Saturday 20 June saw the Guild of Devonshire Ringers gather once again for their annual festival, this year hosted by the Exeter Branch, and held at Crediton. This fine ring of twelve bells proved popular, with open ringing in the morning preceding the church service. Then it was time for lunch, admirably provided by the Crediton ringers and held in the Boniface Centre, where ringers ate, chatted and rang handbells,before settling down to the business meeting in early afternoon.
As the meeting started, Crediton bells rang out once again to celebrate a wedding being held in the church, adding to the musical enjoyment of the afternoon. Attendance was slightly down on previous years, and the meeting passed with swift efficiency, with members keen to head into Exeter for the official inauguration and blessing of the DenMisch bells later in the day.
Several new officers were elected or changed posts, and we welcomed Tim Bayton as Education Secretary, James Kirkcaldy as Quarter Peal Secretary, and Rusty Hartley as Publicity Officer. Geoff Hill was also congratulated upon his election as Guild Master, and Anne Bailey was elected as a Vice-President. Later in the meeting, members voted to contribute £1,000 to cover the installation costs of the DenMisch bells in Exeter Cathedral School.
The next date in the Guild's calendar is the Striking Competitions on Saturday 17 October, this year to be hosted by the North/North West Branch. The meeting heard that Geoff Hill would be judging the 6-Bell competition at Shirwell, John Hill the Novice competition (tower to be confirmed), and Christine & Peter Hill would judge the 8-Bell at Braunton, where the methods would be St Clements College Bob Triples or Grandsire Triples.
After the AGM, members gathered in Exeter at the Cathedral School, to see the DenMisch simulator bells for the first time in their new home there. The bells were kindly donated to the Guild by Mischa Thompson, and are now available to be used at any time out of school hours. The opening ceremony was well attended, with a blessing by the Dean of Exeter Cathedral, Dr Jonathan Draper, and the school had kindly provided a full tea for the ringers, which was much appreciated by all. Everyone then enjoyed the opportunity to ring the bells for the first time; it is hoped they will prove to be an invaluable and exciting teaching and training facility for the future. Our appreciation goes to all those involved in the project, and especially to Mischa for her generous donation.
And finally, our thanks to everyone in the Exeter Branch who helped to organise and contribute to such a successful and enjoyable day.
Clare Griffiths, Guild Secretary