1922 - 2012

Phil, as everyone knew him, was born in Wolverhampton on 8th November 1922. He and his siblings, two brothers and two sisters, were initially educated at the local school. The boys of the family served as Alter Boys at his local R.C. church. On leaving school and trying various  jobs  he finally worked for Banks’s Brewery until the start of the war when he joined the Royal Navy. Starting, as one did, as an Able Seaman he worked his way through the  ranks becoming a Sub-Lieutenant and by the D-Day landings was a Lieutenant on HMS Dacres, an interesting American made and fitted ship. At end of the war he served an enjoyable tour of duty in the Mediterranean showing the flag for the UK.

On leaving the navy he returned to Wolverhampton and took up teaching. He eventually went to Teacher Training College and in 1949 on to Birmingham Art College where he met his future wife Jean. Both he and Jean went on to The Royal College of Art where they both obtained their Degrees. He and Jean were married and returned to teaching in the Midlands where he, in due course, became headmaster at a couple of inner city schools in Birmingham. Phil’s last teaching post was well away from inner city schools. He was deputy head at the large Tewkesbury Comprehensive. Whilst at Tewkesbury the family moved to Coddington, in Herefordshire, where they renovated an old house and Phil, in 1979, took up ringing. The Colwall ringers, David Fox and Robin Riches, were teaching a new band on the restored ring at Coddington and Phil gave it a go. He soon became enthusiastic, as he did over everything he did.

Retiring from teaching in 1980 Phil was able to indulge his many passions especially gardening, house renovation and, of course, bell ringing amongst others. As well as retiring in 1980 he moved to Malvern and became a member of the Priory band. Their house was high above the town and had a steep garden – so Phil took on an allotment where he grew many strange and wonderful things as well as the ordinary stuff, but that was Phil. To him ringing was never easy but he would start looking at Cambridge whilst still having difficulty with Grandsire Doubles. Phil soon started visiting other towers in the Malvern Hills area and wherever he went he made friends. He joined the Royal Naval Guild and even organised a weekend's ringing for them thus making yet another group of friends. One of his ringing highlights was an Italian week with the St Matthias Ringers. On our return he took up learning Italian with his usual enthusiasm and often confounded his teacher with the unusual words he would find and use.

Every tower should have a person like Phil, always willing, could and did turn his hand to anything, good with children, and a good friend to everyone. Phil was a great character, a good friend and a joy to have around whether in ringing circles or in ordinary life; he is missed and will be for a long time by all who knew him.


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Central Council of Church Bell Ringers