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Est. 1637

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363rd ANNIVERSARY DINNER - 4th November, 2000

Photographs taken at the dinner. Click on photo to enlarge.
Report provided by Robert Lewis, Editor of the Ringing World.

220 members and guests gathered at the Chartered Accountants’ Hall in the City of London. Pre-prandial drinks in the elegant 19th century reception halls were followed by dinner in the very modern banqueting room.

In proposing the toast to The Church, Master, Paul Carless praised the efforts which the City Clergy put into maintaining good relations with their bellringers and tower masters. He noted in this context that the incumbent at St Mary-le-Bow kept a bookstall near the porch which included a tome rejoicing in the title of ‘Living with Mark’. Perhaps there was indeed room for two Gods at Bow! In response The Revd Dr Peter Mullen, Rector of St Michael, Cornhill and St Sepulchre commented that in his experience bellringers were much easier to get on with than organists – the difference between an organist and a terrorist: one can negotiate with the latter!

David Pipe proposed the toast to the Society. He suggested that the good health of the organisation was plain for all to see. The officers on the top table were all in the ‘prime of their lives’. The Society had performed well in the National Twelve Bell Contest and peal ringing activities were stronger than ever. Thanks were particularly due to Tony Kench for his dedicated work in organising attempts over the past five years.

The Secretary, Phil Rogers, said in his response how good it was to see the Pipe family so strongly represented. He paid tribute to Andrew Stubbs in his role as Toastmaster, utilising to the full a clear head, strong pair of lungs and bottomless pit of tact and diplomacy. Phil touched on some notable events of the year, including a most enjoyable ‘informal dinner’ in March, a highly successful tour of Canada and a creditable performance in the 12 Bell (likened to playing cricket against Pakistan at Lahore without the inducements). The results of the rehanging operation on the bells of St. Paul’s Cathedral were now eagerly awaited, this being the first major work on the installation for over 40 years. It had been a good year for recruitment, with 43 new members elected. Sadly there had also been many losses through death. Phil thanked Dickon Love for his hard work in creating a most effective website.

During an interlude in the speeches three faultless leads of Ariel were rung on handbells. Junior Steward Chris Pickford then proposed a toast to The Guests. He said the Society was particularly pleased to welcome the new Rector of St Giles, Cripplegate, Revd Kate Rubens. He was pleased to note that Kate had ‘ringing in her blood’ – her late grandfather, Harry Rumens of Walthamstow, was elected to the Society in 1909 and clocked up over 60 years’ membership. Chris also extended a warm welcome to Canon John Halliburton and to Heather Kippin who was representing the Society of Royal Cumberland Youths.

Heather replied on behalf of the guests: "What an opportunity!" she declared. Speaking of her close proximity to the Society over 30 years through the membership of husband Chris and more recently of daughter Eleanor, Heather recalled some notable College Youths’ peals, including one of Bristol Maximus at Wakefield Cathedral in 1971. This was ‘magical’ and quite simply the best twelve bell ringing she had ever heard – even David Hull would have been hard pressed to find fault! Heather applauded the efforts to make the bells of St Paul’s Cathedral more widely available to other societies for practices. She also congratulated the College Youths on embracing women and looked forward eagerly to the election of the first lady Master. In due course she also hoped to witness the appointment of the first lady Bishop of London. Finally Heather thanked the society for a most enjoyable evening. Formalities were brought to a close with the traditional silent toast to the fragrant memories of the Masters of 300, 200 and 100 years ago.

Fr David Gibbons & Mark Jones A line of smiling faces
The Top Table David Pipe makes his speech
Richard Lebon appropriately attired Heather Kippin and David House
Robin Hall, David Hull & John Warboys Jeff Brannan entertains.
David Potter & Robert Lewis, the RW Editor Heather Kippin propped up by the Secretary...
... while Nigel Bailey entertains her daughter. Not far from the bar.
Recruiting for Bishopstoke? Hannah Wilby: the rose between the thorns of Messrs Mounsey, Shallcross & Brannan.
Posing by the mural. Paul Mounsey, Ricky Shallcross & Jeff Brannan.
Swaz! One definately worth enlarging! Paul Mounsey about to fall over (must have been the shock!)
Peter Townsend. Dickon Love ... ... joined by Peter Valuks.

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