Friday 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.
However, 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 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”.