Report of Mid-Devon Branch AGM 

There was much anticipation last year when the branch was looking forward to holding our AGM at Kingkerswell when we could try out the new ring of 8. In the event Covid meant that the AGM was held on-line. So, at last, this year we were able to meet there on 13 October, and enjoy the new 8 with the re modelled ringing room. All were thrilled with the massive difference this has made to the ringing experience at Kingskerswell.

The usual warm welcome awaited from Philip and the local ringers and the bells were soon ringing to a variety of methods, It was great to have a good attendance and particularly from the recently joined band at Bovey Tracey. They have benefitted from ringers moving into the area and it was good to welcome them to the branch.

The service included Hymns accompanied on the organ by Janet Ritterman and the lesson read by our secretary, Nigel Birt. The sermon included mention of bells in the Bible and a potted history of ringing (according to Google??)!. As usual the ringers showed that they can also sing and tried hard to raise the roof! It was good to also have a touch of Spliced Surprise Minor rung on handbells by Mike and Jill Wigney with Peter Richards. (Cambridge and Primrose). 

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After a very welcome tea, ably provided by Mo Stevens and her helpers, it was time for the AGM. Nigel started the meeting by explaining that Rodney Horder, our Chairman, had taken the first opportunity to visit family in the USA. Rodney had sent his apologies to the meeting and Nigel explained that the committee had asked Wena Mansley to chair the meeting. Nigel read a report from Rodney and his own report as well. All other reports had been circulated and were accepted by the meeting. The treasurer reported that membership had stayed fairly stable with just a few members not re-joining. This would almost be balanced by new members elected at this meeting. She mentioned that applications for Branch Project of the year were now open, and the committee would welcome any ideas that member towers should suggest. Closing date April 2022.

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All officers had stated that they were willing to stand and were duly re-elected.

The programme for next year was discussed and it was discovered that a couple of dates would clash with events outside the branch. Martin Mansley (Ringing Master) agreed to look at re planning these events to avoid the clashes. It was mentioned that the Ringing World Youth competition was coming to Exeter area in July 2022 and the organisers would be looking for help with running this very popular event. The competition this year attracted over 20 teams and it was felt that there may be even more next year. In 2024 the Guild will celebrate 150 years (the first territorial association to reach this milestone). It has been proposed that a Guild dinner be held and it was suggested that branches might look at booking a table for members.

Martin Mansley explained that Tower Talk had become a vital instrument for communication within the branch. He felt that it should not be included as a requisite part of the Ringing Master's role and proposed that we elect an Editor for Tower Talk – he was happy to continue producing it for the time being. He thanked the many members who had given positive feedback re Tower Talk.

It has been a strange year for ringing but it seems the branch has come out of lockdown in very good spirits. It was good to hear that Bovey Tracey are looking forward to welcoming us for the next AGM.

Over the past few years we have not been holding evening ringing after the meeting but enthusiasm was so great this year that a very substantial number of ringers attended evening ringing at Coffinswell. It only remains to say a big thankyou to all the Branch officers for their continued work and to the Kingskerswell ringers for their warm welcome. Any project to rehang and augment bells requires much dedication and hard work – all agreed that it had made a fantastic improvement to Kingskerswell bells and we congratulate them on their achievement. Please note that this is just a report on the meeting – official minutes will be circulated in due course.

Photos at https://photos.app.goo.gl/en24h49F7nGiCJoM8  Many thanks to Peter Bailey and Janet Ritterman