07/06/1931 – 26/02/2015

Beth Graham (1931-2015)

The following tribute has been compiled from the Eulogy given at Beth’s funeral on 11th March 2015, written by her daughter Helen and given by Rev. Anne Shorter and with additional input from Sue Marsden, Joan Parker and Graham Hill.

Elizabeth Eleanor Smith was born in Brampton in 1931 and shared stories with her own children of hiding under the desk at school when the air raid siren sounded. Although living through the war she had a wonderful childhood growing up with her 4 older brothers and sisters and enjoyed riding her bike all over the county of Huntingdon and getting into all sorts of scrapes.

She met and subsequently married Tom Graham in 1954, a dashing young man in the RAF. When Tom left the RAF he became a policeman and they moved to Yaxley, just south of Peterborough with their 3 young children (Steven, Helen and Colin). In 1962 the family moved to Stanground, where Tom became the village bobby.

Beth had learnt to ring at Brampton in the early 1950’s and is first recorded as an ELY DA member in 1951. Ringing took a bit of a backseat in her early married life but in 1973 she was asked to help with the ringing at St John’s in Stanground and later became their tower captain.  Beth remained a ringer at Stanground until only a few years ago. She enjoyed her ringing and over the past twenty years also rang at Castor and St Mary’s Peterborough. St Mary’s is fortunate to have a lift and although she had to stop ringing at other churches, with the warm amenities and easy access she was still able to join her friends at St Mary’s until just a few weeks ago. On her last visit she was persuaded to come by her great niece, Lucy, who in turn was easily persuaded to have a go. Now there must be something in the genes as she was able to handle a bell by the end of the evening!

Beth had rung many quarter peals over the years. A number were rung with her granddaughter, Charlotte, who she had taught to ring. It was fitting to ring Grandsire in a couple of the tribute quarter peals, as along with Stedman these were her two favourite methods.

Beth only rang one peal and Sue Marsden recounts that she was roped in at short notice,to a peal of 14 Doubles methods at St Augustine Woodston in September 1982 when they had rung a peal at Stanground earlier in the day.  Beth was game and rang inside to many unusual methods.

Sadly Beth’s husband died in 1995 and her son Steven in 2009. Beth suffered with ill health over a number of years but she always soldiered on, holding the family together and being strong for them all. Despite all her ailments she still managed her bellringing, playing green bowls and dancing. Church life was at the forefront of her life. She had a strong faith and to those who knew her well she lived out her faith as a true disciple of Jesus.  Being well organised she had planned her funeral some 10 years ago and her funeral was a fitting tribute shared by a large congregation.  The bells were rung to welcome Beth back into church for one last time and the time of the committal at the crematorium was put back to allow a leisurely departure and for people to hear the start of the quarter peal rung afterwards.

Beth was a soft, caring and loveable woman who always had a glint in her eye and a smile on her face and gave her time to anyone. She had a good listening ear and enjoyed her family and the company of those around her.  She leaves a loving family with many grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren too!

“The saddest day in your life is when God Calls for another Angel, take heart in the fact that she is now above all mortal fears and pains.”


One peal (p.403) and three quarter peals were rung in tribute to Beth’s life of service:

Peterborough, Cambs. (S Mary). 5 Mar, 1260 Grandsire Doubles: Gillian Christie1, Joan Parker 2, Lucy Moreton 3, June Pitcher 4, Andrew Christie (c) 5, Alex Dyer 6.  Rung in celebration of the life of Beth Graham. Friend and ringer at St Mary’s and past ringer at both Stanground and Castor.

Castor, Cambs. 8 Mar, 1260 Grandsire & Plain Bob Doubles: Maggie Noble 1, William Baxter 2, Edward Baxter 3, Jon Ardron 4, Stuart Weston (c) 5, David Banks 6.  Dedicated to celebrate the life of Beth Graham, a dear friend and loyal supporter of St Kyneburgha’s ringers.

Stanground, Cambs. 11 Mar, 1260 Grandsire Doubles: William Baxter 1, Diana Street 2, Andrew Christie (C) 3, Graham Hill 4, Nick Elks 5, Richard Albon 6. Rung half muffled after the funeral of Beth Graham.  £BD

BB BellBoard
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers