David R. Reed 1929-2008
David was born in Ringwood, Hampshire in 1920 and received his basic education there before going on to Bournemouth College. Having learnt shorthand and typing, David’s initial employment saw him in clerical work, but National Service beckoned and he found himself in the RAF serving mainly in Germany. After demobilisation David entered the world of agriculture; work which initially took him into the regions of Sussex and Kent. David’s overwhelming passion in life was his ringing, for it was as a young lad of 15 that he first visited Ringwood where, with his twin brother, he came under the tutelage of tower captain Bill Cheater. Here David had to prove himself a ringer before becoming a full member by ringing Grandsire Triples – so strict were those days of learning. Becoming a regular ringer at Ringwood, David was made a member of the Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild and, in due time, as an envied owner of a motor cycle, was able to visit towers within a wide area. It was through ringing that he was introduced to his wife to be, Miss Winifred Cox, taught to ring at Hampreston by the unforgettable Bill Shute. As fate would decree the two met at a ringing session at Wimborne Minster and the rest, as they say, is history. The couple were married at Win’s home church in April 1955. Daughter Pauline, now a teacher in Saudi Arabia, was the first-born and Helen, now at Exeter University, made up the family. Both David and his wife travelled widely to ring and many tales could be told of those early days spent ringing, particularly with the likes of Philip Tocock and the late Bill Shute. David’s ringing activities are many and varied although he never kept records. In time he
became a leading member at Cranborne, a prominent ringer in the W&P Diocesan Guild in the early-mid ’50s and, over the ensuing years, travelled widely on peal tours. Daughter Pauline recalls the time when she was silenced because her father was rehearsing the blue line for Superlative! Win recalls that he was already a member of the Society of Royal Cumberland Youths when they met, and says he was tower captain for some time at Ticehurst in East Sussex. As a member of the Salisbury Diocesan
Guild of Ringers David was awarded Honorary Life Membership in May of this year. In time, the family decided to move back to Dorset, Cranborne in particular, so as to be
nearer their respective families and here they remained until 1983. A change of employment finally brought David and Win to the Bride Valley in West Dorset where they settled comfortably into a cottage in the village of Long Bredy, close to the church of St Peter. Long Bredy comes within the Dorchester Branch and it was here that David played a full part in the branch’s activities – at one time serving as branch chairman. As far as Long Bredy church tower is concerned David soon found himself as tower captain; a position he held until his passing. He was also a regular helper at other towers up and down the valley – in particular at Burton Bradstock and Litton Cheney, and there are many ringers far and wide who have benefited from his tuition and encouragement over the years. David considered ringing for services a foremost priority and regularly attended whenever working hours permitted. An interesting episode in David’s life was his regular visit for many years to Widecombe in the Moor (having friends there) to listen to the annual striking competition, and while there would enjoy ringing at Widecombe and at nearby Buckland in the Moor.
Sadly, David’s health deteriorated over latter years, though despite serious operations and other increasing problems he was able to continue ringing right up to October 2007. He died at home on 28th October but with his wife at his side. Cremation at Weymouth took place on 6th November and a thanksgiving service for David’s life is to be held at Long Bredy church on Saturday, 13th December at 11am, with ringing beforehand, to which everyone is warmly invited.
Fortunately the bells at Long Bredy had recently been overhauled and David expressed his joy that he was able to see this work completed and attend the Blessing of the Bells service (where the hymns had been chosen by him) eleven days before his passing. Briefly, it must be said, that as well as being a first class ringer, David was a devoted Christian and regular communicant at the altar rail, and stretching right back to his confirmation as a boy, served the church in many ways; latterly as organist and member of the PCC at Long Bredy. In earlier times David had played the organ at the Methodist Church, Stapehill, and was known to play anywhere where the opportunity arose.
David will be sorely missed although it must be with some relief that he is now spared the severe problems and suffering that afflicted him over recent months. Our condolences go to Win and the family, David’s brother (also a ringer) and other relatives. RIP.