Category Archives: Obituaries and Funerals

Shanklin Ringer Being laid to Rest

The funeral of Shanklin ringer John Smith will take place on Friday 18th Nov at 10.30 at the Crematorium. As ringer’s rep I shall be present and I know it’s short notice but it would be nice if a few other ringers could be present also.
I understand a memorial service will be held at St Saviour’s Shanklin at some point in the future.

“Ring for Roy” at Purbrook Saturday 19th Nov

Purbrook ringers would like to invite District members to “Ring for Roy” at Purbrook on Saturday 19th November, in memory of the late tower captain Roy Grayson. Refreshments will be available and any donations will be given to Roy’s widow Barbara for her to donate to a charity of her choice. All welcome to come along and ring.


Life of Gladys Hooper Honoured

The Birmingham School of Ringers, here on the Isle of Wight this week for their Summer School, helped in celebrating the life of the recently deceased Gladys Hooper whose funeral was held last Friday .
A big thank you to all who have worked hard over the last three days to honour the passing of this amazing lady.
Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild
Ryde (All Saints), Isle of Wight
Sunday, 31 July 2016 in 50 min (26.5cwt)
1260 Grandsire Triples
1 Chris Mills
2 Angela Wakefield
3 Rose Horton
4 John R Stock
5 Michael Rigby
6 Francesca Cinderey (C)
7 Tony Daw
8 Rebekah Horton
For Evensong and in Celebration of the Life of Gladys Hooper,
at 113 the oldest person since January 2015 in Great Britain,
whose Funeral took place here on Friday last.
Excepting ringer 4, all are visiting from the Birmingham School of Bell Ringers Summer School

Half-muffled Peal Success at Ryde

On Saturday a Peal was achieved in memory of David Dark, details were as follows:
Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild
Ryde, Isle of Wight
All Saints
Saturday, 30 July 2016 in 3hrs 8mins (26–2–2)
5040 Grandsire Triples
Composed by J J Parker
1 Graham A Nobbs
2 Vivien C Nobbs
3 Julian J Hemper
4 Jennifer C M Hancock
5 David W Hacker
6 Revd Barry M Downer
7 Kieran Downer (C)
8 Christopher D Jenkins
Rung half-muffled in memory of David William George Dark, 21/02/1925 – 06/04/2016, step father of the 3rd ringer. A very special man who touched the hearts of all who knew him. Rest in peace, David, God Bless.
Circled the tower – 1
The team, from left to right as the number of the bell they rang, commencing with treble ringer on the left, following the successful Peal.
The team, from left to right as the number of the bell they rang, commencing with treble ringer on the left, following the successful Peal.


For Whom the Bell Tolled – 113 Times!

There are days in one’s life when you feel you are participating in history – today, for me, has been one of those rare days.

This morning (Friday, 29th July) at All Saints’ Church, Ryde, took place the funeral of 113-year-old Gladys Hooper. A more fitting end to a long and well-lived life I have rarely seen.

The eight bells, half-muffled, commenced their majestic ringing at 11am as press and television gathered in the West end of the church. At 11.20 each bell was stood in turn until  only the tenor bell rang its sombre message across Ryde.

At 11.30 the Royal Air Force-draped coffin entered the full church to enable family, friends and those who just knew Ryde resident Gladys, the oldest living person in the United Kingdom since January 2015, to say their final farewell.

As the funeral cortege prepared to leave after the Service, conducted by Reverend Canon Graham Morris, the 26.5cwt tenor bell called out this passing of 113 years to acknowledge this lady from the Edwardian era – another time, unimaginable to almost all of us.

Following this the full peal of bells rang out as the cortege and the  congregation departed.

This evening, as a mark of respect, a quarter peal of Single Oxford Bob Triples was attempted. However, after two failed attempts it was felt we abandon the effort and try on another occasion.

Notice will be given when the team are able to go ahead with this.

I should personally like to express my thanks to the following, who played their full part in making this Service the occasion it demanded: Jo Davis (1); Caroline May (2); Ken May (3); Jill Taylor (4); Roy Tillcock (5); Adrian Burns (6); Peter Taylor (7).

Yours truly, as Tower Captain, tolled the tenor. Is this length of a passing bell the longest ever rung by a member of a home tower I wonder? It was certainly momentous for me, as to this point in my 50 years of ringing, I think 92 was the longest for any funeral service I have had the privilege to toll the passing bell. To admit as 108 was struck I experienced some nervousness at being able to stand the bell after the 113th is probably stating the obvious!

However, all went as it should and I congratulate all ringers on a job well done.

I feel sure Gladys would have been amused at all the attention this received and All Saints’ ringers offer their condolences to the family in the hope that hearing our bells gave them some comfort for what must have been a difficult day with so much media attention at what is usually a quiet family event. RIP.

John Stock

UK’s Oldest Person – Funeral at Ryde

Many of you will no doubt be aware that Gladys Hooper, our 113-year-old Ryde resident died recently. Gladys also had the distinction of being the UK’s oldest person from January 2015.
Her funeral is taking place this Friday morning so the bells will be in use both before and after the Service.
Because of so many commitments many ringers are off doing other things so I really appreciate those who have volunteered to ring in helping out.
There is also a team now in place to ring a half-muffled quarter peal in the late afternoon to commemorate this remarkable life.

Quarter Peal in memory of Ronald Brightman at St. Peter’s Bournemouth

A performance rung by a Bournemouth Bells Band. Congratulations Roger!

Bournemouth, Dorset
St Peter
Sunday, 8 May 2016 in 49m (20–2–7 in E)
1290 Mixed Doubles
240 Reverse Canterbury Pleasure 120 Southrepps 120 Clifford’s Pleasure 240 Plain Bob 120 Kennington 120 April Day 330 Grandsire
1 Joan Smithies
2 Kim Matthews
3 Christopher PK Smithies
4 Tim Kettle
5 Paul R Smith (C)
6 Roger Zimmerman
7 *
8 Norah Slater
1st attempt 6
Rung in memory of Ronald Brightman, husband of Susan Mew, both of Carhampton tower in Dunster Branch of Bath and Wells Association of Change Ringers.
Also sending Get Well wishes to Guy Newbery.

Funeral of Keith Williamson (former A&P Chairman and Ringing Master)

It is with sadness that I announce the death of Keith Williamson at his home in Foxton, Nr.Market Harborough, on Good Friday.

Many will have rung with Keith in the past. He held several posts within the A&P District the first being Ringing Master for 9 yrs. from 1986-1994. Chairman for 3 yrs. 1989-1991. Executive Comm. Rep for 3 years, and he was also the Newsletter & Press Officer from 1999-2000.

They moved to the Market Harborough area in 2005 when Jo reitired from her teaching post, Keith already having retired, and were latterly members of St.Mary’s, Liss, band.

His funeral is in Market Harborough on the 15th.April.

Joy Martin

Peals and Quarters in memory of Andrew D Barnsdale

At the time of writing there have been  5 peals and one Quarter in memory of Andrew, past master of ASCY and long standing member of Winchester and Portsmouth Guild, who died recently.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016 Bishopstoke (St Mary), Hampshire 5040 Spliced Surprise Royal (2 Methods)
Sunday, 27 March 2016 Guildford (St Nicolas), Surrey 1260 Stedman Triples
Saturday, 26 March 2016 Aldenham (Aldenham School), Hertfordshire 5040 Yorkshire Surprise Royal
Tuesday, 22 March 2016 Awbridge (Clock House Bells), Hampshire 5040 Woodspring Surprise Royal
Monday, 21 March 2016 New Alresford (Jubilee, New Farm Rd), Hampshire 5040 Plain Bob Major
Monday, 21 March 2016 Portsmouth (St Agatha), Hampshire 5056 Deva Surprise Major

Full details are on bellboard


A Brief Report on Our Executive Committee  Meeting


At the Guild AGM in Alresford on 2nd of July The Guild Committee needs a whole new team of officers to be elected.

This incredible Committee has steered the Guild into a new era. The Plans are in place, the signposts show the way and the commitment to improve, educate and modernise this vibrant and active community is stronger now than ever before. SO, Please think seriously about helping us to keep the Guild and ringing moving forward. If you have been a secretary or treasurer for a school committee, if you can take minutes or type them up from a Dictaphone recording, if you like collecting data or think ringing needs to have a different voice in the Central Council, now is the time to say ‘do you know what? I could give it a try’. The posts becoming vacant are:

  • Master
  • Vice-Master
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • Librarian
  • Peal recorder
  • Report Editor
  • Minutes Secretary
  • CC reps (five of them)
  • Child Protection Officer
  • Independent Examiner
  • BRF Trustees for the two dioceses

Other Noteworthy Items:

On a cold and sunny morning on 12th of March The Executive Committee Meeting was held in St Barnabas Church Hall in Southampton. 24 members were present with 8 apologies.

We all stood whilst the names of those who have passed away since November were read out.

  • Roy Grayson    (Purbrook)
  • Roy Howard    (Freshwater)
  • Tom Metcalfe    (Blackmoor)
  • Ramon A Stone (life member, West Meon)
  • David Yates    (Arreton)
  • Martin Routh    (Former Tower Captain at Amport)
  • Colin Nicholson     (Formerly of St Peter Port)

With no matters arising from the last minutes the reports and accounts were accepted.

Interesting and noteworthy was that;

  • Our Hon. Librarian and Archivist Bruce Purvis had asked for a budget increase to buy volumes of Order and Disorder which contain ringing extracts from 18th and 19th century newspapers.
  • The Belfry Stewardship Committee planned on visiting and inspecting Droxford.
  • The Bell Restoration Fund gave a report on the Trustees’ Meeting; David Mattingley said there were grants outstanding to All Saints’, Basingstoke augmented from 9 to 10 and awaiting sign-off by the Belfry Stewardship Committee, Houghton where work had started, and Ecchinswell where fundraising was continuing. At Wherwell higher priority work in the church had been identified and so the outstanding grant would be reduced to zero and the church asked to reapply when they were in a position to proceed with the bell restoration. A new grant application had been received from Northington where the plan was now to augment from 3 to 6 at a cost of £17,000 of which £13,500 had already been raised. The Trustees recommended a grant of £2,000. The Trustees agreed with Hugh Routh who pointed out that work on three clappers which was part of the original project specification had not been done and we should not pay grants towards the same work twice.
  • Greg Jordan was elected onto the Striking Competition Committee
  • These fine folks will be presented with Life Membership certificates at the AGM, after completing 50 years of membership!   Congratulations to you all: John Croft (Winchester District Chairman), Alan Hoar of Odiham, Maureen Routh of Steep and  Ronald Tipper of Buriton.

The Master reviewed The Guild Action Plan and  suggested the setting up of 3 working groups:

  • A small working group will be set up to consider the content, format and production costs of The Annual Guild Report. Discussions revolved around how many reports to print IE 1 per person or 1 per  tower, sending it out digitally and if it could be produced in a more cost effective way.
  • Interestingly, A working group to consider the compilation, presentation and costs of books, listing performances rung between 2014 and 2018 commemorating the WWI fallen, to be presented to Winchester and Portsmouth Cathedrals, and that the working group be authorised to register interest with the Heritage Lottery Fund.
  • Excitingly, A working group to consider the possibility of a centralised Ringing Training School for teaching new ringers.

The Committee were happy to support a funding request of £400 towards travel expenses of a joint team of young ringers from the Isle of Wight and Channel Islands Districts to represent the Guild in the competition at Epsom on Sat 2nd April 2016. The rest of the money would be found by the youngsters and their families by fund-raising. We wish them well.

After much discussion a rethink was agreed on the ‘welcome pack’ for new ringers. Whilst people though it (The ART Discover Ringing booklet and a contacts list) was a good idea, just who to give it to e.g. not many probationary members become ringers and how to get it to them was of concern.

The Communications Exec member gave a presentation on Social Media extolling its virtues and its pitfalls.

Future Dates worth noting are;

In the ‘Any Other Business’ section issues discussed were;-

  • The arrangements for the Central Council (CCCBR) weekend at the end of May are well under way. There has been a good response to calls volunteers and Guild members are encouraged and welcome to attend the open meeting and Songs of Praise service both on Sunday afternoon.
  • If a volunteer can be found the requests for Guild sweatshirt production can continue.
  • If there was a form for making a bequest to the Guild. The answer was no it can be put into your Will.
  • Ropley Church was expected to be rebuilt between 2016-2018.
  • The Master promoted the Mid-Monthly Ringing Tours & the next one is on 13th April.

We were all done by 12:00  Then a long and very fast quarter peal of Grandsire Doubles ensued.

Andrew D Barnsdale

I’ve received the sad news today that Andrew D Barnsdale died this morning.  Although Andrew had moved from the Alton and Petersfield geographical area some years ago, he remained a full Winchester and Portsmouth Guild member and regularly rang peals for the Guild until his recent illness.  He was also a past Master of the ASCY.

Mo Routh

West Tytherley – First piece of ringing by a very new band – in memory of Betty Dando

Ringing dedicated to a much loved mum.

Members of the West Tytherley band rang five minutes of Plain Hunt on three bells to celebrate the life of Betty Dando aged 85 who died peacefully in her armchair on Sunday evening February 28th 2016.

Treble Helen Vincent (Betty”s daughter )
2 Charlotte Rimmington
3 Anthea Hawkins

Photo by David Forder

Bell Ringing for Ed (Stewpot) Stewart’s Funeral Friday Jan 29th

Ed Stewart (photo from Wikipedia

Bell Ringers from St Peter’s Bournemouth and Christchurch Priory rang for the funeral of Ed Stewart at 1.30pm today.

On a personal note, I used to listen to Ed’s show at weekends and have treasured memories of the rare occasions when he played a special track for MY birthday – it was a real priviledge to be able to make a musical contribution to his funeral in return.

We rang Eounds and Call Changes on open bells (not half muffled) today to reflect the fact that the funeral was a celebration of Ed’s life.

A single bell was also tolled as the coffin left the church.


Funeral of David Yates, Arreton

Paul Wise, Tower Captain of Arreton, has asked me to post the sad news that on the afternoon of the 14th of December David Yates lost his battle with cancer and passed away at the Earl Mountbatten Hospice. The funeral will be held on 23rd December at Arreton Church at 11.30am. Any further information please direct to Paul Wise.

Arreton Photograph by John Palk
Arreton Photograph by John Palk

A proud addition and a sad loss for Blackmoor

Peal boardFriday 27th November 2015 was a very mixed day for the ringers at St. Matthew’s Blackmoor;  Graham Cane came over to join our practice bringing his sons, Thomas & Harry, and a new peal board that he had commissioned detailing the peal that had been rung at Blackmoor to celebrate the life of his wife Dawn. The board was hung on the wall before practice started and was much admired throughout the evening. I didn’t imagine that I would one day have my name on the wall, but when Graham suggested that I might ring in the peal I gave it some serious thought and decided “why not”, as he said “There’s a first time for everything”. I’m really pleased that I did it and very proud that my name is on a peal board in my own tower.

TomHowever, what we didn’t know at the time, was that our good friend and fellow ringer Tom Metcalfe had died in hospital that afternoon. We knew his time was limited, and we had all been over to visit him during the preceding weeks but, even though we’re glad he’s no longer suffering, we’re still very sad to lose a much loved member of our group.

Tom had been a ringer at Blackmoor for over 15 years and so enjoyed being with us that, even after he moved to Cardiff to live with his partner Jane, he still came back every six weeks or so to ring. Well he came to see his three sons too. Tom was always a gentleman, polite, charming Blackmoor logo (1)and generous; he presented the tower with several items over the years including a beautiful pencil drawing that he had found, from before the church was built, depicting how it might look. He also designed a new tower logo for us and then nagged until we got ourselves organised and had it embroidered onto polo shirts etc. I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s a fabulous design and would have been wasted just hanging on the wall.

He will be much missed, and the tower will always echo with shouts of “LEAD Tom”.

Valerie Harris



RIP Roy Grayson, Bell Ringer at Purbrook and Wickham

Roy Grayson with the Wickham band
Roy Grayson (bottom left) pictured with the Wickham band

Sorry to hear the very sad news of Roy Grayson’s death. Roy was a lovely man and always generous with his time and his enthusiasm. He was a great help at Wickham when we were running our summer ringing courses and much liked by the students. The photograph was taken in August 2014 at the end of that year’s course. Roy will be sadly missed.

Simon King

Roy was Ringing Master at St. John the Baptst Purbrook and very typically was using his skills to help another tower, as he did over time at a number of Portsmouth District Towers.

Allan R Yalden

Funeral of Ramon (Ray) A Stone, Tuesday 1st December, West Meon

Dear All
It is with great sadness that I must inform you of the death of Ramon (Ray) A Stone at the age of 83.  Ray was a Life Member of the Winchester and Portsmouth Guild and was for many years Tower Captain at St John the Evangelist’s Church at West Meon.
His funeral is to be on Tuesday 1st December, 1.30pm at West Meon church.
W&P Hon Gen Secretary

An outstanding Quarter Peal Recording

Simon Lipscombe

It’s a challenge to get a good recording of ringing. It’s also a challenge to conduct a beautifully struck Quarter Peal…but to do both at once??

This Quarter was in memory of Simon Lipscombe, and also the Conductor’s Great Aunt. All photos and the recording used by permission. QP Information from Bellboard 

 Recording by Jack Pease

Salisbury Diocesan Guild
On Saturday, 21 November 2015 in 0h 53m
Southampton, Hampshire
St Mary

Tenor: 21–2–8 in E♭
1440 Plain Bob Minor
Composed by Roger Bailey
1 Polly Osborne
2 Katie Child
3 Ross A Bradley
4 Daniel R C Scott
5 Daniel Graham
6 Jack R Pease (C)

Rung on the back six half muffled to commemorate the life of Lorna Frances Stark, great aunt of the conductor, who died on Friday 6th November in Southampton General Hospital, aged 85 and who lived in Southampton most of her life. Also rung half muffled in memory of Simon E Lipscombe-Smith, who died on 2nd November, aged 26, an active young ringer in this guild.

Lorna Stark on her 80th birthday. Photo by Jack Pease
Lorna Frances Stark, photo by Jack Pease.

A Fitting Send-off For Simon Lipscombe

Ecchinwell Photograph by Andrew G Craddock for TowerBase

Every seat was taken, and the back and sides of the church were packed with people standing, for Simon Lipscombe’s funeral at St Lawrence, Ecchinswell on Wednesday afternoon.

The number, and mixture, of people present gave a clue as to Simon’s influence during his short life – Ringers came not only from the Andover District, but all the other Districts in the Guild and well beyond.

Simon Lipscombe

But the ringers were far outnumbered by people who had simply loved Simon and wanted to be there to say goodbye. There was a group from the Royal Surrey Hospital where he received treatment, many local friends and family, and countless others.

Simon’s involvement with the church at Ecchinswell began early when he began to help out as an alter boy – a moving tribute was paid to him by the long-standing rector of the church, David Bartholemew, who had clearly pared down fifteen years of fond memories and picked out the best – including Simon’s first experiences of bell ringing – he started learning down the road in Burghclere with David, who soon dropped out becuase “It was too difficult for me, but Simon thrived”.

A moving tribute from Senna, Simon’s husband, followed.

Simon’s friends – John and Claire – spoke next, describing Simon’s ringing life and his audacious plan to raise £35,000 to turn the ring of three bells at Ecchinswell into a ring of 6. Claire, who runs the Trust, is determined to complete the work that Simon began.

Jodie Whatmore did a reading for Simon who she saw as a brother, not just as a friend.

Those of us who have got to know Simon as a ringer first and foremost, may have been surprised to learn that Simon was a keen DJ and not averse to raising roof, clubbing with Jodie, making a noise (well, that fits with ringing!) and even on occasion putting dustbins on top of cars. The vision of Simon, Senna, Claire and all Simon’s DJ equipment and speakers crammed into her car in the early hours after a disco, and driving off to the local McDonalds for a cheeseburger and Banana Milk Shake, was vivid.

Simon is irreplaceable for all of us. His contribution to the lives of his friends was deep and rich, his contribution as both an excellent ringer, and a most encouraging and skilled teacher of ringing, has left his band wondering “Who is going to teach us now?”. The band’s continuing enthusiasm, commitment and passion for bells has already resulted in several people signing up to learn to ring – pending a teacher being found.

Twenty Six years is far too short for a life. Nothing can really make those left behind, come to terms with the cruelty of the cancer which he fought for the last two years of his life. But I am sure everyone at the funeral saw new, and unexpected, facets of Simon and was wholehearted in celebrating the life of this extraordinary young man.

Peals and Quarters rung so far, in memory of Simon, including 4 recorded for the day of the funeral.

A final word from Viv Nobbs

Simon was the Convenor of the Striking Competitions Committee. He was trying to arrange very different and exciting Striking Contest Days so that they would be very inclusive and more appealing and inviting,  especially to our younger members.

Despite being in the advanced stage of his terminal illness, he volunteered to serve on the Education Committee. Unfortunately, he was unable to attend  meetings and that saddened him very much.

He worked hard for Church Bell Ringing, ringers, Andover District and our Guild as much as he could and for as long as he possibly could with some marvellous results.

A great inspiration to us all.

Simon Lipscombe Funeral Arrangements

Simon Lipscombe, photo by kind permission of Senna.
Simon Lipscombe, photo by kind permission of Senna.

For all those that knew Simon E Lipscombe-Smith and wish to attend his funeral, it is on Wednesday 18th November at 2pm at St Lawrence’s Ecchinswell Church*.

Parking outside the church is a bit of a squeeze but there is more parking inside the Ecchinswell Village hall car park, just South of the church.

The family are then having a private cremation service at West Berkshire Crematorium however everyone is invited back to Bishops Green Village Hall*, following the church service for the wake.

Simon’s wishes were for blue and pink to be worn to represent the Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Trust (TYAC) who supported Simon throughout his cancer journey. It has been requested that it is family flowers only. Donations can be made via West Berkshire Funeral Directors

From 12:45 there will be an open ring in St Lawrence’s church for anyone who wishes to pay their respects by having a ring of the church bells. The Service ring will then be performed. Once Simon’s service has concluded the tower will then be available for open ringing.

*Map below

Bishops Green Village Hall (google maps identifies this as the pre-school)

Sad News from Buriton

Dear all,

The Buriton Ringers deeply regret to announce the death on Tuesday 3rd November of Marjorie, the wife of John Mannering. John and Marjorie have both been members of the Buriton band for 36 years, having moved to Horndean from the Maidstone area of Kent.

They also regret to announce the death the day before (Monday 2nd November) of Jean, the wife of Brian Kempton. Jean was not a ringer but had served Buriton Church as Sacristan and also, being an experienced needlewoman, had looked after the Church’s linen and altar frontals etc. for many years. Many District members will remember that Brian, before ill-health intervened, was a ringer at Buriton and had served as Tower Secretary for some 20 years.

The Buriton bells were rung half-muffled on Wednesday as a mark of respect.

David Hughes, Tower Captain

Master’s Message – RIP Simon Lipscombe

Senna has asked me to let all Guild members know the sad news that Simon passed away late last night. Senna, his husband, was with him holding his hand, and said that Simon was at rest and very peaceful.

Simon and Senna have shown great courage and fortitude throughout Simon’s illness. We will miss Simon with his enthusiasm and his great sense of humour – more than words can tell. Please may I ask that we show our love and support to Senna and Simon’s family at this sad time.

R.I.P. Simon, my good friend, and thank you so much for all that you’ve achieved to encourage and enhance church bell ringing throughout your all-too-short life.

Viv Nobbs