Central Council of Church Bell Ringers’ Annual Meeting held in London on 7th September 2019.

This year’s meeting was held in London at Goldsmiths College. It was the first of the new format of CC meetings. Rather than a 2-day event held on May Bank holiday, it is now a weekend event around the first Saturday in September. The formal business meetings are scheduled for the Saturday, a mini road show on the Sunday and open ringing to welcome people on Friday evening.

66 ringing societies are affiliated to the Central Council, but the Devon Association will lapse at the end of the year. There are 177 representatives on the council with 21 vacancies (1 in our Guild).

With the new structure, it is important as many members as possible attend to hold the new executive to account. In fact, there were 149 members present at the meeting and a further 30 observers, who are not CC members. Chris Mew received a special mention at the beginning of the meeting as it is 50 years since he was first elected to the council, representing a different society.

The usual meeting formalities were quickly addressed and reports adopted. Interesting points:

  1. The Council still has £15,000 left of the £20,000 grant they received for Ringing Remembers.
  2. The cost of the Council meetings is covered by contributions from members.
  3. The Council has £159,000 in the General fund.
  4. The library collection is valued at £88,000
  5. Total funds in the Council are £444,438.

Joy has written about the work of the Workgroups, so I will focus on other points of interest.

  1. There were 4617 peals rung in 2018, with Church Lawford (The Plantagenet Ring) recording the 9th highest tower scoring 25 peals.
  2. The Robert Kilby memorial peal will be attempted in the Coventry Guild, following the inaugural peal in Leicester last year. Robert bequeathed £10,000 to the Council on the condition a peal of Stedman Caters was rung each year with 1 person ringing SC for the first time. (Incidentally, Robert only rang one peal of SC at Chilvers Coton).
  3. The new website is still being developed but there was concern much of the old information has disappeared. The webmaster said, all the existing content is still there but clearer signposting was being developed.
  4. Universityringing.org; is a new website aimed at young people going to college.
  5. The council is working to ensure there is a common plan for VE 75 to avoid some of the issues with Ringing Remembers.
  6. The direct membership of the council is still being planned
  7. More Tower Leadership courses are in the pipeline.
  8. The Council was reminded of the excellent publication, ‘Bells in Your Care’, which is aimed at incumbents. It addresses many of the challenges posed in churches with a peal of bells.
  9. The PRO is developing, ‘An event in a box’ which is aimed at those planning a recruitment event to attract more ringers. 1
  10. Chris Mew is standing down from the Safeguarding Advisor to the Council and his replacement was being sought.

The current President of the Council, Christopher O’Mahony, elected for 3 years in Edinburgh in 2017, has resigned and a new President needed electing. The Current Vice President, David Kirkcaldy, had not sought election and will complete his 3 years in the role.

Simon Linford was elected, unopposed, to the role as President for 1 year, but was not at the meeting. He attended the dinner in the evening, where he officially accepted the position.

The meeting concluded at 4.40, lasting 2 hours 40 minutes.


Joy and I agree this was the best meeting we had been to so far mainly because there was very little acrimony, despite criticism to the contrary from certain directions. The various groups were trying hard to establish themselves in the new format and most have a clear vision of what they wish to achieve.

With Chris retiring from the Council, there will be two vacancies within the Guild for Central Council Reps. Why not put your name forward for election? You can stand for as little as one year.

The next meeting will be held in Nottingham University, Jubilee Campus on 4-6 September 2020.

Work Groups

The various Workgroups have metamorphosed out of the original Committees and are made up of Members of The Council as well as volunteers with specific interests/expertise. Each Workgroup has a link person to The Executive.

The Groups are:

  • Communication & Marketing
  • History & Archive
  • Stewardship & Management
  • Technical & Taxonomy
  • Volunteer & Leadership

There is also a group which coordinates and reports on the International Societies

Their reports for 2018-2019 can be found on the Central Council website, 2019 Annual Meeting: Annual Meeting Papers/Supplement Pages 16-34

A member of each group was invited to outline their plans for the next 12 months.

Communications & Marketing

  1. To launch Phase 2 of the New Website
  2. To produce materials including Teaching Aids and Advice
  3. To produce an ‘Events in a Box’ package for Distribution
  4. To plan how VE 75 Day 2020 is marked by Ringers

Stewardship & Management

Their plan covered 30 objectives but basically centred round overseeing:

  1. Tower Infrastructures, Tower Operations and Major Projects.
  2. Health & Safety in Towers and Legal Liabilities.
  3. The effect of noise inside and outside towers, and tracking accidents in belfries.
  4. Updating and regulating Safeguarding.

Technical & Taxonomy

Their plan fell under 5 sections:

  1. Services – looking at projects 
  2. Methods – continuing to look at and develop frameworks
  3. Compositions – putting together the ‘Ultimate Collection’
  4. Dove – 11th Edition now published
  5. ICT – adding to new website

Volunteer & Leadership.

  1. To continue to produce ‘Leadership’ interviews to be published in the RW
  2. To continue to produce the Education Column in the RW
  3. To try to convene a Youth Conference in York in 2020
  4. To run a ‘Recruit & Retain’ Workshop at ART Conference in March 2020
  5. To support the work of Guild & Associations when setting up Ringing Centres