The Ancient
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Est. 1637

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Saturday, 2nd November, 2002
(Photos by the Web Master, Gwen Rogers, Alan Barber and Robert Lewis.
Click image to enlarge.)

Report by "The Spindoctress" Stef Warboys.

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The Senior Steward, Master and Junior Steward prepare to process into the Hall. Linda Garton visiting the top table. A room full of diners.
The College Youths 365th Anniversary Feast, to give the Annual Dinner its proper title, was once again a wonderful and unique ringing gathering. Dinner weekend has become a 3-day session of indulgence incorporating as much ringing as you choose and non-optional good company, eating and drinking for those with sufficient stamina. After 3 peals in the City were rung on Friday night, the bands gathered with the serious drinkers at Davy's wine bar and the festivities began. Another 9 peals were rung on Saturday to mark the occasion and general ringing took place, together with general drinking at the Sir John Oldcastle.

As we gathered in the splendour of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Hall, many ringers were almost completely unrecognisable in their finery and I'm not just referring to the female members! The Secretary set the tone for the evening early on - knocking over a bottle of port - before the Master, escorted by his stewards, had even paraded into the Great Hall, accompanied by the mace dating back to 1762. The seating plan for such an occasion can have the potential for fireworks but once again the Secretary's deft skill kept the bright sparks quiet.

Andrew Stubbs is a most accomplished and practised toastmaster and before the end of the first course the Master had taken wine with almost all of the 255 attendees! The Master traditionally gives the first speech of the evening. Chris Pickford proposed the toast to the Church, his speech peppered with historical references and sharp wit. How he managed to move from St Buryan, the record peal of 15,008 all the work to the disastrous reduction in ringing towers in the Square Mile post Great Fire in less than 7 minutes was impressive. The Rector of Cripplegate, Katharine Rumens, wheeled out recollections of her ringing grandfather. She displayed a sound understanding of "wiggly" lines and the importance of "the person with the key". She was dressed in pyrotechnically coloured robes and spoke with great style.

The next speaker, Rev Giles Galley -a ringer with a rather racy reputation as a raconteur -did not let us down. A brave soul, he had composed 3 highly combustible limericks in honour of 3 of the lady members: Swaz Apter, whose blood rhymed with Flood, Dinah (Reed), he maligned 'er and envisioning Hannah Wilby in (just?) a trilby. His creative nomenclature for new brews of beer fired the imagination but is best unrepeated. He also reflected on the likelihood that he and Tudor Edwards were probably the only ringers who could honestly say they had rung through Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Phil Rogers, Secretary, replied on behalf of the Society. It had been a sparkler of a year: a record peal count for the third consecutive year and Society trips to Washington and the Carolinas had taken place. A special peal was rung for the Queen Mother's funeral at Westminster Abbey and a Jubilee peal at St Paul's. The Country Meeting in Worcester had been a memorable occasion, at the Worcestershire Cricket Ground with the Cathedral floodlit as the backdrop. Simon Linford had carved out the new unofficial role of golf secretary for himself. The night's attendance of 255 at the Annual Dinner beat all records back to the Society's 350th year in 1987. The Society's longest serving members were greeted in the traditional manner as were the 32 new members elected during the year. The only dampener on the fire was the unfortunately high number of deaths of members during the year. Phil revealed the Society's plans for 2003 including a trip to Australia and New Zealand and the 125th anniversary of the opening of the bells at St Paul's.

Messrs Firman, Carless, Mounsey, Uphill, Moreton and Michael Wilby expertly rang Stedman Cinques on handbells. The junior steward, Colin Newman, then welcomed the guests and visitors, keeping his touch admirably brief - sparking off a new catchphrase - he thought he'd " died and gone to Chelmsford". He resisted the temptation to indulge in too many predictable presidential jokes following his welcome to Rev George Bush, the new Rector of Bow. He also congratulated the Master of the Cumberlands, "Glint", recently spliced to Joanne Fielding. Patrick Wilkins, Secretary of the Friends of St Paul’s Cathedral, gave the response to the guests and visitors. Unlike all his predecessors in the role, the closest he had come to military experience was being a sixer in beaver patrol and at long last we heard the expected but inevitable comments about Dickon Love's name!

All too soon the time for mingling and catching up with old friends from all over the country was over and we had to leave the warm glow of our sumptuous surroundings for a cold, wet November night. Events of this calibre only happen due to the hard work and behind the scenes contribution of many but in this case, particularly Phil Rogers, Andrew Stubbs and that great guy, Dill Faulkes. Your reporter did glean a few snippets by the time the evening reached its flickering embers: allegedly Alan Flood was spotted carrying still water, John Camp was seen playing Mornington Crescent with Chris Kippin's tie, Love and Loveless were photographed together, Michael Wilby confessed (after several bottles of port) that he was the only one of the experienced handbell sextet that had never given a public performance in front of over 250 people before and an innocent young thing (or was it Kelly Barnes in the dramatic blood red dress?) was overheard to ask "which Chris and Heather do you mean?"

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More diners. The Future of London Ringing 2003? Dickon Love (Senior Steward) with Ian Fielding (Master of the SRCY). Phil Rogers and Andrew Stubbs standing behind Chris and Heather Pickford.
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Rev'd George Bush (Rector designate of St Mary le Bow) with Dickon Love. Guests and Officers on top table. Applauding the speeches.
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The Master proposes The Church. Rev'd Giles Galley proposes the Society.
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The Rev'd Katherine Rumens, Rector of St Giles Cripplegate, responds to the toast to The Church. Patrick Wilkins, Secretary of The Friends of St Paul's, responds to the toast to The Guests.
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Enjoying the speeches. Gwen Rogers with Jack Pryor. Graham Nabb and Susan Marshall.
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Mark Jones talks to David Hilling. Ian Fielding with Andrew Wilby and Barbara Foster. Stephen Penney (Percy) with one of his friends, Oliver Hall (left).
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Mike Birkbeck with Jon Waters. John Taylor and Emma with John Camp and Michele Ellender. Andrew Graham and Stef Warboys in dynamic conversation.
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Emma Drury and David Hull ... Alison Edmonds and Mark Humphreys. Alan Flood, Stephen Waters and Derek Thomas.
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Smile for the camera. Michael and Hannah Wilby.
Photo DrL Photo Gwen Rogers

Dinah Reed, Robert Hawtree and Stef Warboys.

< David Kingston

Phil Goodyer >

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John Loveless and Swaz Apter. Michael Uphill and Phil Goodyer. Emma Drury, David Hull and Mark Humphreys.
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The handbell ringers. The Master of the SRCY with his wife. The Master of the ASCY with his wife.
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Keith Game. Heather Kippin. Phil Rogers delivers his speech.
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David House. Colin Newman speaking. Andrew Giles and Mike Birkbeck.
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John Camp

Photo Gwen Rogers

Kelly Barnes entertains.

Photo Gwen Rogers
Tony Daw and Chris Munnings.
Photo Gwen Rogers Photo Alan Barber


The Handbell ringers.


All too much for Phil Rothera?

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