Chrisopher John Eden (1946-2014)

Chris was born on 8th July 1946 on the Isle of Wight. The family moved to Chester when he was one and to Birkenhead when he was three. He attended school at Liverpool College and grew to exemplify the school motto ‘Not only the intellect, but also the character’. After leaving school Chris took a job with the Midland Bank and worked for them until he took early retirement in 2001.

He was taught to ring in 1963 at St Bridget’s in West Kirby by John (Jack) Jukes and Ian Robertson along with Charles Pocock and Margaret Allin (nee Newton). His first quarter peal was on 1st November 1965, Plain Bob Minor called by Ian Robertson at West Kirby and his first peal on 3rd September 1966, Plain Bob Major called by Charlie Pocock for the wedding of Sue Jukes and Julian Wallace.

At the age of 20 Chris met Ruth at St Bridget’s when Alastair the curate invited her to a party at the Half Way Club (so called as it was half way between the Youth Club and the Mothers Union, and that it met half way between the Ring’O’Bells and the Moby Dick). They were married by Alastair on 12th October 1968 at St Andrew’s, Penrith. They made their home in Oxton where their two daughters Kate and Philippa were born. Both Chris and Ruth became members of the band at St Saviour, Oxton. Under Alex Martin’s leadership the band flourished and in 1976 the bells were augmented to ten. During this time practice nights regularly included Grandsire, Stedman, Cambridge and London. On one occasion there were enough ringers present for Cambridge Royal to be rung followed by a completely different band that took hold and rang the same method.

Chris rang 29 peals, often around the back, ringing with a bent arm style due to his height, with accuracy and apparent ease. He was an active member of the Chester Diocesan Guild, Wirral Branch and a regular attender at the HSBC Society meetings. He rang two peals of Bristol Surprise Major on the heavy eight at Eccleston, and rang in the first peal on the ten at Oxton (Plain Bob Royal – this was intended to be a Sunday service band but Tom Howarth from Upton, who was there to listen to the peal, was drafted in at the last minute as one of the ringers was unavailable). He also rang Cambridge Royal in 1991 at Oxton as part of three simultaneous peals of Cambridge (Minor, Major and Royal) rung by Wirral Branch. His last peal was in 2005 at St Bartholomew’s, Thurstaston when he rang the treble to a peal of Minor for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.
Chris and Ruth moved to Irby in 1999 and following his retirement he continued to work in finance providing independent financial advice, debt counselling and working as a consultant for Paradigm housing and as an advocate for People First (a self-advocacy organisation for people with learning difficulties). His impact in this work can clearly be seen in the following tribute made by one of his colleagues; ‘He understood the very mission of Paradigm, the agency for whom he worked.  He understood that his work, his support… touched the lives of people with disabilities. It mattered to him. It mattered that the vision… and the purpose of our work, was also his work. There are those, maybe in the tens of thousands, whose lives were touched by Chris’ work without ever knowing his name. He sat in his office doing what he did, doing it well, knowing that his work was important to the life of the agency and therefore the lives of those who received support or encouragement from the work done’.

He also helped a number of local charities with their accounts and became treasurer for Thurstaston and Irby PCC. Chris was a keen sailor (being a member of West Kirby Sailing Club), he also loved caravanning, walking and gardening. He was also gadget and technology mad and was forever helping others with their computers and websites. He was even texting and emailing friends complaining about his Kindle running out of charge from his hospital bed the day before he died.

Chris joined the local band at Thurstaston in 2008, though his work commitments prevented him attending the weekly practice. He rang with us on Sundays and also rang nine quarter peals during this time. His last quarter peal at Thurstaston was Plain Bob Doubles on 7th January 2011 for the 125th anniversary of the consecration of the Church. This was the first quarter for two members of the band and my 50th as conductor. His last quarter peal was rung at Oxton on 30th March 2011 when he rung the 8th to 1320 Spliced Plain and Little Bob Royal for the induction of Revd Dr Joe Kennedy as Vicar of the Parish.

Chris became ill a number of years ago. He retired as PCC treasurer in 2013 though he continued to support this work. He gradually found ringing more difficult and eventually, in frustration, offered his resignation from the band in the autumn of 2014. After discussion with him we agreed that he should still attend when he felt up to it, but to restrict his ringing to the lighter bells, he was also in discussion about helping out at Liverpool Cathedral’s Twilight Tours.  Unfortunately this was never to be.

Chris went to hospital in late September. We sent him a get well card from the band after Wednesday night practice (acknowledged by email of course – complaining about how many pills he was taking and that one of the signatures was unreadable [mine]). Unfortunately he deteriorated suddenly on the morning of 9th October and the medical staff were unable to save him.

Bells were rung before and after his funeral (open ringing at the family’s request) by members of the local band, friends and members of the HSBC Society. The Church was full of family, friends and colleagues. Ten quarter peals and one peal (p.403) were rung in his memory.

Thurstaston, Merseys. 26 Oct, 1260 PB Doubles: Christine M Higgins 1, Alice A Pettit 2, Gaynor C Vaughan 3, Amy M Robson 4, Peter W Robson (C) 5, Jennifer A McIntyre 6. Rung in thanksgiving for the life of Christopher J Eden by ringers from his local tower. £BD

Quarter peals already published in The Ringing World were also rung at:
Lundy Island, Bristol Channel: 10th Oct, 1295 Grandsire Caters (p.1117),
Woodchurch, Merseys: 12th Oct, 1260 PB Minor (p.1093),
West Kirby, Merseys: 12th Oct, 1280 PB Major (p.1093),
Heswall, Wirral. 14 Oct, 1320 PB Doubles (p.286),
Thurstaston, Merseys. 25 Oct, 1260 Doubles (5m/9v) (p.286),
Wallasey, Merseys. (St Hilary) 19 Oct, 1260 PB Minor (p.286),
Port Sunlight, Merseys. 29 Oct, 1260 PB Triples (p.286),
Oxton, Merseys. 30 Oct, 1260 PB Royal, (p.1165),
Chester Cathedral: 1296 2nd November, PB Caters, (p.286).

A half marathon was also run in his memory by Helen Stansfield.

Tower Captain, Thurstaston

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