Articles By Clare McArdle

Changes to the Guild Standing Committee – Jan 2023

At yesterday’s AGM the following people were elected to the Standing Committee:
Eleanor Linford – Master
Sand Cooper – Secretary
Rachel Mitchell – PR Officer
Arthur Reeves – General Fund Trustee

The officers who stood down after varying lengths of service were:
Jon Townsend (PR Officer) 
John Anderson (General Fund Trustee)
Arthur Reeves (Secretary)

Thank you to all of you for your time and dedication to the Guild. 

I would like to take this opportunity to sign off and say a massive thank you to all who have made my time as part of the leadership team as Master, and before that Secretary an enjoyable and uplifting experience. Thank you, too, to the members who elected me to those positions.

Clare McArdle

William Mills

I am very sad to report that William Mills died on 31 December 2022 in the comfort and familiar surroundings of his apartment.

Stephen Shipley writes:

William joined the Knowle band about 18 years ago when he moved into the area and was elected to the Guild on 10 September 2004. His last QP with us was on 5 May 2019 when he and Margaret were celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary. The difficult spiral staircase became too much of an obstacle so, with the exception of a ring during our recent outing, William hasn’t rung since the lockdown although he did join us in the pub after our weekly practice right up to last Christmas!  His 94th birthday would have been at the end of this month.

Please keep William’s family and friends in your thoughts. 

RIP William

Keith Haslam

I am sorry to report that Keith Haslam died earlier today after a short illness. I understand that Keith’s wife, Olive, had died on Christmas Day. Keith and Olive had been married for 68 years.

Keith was elected to the Guild in 1974 and became a Life Member in 2017. He was Tower Captain at Selly Oak for many years, but had not rung for some time due to ill health.

Please keep Keith and Olive’s family and friends in your thoughts.

RIP Keith and Olive

Bill Dargue

I am very sad to report the death of Bill Dargue. Bill was a longstanding ringer and former Tower Captain at Castle Bromwich. He died peacefully this morning after a battle with cancer. He was with his family.

Bill was elected a Guild member in 1998. He was a renowned local historian and played a key role in the project to augment and rehang the bells at Castle Bromwich. He will be sorely missed by the Castle Bromwich ringers.

Please keep Bill’s family and friends in your thoughts at this sad time.

RIP Bill.

Anthony Barnfield – “AJB”

I am very sad to report the death of Anthony Barnfield, known to most as “AJB”.  His commitment to the furtherance of ringing was well known. Whilst he often seemed to be predicting ringing’s demise he accomplished a tremendous amount by drawing attention to good practice and encouraging people to follow it. He was a regular contributor to the Ringing World with, amongst other articles, his “Down the Pub” series of dry observations.

He joined the St Martin’s Guild in 2018. Although not residing within the Guild he regularly rang in Sunday Quarter Peals at Knowle. He made it known that he held the Guild and the Birmingham School of Bell Ringing in high regard and wanted to become a member in support. We were flattered and honoured to elect him. During Lockdown, AJB worked on our behalf as one of our Recovery Champions, for which we were very grateful.

Please keep his family in your thoughts at this very sad and difficult time.


New Year’s Message – January 2022

Dear members,

I hope you all had a good Christmas and that the New Year will bring good things.

I have to say that 2021 was a bit of a roller coaster year for us all, as far as ringing was concerned. There were worrying times and frustrations with restrictions, and positive times with ringing returning, maybe not completely back to normal, but pretty close in many areas. As the year drew to a close we were again forced to cut back, cancel, or review many of our ringing commitments. The School was one casualty – finishing abruptly a week early amid concerns of rising COVID cases. The Guild AGM, in January, too – the decision has been made to hold it virtually for the second year running (8th January 10.00 am) – but at least this makes it safely accessible to all. The School will resume in January, when we have enough manpower to make it viable – so it may start a week or two later than planned, but it will be back.

Looking forward to 2022, there is plenty to look forward to. February 26th will see the Henry Johnson Dinner at the Burlington Hotel, with Janet and Steve Horton in the chair. The Association of Ringing Teachers comes to Birmingham for their conference in May – it is open to anyone to attend and there is always a varied and interesting programme. In June, the Queen celebrates her platinum jubilee. The first weekend in June will be a 4-day Bank Holiday weekend and there will no doubt be plenty of opportunities for ringing. In July Birmingham hosts the Commonwealth Games – we are currently holding discussions with the organisation team to ensure ringing gets a prominent place in the celebrations.

Andy Clark is currently collecting items for the latest newsletter. Please forward anything you have of interest to him. This will be Andy’s last newsletter – after 5 years of doing a fantastic job, he is standing down. We are actively looking for a new newsletter editor – if you think that this might be something you could help with then please get in touch.

We are also looking for a new Henry Johnson Dinner Secretary. This year’s dinner will be Jenny Sunter’s last as organiser. She has done an amazing job over what turned out to be some difficult years. Please have a think about the post, and if you, or someone else feel it is something you might consider, we would be very happy to hear from you.

Wishing you all the best for 2022


134th Henry Johnson Dinner – Saturday 26 February 2022

A few weeks ago, I surveyed around 100 Guild members who had attended one or more HJ Dinners in the last 5 years. The survey was to gauge the appetite for a live or virtual event. I am pleased to announce that that the overwhelming response was a preference for a silver service dinner similar to previous events.

Thanks to the hard work of our Dinner Secretary, Jenny Sunter, we are on course to be able to hold the Henry Johnson Dinner (as planned for 2021) in 2022.

Saturday 26 February 2022
The 134th Henry Johnson Dinner
The Horton Suite
The Burlington Hotel, Birmingham
Joint Chair: Janet and Steve Horton

Please put the date in your diaries. Tickets will be on sale in the New Year. Your first opportunity to buy them will be at the AGM on Saturday 8 January 2022 at Moseley (another date for your diaries…).

Christmas 2020 – message from the Master

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, not least in bell ringing terms. I hope you will agree that the Guild has risen to the challenge on many levels to keep members engaged and connected. To everyone who played a part in this, however big or small, I am extremely grateful.

This year, Christmas will be different and as it approaches, I hope that it will be as enjoyable for you as the current circumstances allow.

I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Andrew Stubbs – memorial service

The memorial service for Andrew Stubbs, provisionally booked for Tuesday 13 October 2020, will not be taking place. A new date for the memorial service has not been set. Notice will be given once the date is known. In the meantime, please raise a glass to Andrew’s memory on his birthday – 9 October.

Photography competition – results

Congratulations to the winners of the “summertime” photography competition – results announced today:

Landscape – Pauline Forster
Church – Susan Webb
Funniest – Annie Smith
Monochrome – Jonathan Townsend

You can view all of the entries, along with the highly commended and the winners in each category here:

The photographs can also be accessed via the Guild’s Flickr account.

Andrew Stubbs – funeral details

Andrew’s funeral will be at Birmingham Crematorium, Perry Barr, on Tuesday 5th May 2020 at 11.30. Due to restrictions, there will be only five immediate family members present at the service.

The family are hoping that the service can be live-streamed. If this is possible a link will be published as soon as it is available.

Andrew Stubbs

It is with deep regret that we announce that Andrew Stubbs has died after a short illness.

Andrew, Life Vice-President of the St Martin’s Guild, held the position of Master for 11 years. He was Master of the Ancient Society of College Youths (ASCY) in 1968 and held the office of ASCY Treasurer from 1981 to 2006.

Rest in peace, Andrew.

Chris Everett

Trish Everett’s husband, Chris, passed away following a short illness on 21 March 2020. Chris’ funeral took place on 1 April 2020 with just the immediate family in attendance.

Trish has given permission for this image of the order of service to be shared with the Guild and has asked that if any of you would like to light a candle and hold the family in your thoughts, they would very much appreciate it.

There will be a memorial service planned with thanksgiving, ringing and burial of ashes at a later date.