2005 Dinner

The 117th Henry Johnson Commemoration Dinner ~ Saturday 26 February 2005
The Banqueting Suite, Birmingham Council House

The 117th Henry Johnson Dinner Commemoration celebrating the 250th. Anniversary of the St. Martin’s Guild took place in the magnificent surroundings of the Birmingham Council House Banqueting Suite on Saturday February 26 2005. Richard Jones and David Ingram mounted a display of St Martin’s Guild memorabilia especially for the occasion.

The Chairman Richard Grimmett, welcomed the 218 guests and dinner was served. During the splendid meal, entertainment was provided by the “Baroque Busters”, three talented musicians playing trio sonatas – Jonathan Cuncliffe, Philip Jones and Sam Austin.

The speeches followed and the wine and beer flowed. Andrew Wilby, in his speech to the church had obviously done his homework and, as it was the Birmingham Diocesan Centenary year, a potted history of the past hundred years was the order of the day. In reply, the Very Reverend Peter Berry, after elaborating on Andrew’s main points, treated us to some amusing stories in most extraordinary accents!

This was followed by the ringing of two leads of Littleport Little Surprise 16 on handbells. It very nearly didn’t materialize as the Chairman forgot to announce it (and he was still remarkably sober at the time) but luckily he did remember that he was actually supposed to be ringing in the performance. It was of the usual high standard and was brought round in fine style by the conductor. The band was:
1-2 John Warboys
3-4 Rod Pipe
5-6 Richard Grimmett
7-8 David Hull
9-10 Frances Dodds
11-12 David Pipe (C)
13-14 Michael Wilby
15-16 Tony Daw

Stephen Shipley treated us to a funny story concerning a barrel, a ringer and a rope, and Paul Mousey said some extremely nice things about the Guild ( you are most welcome to visit us in Birmingham any time you like Paul!). It was quite obvious from Rod Pipe’s speech that he spends all day watching the television – sorry Rod! And John Anderson, proposing the Health of the Chairman, told some stories of Richard in his youth – brave man! Several speakers mentioned the St. Paul’s, Ludgate Hill, project which is reaching a very exciting stage and it was especially pleasing to see representatives of St. Paul’s at the dinner alongside many of our ringing friends from all over the country.

Thanks are due to Richard Jones and Phil Vernon who designed and edited the menu booklet and special thanks to Sarah Vernon, the Dinner Secretary, who made it all possible.

Peals were rung on the Saturday, 34 ringers at the Bull Ring on Sunday morning and many more in the coffee shop afterwards, plenty of friends still left in the Bull at lunchtime which opened specially for us – just another great weekend in Birmingham.

The next big weekend in Birmingham will be the celebration the founding of the Guild. This will take place on 16th and 17th September 2005.