General Secretary

General Secretary’s Report 2023

The General Committee met 3 times during the year, by zoom. There has been plenty to discuss as we try to move the Association forward with new technology as well as retaining traditional values.

The 2023 AGM was hosted by the Cambridge District, at Fen Ditton, attended by more than 50 members. The inter-district striking competition at St Andrew the Great was won by Cambridge. District meetings and practices have continued, some with greater emphasis on ‘targeted’ practices.

The Ridgman Trophy was hosted by the Peterborough Guild at Towcester. 6 teams completed the test piece, and the competition was won by Essex with EDA coming third. The 2024 competition will take place in Biggleswade on 8th June.

National celebrations were planned for the coronation of King Charles III on 6th May. There was a drive, promoted by the RATs (recruitment and training) in 2022, to establish ‘ring for the king’ recruits. This initiative was highly successful with many new ringers being able to record their ringing contributions on the coronation weekend.

The next challenge was to provide the support and encouragement needed to retain, and further train, the ‘ring for the king’ learners.

We are looking to introduce and develop on-line membership, whilst retaining membership facility for those who can’t access membership on-line, also to review membership subscriptions and how the Association is funded. We recognise that vast amounts of work are done by volunteers, and this really isn’t a sustainable way to run the Association.

Very many thanks to all who have given so much time and care to keep the Association thriving and looking forward. In particular I would like to thank all committee members for their dedication, help and friendship.

J Ann Seaman

General Secretary’s Report 2022

We have all been pleased that 2022 saw things begin to return to some sort of normality, with face-to-face meetings and opening up of ringing practices and competitions. The General Committee met 4 times during the year, by Zoom. 

The 2022 AGM was hosted by the Wisbech district, in Wisbech. We were able to meet together, and thanks to the expert technical help of David Richards, also able to live-stream the event. The Huntingdon District won the inter-district striking competition. There was a good attendance and some productive discussion. District meetings and practices have returned to their usual schedules.

The Ridgman Trophy on 18th June at St Margaret’s, Kings Lynn. 7 teams entered with the Suffolk Guild coming first and Ely a creditable second. Other striking competitions are beginning to re-start.

The Association had many towers ringing for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, with inclusivity being a major theme. We were all saddened by the passing of Queen Elizabeth II in September. Once again, towers across the Association complied, as best as they were able, with the instructions from the Palace for announcing the death, observing the mourning period, and ringing to announce the accession. 2023 will give us all an opportunity to ‘Ring for the King’. 

The Recruitment and Training Subcommittee have worked tirelessly to promote the ‘recruit 125 ringers’ for the 125th anniversary of the Association. Additionally, they are continuing to support, develop and include young ringers, encouraging them to attend dedicated ‘Young Ringers’ practices.

Thanks are due to so many who have given their time and talents in enabling the Association to continue to develop. I would also like to thank all Committee members for their help, patience and friendship.

J Ann Seaman

General Secretary’s Report 2021

Another year of uncertainty, mask wearing and zoom meetings. The General Committee met twice during the year, as well as communicating via email as necessary.

The 2021 AGM was held by Zoom Webinar, thanks again to the expert technical help of David Richards. There was a good attendance and some productive discussion. District meetings and practices have been a mixture of mainly Zoom, with some face-to-face meetings in the Summer and Autumn, before rising Covid cases led to another set of restrictions. 

The Ridgman Trophy on 30th October was won by the Suffolk Guild with Ely DA gaining 3rd place. Other striking competitions have largely been ‘on hold’ waiting for the opening up of more face-to-face ringing. 

The Recruitment and Training Subcommittee have continued, not only bringing along existing ringers through their efforts on Ringing Room, but also training new recruits from scratch. Particular mention should be made of their success in developing handbell ringing on-line. 

We hope that we are now largely on the road back to some sort of normality and we will be able to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee fully in 2022. I would like to thank JoAnne Rutter very much for all her help in guiding me through the first six months of taking on the role of General Secretary, as well as other members of the Committee for all their generous and friendly assistance. 

J Ann Seaman

General Secretary’s Report 2020

As we all know, 2020 has been a year of challenges. The General Committee met four times during the year, double its usual schedule, and this is a direct result of the circumstances of multiple lockdowns and the loss of the regular practices and meetings at which much informal discussion generally takes place. Zoom meetings were held not only to replace the usual scheduled committee meetings, but also to plan for a return to ringing, and to discuss the appropriate level of subscriptions for the coming year. 

The 2020 AGM was held by Zoom Webinar, thanks to the expert technical help of David Richards of the Cambridge District, and we had a large attendance and lively discussion. District meetings and practices have continued on Zoom, and morale has remained remarkably high. The Cambridge District instituted a series of weekly webinars on all manner of ringing topics which are available on their YouTube Channel. 

The Recruitment and Training Subcommittee have outdone themselves in our altered environment, not only bringing along existing ringers through their efforts on Ringing Room, but also training up a bunch of new recruits from scratch, some of whom have never touched a rope, but are already understanding and ringing (virtually) plain hunt. We look forward to introducing them to our towers – soon, we hope! 

JoAnne Rutter

General Secretary’s Report 2019

2019 was the first full year of operation for the EDA’s new Rules and Regulations, which came into effect in May 2018. The new governance structure, delegating much of the day-to-day work of the Association to subcommittees, seems to be working effectively on the whole. There is a need for better communication, however, between Officers and Subcommittees across the whole Association, and it has been proposed that an ‘EDA Superlist’ mailing list be set up to further this aim. The two meetings of the slimmed-down General Committee held during the year were efficient and productive, perhaps because everyone in attendance had a chance to contribute and be heard. Most subcommittees are adopting ‘virtual’ meetings to supplement face-to-face contact, which enables more timely responses in an association as geographically spread out as the Ely diocese.

The 2019 AGM and Inter-District Striking Contest was held in May in the Huntingdon District, with a good attendance of 57 members and visitors. The Striking Contest was, perhaps appropriately, won by the Huntingdon District. However, two important officer positions in the Association remain unfilled, those of Public Relations Officer and Safeguarding Officer.

Recruitment of new ringers during the year continued – the number gained during 2019 and ratified at the January 2020 District meetings was impressive. We hope that these new ringers will continue to progress and enjoy coming to Association meetings and events.

JoAnne Rutter