Obituaries

.. in alphabetic order of surnames.

A list of ringers who died in the two World Wars is shown in the War Memorials section of the History page of this website.


Geoffrey D Armitage

1.1.1943 - 19.12.2016

See notes here and obituaries by Fr Martin Daniels and the Revd Kevin Price published in The Ringing World March 24, 2017, pages 284-5.


See quarter peals celebrating his life here.



Paul Armitage

Click here for obituary published in The Ringing World.


Richard Chater


Click here for obituary published in The Ringing World




Edward C Garrett (Ted) 

26.6.1927 – 6.11.2016

Ted attended Bliss School, Nether Heyford, Northamptonshire and then Daventry Grammar School. He left with good grades on his school certificate; from then he joined the railway as a clerk. Then in 1945 he was called up for national service in the Royal Navy. He was proud to have served on the battleships HMS King George V and HMS Duke of York as a telegraphist and radio mechanic. He left the navy in 1947 and returned home to the family and the railways. After a number of years, he changed employment to become a civil servant. Hed retired at the age of 65. 

His interest in the railways remained with him but his greatest interest was bell ringing. He started when he was a teenager with two friends, Hilda and Bill Collins. Ted was taught to ring by Fred Browning at St Peter & St Paul Church, Heyford, at this time an anticlockwise ring of 4 bells, before the rehanging and augmentation to 6 bells in 1946.

On June 23, 1945 at St Luke’s Cold Higham a peal of Plain Bob Minor was rung by a team of six including Ted. It was Ted’s first peal along with Nancy Lovell, Bill & Hilda Collins. The conductor also called his first peal with this team. 

Ted joined the Peterborough Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers in 1946 at the age of 18 years. He held several posts both at guild and at branch level. He was the Guild’s Peal Secretary from 1963 to 2013 and was elected as a Life Honorary Member in 2004 for outstanding service to the Guild.

In Daventry Branch Ted was a committee member from 1954; Ringing Master from 1960-1962; Chairman from 1963-1989; committee member again from 1993-2009 and Representative for the Guild 100 Club.

Ted rang a total of 103 peals, 96 peals were accredited to this guild. Ted’s total included 77 peals of Minor and also seven peals of Stedman Triples conducted by John Pladdys (renowned Stedman conductor). He rang with many notable peal ringers of the time and he rang in 19 ringers’ first peals. His last peal was at Great Brington Church on the Althorp Estate on the September 6, 1997.

Ted was a loyal member of the Nether Heyford band, as well as being church warden for more than 50 years. He participated in many striking competitions and was part of many winning bands for Heyford. He also attended Bugbrooke practices for as long as anyone can remember and supported Staverton practice for many years. It was only when he could no longer stand that he gave up this lifelong interest.  He is sadly missed by all who knew him.

Sandra Batchelor (niece) [published in The Ringing World 2017 p116]

Arthur Howes  

1926  - 16.8.2015                     


Click here for life story                         




Frederick W Hutt

14.9.1915 - 28.4.1999


Fred Hutt was born in Byfield on Holy Cross day 1915 and lived there all his life except for the time he was on active service with the Sherwood Foresters in Africa and Italy. He died at home on 28th April after spending a typical evening at the club. In September 1938, Fred first got his hands on the 5th rope and was encouraged by George Haynes to try to get it up. After several weeks of trying, he succeeded. To ring on Sundays he had to wait until Mr Ayles was sick when he was allowed to take his bell until he was better. He went on to be tower captain for 56 years. He temporarily took over winding the clock in 1948 and gave up when it was electrified in 1991! Janet and Fred were married at the chapel in 1949. They had no children. Fred sought her patient permission to spend a considerable amount of his time ringing and at the pub. When Janet died in 1993, he continued to live in Potter’s End behind the wrought iron gate with a bell worked into it. Typical Fred - he set to and learned the art of cooking and made full traditional meals. 


He was a chorister for 74 years at Holy Cross, Byfield. He was churchwarden from 1959 covering six rectors. When he retired he was made churchwarden emeritus. He was well versed in how to deal with interregnums. He wrote full instructions in 1993 for his funeral, including a contingency plan if he died during one, which he did. The service was taken by Revd Frear. The organ was played by his friend, choirmaster and organist of many years Eric Bates and the full choir sang his chosen hymns and psalm. From the full church, his coffin was carried to be buried west of the tower, draped with St George’s flag for England, by four of the 1980s band with the organ playing Land of Hope and Glory. Fred was proud of being educated at the village school but went on learning all his life. He had a great sense of integrity, humour, tradition, occasion and history. Robin Rogers had the guild master’s badge rehung after adverse comments from Fred about its upkeep and only on the previous Saturday had hoped Fred could see how well it was being kept.


“You don’t want to keep hearing about the war" 

He thrived on military life and serving with the Sherwood Foresters gave him a huge fund of experience, comradeship and tales. He made annual pilgrimages to their memorial at Crich and to the reunion in Nottingham. He made a return visit to Tunisia in 1993 with old comrades. Fred was described as conservative, not reactionary, during his funeral. He had, perhaps reluctantly, accepted lady priests, lady members of his beloved College Youths and knew that a lady rector is to arrive in September. He hated the use of ‘person’. Chairman and ringing master is the title whether man or woman!


“Hello Fred, what are you doing here?” 

Fred had no car, but in the early days, bicycles and the many train services available from the village enabled him to get about the country widely. In later times he always found a lift. He met the famous and was particularly proud of being photographed with Bishop Jenkins at the Durham & Newcastle dinner in 1985. In 1980 Carole and I took Fred to the LUSCR dinner, where a guest speaker said "Hello Fred, what are you doing here” (a phrase heard in towers and pubs in many parts of the country!) It was only after descending from St Nic’s on Friday night that he told me that it was his first ring on 12. Fred instigated a Christmas outing followed by an evening of self-made entertainment which has become a tradition. The highlight was his psalm, sung in four parts, which recorded events of the year. In support of home crafts, Fred had a ringers’ jug and mugs made (see photo). Ringing out the old year was also a tradition featuring one of the band drinking in the belfry whilst standing on their head. Ringing often went on to the early hours.


“I don't want to bore you” 

In local ringing circles he kept a band going at Byfield and supported Daventry branch and helped to form the Culworth branch in 1947. With his inimitable gangling unsure style he eventually broke out of Grandsire Doubles and rang Cambridge Minor, Stedman Triples and Caters with quiet guidance. If he went wrong, he spent the rest of the touch considering the reasons and was able to give a good rigmarole at the end! He was particularly proud that one of his ringers went on to become general secretary of the Llandaff and Monmouth DA and with her help we hope his tales of life and ringing in the village will be published. In the mid-1980s a new band started from scratch. Then ringing rector Revd Colin Hewitt helped Fred to achieve a life-long ambition - to rehang the six and augment to eight. He put a telling amount of effort into getting the funds and arranging voluntary labour to see a ring of eight dedicated in September 1991. His speech before two bishops on that occasion was a tour de force and long! The treble was given by Fred and older ringer Cyril Nicholls and it records the names of eight Byfield ringers. After the eight were installed, the young band dispersed and the seventh cracked. Fred set about raising the money outside the village as the PCC were raising funds for other work, but he did feel poorly supported by them at this time. The new bell proclaims ‘Remember Janet Mary Hutt 1914-1993’. The cracked seventh was used as a dumb-bell to teach Alison Buck to ring and she now takes over as tower captain supported by Simon Shepherd as steeple keeper. Fred has had several spells of being unable to climb to the belfry and last made it on 12th February.


He was a regular visitor to Badby from 1982 and records show that he rang at 696 practices! His last ring was on 24th March. Ringing or not, he much anticipated refreshment in the Windmill. For full effect, Fred always waited for full attention before speaking, in later years the pauses got so long that a snippet of Newnham scandal could be inserted. Getting him out of the Windmill was a highly developed art, delayed by running the gauntlet of the deliberately provocative locals.


“To cut a very long story short” 

A man of many parts, he has been on Jimmy Young’s radio phone in, Radio Northampton and on TV about the Elephant Man, to whom his father spoke when he stayed nearby. I can go on about Fred for ages, as can others from the choir, the British Legion, the village ... No doubt we shall. After the funeral the following quarter peal of 1,287 Grandsire Triples was rung by Bob Sinclair 1, Catherine Hayman 2, Geoff Pullin 3, Carole Pullin 4, Ken Ramsbotham 5, Murray Coleman (C) 6, Peter Alexander 7, Simon Shepherd 8.
GHP Published in RW July 30, 1999 p740


Click here for Fred's Little Book.



Trevor Jarvis

27.2.1958 - 1.12.2016

Trevor died at Cynthia Spencer Hospice, Northampton, aged 58, on December 1, 2016. Trevor was a member of the Guild for over 40 years and had served on the Northampton Branch committee and as an officer for many years.  He was Chairman of the Branch from 2005 - 2010 and continued to serve on the Guild's General Management Committee until 2014. 


His funeral took place on December 16, at Milton Malsor Crematorium, which was filled to overflowing by family and friends.


Shelagh Melville

 

 Click here for obituary published in The Ringing World



Burley Morris

1.5.1912 – 24.11.1957

Burley Potter Morris was taught to ring at Warkton, Northants in 1926 and was a ringer there until 1957. He represented the Peterborough Diocesan Guild on the Central Council from 1951 - 1953 and attended 2 meetings. He was Master of the Guild 1955-1957, when Burley moved to Derbyshire to become Postmaster of Ashbourne. He then rang at Darley Dale, and was made Hon. General Secretary of the Derbyshire Diocesan Association. 


Burley was a founder member of the Post Office Guild of Bellringers. He featured in the Ringing World article ‘Servants of the Exercise’ No 43 (RW 21.10.1960).


The one thing that Burley loved most in ringing was a peal, he rang a total of 1076. His first was at Warkton on 4th August 1928, and he travelled far and wide. Some of interest were: Stedman Triples at Stayning, Sussex 15th May 1934 Cond. Keith Hart, Cambridge S Major St Mary, Staines 15th November 1934 Cond. George Pye, Stedman Caters St Magnus the Martyr, London 23rd November 1935 Cond. Charles Coles (with James George on the 9th aged 82), Stedman Cinques Leicester Cath. 30th March 1940 Cond. H. J. Poole, Bristol S Major, Barnet 14th October 1944 Cond. H. G. Cashmore etc etc his total by his 65th birthday was 410, by his 80th he had rung 764. His sights were then set on 1000, and with Brian Warwick’s peal factory behind him he achieved this mile-stone on 16th October 1995, Yorkshire S Royal at Sapcote Cond. B. G. Warwick (where he rang 106). He rang 312 after his 80th birthday which included 77 in 1994 and 75 in 1995! 
His last peal was Yorkshire S Royal at Sapcote 23rd August 1997 Cond. M. Angrave a peal he set his heart on, which was for Mary and his golden Wedding and although not being well his ringing was very creditable. The following week Mary and Burley entertained 70 friends (many ringers) to a celebratory lunch.

Burley’s last quarter was at Sapcote for Princess Diana, a lovely majestic half-muffled Cambridge S Major which took 47 minutes. He came to practice the following Tuesday, and his last ring was a course of Rutland S Major. We had to help him down the stairs; eight days later he had lost the use of his legs and was admitted to hospital where cancer of the spine was diagnosed.

With thanks from the obituary by Michael E Brown’s in RW 1998 p92 and CCCBR Biography.


Ron Noon 

16.8.1925 - 3.8.2015

Brian Harris writes:

Ronald Cecil Noon

Ron was a pillar of our exercise and of his parish church of St. Mary and St. Nicholas, Spalding.  Born in Earls Barton, Northamptonshire, Ron learned to ring, at the age of 13, with a group of lads of a similar vintage, at Brafield on the Green, near Northampton. By 1940 they had progressed to a quarter peal, to be followed up by a peal at Cogenhoe in April 1940. lt was a peal of mixed doubles and Ron and his fellow learners rang the front five bells, their mentor conducting from the tenor. The five were all ringing their first peal. At this time the war-time ban on the ringing of church bells was only a few months away, so their activities were seriously curtailed.  Ron joined up at 18 years of age, just before the end of the war, when he enlisted in the Grenadier Guards. At the Guards depot at Caterham, Ron met the Cheshire ringer, happily still with us, Bernard Ongley and they formed a life long friendship, They first rang together on VE day 1945. When at the training battalion in Windsor, by the good offices of Norman Harding, they managed to avoid all church parades, being required for service ringing at Windsor Parish Church!  Ron was extremely proud of his peal at The Curfew Tower, Windsor, when he rang the 5th to a peal of Grandsire Triples, conducted by Norman Harding.   As recently recorded in the Ringing World, Ron took part in the Victory ringing at Croydon parish church.

Ron saw service in Germany after the war and on demobilisation, returned to Northamptonshire where he resumed active peal ringing.  ln 1949, he was elected as secretary of the Peterborough Diocesan Guild, a post he held until he moved to Spalding  in 1952.  During this time, Ron occasionally returned to the place of his birth, to play the organ in the absence of the church's regular organist. His move to Spalding was occasioned by his marriage to Joy Rawding on 27th September 1952.   He chose a bride with excellent ringing connections, Joy's father, Charlie Rawding was in charge at Surfleet, then the lightest peal of twelve in the world, and, what is more, his very first employment had been as a house boy to The Reverend Henry Law James.  Joy, herself, had been baptised by that eminent cleric. Ron had met Joy at a Ladies Guild meeting in Northampton and the die was cast. Their homes in Spalding at the splendidly named 'Pennygate' and later 'Woolram Wygate' became welcome ports of call to many of us; their hospitality, aided by Ron's expertise in producing delicious home made wine from the produce of his excellent garden" was of a most generous order. Joy and Ron's daughter, Rosemary, completed a very happy family; of course, she learned to ring,

Both in Northampton and Spalding Ron worked {or the gas board, but transferred his expertise to a company in Spalding that manufactured, among other things, aluminium window frames. When Ron and Joy moved to their bungalow in Woolram Wygate, which Ron had helped to design on the then avant guard 'open plan' system, he also designed all the window frames, which were produced at his place of employment.

Ron had e very beneficial effect on the ringing at Spalding. Soon after his arrival he set about organising ringing outings and social events, he was always aware of the advantage of mixing serious ringing with less taxing pleasure. Ron's first peal in the Spalding area was at the end of 1952, It was conducted by Stan Bennett, who was to become a regular member of Ron's Monday night peal band, which operated from the mid 50's well into the 60's. The band made excellent use of the many good eights in South Lincolnshire and had soon rung peals in the standard methods and spliced surprise.  They went on to complete the alphabet in surprise major. A peal of Glasgow, albeit with 6th place bobs- was a highlight; very few peals in that method were rung at the time. The band provided an opportunity for a great many youngsters to take their first steps in surprise major, including; Roger Bailey, Keith Davey, Derek J. Jones and Alan Payne. Again, the social side was not neglected: Ron proved himself an expert in the strange Lincolnshire variation of Bar Billiards.

The 70's saw a number of excellent recruits to the Spalding Sunday Service band, Under Ron's careful but forceful tuition, Jim Benner, Ian Butters, Leslie Boyle and Susan Tyrell (later Agg) made splendid progress. The service ringing was of great variety and of a high order. Ron was an even tempered man and normally quietly spoken but he could ‘bark’ in the belfry and make his presence felt. This was illustrated when, in a Monday night peal of Grandsire Caters at Surfleet, schoolboy Roger Bailey began with an excessive length of tail-end. Well into the peal, this loop of rope managed to attach itself to a coat hook at Roger’s back. Sensing an imminent end to the attempt, Ron roared across the belfry “Get it off”. Roger immediately obeyed and the peal was saved. Sport featured prominently in Ron’s life. He was a keen cricketer before moving to the more sedate atmosphere of the bowling green. As a capable musician, Ron was an active member of the Spalding handbell ringing group, for whom he produced all the musical arrangements for four- in-hand ringing. He was a longstanding member of the Handbell Ringers of Great Britain. After his retirement, Ron, together with Canon Ernest Orland, established the South Lincs Wednesday Afternoon Ringing Group. It is still going and well supported by ringers from a wide area. Ron took on the job as verger at Spalding, ably assisted by Joy and together they delighted in keeping church matters running smoothly in a pristine church building. The church shop was their pride and joy, with its extended range of items for the discerning visitor. Sadly, Joy became ill some years ago. The decision was made to move to Fakenham to be nearer to Rosemary. In the event, it was Ron who became the more seriously ill. We extend our love and sympathy to Joy and Rosemary in their loss of a much loved husband and father.

BRIAN HARRIS Chester

I would like to thank: Rosemary Noon, Jim Benner, Sue and Derek Jones, Bernard Ongley, Janet Orland and Joan and Alan Payne, for their help in the preparation of this memoir.


Ernest Orland

Click here for obituary published in The Ringing World


Denis Pearson


Click here for obituary published in The Ringing World




Paul Reading


Click here for obituary published in The Ringing World




Shane Saunders

Click here for obituary published in The Ringing World


Iris R D Webb
13.11.1926 – 4.3.2016

Iris Rosina Dorothy was born in Basingstoke and became qualified in book-keeping and business administration. She learned to ring and met Stan. They were married in 1950. Dot was born in Basingstoke and the family moved to Staverton, Northamptonshire in 1952 where Penny, John and David were born. In 1974 they moved to Oakham Lane where Iris set up the Post Office in the hallway.

Iris was a great support to the church, became a church warden and was known as the raffle queen! She was Secretary of the Daventry Branch from 1968 until 1985 (excluding 1981) and rang several peals and quarter peals. Staverton has a very handy ring of six established in 1938 by the Revd. Everard and Mollie Powell who also wrote The Ringers’ Handbook. Practices were well attended and became a local centre of ringing. The four Webb children were of course required to ring but lapsed over the years.

Iris was a founder member of the Northampton and District (now South Midlands) section of the Ladies Guild and Vice-President in 1977-8 and enjoyed their ringing holidays.

Iris taught school children to ring handbells. Iris, Stan and John Townley were founder members of the HRGB in 1968 and registered as team 43. When Sue joined the team, they could ring 16 bells, four in hand. Iris had some new handbells in the 1970s which had to be rung wearing white gloves. When performing at Turner’s Musical Merry-Go-Round, Stan sadly died on stage.

Iris took over as tower captain until February 2006, when her dementia was so severe that she was moved to Kilsby House care home. 

There was a private cremation in March and her ashes were buried with Stan’s in Staverton churchyard after a celebration of her life held on April 27. Before this service all four offspring rang rounds together (Dot’s first ring since 1966) with John and Sue Townley, who later rang a tribute tune four-in-hand. The well-attended service was led by the vicar, the Revd. Roy Kilford, assisted by the Revd. Liz Cowley, who Iris helped to induct in 2002. 

Quarter peals have already been published which were rung at Warwick and after the service at Staverton by friends. GHP


Peter Wenham  "P.D.W."

14.12.1927 – 6.8.2015

His father was on service in Hong Kong when Peter was born at Larkhill garrison. When three, the family began three years in Gibraltar. Peter left school at 14, during bleak 1941 and became an army apprentice armourer.

He learned to ring at Amesbury in 1944. His first quarter peal was Grandsire Doubles at Amesbury on August 30, 1945 conducted by Bill Theobald. Grandsire Triples followed twice, conducted by R T Hibbert and Charles Denyer. In March 1946 he conducted Grandsire Triples at Amesbury. He rang his first peal in November 1947 at East Tytherley, Grandsire Triples conducted by Frank L Harris. He only rang five peals, including two when in Tetbury which he appears to have forgotten when claiming the peal at Southam in 1982 as his first since 1947! His last was Grandsire Caters at Daventry in February 1988.

He soon began a lifelong habit of writing to the RW Editor: April 1946, combining technical and literary items; August, in support of a servicemen’s guild embracing ex-servicemen; in 1947, an inscription about backward rounds.

In 1948 he was drafted to Malaya with the Royal Artillery, then as a corporal to the Gurkha Rifles and as sergeant with the Royal Hussars. Here, Peter found a new life-long love - recreational flying - solo in Tiger Moths. He did not ring for 19 years. He undertook motor vehicle training and became a staff sergeant in 1954 in the Suez canal zone, where he started to enjoy instructing. He was moved to Cyprus in 1955 as acting Warrant Officer with an armoured car division where he lived under canvas.

His tent-mate knew a nice girl who did not have a boyfriend and asked if Peter would like to be her pen friend. Six months later, Peter met Mary under the clock at Waterloo Station! After approval by five of Mary’s aunts, they were married in March 1959 and lived in Slough. Out of the army, Peter found himself back on the shop floor. He said that without Mary he could not have managed this change from his military upbringing. On a course in Dagenham, he discovered that Ford needed new instructors at Langley, near Slough! He frequently thanked Henry Ford for looking after him as part of the Service Operations Review Team as Mary and he were moved to Windsor, Chester-le-Street, Tetbury and then Daventry, where Peter became chief instructor at the new Ford College until he retired.

In 1966 Chester-le-Street bells beckoned Peter to ring his first quarter peal for 19 years, conducted by Dennis Bayles. He also rang during business visits to Essex. Besides three more quarter peals, letters to the RW appeared, as did Susan, born in 1967 just before they were moved to Tetbury! There, a date touch of 1968, was followed by two peals conducted by Dennis Chapman. Nic was born in 1971 and a nearby gliding club distracted Peter into becoming a pilot instructor until they moved to Daventry! Even here, he was involved with the ATC, had a helicopter flight for his eightieth birthday and a glider flight early in 2015.

Richard Waddy brought Peter back to ringing and a quarter peal in March 1980. I reckon he rang about 125 quarter peals, frequently in and around Daventry. He conducted Nic’s first quarter peal in May 1988. His memory was getting worse, he even went home leaving his dog tied to a tree in Badby Woods. After a triple heart by-pass operation in 1996 his concentration improved. His penultimate quarter was in 2013 at Braunston in memory of Mary and the last was Plain Bob Royal in memory of Denis Pearson.

He introduced his many recruits to the wider fraternity of Daventry Branch but eschewed office except as Ringing Master in 1990 and a spell as press correspondent. By the mid-1980s he became active in ringing training and residential courses. He helped organise the CCCBR school at Daventry in 1991 and was course secretary at Sparsholt from 1992–2002 where the combination of instructing and contributing to pantomimes were just his thing. He also went to Grantley Hall, Essex, Moreton Morrell and Wantage.

From 1987, contributions to the RW increased by epidemic proportions on a vast array of topics: recruiting, training, lightning conductors, emergency lighting and many snippets and rhymes by “PDW”. He began to write a series of pamphlets, as he needed them for his trainees. In 1996 Sally Thompson helped him publish them as ‘Bell Ringing in Instalments’, with donations going to the PDG Bell Fund. He was elected a Life Honorary Member of the Guild for outstanding service in 2004.

Peter and Mary took part in several outings and holidays and supported the 43-ers. Peter set up the Wednesday afternoon group ranging over adjoining counties in 1989, complete with urn and teapot. He ran it for 11 years until Pam Bailey helped out. He assisted the CCCBR with the Network for Ringing Training from 2001, participated in internet ringing chat, avidly read technical magazines and books, especially about flying and passed them out with his recommendation.

After retiring, in June 1992, Peter and Mary moved to Braunston, where he was invited to form a new band. He duly developed a very sociable group, whilst remaining a linchpin of the Daventry band. John Gwynne of the new band installed simulator equipment at Braunston in 1994. Peter set up special training courses to order and roped in his helpers. He developed the Monday afternoon club to train mature recruits for Ringing in the Millennium but it still runs, complete with tea and cake.

He suffered a physical set back after falling from the tower ladder in 2011. At his funeral the Revd Canon Sarah Brown said she first met him shortly after this and was amazed by his determination to continue as if nothing had happened! When Mary was suffering from depression and ill health he kept everything going. When she died, despite missing her grievously, he was back in the tower the same week and last rang on July 23. He clearly saw dying as his next project; almost an adventure to look for Mary. He left sooner than expected, weakened but sitting in his chair at Danetre Hospital. Peaceful, not prolonged, with dignity and without fuss. He will be missed.

Geoff Pullin
With thanks to the Rev Canon Sarah Brown, Bob Cater, Steve Coleman, Alistair Donaldson, Sally Thompson, Mike Winterbourne and the CCCBR DVDs Ringing World 1941-70 and 1971-2000 in which the ‘find’ facility was easy with such a rare name as Wenham, that is until the Kent branch became very active! I didn’t have time to trawl all the “PDW”s! Photo taken by Carole Pullin at Barby in July 2010 – branch 5-bell striking competition.


George Whiting

1946 - 8.5.2015

You may not yet know of the sudden death of George Whiting, our very fit and strong resident tenor man at Higham Ferrers. He was fine when we went to the cricket at Northampton on May 4, 2015 and again when he came round to help celebrate my 70th birthday on the 6th, but the next day he felt unwell while supervising at a polling station. 24 hours later he was gone, it seems the result of a ruptured (not aortal) aneurism.
The funeral was on Thursday, June 4.

Bob Dennis (posted in Campanophile)


Freda Patricia Willgress

19.7.1937 - 15.12.2015

Freda was the youngest of three children born in King’s Lynn to Sydney and Mildred Greaves. She attended King’s Lynn High School for Girls and was an active member at St Margaret’s church, where she was taught to ring by Norman Harding and went on to be Tower Captain. Having married in 1961 and moved to the Norwich area, she had two children, Ian and Alison, before moving to Essex and on to Rushden, Northamptonshire, where Freda lived until 2007 when she moved to Kilsby House Residential Home.

Her secretarial skills stood her in good stead – initially working in banking, then the chemical industry, and various local government establishments. She even made page 3 of the Daily Mirror while working at Dow Chemicals when they reported that her company bought her silk underwear from America (when post-war rationing still affected availability) – actually it was nothing more sordid that being a necessity so she did not cause a spark in the chemical factory! She enjoyed many activities and was a member of flower arranging clubs, Townswomen’s Guild and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes. On retiring early, she found time for watercolour painting, lace making and needlecrafts, and for tending her extensive garden.

But throughout her life, bellringing featured prominently. She taught both Ian and Alison to ring at an early age and encouraged them at every opportunity – she never thought twice about driving them around the country for Open Days, outings, to peals and quarter peals. She rang 97 peals and many, many more quarter peals, her last being on a ringing trip in the Rutland area in 2003.

Holidays were often based around ringing, joining local practices wherever possible. Freda also enjoyed ringing tours to Ireland, Canada, Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Lundy Island.

Freda held office in several Guilds and Associations (both in branch and executive committees); in particular, she was National President of the Ladies’ Guild twice – still the only person to do so in the Guild’s 104 year history. She was among a group of ringers who raised funds for Peterborough Cathedral bells and subsequently was a founding member of the Cathedral Company of Ringers in 1986.

Even when she had moved to Kilsby as her illness progressed, she continued to make friends and Ian and Alison thank Tracy especially for her friendship, and to her and the team at Kilsby for the care they have provided throughout Freda’s journey. Freda’s funeral took place at St Faith’s church, Kilsby on 15 January 2016, where the sunshine shone through the windows on her throughout. Around 40 friends joined Ian & Alison for the service taken by the Rector of Nether Heyford before the family went to the crematorium.

Several QPs and two peals were rung in her memory – the peal at Earls Barton (RW 5472, Page 252) was a new method named “Freda Surprise Major” as a mark of respect.    ARW


Bryan Williams

16.9.1931 - 25.11.2005


Suddenly Bryan Williams wasn’t there.  There were gaps in three quarter-peal bands; for a tutor at a Stedman Doubles training session; at Whilton & Badby practices; at Whilton Sunday ringing; for an organist at Norton and for the Secretary at the imminent Peterborough Diocesan Guild executive meeting .....


Bryan was born on 16th September, just in England at Chirk Bank, and went to nearby Oswestry Grammar School. He started work at the NCB laboratory in Oswestry where he met Beryl and they both qualified as industrial chemists. They were married in 1959 and both taught chemistry at Hemsworth Grammar School. In 1963 Bryan was appointed Head of Chemistry at Christ College, a boarding school in Brecon, where they settled and raised two sons. Besides playing the organ and singing in the choir at school and the Cathedral, he took up ringing at St Mary’s, Brecon in 1977. He became Treasurer 1981-5, Master 1986 and Secretary 1987-1991 of the Swansea & Brecon Diocesan Guild.


After retiring in 1991, they looked for a new home to match their mutual interests of industrial architecture, and respective interests of gardening and ringing.  They ended up in 1993 at Whilton with a large garden and many nearby towers.  Bryan was soon ringing throughout the area and joined the local Daventry branch. Whilton bells were being renewed from six to a heavier eight and Bryan became involved in the project.  Whilst not succumbing to offers of a branch post, in 1998 he became Secretary of the Peterborough Diocesan Guild,  a post he undertook to the last pro-actively, accurately, fairly and meticulously.

Earlier he had helped teach a band at Builth Wells and taught a band alone at Norton, as well as being organist there. He supported many practices where he delighted in helping anyone, through the maze of methods and jargon. His long, clear, patient expositions were legendary. He supported training and the sessions that he ran were always crystal clear and interesting. He had a selfless enthusiasm for all he did in a modest, calm, supportive and reliable way.


Bryan was not a prolific peal ringer. He rang some 26 for the Swansea & Brecon DG. His first peal, treble to Plain Bob Major at Brecon, was rung on 23rd August 1980. He was elected to membership of the College Youths on 10th October 1984 for whom he rang three peals between 1990 and 1993. For the Peterborough DG, he rang thirteen more, of which the highlights were the funeral peal at Great Brington for Diana, Princess of Wales and the first on the new eight at Whilton on 7th September 1996 as a farewell to Canon Jim Richardson, who had united the eight parishes into the new Spencer Benefice and oversaw two bell restorations.  Bryan’s last peal was of Cambridge at Whilton on 19th August 2000.

Bryan was happier ringing quarter peals. He rang his first on 18th March 1978 at St Mary’s Brecon and another 240 in the same tower, out of his total of over 300, conducted four, before he moved eastwards. Then he rang over 100 more, many being surprise major methods. Bryan left Brecon too soon to ring on the ten at the Cathedral and whilst knowing the details, he hadn’t rung there. He claimed not to be a ten bell ringer, but did ring one peal of Grandsire Caters in Northampton in 1997.


He had written a book about two local church organs and was writing up his research into the history of the Central Northamptonshire Association and its predecessors, which became the PDG in 1924. In the meantime he had also researched a book on The Great Bell of Cosgrove, which is practically finished.

Bryan died suddenly on Sunday 13th November of a pulmonary embolism, having played the organ for the Daventry branch meeting at Kilsby the previous day, as he had done for many ringers’ services. Most were surprised to find that this apparently fit, upright, well built man with black hair was as old as 74 years.

Before his funeral, a nicely representative quarter peal of Plain Bob Minor was rung at nearby Ruabon, by five Peterborough DG officers and the Treasurer of the Swansea & Brecon DG, Paul Johnson, who took over the post from Bryan in 1986.


On Friday 25th November, Bryan was cremated, according to his wishes, at Pentre Bychan Crematorium, near his birth place. A simple service was said by Revd. Chris Goble of the Spencer Benefice, devoid of any singing in deference to Beryl’s dislike for it, whilst a similar service was said simultaneously at Whilton by Janet Bowers.


We remain contemplating and missing the great contribution that Bryan made to our ringing.


Geoff Pullin with thanks to Janet Bowers, Douglas Davison and John Hughes-D’Aeth.



This page last updated: 23/7/17.  Anchors added 8/1/16.





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