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Officers of Sonning Deanery


Evolution of the different posts

When the Sonning Deanery Society was founded in 1880, only the ‘administrative’ roles of Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer were created, and they were all held by clergymen. When the Society was absorbed into the newly founded Oxford Diocesan Guild the following year, the posts of secretary and treasurer were combined, and they remained so for over a century until they were again split in 1986.

In 1951, WJ Books was elected vice chairman, a post that had not previously existed. Bill had been Foreman at All Saints Wokingham since 1921, and he played a very active role in the Branch. The post was created in recognition of his work, and he held it until he died in 1963. The post had no formal duties, other than to chair meetings if the chairman was absent, and by the 1980s it was generally knowledge that the vice chairman's only task was to propose a vote of thanks for the tea at meetings. When the rules were revised in 2006, the post was deemed unnecessary, and removed.

The post of Ringing Master was created even later. The Branch operated without one for 78 years. Ringing events were organised by a committee of all the tower Foremen. Perhaps the actual ringing was run by the foreman of the host tower. WJ Parker first suggested the need for a Ringing Master 1950, but the Branch Committee rejected the idea. Then in 1956 it decided that there should be not just one but two Ringing Masters, one for ringing at 8 bell towers and one for ringing at 6 bell towers. They were duly elected at the 1957 AGM, with Bill Parker (6-bell) and Harold Smith (8-bell) taking the posts. In 1968 this arrangement changed to create a Ringing Master and Deputy. In 1973 it reverted to joint Ringing Masters, but this time with no formal split of responsibilities. Finally, in 1981 it again changed to a Ringing Master and a Deputy. After John Manley's departure in 2012 no one was willing to assume the post of Ringing Master so the post remained vacant and paradoxically two joint Deputy Ringing Masters were elected.

The post of Bookstall Officer followed the creation in1984 of a bookstall to enable members to browse and buy ringing books at Branch events. Initially it was operated by the Secretary but from 1987 a separate post was created, originally called Librarian but changed in 2006 to Bookstall Officer.

The post of Training Officer stemmed from the inauguration of Branch training courses in the early 1990s by Ringing Master Hugh Baxter who initially organised them. After he stood down John Harrison continued to organise periodic courses in an unofficial capacity until the post of Training Officer was formally created in 2006.

The post of Webmaster was created to manage the Branch website. This began as a private initiative by Aidan Hopkins, who also established the Guild web domain.

Some time later the Branch set up e-mail lists to improve communication with members, between towers, between officers, and within any tower that wished to have its own list. Managing these lists requires a Postmaster. The job is quite distinct from managing the website, but (so far) the same person has always held both roles.

As well as these roles that share the tasks of running the Branch, the Branch has since 1881 elected two representatives to the Guild General Committee. These are no recorded here (but might be in the future).

There are lists of officers  below.

Length of service

Length of service v year of electionIn the early years, officers tended to serve for many years, but in recent decades, length of service fell dramatically. This might be ascribed to the introduction in 1980 of a rule that officers should not normally serve more than 5 years in the same post, but the trend of shorter service began well before this, and in fact very few people even served for 5 years after 1980. Most served for only 1 or 2 years, and a few served for more than 5 years, suggesting that the 5 year rule had very little effect.
 

Lists of officers

The dates given are the inclusive years of holding the post. So '1971 - 1973' refers to a 3-year term, elected in the years 1971, 1972, 1973 and serving from the AGM in February 1971 to the AGM in February 1974.

Chairman 
Rev Dolben Paul 1880 - 1889
Rev RH Hart-Davies 1890 - 1908
Rev FE Robinson 1909 - 1910
Rev RH Hart-Davies 1911 - 1924
Rev GF Coleridge 1924 - 1947
Ven Thorndyke-Shaw 1948 - 1960
Rev FE Harcourt-Trevor   1961 - 1970
A John N Rance 1971 - 1978
John A Harrison 1979 - 1983
Peter EJ Saddleton 1984 - 1988
Kenneth R Davenport   1989 - 1992
W Stewart Gibson 1993 - 1994
A John N Rance 1995 - 1996
David W Struckett 1997 - 1999
Susan E Davenport 2000 - 2005
Rachel A Moss 2006 - 2009
Simon Milford 2010 - 2013
John A Harrison 2014 -
 
Vice chairman
William J Brookes 1951 - 1963
Rev DT Crossley 1964 - 1965
A John N Rance 1966 - 1970
Harold Smith 1971 - 1978
Stanley G Scott 1979 - 1980
Lawrie Hall 1981
Peter EJ Saddleton 1982 - 1983
Kenneth R Davenport   1984 1988
Peter Jordan 1989
William H Mills 1990
W Stewart Gibson 1991 - 1992
Julie B Branson 1993
A John N Rance 1994
William H Mills 1995
David W Struckett 1996
(vacant) 1997 - 1998
Robert W Needham 1999 - 2005
(Abolished) 2006
 
Webmaster / Posmaster
Aidan CA Hopkins 2006 - 2009
John A Harrison      2010 -
 
Training Officer
John A Harrison*      2006 - 2014
Jacquie Hazell 2015 - 2016
 Vacant 2017-
 
Youth Officer
Josh Slade       2017       
 Vacant 2017
Robert W Needham 2018 -
Secretary
Rev J Franklin Llewllyn 1880
Rev HC Sturges* 1881 - 1882
Rev J Franklin Llewllyn* 1883 - 1892
Edmund Broom* 1893 - 1917
Frederick Dentry* 1918 - 1926
William J Paice* 1927 - 1942
Bernard C Castle* 1943 - 1970
David C Willis* 1971 - 1972
Stanley G Scott* 1973 - 1976
William H Mills* 1977- 1982
Lavinia Sullivan* 1983
Glennis M Ellis* 1984 - 1985
Lynn G Deering 1986 - 1987
Catriona Capelman 1988 - 1991
Pamela Elliston 1992 - 1998
Susan Fergusson 1999
Pearl Larkins 2000
Rob Needham (Joint) 2001 - 2006
Jill Betts (Joint) 2001 - 2003
Clare Wright (Joint) 2004 - 2005
Hilary Pollock (Joint) 2006
Andrew Moss 2007 - 2009
Pamela Elliston (Joint) 2010 - 2012
Andrew Elliston (Joint) 2010 - 2012
Rob W Needham (Joint) 2013 - 2017
Pauline Needham (Joint)   2013 - 2017
Susan Portsmouth 2018 -
 
Treasurer
RH Hart-Davies 1880
(*Combined with secretary)   1881 - 1985
John R Harper 1986 - 1993
Sue Fergusson 1994 - 2000
Alan Smith 2001 - 2003
Eric Bowes 2004 - 2010
Susan E Davenport 2011 -
 
Bookstall Officer
(Post not elected) 1984 - 1986
Anne M Carpenter 1987 - 1988
Peter EJ Saddleton 1990 - 1992
Andrew Hodgson 1993 - 1996
Robert W Needham 1996
Peter Duggin 1996 - 2000
Kenneth R Davenport 2001 - 2006
Robert W Needham 2007 - 2012
Andrew & Pam Elliston 2013 - 2016
Robert W Needham 2016
Susan Porstmouth 2017 -
Ringing Master
William J Parker (6-bell) 1957 - 1967
Harold Smith (8-bell) 1957 - 1967
Harold Smith 1968 - 1969
Stanley G Scott 1970
Laurie Hall 1971 - 1972
Laurie Hall (Joint) 1973 - 1976
GM Harvey (Joint) 1973
George Whiteside (Joint)   1974 - 1975
Anne Carpenter (Joint) 1976 - 1978
David C Willis (Joint) 1977 - 1980
Stephen C Wells (Joint) 1979 - 1980
Anne Carpenter 1981 - 1984
Lavinia Sullivan 1985 - 1986
Kevin J Lovell 1987 - 1989
Hugh E Baxter 1990 - 1992
Peter J Munday 1993 - 1994
Kenneth R Davenport 1995 - 1997
Michael A Dane 1998
David W Struckcett 1999 - 2000
Aidan CA Hopkins 2001 - 2004
Rachel A Moss 2005
Louise E Marshall 2006 - 2007
Aidan CA Hopkins 2008
Kenneth R Davenport 2009 - 2010
E John W Manley 2010 - 2012
Vacant 2013
Stephen C Wells 2014 - 2017
Nigel AL Mellow 2018 -
 
Deputy Ringing Master
Stanley G Scott 1968 - 1969
Harold Smith 1970
Geoffrey M Harvey 1971 - 1972
(Combined or none) 1973 - 1986
Janet Menhinick 1987
Anthony G Pullan 1988
Ann C Yates 1989
Lavinia Sullivan 1990 - 1992
Michael J Pickup 1993 - 1994
Christopher P Cole 1995
Anne Carpenter 1996
Michael A Dane 1997
Kenneth R Davenport 1998
Christopher J Brown 1999 - 2004
Louise E Marshall 2005
Lesley Graves 2006 - 2008
E John W Manley 2009 - 2010
Graham E Slade 2010 - 2012
Graham E Slade (Joint)   2013
Simon C Farrar (Joint) 2013
Graham E Slade 2014 - 2015
Nigel AL Mellor 2016 - 2017
Stephen C Wells 2018

* Job done unofficially from 1993 - 2005

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