The Devon Association of Ringers and the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund

Next year will be the 50th Anniversary of the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund (DCBRF) Set up jointly by the Guild and the Association in 1972, the fund has helped countless Bell restoration and repair projects down the years, and that is in the main down to you, the ringers, and all those ringers that have gone before us. The Guild has supported the fund by means of their annual Quarter Peal week, and the Association has for many years held the Annual Draw which in the past has often raised a considerable amount of money. It is written in our constitution that the association ‘shall actively support the work of the DCBRF’, however the pandemic has meant that for two years now the Association has been unable to hold the draw and contribute to the fund in the usual way, a loss to the fund in excess of £6000 based on recent draw income.

The committee have been actively considering ways in which we can overcome this situation. Having canvassed opinion among fellow ringers, the general consensus is that the draw, if reinstated, would more than likely fail to produce the income it previously has owing in the main to a drop in numbers of active teams since the pandemic, as the distribution and collection of the tickets was largely facilitated by the competition ‘circuit’ which at the present time shows no signs of making a comeback.

Most County ringing organisations around the country now fund their Bell Restoration Funds directly from their ringers, the contribution being a percentage of their individual membership fee. As the Association does not have individual membership this is currently not an option for us, but the idea of Ringers making a direct contribution to the DCBRF rather than by means of an Annual Draw is widely supported among Ringers who have been canvassed. It would also eliminate the cost of the Draw license and printing, not to mention the groans of despair when Ringers were handed their books of Draw tickets to sell!

The Association, that’s us the Ringers, need to address this situation and find a solution so we can continue to support the work of the DCBRF, from which we all benefit when restorations and overhauls on our bells in Devon are undertaken. In the meantime, the committee would like all ringers to consider giving a voluntary contribution to the DCBRF in lieu of the Draw and would keen to hear your views on the possible inception of a direct contribution scheme as operated elsewhere. The DCBRF value highly, the support the Association has given over the last 50 years, its now up to us to continue that support and do our bit to ensure we keep the bells of Devon ringing for future generations.

You can contribute directly to the DCBRF very easily by going on the Devon Association website and following the link to the DCBRF where you can donate safely online.