Read more…"/> Words from the chair – April – Kent County Association of Change Ringers

Things have settled down for many after the Easter break and, for me, this marks the start of another year cycle in the life of the KCACR following the AGM on Easter Monday.

The AGM was held at St Margaret’s, Rainham (which is, incidentally the tower where I was taught to handle a bell) and, following a service touch of Yorkshire Surprise Major by an invited band, commenced with a service based on Morning Prayer. The service was led by the Assistant Priest, the Rev’d Jonathan Jennings, assisted by KCACR member the Rev’d David Ridley of St Michael’s Sittingbourne.

I am extremely grateful to Graham Long of Greenwich who stepped up at the 11th hour to play the organ for the service. His inspiring accompaniments to the hymns ensured that the members present sang with gusto and his postlude was very enjoyable medley of seasonal and bell related hymns including bells Ding Dong Merrily, Unchanging God, Jesus Christ is Risen Today and Thine Be the Glory.

After a break for lunch, where some members enjoyed their own lunches in the church whilst others went in search of lunch at one of Rainham’s selection of pubs, the meeting commenced. Around 60 members were in attendance at the meeting and the draft minutes of the business discussed are available in the resources section of the KCACR website.

There were a couple of changes to the General Committee. As already advised, Sue Bassett stood down as the General Secretary and we welcomed Joanne Pohl from Rochester Cathedral to that position. Joanne has a background in admin and PA work so is well qualified to tackle the responsibilities that the General Secretary role requires. Although Sue stood down as General Secretary, she did agree to take on the role of Training Officer for this year. In the light of Sue’s work with the establishment of the ART hubs and my hopes to develop the ART training programme further in Kent, I am sure that will be immensely beneficial to the Association.

There is still a vacancy on the General Committee for a Central Council Representative. If any member would like to know more about his or is interested in being considered, please do drop me a line. I should also add that, in line with previous holders of the position of Chairman, I intend to stand down at the AGM in 2025 as I will have completed my three year tenure in this role.

The AGM also gives an opportunity for us to celebrate the service that some members have given. To that end, we were able to congratulate Roy Barclay (Staplehurst), Karen Barter (Chelsfield), Laurence Bond (Marden), Debbie Goacher (East Farleigh) and Julie Palmer (Minster in Sheppey) on their 50 years of membership. Roy was present at the meeting and it was a pleasure to be able to present him with his 50 Years of Membership Certificate.

During the year, the General Committee had also received three recommendations for consideration for the positions of Elected Vice-President. The position of Elected Vice-President is bestowed on members who have given outstanding service to the Association and the General Committee were delighted to be able to nominate all three members at the meeting.

Jen Thomas (Brasted) was nominated for all of her work with the Kent Young Ringers over the last few years. The group has grown and Jen has put a great deal of effort into developing this group and supporting our young ringers across the Association. We have seen the KYR team perform very well in both regional and national competitions, the KYR team have won the Editor’s Trophy for Excellence twice at the Ringing World National Youth Contest and were placed 3rd last year. In the regional South East England Contest, KYR were 2nd in 2022 and 3rd this year.

Anthony Leeves (Speldhurst) was nominated for instigating and maintaining the databse of quarter peals rung in Kent. He has diligently researched through Ringing Worlds and corroborated some of the anomolies that he has found in the records with ringers who were involved (and like me, some of you may well have received queries from Anthony over the years that he has been doing this). He has now collated details of over 43000 quarter peals rung in the Association area from 1951.

Hazel Basford (Canterbury Cathedral) was nominated for her work for over 30 years as Association Librarian. Hazel not only curated this archive but was actively involved in researching  those Members who were involved in World War I and producing a Roll of Honour which is now available on the KCACR website and also recorded in a Book of Remembrance that is kept at Canterbury Cathedral.

The members present at the AGM all agreed that the position of Elected Vice-President should be conferred on all three nominees and it was my pleasure to personally award Jen and Hazel their Certificates.

In the next few weeks I will be sharing with Members a redraft of the Association rules for consideration. Our current rules have been reviewed as some of them are no longer applicable and some no longer work effectively in this modern age. I have been working with some members on this redraft but now would like to consult with everybody before I produce a final draft. This consultation period will run until mid-July which will give everybody a chance to look through the proposal and send comments to me for consideration. I will then have just enough time to prepare a final draft for the General Committee meeting on 27th July for final review.

In line with the current rules, notification of this final draft will be advised to the General Secretary by 1st September in order that they can be circulated to Districts to discuss at their Annual District Meetings this year.

Neil Jones

KCACR Chairman