It was with profound disbelief and shock that we learned of the death of Peter on New Year’s Eve 2010 following an accident at the Stockport indoor climbing wall on 27th December. He was 55. He last rang at St Luke’s in Holmes Chapel on Christmas morning.

Peter was an enthusiastic and experienced climber and climbing instructor and had scaled rocks and peaks all over the world, including Kilimanjaro the hard way, so the news was especially hard to believe. It was climbing that brought him and his wife Lynn together when she was one of a group of novices he was instructing. It was typical of Peter that he took her on a climbing expedition where he proposed on top of a mountain.

Peter was a Park Ranger at Northwich Woodlands for around 30 years, a job he loved, bringing him into direct contact with nature as it did. Part of this love of the outdoors was his enthusiasm for the old country craft of hedge laying; a skill he often demonstrated in competitions near and far. He was placed second in the Cheshire Hedge Cutting Match 2010 despite suffering a lacerated finger which subsequently required stitching.

It was this work that brought him to Cheshire from his native Derbyshire, initially to Weaverham where he became a member of the Chester Guild in 1984. Peter arrived at Weaverham able to ring plain methods but progressed quickly into Surprise Minor. We remember him providing the Mid Cheshire Branch with a good supply of stays when a large ash tree fell at Marbury Country Park. Peter also used his Ranger skills in setting a treasure hunt for the Branch around Delamere Forest. It was an event that sticks in the mind of everybody who was there, even those who were only 5 years old at the time. Ringing was not Peter’s number one hobby but he was a reliable member of the Weaverham band, ringing in two Guild striking competitions in 1985 and 1987. Peter left Weaverham in 1988 and moved to Macclesfield to be closer to the hills to enjoy his walking and climbing.

After a few years away from ringing he took it up again when he and Lynn moved to Holmes Chapel and joined the Holmes Chapel band and quickly became a key member. His unassuming manner belied his considerable abilities as a ringer but he could always be relied upon to steer a sound course when the ringing became “challenging”.

He wasn’t a prolific peal or quarter peal ringer but one of his proudest moments was to ring in a quarter of Cambridge Minor in January 1996 to mark the birth of his beloved daughter Amber.

He rang in one peal at Holmes Chapel, Minor in 7 methods.

Next to his wife Lynn and daughter Amber his pride and joy was his Morris Minor car which he had lovingly restored and often drove to Holmes Chapel from their new home in Middlewich.

His funeral was held at St Luke’s, Holmes Chapel on 25th January 2011; the church being completely full with friends and colleagues who heard an eloquent and moving tribute from his lifelong friend and climbing partner Andy Barnard.

Among the ringers at the funeral were three ex Masters of the Chester Guild.

A half-muffled quarter peal was rung in Peter’s memory by the Holmes Chapel band on 7th January (see p.90) and also a handbell peal of 3 Minor methods on 13th January (see p.112) by more of his friends.

He was a good man and will be much missed. Our condolences go to Lynn and Amber.

Mervyn Harison
and Pam Thomson

BB BellBoard
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers