On 22nd August my Mum, Pam Giddins, passed away after a six-month battle with bowel cancer.

Born on 16th January 1954 in Guildford and the first child of Bob and Vee Wakeford, Mum spent her childhood growing up in Bushy Hill Drive in Merrow, Surrey with her brother Richard. She went to Bushy Hill School and then George Abbot School in Guildford where she left in 1970 to start work.

In the early 70s Mum moved in to Tormead Road, Guildford with her friend Kathryn and Mum learnt to ring bells at St John’s church in Merrow where romance blossomed as she met Dad. In 1974, when Kathryn moved out, Dad moved in and they started living together. In 1976 Mum and Dad got married at Merrow church and they moved to Bramley. They set to renovating and extending their property over the coming years to make a perfect family home.

In 1976 Mum joined the Guildford Cathedral band where she was the Tower Secretary between 1977 and 1981. She rang many quarters and the occasional peal, even one whilst pregnant with me, although she didn’t know that at the time.

In 1981 I was born followed by Jenny in 1982. Some really great years were spent in Bramley where the family enjoyed the village community and the countryside, where hours were spent walking Barney our dog. Mum was a compassionate friend to many people in the village, helping at village events, in the village school and the playgroup. She loved spending time chatting away with fellow mums in the school playground, at home or while walking the dog.

Mum was the assistant Ringing Master of the Guildford District of the Guildford Guild during 1978 and the secretary in 1979 and 1980, and then again the secretary from 2004 through to 2006 where her attention to detail and organisation skills were put to use arranging many district events, outings and social occasions. An ex Guildford District ringing master recently commented to me that he would only go back to being ringing master if mum would be the secretary. In recent years mum has always been on hand to give advice and help to her successors.

In 1992 Kathryn was born. Over the coming years Mum spent most of her time raising Kathryn and working part time at a local Leisure Centre. In 1994 the family moved to Tillingbourne Road in Shalford. At this time, Mum and Dad became part of the band at Shalford and started ringing there regularly with a wonderful group of people.

For several years Mum worked part time at The Ringing World in Guildford until the office moved to Andover in Hampshire, a role that she really enjoyed and suited her perfectly.

Ringing World Editor, Robert Lewis writes:
“I have very fond memories of Pam – she was a kind, cheerful and highly efficient presence in the Ringing World office when I first became Editor at Guildford in March 2000. Pam had joined the permanent staff as an Administrative Assistant in November 1999, having helped out for a while prior to that as a volunteer during a difficult period with staffing. We were very sorry that Pam was unable to make the move with us to Andover in March 2002 – she was tremendously helpful in achieving a smooth transition to the new location, but with family commitments it was clearly a bit too far for her to travel on a regular basis. My heart goes out to Pam’s family in their loss of a wonderful lady at such a young age.”

Mum played the clarinet regularly with her clarinet group and played it as part of the band in several pantomimes in Shamley Green as part of the SHADES amateur dramatics society. She always looked forward to getting involved in the panto every year and this past January she took part again, it provided a welcome distraction for her at the time.

In February this year our world was sadly turned upside down when Mum became poorly and her illness was diagnosed. Over her last six months, Mum battled through to maintain her independence for as long as possible and kept herself strong for us. She was still there being Mum to all of us right to the end by helping me secure a new home in London and recommending on the soft furnishings, making sure Kathryn was all set for the next year of college and providing support and guidance to Jenny in what was the most challenging year.

Mum’s life revolved around raising us kids and she was always supportive of whatever we wanted to do. She was a loving mother who let us do our own thing but also sent us the right way when we went meandering off in the wrong direction. Family occasions will never be the same again now that we have lost the amazing meals that she used to prepare, particularly her roast dinners and her legendary lemon meringue pie.

After a short committal ceremony at Guildford Crematorium, a service was held for Mum at St Mary the Virgin in Shalford on 31st August. I would like to thank the ringing community who attended and who helped ring the service in and out. It really made it very special for the family and I know that Mum would have been pleased and humbled by the number in attendance. Jenny, Kathryn and myself would also like to thank everyone who has been in contact since Mum’s passing, we really have been touched by the messages that we have received.

A number of quarter peals have been rung in Mum’s memory and our thanks go to everyone who took part in them.

Chris Giddins

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Central Council of Church Bell Ringers