Constitution and Rules

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Devon Association of Ringers

Founded 1925

Constitution and Rules for Festivals

20th February 2020

Updated by Committee February 2020 following ratification by AGM in November 2019


  1. Name and Object
  2. Structure and Government
  3. Annual General Meeting
  4. Duties
  5. General
  6. Devon Association Festivals, Rules and Conditions of Entry
  7. Appendices
    1. Exeter Diocese Deaneries
    2. Glossary of terms

1. Name and Object

  1. That this society shall be called the Devon Association of Ringers (hereinafter the Association).
  2. That the object of the Association shall be to cultivate and encourage the vernacular traditional art of Devon Call Change Ringing.
  3. That the Association shall aim to achieve its object by:
    1. assisting with the recruitment of and providing appropriate training for ringers;
    2. encouraging ringing for divine service;
    3. holding Annual Festivals, which shall include the following competitions: Six Bell Novice, Six Bell Area North and South qualifying rounds with parishes being divided according to the deanery list of the Diocese of Exeter as per appendix (i), Six Bell Minor and Major Final, and Eight Bell. The rules and conditions for the competitions as per section 6. These will be included in the Schedule for the various competitions;
    4. forming positive working relationships with other ringing organisations especially locally;
    5. actively supporting the work of the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund (Registered Charity No 276490).

2. Structure and Government

  1. The Association shall consist of ringers of towers affiliated to the Association, the aforementioned ringers being regarded as de facto members of the Association. The names of ringers considered to be members of an affiliated tower shall be listed and presented at the point of affiliation.
  2. The management of the Association shall be vested in a committee that is elected by members at the Association Annual General Meeting.
  3. The Committee shall meet at least twice a year to conduct the general business of the Association, the quorum being one third of the Committee membership.
  4. The Committee, including all officers, excepting the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund Trustees, shall be elected individually at an Annual General Meeting to serve for a triennium. Devon Church Bell Restoration Trustees shall be elected annually in accordance with DCBRF rules.
  5. The Committee shall comprise:
    1. the following officers who shall be ex officio members of the Committee – Hon Secretary, Hon Treasurer, Competition Secretary North, Competition Secretary South, Training Officer, Fund Raising Officer, Publicity Officer, Safeguarding Officer, Webmaster and Guild of Devonshire Ringers Liaison Officer.
    2. Two representatives on the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers and five representatives on the Devon Ringers Council: any of whom may or may not also serve as Deanery Representatives on the Committee.
    3. Three Association Trustees on the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund Committee.
    4. Exeter Diocese Deanery Representatives evenly distributed on a one per Deanery/group of Deaneries basis across Devon as listed in appendix (i).
    5. A Chairman and Vice-Chairman, both of whom shall be elected from representatives on the Committee included in 2.v.b and 2.v.d above: one from the Northern group of Deaneries, and one from the Southern group of Deaneries, the offices alternating between Northern and Southern areas. It shall be considered desirable that the Vice-Chairman succeeds the Chairman at the end of a triennium, commencing at an Annual General Meeting.
  6. During the course of a triennium, the Committee shall have the power to co-opt from the membership specifically to fill any vacant posts on the Committee, co-opted members being ratified at the following Annual General Meeting.
  7. The following officers, no two of whom may be members of the same tower, shall form the Executive Committee of the Association, with powers to make decisions in times of exceptional circumstances; Hon Secretary, Competition Secretaries, Hon Treasurer, Chairman and Vice‐Chairman.
  8. A president shall be elected annually at the Annual General Meeting (as President elect), from and by the membership of the Association a year before serving as President. The Office of President shall be held alternately by members from the Northern and Southern groups of deaneries. The President may attend Committee meetings at his/her own discretion.
  9. The Association may offer Recognition Awards to suitably deserving servants of the Devon Call Change Tradition. Individuals shall receive a certificate in recognition of the honour of 50, 60, 70 and 80 years’ service and proposals for this position will be considered by the Committee.
  10. There shall be an unlimited number of positions available for the office of Vice-Presidents, and who, desirous of being admitted to the Association will subscribe annually to the Association.

3. Annual General Meeting

  1. The Association will normally hold its Annual General Meeting on the second Saturday on November.
  2. An attendance book shall be circulated and signed by all present.
  3. The Quorum of the Annual General Meeting shall be representatives of ONE THIRD of the number of affiliated towers.
  4. All members of affiliated towers being regarded as de facto members of the Association shall be entitled to speak at the Annual General Meeting.
  5. The ringers of each affiliated tower shall be entitled to vote on tower locations for Devon Festivals at the Annual General Meeting via a representative on a one vote per tower
  6. Additional votes taken at the Annual General Meeting will be undertaken on an individual basis.
  7. At the Annual General Meeting:
    1. The minutes of the previous Annual General Meeting and Committee meetings shall be presented by the Hon Secretary, having been circulated amongst the membership at least 14 days prior to that Annual General Meeting.
    2. An Annual Report shall be presented by the Hon Secretary;
    3. The Independently Examined Accounts of the Association for the preceding year shall be presented by the Hon Treasurer, together with a report thereon;
    4. Election of Officers and Committee shall be held in accordance with Rule 2.
    5. Dates and venues of Festivals shall be chosen;
    6. A report by a representative of the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund shall be given;
    7. A report by a representative of the Devon Ringers Council shall be given;
    8. A report by a representative of the Association’s Central Council Representatives shall be given;
    9. Any other business shall be transacted, there having been due notice given to the Hon Secretary.
    10. Date and venue for next Annual General Meeting shall be agreed.

4. Duties

  1. It shall be the duty of all members of the Association to cultivate and encourage the art of Devon Call Change Ringing in accordance with the stated object of the Association;
  2. It shall be the duty of Committee members to attend Committee meetings. If any members are absent, without reasonable apology prior to any meeting, on two or more consecutive occasions, they shall forfeit their position on the Committee of the Association;
  3. It shall be the duty of Committee members to raise awareness of and further maintain the aims of the Association on promoting the tradition of Devon Call Change Ringing and upholding the good name of the Association. Specifically each elected Deanery Representative will achieve this by:
    1. encouraging the affiliation of towers to the Association;
    2. assisting the Hon Treasurer in the collection of affiliation fees;
    3. working with the Association’s Training Officer in identifying and addressing the needs of those wishing to learn/improve the art of Devon Call Change Ringing;
    4. Submitting, at least annually, a local report to the Publicity Officer for inclusion in the Association Newsletter – Devon Calls;
    5. Assisting the Fund raising Officer in promoting the Association’s Annual Draw and other events;
    6. Communicating actively and maintaining links with the local membership, local deanery association (where applicable) and local branch of the Guild of Devonshire Ringers;
    7. Undertaking other such duties as required and agreed by the Association.
  4. The Hon Secretary aided by the Competition Secretaries, shall administer the Association’s general activities and shall convene the Committee;
  5. The Hon Treasurer shall be responsible for administering the general funds and running expenses of the Association and any other payments that have been agreed by members at an Annual General Meeting or by the Committee;
  6. The Training Officer shall coordinate and promote training events, with enlisted assistance from the Committee and other suitably experienced Association members.
  7. The Publicity Officer shall aspire to edit and produce bulletins for the Association.
  8. The Fund raising Officer shall promote the Association’s Annual Draw.
  9. The Webmaster shall be responsible for maintaining the Association’s Web site on the internet.
  10. The Central Council Representatives shall endeavour to actively represent the Association’s interests and promote a positive working relationship between the Association and Central Council of Church Bell Ringers.

5. General

  1. This Constitution (including appendices) shall be subject to review every two years.
  2. Upon the receipt of a written request supported and signed by representatives of a minimum five affiliated towers, an Extraordinary General Meeting shall be called by the Hon Secretary within 28 days of such a request.
  3. Any proposed alteration to this Constitution or dissolution of the Association shall require:
    1. that written notification of the same, including the names of the proposers and seconders, together with the name of their tower affiliation, be given to the Hon Secretary at least 28 clear days prior to the Annual or Extraordinary General Meeting at which said proposed alteration or dissolution is to be made;
    2. that written notification of the same to be given to all affiliated towers by the Association Hon Secretary at least 21 clear days prior to Annual or Extraordinary General Meeting at which the said proposed alteration or dissolution is to be considered;
    3. the assent of a majority comprising no less than two thirds of those present are entitled to vote in order for the said proposal to be affected.
    4. In the event of a Dissolution of the Association, all assets of this Association remaining after the satisfaction of proper debts and liabilities shall be given to the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund (Registered Charity No 276490)

6. Devon Association Festivals, Rules and Conditions of Entry

  1. The Honorary Secretary (or Competition Secretaries) must receive written invitations from potential competition towers by the committee meeting immediately preceding the Annual General Meeting (thereafter AGM) when competition venues for the following year will be discussed.
  2. Towers selected at the AGM will be closed to competing teams from the date of the AGM. No practices are allowed for any Devon Association Festival.
  3. The Novice Competition shall be the first competition held in a year. It will only be open to affiliated towers. All placed teams will be awarded a certificate.
  4. An Intermediate Competition shall be held to progress teams from the Novice Competition to Devon Association Festivals.
  5. Affiliation fee to The Devon Association of Ringers should be paid annually by the date of the AGM.
  6. The Scrutineer shall use a stopwatch provided by the Association to time each peal. He will be elected independently of the judges at the previous AGM.
  7. All trophy winners will hold their award for 12 months. The Association will insure these trophies against fire and theft
  8. In addition to the trophies, all placed teams will be awarded a certificate.
  9. The highest placed five teams from the North & South Devon Qualifiers qualify for the Major Final. The teams placed 6th to 10th in the North & South Devon Qualifiers then qualify for the Minor Final. Subsequently, the top two teams from the Minor Final also qualify to ring for the Major Final.
  10. Any protest must be lodged with the Competition Secretary within 10 minutes from the completion of the competition, who together with the committee shall be responsible for all decisions and discretions exercised on that day
  11. The Devon Association of Ringers will not be held responsible for any accident or loss occurring to any person or their property attending a competition organised by the Association


Devon Association Festivals
  1. All competitors must be present at the tower prior to the commencement of the competition, in order to make the draw. Teams failing to be present to ring in the order drawn will be disqualified from the competition.
  2. Eight bell towers may borrow three ringers, and six bell towers may borrow two ringers. No ringer may ring for more than one team in any competition. The Six Bell Qualifier and Finals are deemed as one competition.
  3. At the discretion of the Committee, a team may have a strapper. In any one competition any competing ringer may ring once and strap once.
  4. Only the bare Six or Eight Ringers for that competing team may enter the church and belfry when taking part in the contest. The only exceptions to this rule are where a strapper is permitted or where a novice ringer requires assistance.
  5. All changes in a competition must be called by one of the competing ringers.
  6. Competing teams in the Eight Bell Competition shall ring for a minimum of 20 minutes, and teams competing in the Six Bell Competition shall ring for a minimum of 15 minutes.
Novice Competition
  1. The aim of this competition is to encourage and have fun.
  2. Teams should consist of 6 ringers who are regular service ringers for that tower. Where a tower wishes to enter two teams it is suggested that there should be at least 10 ringers.
  3. Teams may borrow one ringer, but they are not to ring the treble or tenor.
  4. All changes in a competition must be called by one of the competing ringers.
  5. No practice will be allowed at the tower after the Association AGM in the previous November.
  6. Three sections are available: Rounds (7 minutes), Call Change 5 – 10 minutes (first to last change) of the peal Sixty on Thirds, and Intermediate – the full peal of Sixty on Thirds including rise and lower.

Conditions of Entry

  1. Entry to the Six and Eight Bell Competitions is confined to towers affiliated to The Devon Association of Ringers. The Six Bell Competition is open to towers with six bells or less, and the Eight Bell Competition is open to towers with more than six bells. Entry fee will be set at AGM each year.
  2. All competitors must be regular church service ringers of the competing team
  3. In the event of any team entering these competitions and finding themselves short of a ringer, they may borrow a substitute except to ring treble or tenor; from any affiliated tower provided they haven’t rung in the competition already.
  4. The decision of the scrutineer, judges and committee shall be final.

7. Appendices

(i) List of Exeter Diocese Deaneries

Deaneries North

  1. Barnstaple
  2. Cadbury
  3. Cullompton & Tiverton
  4. Hartland
  5. Holsworthy
  6. Okehampton
  7. Shirwell
  8. South Molton
  9. Torrington

Deaneries South

  1. Aylesbeare & Christianity
  2. Kenn (Incl. Alphington & St Thomas)
  3. Moreton
  4. Newton Abbot and Ipplepen & Torbay
  5. Ottery & Honiton
  6. Plymouth & Ivybridge
  7. Tavistock
  8. Totnes
  9. Woodleigh

(ii) Glossary of Terms

Constitution – structure, organisation: the system of fundamental laws and principles of a society.
Vernacular – native to a place.
De facto – existing in actual fact, though not by official recognition.
Ex-officio – by virtue of one’s office or position.
Executive – empowered to administer.
Vice[-chairman] – in the place of; as the deputy or successor of.
Triennium – period of three years.
Dissolution – termination.
Honorary – (i) given as an honour only without the usual requirements, functions etc., e.g. Presidency; (ii) designating an office held as an honour only, without pay, e.g. Hon Secretary.
Shall – determination/obligation in 2nd/3rd persons.
Will – determination/obligation in 1st person.