Susan Tipple was born in Pakenham in the summer of 1958. She attended the local Primary School, and the Grammar School in Bury St Edmunds. She later went on to pursue a career in banking, until family commitments intervened. She was baptised and confirmed at St Mary’s, Pakenham, and it was here that she met her future husband. When she was 6 years old both her and Stephen’s families went on holiday to the Lake District! In 1971, after several years of silence, Pakenham decided to recruit a team of Bell-Ringers. The local District Ringing Master, Maurice Rose, was called in, and along came Joan Tipple, her daughter Susan and the boy-down-the-road, Stephen. All proved very apt pupils, and much enjoyment ensued, with all three joining the Guild. With her usual quiet efficiency, Susan became Secretary of the Northwest District of the Suffolk Guild for 1975 and 1976. Unfortunately, the tower became unsafe for ringing in 1976, and when Susan and Stephen were married in 1977 they had to be content with a guard of honour of handbells.

Bell-ringing was not Susan’s only interest, and in the next years she pursued a number of hobbies all with her enthusiasm and quiet sense of fun.

In 1993, following repair work on the tower, and the re-ordering of the Bells, Susan and Stephen returned to St Mary’s, bringing with them their son Carl and daughter Becky. Since then the family have been regular ringers, always reliable, and always ready to “Havea- go” at anything new. Susan has rung six peals, including the first following the reordering of the bells at Pakenham in 1995, and the first after the addition of a sixth bell for the Millennium. And many quarters too, among them several family-only; the four Munfords being joined by Susan’s Mother, Joan, and Stephen’s brother-in-law, Maurice Rose. Their enthusiasm was such that they also rang at Great Barton, juggling Sunday services where possible, and were ever ready to help with teaching. They could always be relied on to join in what ever was going, and were regulars on Mandy’s outings, first in Norfolk and then further afield. Quietly confident, Susan was an asset to any team, and a pleasure to ring with.

About three years ago, while on a “Classic Car” holiday in Surrey with Stephen, and enjoying a Pub meal, they heard the bells ringing. When they had finished the meal, they went along to the practice where they were made very welcome. The bells were rung from the Balcony, and apparently at least three bells had to be rung whilst standing on a pew. Not everyone has rung while standing on a pew!

Around 11 years ago, Susan was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. This must have been a bitter blow, but Susan never complained. She determined to live life to the full as long as she could, and made a wish list of what she wanted to do while still able. She made a big dent in it, including a trip to Venice and a Mediterranean cruise earlier this year, and a parachute jump for charity! She had to give up peal ringing, and eventually, also quarter peals.

Two years ago Susan was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, but following surgery and Radiotherapy she appeared to make a good recovery. However, a few months ago she had severe back pain, and it was realised that the Cancer had spread to her bones and liver. Regrettably she suffered pneumonia following her first session of Chemotherapy, and did not recover.

At her memorial service in October, the bells were rung half-muffled, and the overflowing congregation showed how many lives she had touched, and how much she will be missed. So far one peal has been rung in her memory, and seven quarters. It is hoped to ring a peal and a quarter at Pakenham when health and availability permit.

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CC
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers