1926 - 2011

It is with sadness (although he stipulated that there should be no mourning at his funeral) that we report the death of Paul Foote, aged 84. He was for some time in charge of the bellringing at St Andrew’s, Old Headington, Oxon in the 1980s and 90s, but as he did not wish to be the Tower Captain, he would only agree to be Vice Captain, and during this period there was no Captain. This was typical of his low key style.

He originally learned to ring in Swanage at the age of 15, during the Second World War, when church bells were rung silently. (They were only to be rung audibly in the case of invasion.) How difficult that must have been: to learn to ring without the benefit of sound!

He was a ringer in Old Headington from the early 1970s, until December 2008, when ill health forced him to give up. He taught many people to ring, and continued to assist with the ringing when others succeeded him in running the tower. He was always interested in helping learners to improve, and his dry sense of humour made the ringing enjoyable for all.

He was a fellow of Queen’s College, Oxford, and a prominent Russian translator. He retained his links with Swanage, and had many friends there, in Oxford and in Russia. He had a great love of the countryside, especially of coastal walks. He was also an excellent cook and generous host.

He is survived by his son and two daughters, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. His wife, Anne, died in 1968. Many relatives and friends attended his funeral service at the Oxford Crematorium on 10th March and the reception later that day at his home in Hill Top Road where, at his request, his toast was drunk in Coal Isla whisky.


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Central Council of Church Bell Ringers