ways the same as they were in 1983 – recruiting and retaining ringers, raising money for bell
restoration and (in some cases) being taken notice of by the churches which we serve. In
that time a significant number of churches in our diocese have had either new or augmented
rings of bells, andI think I can be forgiven for mentioning in particular the 14 bells we now
have at the cathedral. Furthermore the technical standard of method ringing in various
parts of Cornwall has advanced hugely.But whether it’s in the cathedral or in a parish
church, having bells hung but no or not enough ringers to ring them makes no sense at all.
I hope for the future that we can focus particularly in encouraging new recruits of all ages to
join us in our fascinating activity. It remains only for me now to wish my successor as much
pleasure as I myself have gained from holding this demanding but hugely enjoyable post.
Robert J Perry
Available from Guild Secretary
Please contact the Guild Secretary for : –
Membership and Long Service Certificates
these A4 laminated certificates bear the Guild logo and will state the name and number of years of membership. Please discuss any presentation considerations with the Guild Secretary.
Enamel Lapel Badges
bearing the Guild logo these are priced at £2.00
in black and gold, these stickers measure 9.5 x 9.5cm and cost £1.00. If you travel around towers in convoy, consider placing the sticker in the rear window!
Information concerning property of the Guild –
Please contact the holder in the first instance
Guild Bell, Gift in 1965 of Col. C.F. Jerram – in the care of the Guild Secretary
Presidential Badge of Office – in the care of the President
Centenary Headboard, Gift of Donald Dunkley, mounted in the Cathedral Ringing Chamber
Handbells, Gift of Richard Stevens – in the care of a ringer, contact Guild Secretary
Recruitment Banner, purchased 2010 and in the care of the librarian