John Dowe, who died on 19th October, aged 82, was an ever-present member of the Wymondham Abbey band for very many years, and during his long service as tower secretary he was the main contact for visitors.

Originally from Hoveton, John was taught to ring at Wroxham, the other side of the River Bure, in 1951, after being spotted ringing Hoveton’s single bell before services. In 1959 John married Margaret and they moved to Holly Farm at Silfield on the edge of Wymondham, and he joined the Abbey ringers.

At the funeral John’s grandson, Matthew Thornton, himself a ringer at Long Stratton, emphasised the three ‘F’s which formed the basis of John’s life: family, faith and farming. Naturally he also mentioned ringing and Reliant Robins, John’s mode of transport. Even Reliant drivers had occasional brushes with the constabulary: once he was stopped because he left a box of Persil on the roof! John put great effort into everything that he did, never afraid of hard work. Matthew also mentioned John’s refusal to acknowledge that anything was broken: wood nails and baler twine offered ready repairs.

He had rung twelve peals, all for the Norwich DA: two of Doubles, six Minor, three Major and one of Royal. He was enthusiastic about the Northern Branch, regularly attending meetings and served on the Committee for many years. He was also well-known in the Association as the promoter of the NDA raffle. He was delighted to be elected an Honorary Life Member of the Association following fifty years’ membership.

Health problems in recent times left him unable to tackle the Wymondham stairs, but he did manage to attend Hethersett practices for a while and continued to take an interest in all ringing matters. John was always a stalwart supporter of service and practice ringing, undoubtedly seeing it as more than just a hobby. We send our condolences to Margaret, and to their daughters Rosemary and Rachel, and their families.



Wymondham, Norfolk. 30 Oct, 1260 PB Triples: Rosamunde Codling 1, Caroline Brown 2, Pauline Clarke 3, Teresa Doggett 4, Al Parsons 5, Anthony Sargent 6, Hayden Charles (C) 7, Robert Gardner 8. Rung in memory of John Dowe, formerly Tower Secretary, who dies on 19 October 2012.

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