The bell ringers at Allesley and all of his ringing friends were saddened to hear of the death of Percy Stone on 3rd November 2010. He was 89.

Percy was born in Nuneaton on 8th January 1921, into a ringing family and rang his first Peal – Plain Bob Minor – at Exhall on Armistice Day, 11th November 1933, at the age of 12. He rang his last peal at Allesley almost 74 years later in September 2007. This puts him in a small group of people to have rung a peal in eight decades. In 1934 Percy rang in a peal at Crayford, Kent, where all the ringers were teenagers, with an average age of 15. This performance stood for several decades as the record for the youngest band to ring a peal.

We know little of his time during the Second World War as, like many of his generation, he did not care to speak of it. We do know that, although his ambition was to be an airman, he served with the 28th Field Regiment Royal Artillery in Burma. Afterwards Percy worked in the Coventry area as an aero engineer for the company that eventually became Rolls Royce.

Percy and his wife Kathleen moved to Keresley around the end of the war and he rang there for a while before joining the Allesley band, where he remained a loyal member for around 60 years.

Percy was a quiet, kind and always dependable member of the Allesley band of ringers and much loved by everyone, particularly the children. His calm and reassuring presence was a great encouragement to inexperienced ringers and visitors. The wry smile and twinkle in his eye was one of those comforting forms of silent communication that ringers rely on when concentration has lapsed and other faces in the circle are beginning to register panic. His ringing style was, like his whole person, relaxed but immaculate. His handwriting was meticulously neat, this talent being seen in the Coventry Guild pealbook over a number of years, and even and his shoes were always polished to absolute perfection. Percy never aged in appearance. He was always the same, modestly self-effacing gentleman.

As well as the tower bells Percy also rang handbells. He was instrumental in keeping up the tradition of four in hand tune ringing in Allesley. For a number of years the ringing of carols was a feature of the Christmas services there. In former years the team walked all over the Parish to provide that very unique seasonal entertainment.

His funeral service took place at St Nicholas’ Baddesley Ensor, the church where they had been married sixty three years earlier. Kathleen is now very much in our thoughts and prayers.

Amanda Slater
Mike Chester

BB BellBoard
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers