Trustees' Reports - President's Report 2018
This annual report has a threefold purpose. Firstly it summarises and highlights for the listed membership what took place in the year. This aspect is covered more fully and in a more timely manner in the Guild Newsletters published quarterly. Secondly it acts as a repository for all the useful information needed about the Guild and as such serves as its handbook. Finally but not of least importance, it satisfies the obligations placed on the trustees of a registered charity to make public our operation.
In a year in which a new President is elected into office, by custom every three years, then the reporting of certain parts of the day-to-day aspects are most appropriately in the remit of the predecessor. As you will be well aware, at the AGM in April no candidate was put forward for the important office of President. Firstly then, I need to thank Joy Pluckrose for continuing in office during this hiatus period until my election at the General Meeting held at Leamington Spa in October.
In consequence events that took place during my tenure cover only a short period of the last quarter of the year. The delay that arose in this election is one with which the whole Guild membership needs to be concerned. It does not only apply to the post of President but to all elected officers be they at Guild level or within the three districts through which most of the work is carried out. It is good to see new people taking on jobs. They will need our encouragement and support to succeed in their role. As many of the long standing officers get older, they are more than happy to hand over to the younger more energetic membership and be around to transition them into their post. Successor planning has very much to be our watchword. Without this can the Guild’s existence be guaranteed?
The major event of the year that was driven nationally was “Ringing Remembers”. This was really the culmination of much ringing over the preceding four years to commemorate those ringers who lost their lives in The Great War in service to King and Country. In several parishes this mark of respect was also shown to all fatalities listed on local war memorials. Over the weekend of 10th & 11th November much effort was put into ensuring all the towers in the Diocese were heard ringing out at some point. Those on the Saturday were targeted at towers where a lack of ringers meant that they could not join in the coordinated Sunday ringing at either 12 noon or as part of beacon lighting at 7 in the evening. It is pleasing to welcome the new recruits to ringing through this publicity campaign who took part in this weekend. The Guild wishes them every success in their continued participation in all ringing activities and being regular Sunday service ringers.
During the year the established training activities have prospered. The Guild entered a team in the National Youth Ringing Competition and was well placed in its section. This by its very nature will always be a changing body of young people. This coming year we need to recruit new members to replace those who have moved on having reached the upper age limit. Likewise established Guild events and District events have taken place. The year ended with the Carol Service at Stoke St Michael’s. The “scratch choir” provided a good lead and we left a very good impression of ringers in general to those non ringers present. The relevant officers cover other events elsewhere in the report. The level of support at all these events could always be higher. I know that it is not for the want of trying different formats, different times of day, new ideas, that support remains variable. These activities are core to our continued existence as a viable ringing guild but are only worth organising if there is sufficient attendance.
Although the Guild and its Bell Repair Fund are comparatively small charities they are covered by the same regulations as any of the national household names. The four Trustees are given six main duties to discharge on behalf of the membership. How this obligation is discharged is briefly:
- Ensuring we are carrying out its purposes to the public benefit. This we achieve by the majority of our activities being those that enable us to fulfil our role of Bellringers within the Diocese of Coventry particularly provision of ringing for Sundays and other significant occasions. The Bell Fund meets this by the giving of its grants.
- Compliance with the governance document and the law. This we achieve by operating within the rules set out elsewhere in the report. Three major areas of the law which affect our operation are Safeguarding, Health and Safety and General Data Protection Regulations. These all have persons responsible for them including advising us and ensuring we maintain best practice in line with other nationally generated bell ringing related specific guidance.
- Acting in the Guild’s best interest. The decisions taken are by a majority of the members attending meetings throughout the year. The operation and activities of the Guild are kept under review to ensure continuing relevance.
- Managing the Guild’s resources responsibly. The finances and other assets are reported at each meeting, summarised annually and subject to audit. In the modern era this also includes strict management of the Guild’s social media presence and website content. Unfortunately there is little we can do about any reputational issues that arise from social media over which we have no control.
- Act with reasonable care and skill. The trustees bring a diverse range of non-ringing skill to the Guild. We ensure that specialist advice is sought as necessary either from within the membership or other qualified professionals. The Trustees meet as and when necessary to form a considered view on items that have come to our attention.
- Ensure we are accountable. The trustees are accountable to the membership through general meetings or direct contact. All members are entitled, upon request, to a copy of this report. The minutes of meetings are published and available to all. The annual return to the Charity Commission is made on time.
Trustee Annual Report - the Retiring President.
So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye
I leave and heave a sigh and say goodbye -- Goodbye!,
Well… how wrong can you be? My three-year tenancy as President came to an end at the AGM in April and I had planned for a new President to take over. However, there were no nominations and no interest shown, and so the post was extended until the next business meeting in October. In some respects that paid dividends as it gave me the opportunity to tie up two loose ends before the handover.
However much forward planning goes into the forthcoming year, there are always spanners thrown into the works that need dealing with. At the end of 2017 I received a message to phone the Diocesan Office regarding a Legacy that had been left in Trust for the Bell Repair Fund. This was the beginning of a very tortuous journey that involved the Diocese, Legal Advisers, Financial Experts and numerous meetings – all of which is documented in the minutes of the Executive Committee Meetings, The General Committee Minutes and in a synopsis given at the AGM. In a nutshell, the legacy was from a ringer at Warwick, Phil Faulks, worth £670,000 to be held in Trust at The Diocese with the interest per year going to our BRF. Negotiations with The Diocese eventually came to a somewhat satisfactory end although there are still outstanding issues regarding the investment of this money by the Diocese between 2014 and 2017, the on-going investment from 2018, and with a possibility of establishing an independent Phil Faulks Charity with joint Trustees from the Diocese and The Guild.
The dreaded GDPR came into force at the end of May. Thank you to all who returned the forms sent out to each tower-these have now been collated and transferred on to electronic format, both of which are stored with The General Secretary. Unfortunately for those who did not return the forms, their names cannot be included in the Annual Report but their Guild Membership will be acknowledged as a number. Forms can still be completed – there is a copy on the website – and should be returned to The General Secretary.
The Diocese celebrated its 100 th Anniversary in September. However this was kept very low-key and The Guild was not encouraged to acknowledge this date.
Quite the opposite was true for the Commemorations of the 100th Anniversary of the End of WW1 on the 11 th November. All Ringers were encouraged to ring on that Sunday and an ambitious programme was undertaken by about 100 Members touring the County on Saturday 10 th November to ensure bells were rung in the silent towers as well. Predictably with our Members, they rose to the occasion, and bells were rung in every tower over the weekend. Focus was made on the Saturday at Newbold (Rugby Deanery), Warwick (Warwick District) and on the Sunday at Chilvers Coton (Coventry District) as each of these towers had significant reasons to be chosen: it is all documented in ‘Guild Matters’. But it goes without saying what a magnificent part you all played over that weekend – thank you.
I would like to thank you all for your great support over the three and a half years, for all the work done by the General Committee members, for the tremendous behind-the-scenes efforts made by The Executive Committee. On a personal note I could not have done what I have done without the wisdom, friendship and frankness of Annie Hall whom I thank from the bottom of my heart.