The Marches

Secretary: Judith Edwards email rowdenlea2@gmail.com

The Marches District report for 2019

We started 2019 on a high note with the celebration of our 10th anniversary at a meeting on 26th January with ringing at Stoke Prior, Kingsland and Leominster. We had lunch at The Corners Inn, Kingsland, complete with birthday cake. The day was organised by our retiring secretary, Mary Bartholomew, and was a great success with 41 members attending.

Sadly, this was the last time that many of us would see Mary who, after suffering various health problems for the last year or so, was taken ill and died the same day on 28th February. This came as a tremendous shock to her family and friends and we miss her still. Everyone rallied round and Judith Edwards bravely took on the role of secretary, although it took some months for us to get used to not having Mary’s organisational skills to guide us.

A total of 8 Quarter Peals were rung by members in March and April in memory of Mary. Several other Quarters were rung during the year, of particular note being Plain Bob Caters at Leominster, which was a first for three of the band. Some members also rang with other districts at national get-togethers.

The next meeting of 2019 was our ADM on 30th March when existing officers were all re-elected for another year. Ringing took place at Hope Bowdler, Rushbury and Stoke St Milborough with lunch at The Swan Inn, Aston Munslow. This was followed by a meeting on 29th June when we rang at Condover, Atcham and High Ercall and lunched at the Mytton & Mermaid, Atcham. 31st August saw us ringing at Clifford, Dorstone, and Peterchurch, with The Nags Head at Peterchurch providing an excellent lunch. The schedule of 2020 practices was agreed at this meeting.

We held a special meeting at Eardisland on 28th September when junior member Alice Pugh received the Dorothy L Sayers Award. Alice is planning to use her prize to attend the 2020 Hereford Ringing Course. We have another up-and-coming junior member of our district who we are putting forward for the 2020 award – we wish her the best of luck!

Our final meeting of the year was held on 30th November when we rang at Castlemorton, Powick and Longdon and had lunch at The Blue Bell, Callow End.

We finished 2019 with 55 paid-up members and, although numbers attending meetings varied, our enthusiasm and commitment to the district is very much in evidence.

Thanks go to our officers, everyone who has organised meetings for us and all those members who travel, sometimes long distances, to meet up and share the companionship of the Ladies Guild.

Pat Key, Vice President

The Marches District report for 2018

We started the year with a meeting on 27th January when we rang at towers at Tugford, Stanton Lacy and Stoke St Milborough. A delicious hot buffet lunch was provided at the home of one of our members as a fund-raiser for Stoke St Milborough bells. The day was well-attended, although our Ringing Master and another member were away, representing us at the Guild 10 bell Quarters at St Clement Danes in London.

The next meeting was our ADM on 24th March when existing officers were all re-elected for another year. Secretary Mary Bartholomew indicated that she would be retiring in 2019 when she will have served as an officer for 10 years. Ringing took place at Eardisland, Canon Pyon and Marden, with lunch at The Nag’s Head, Canon Pyon.

Unfortunately, our 30th June meeting to Cound, Berrington and Meole Brace was poorly attended, a combination of holidays, illness and other engagements keeping members away. Our final meeting of the year on 29th September was much better attended with 24 members ringing at Eckington, Earl’s Croome and Stoulton. We are very grateful to the organisers of our meeting days, they provided us with some good ringing, good food and excellent company.

The year finished with a series of Quarter Peals organised by Rhiannon Pugh our Ringing Master, to ensure that the total of 100 Quarters commemorating the centenary of women receiving the vote was achieved by the Ladies Guild as a whole.

We look forward to celebrating our 10th birthday at the beginning of 2019 with a healthy membership and thriving District. Finally, thanks go to our officers, who work so hard on the District’s behalf, and all the members who come and support us at meetings – we are nothing without you!

Pat Key, Vice President

The Marches District report for 2017

The District held its ADM on February 25th. There was no change of officers, although it was pointed out that some officers were long-serving and members were asked to consider offering their services in the future. A total of 27 people attended the day, made up of 24 branch members, 1 life member and 2 gentlemen. During the morning we rang at St Nicholas and All Saints in Hereford, with lunch at the café at All Saints, and then travelled to Hampton Bishop in the afternoon for the meeting in the Village Hall followed by ringing in the Church.

Other meetings were held during the year on 29th April, when we visited Clifton upon Teme, Martley and Broadwas in Worcestershire, 29th July, to Presteigne, Kington and Eardisley in Herefordshire, and finally 30th September when we rang at Allensmore, Abbey Dore and Kingstone, also in Herefordshire. Our thanks go to the various members who organised these very enjoyable days for us.

Three new members were elected during the year and several other ladies came along to meetings and we hope that they will decide to join us at a later date. Unfortunately, for various reasons, we have lost one or two members but we still have a healthy number and managed an average attendance of 21 or 22 for ordinary meetings during the year.

We were represented at the Guild Quarter Peal days at St Clement Danes in January and at Liverpool in September. Our members rang in some successful quarters and had a very enjoyable time meeting up with ladies from other districts. Three of our members also joined the Ladies Guild holiday in May which this year visited Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire.

Finally, thanks go to our officers and all the members who come and support us at meetings. We enjoy our relaxed, social gatherings and look forward to good ringing and good fellowship in 2018.

Pat Key, Vice President

The Marches District report for 2016

The Marches District is precisely that, the area that stretches down the entire border between England and Wales, but latterly we have ventured eastwards into Worcestershire as well. Members travelling from either the far north or the far south of the district find it easier to come to meetings towards the central area although we do try to vary where we go.

We try to meet on the fifth Saturday of the month so in 2016 we met four times, January, April, July and October. The fifth Saturday of December being New Year’s Eve, it was decided as members would be otherwise occupied later that day we couldn’t guarantee a good attendance.

Attendance at meetings varied but averaged 20 which with our many six bell towers is a goodly number. We ring at two towers in the morning, a leisurely pub lunch followed by a meeting and a third tower in the afternoon finishing at 4.00pm enabling members to rejoin their families for the evening. Three new members were elected during the year and interest was shown by a number of others.

Meetings are arranged by members who volunteer to do so, for which we are very grateful. In 2016 we rang at Tenbury Wells, Eye and Leominster Priory, Ross on Wye, Peterstow and Llangarron, Shelsley Beauchamp, Grimley and Areley Kings, Rushbury, Hope Bowdler and Wistanstow. A variety of methods were rung enabling all abilities to learn something new. Our meetings are relaxed social affairs but nevertheless ringing progress is made.

Mary Bartholomew, Secretary

The Marches District report for 2015

2015 saw our district hosting the Guild AGM for the first time. This was a slightly terrifying prospect but, thanks to the advice and support of other Guild members and officers, and plenty of preparation beforehand, the day went well. For those of us who attend the annual Ladies Guild holiday, it was a chance to meet up with friends made there and introduce them to our lovely part of the country.

The Guild AGM in June replaced a May district meeting, but other meetings were held in January, March, August and October. We travelled to Shropshire in January (in the snow!), around Hereford in March, the Welshpool area in August, and North-west Herefordshire/the Welsh border in October. Attendance at meetings was varied but we began and ended the year on a high and of course a goodly number of our members came to support and help us at the Guild AGM.

We were very pleased to elect a number of new members during the year and welcome them to the friendship of the Ladies Guild. Most District Officers were re-elected at our ADM, the exception being Christine Loran who stood down as Treasurer. We thanked her for all her hard work during her term of office and welcomed Anne Newman who kindly agreed to take over the role. In September we said farewell to Bo Hollingshurst, one of our original members and joint secretary in the early days, when she and her husband moved to live closer to their family. Bo is settling in to ringing in her new area and will no doubt soon join her local LG band!

We thank members who organised meetings for us in 2015 and look forward to another great year in 2016. Thanks also go to our officers and all the members who come and support us – the district would be nothing without you!

Pat Key, Vice-President

The Marches District report for 2014

We celebrated our fifth birthday in February with ringing at Lugwardine, Withington and Wellington and we were pleased to welcome a record number of members to the day. Time has flown by since some of the Guild officers came to Leominster to help us set up our district and introduced us to the comradeship of the Ladies Guild.

Other meetings during the year were held at Llanfeugan, Brecon and Llanfaes in May; Bodenham, Stoke Prior and Leominster in August; and Shrawley, Grimley and Worcester in November. Attendance at the summer meetings was a little low due to holidays and other commitments but we ended the year on an upward trend.

With such a widespread membership we try to extend our practices to all corners of the district to enable as many ladies as possible to join us at least once or twice a year. One of our members has designed a leaflet which we now leave at towers where we have rung, as a thank you and also to inform other ringers of the existence of the Ladies' Guild. When booking towers we have found that not everyone has heard of the Ladies' Guild so we are trying to publicise this friendly and welcoming organisation.

We had one or two changes in officers at our ADM in February. Most notably Denise Fletcher stepped down as Ringing Master to be replaced by Rhiannon Pugh. Denise has been master since the district was founded and we sincerely thank her for all her support and encouragement during her tenure in office. Rhiannon, the other officers and members look forward to welcoming the Ladies Guild to our beautiful district when we host the AGM here in 2015.

Pat Key, Marches District Vice President