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About this Guild

The Peterborough Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers has ten branches through which its aims within the Peterborough Diocese are put into practice.  The aims are:

1)     Ringing for Divine Service

2)    Recruiting and training of Ringers

3)    Encouraging the art of Change Ringing

4)    Helping Ringers to improve their standard of ringing

5)    Care and Restoration of Bells and their fittings

Membership is gained by election at any branch meeting of a person who can ring rounds.  Members  of each branch need to elect annually a number of officers: Chairman, Ringing Master, Secretary/Treasurer, Steward and Management Committee representative are amongst the most important.  It is a ‘bottom-up’ Guild operating through three committees:

Finance and General Purposes Committee, which includes all the branch secretary / treasurers meeting together chaired by the Guild Secretary and Treasurer, usually twice a year;

Recruitment & Training Committee, which includes all the branch ringing masters meeting together once a year to share ideas and good practice, chaired by the Master, who also administers the Guild Training Fund; and

Restoration & Maintenance Committee, which comprises all the branch stewards meeting and chaired by the Guild Steward, once a year to share ideas and good practice. The Guild Steward manages the Guild Bell Fund and recommends grants, usually of around 10% of total project cost, to particular restoration projects for the membership to approve or otherwise.

These committees report to the Guild Management Committee which consists of all branch chairmen, all branch management committee representatives, all the Guild Officers, our Central Council of Church Bellringers elected representatives, up to five representatives from the Diocesan Synod, chaired by the President. The committee usually meets once a year on the first Saturday in March.

This committee reports to, and seeks any recommended changes, through the membership at the Guild’s  Annual General Meeting, held on the second Saturday in June each year, chaired by the President and hosted in turn by each branch.

Most of the Guild’s work takes place at branch level and the Guild's annually elected officers are there to share with assistance, advice and support.  Guild officers run a few events each year to bring ringers from the whole diocese together.  These are the Spring Festival in April (a six-bell striking competition); Summer Festival (an inter-branch 8-bell striking competition), and events to raise money for the Guild’s Bell Fund (like sponsored walks, or rides, and quiz nights).

The first four aims, usually take place at local level, although the number of initial trainers is getting rather low.  (Do you want to try your hand?)  Tower practice nights usually enable the first steps to be taken through handling, rounds, call changes and perhaps plain hunt. If you feel that you are not making sufficient progress fast enough, please contact the Guild Master for options and advice. From there progress can be made at the learner’s pace, depending on time and aptitude, through stronger-tower practices and special training sessions, to Plain Bob, Grandsire, Reverse Canterbury, Stedman.  In a few places progress to plain minor methods (St Clements, Single Oxford, Double Oxford) and treble bob methods (Kent, Oxford, Cambridge) is available.

Some branches put on training sessions to start people off or help them along in a specific method.  These are useful but require enough competent ringers in the method which can be difficult to arrange when they happen too often!  These also help ringers from the different areas to meet and to be willing to visit one another’s towers more often.

Branch meetings vary and can have different parts, some of which appeal more to some members than others.  Ringing on different bells, coming together for a short service and a good sing, a nice social tea and a business meeting to transfer information and feed-back from our members and the Guild and its other branches. In the evening another tower is arranged, so as not to upset the local population with over-long periods in one place.  Branches try to visit some towers with eight bells, so that we all get used to the feel of ringing on eight bells (even if it’s only to make ringing on 5 or 6 seem easier, or ringing during our outings better!).  The ringing is aimed at letting everyone have a good ring, be it call changes or surprise major methods. 

Generally at meetings we shouldn’t aim to ring something that was at the pinnacle of our achievement, but something less, so that we can better concentrate on ringing the host tower’s bells as accurately as possible. It could however be an opportunity to ring something that you have looked up well beforehand with a strong band around you and a stander-by.  This depends on the ringing master having the right people, in the right place, at the right time and cannot always be accommodated, so may have to be refused!

Beyond this, some branches organise 8 and 10-bell quarter peals.  Quarter peals are good value for your time as you get 45 minutes of continuous ringing with a strong band around you. 

For those who need more opportunities still, there are regular quarter peal and peal bands around the diocese who would take in new members.

The fifth aim is catered for by the local work of the branch stewards, who can also give advice when larger schemes of restoration, augmentation and repair are suggested.  Most of the Guild’s money raising activity goes into building up the Guild’s Bell Fund to provide significant grants to such schemes. The annual members’ subscription at £6 per adult more than covers the Guild and Branch administrative costs and some surplus is sometimes transferred to the Bell Fund.  In the last ten years a total of £84,588 in grants has been given to schemes to our mutual advantage.

We look forward to new members joining us, making progress at their own speed and convenience, not just at their home tower but contributing to our heritage across the country with skill and fund raising.

The Guild is affiliated to the national body –the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers – which through its committees seeks to help all ringers and ringing to thrive.

Subscription Rates for 2019 and 2020
Adult members and Non-Resident Life Members:   £7 from January 2019.
Student Members: £3.50 from January 2019.
Peal Fees: 20p per rope
Annual reports £1.50 for Guild Members, £4 post paid for non-members from the Secretary.
Annual reports are distributed free, one to each tower with a member and to each member when elected for the first time.

Neighbouring Bell-ringing Organisations
Similar organisations covering areas adjacent to this Diocese are:
Coventry Diocesan Guild with three districts in its diocese
Leicester Diocesan Guild has six districts
Lincoln Diocesan Guild  has six branches
Ely Diocesan Association has four districts
Bedfordshire Association has 3 districts covering the county
and the large
Oxford Diocesan Guild has 15 branches.

Last revision: 6/8/19

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