1952 - 2011

Patrick was born on 2nd July 1952 in Poole, Dorset with an ancestry of Poole fishermen, lifeboat men and sailors; however those who have met Patrick can guess that he followed the views of his mother by actively rebelling against seaward activities. Patrick was educated at the Oratory Prep School in Canford Cliffs and later Downside School in Somerset. After his plans to study Geography at University were scuppered he attended Bournemouth College and worked for an external degree from the University of London and graduated with a BSc in economics. Patrick started training as a solicitor and officially qualified in 1977. Patrick joined the Crown Prosecution Service in 1980 and worked successfully as a prosecutor in and around the Bournemouth area until poor health forced him into retirement in 2010.

Patrick’s first encounter with bells was at Downside, mainly through his alarm clock (Great Bede, 5 ½ tonnes of alarm clock) and when finishing school he decided to try his hand at change-ringing. He was taught to ring in 1971 at Canford Magna by Tony Hiscock and ‘caught the bug’. He soon became a regular ringer not just at Canford but in and around the Poole and Bournemouth area, in particular Lychett Minster and later St John’s, Bournemouth. By the end of 1971 he had rung his first quarter peal at Morden, Dorset and by the end of 1972 had conducted his first at Netheravon, Wilts. In the following years he rang 707 additional quarter peals of which he conducted 346. He rang his first of 34 peals in 1974 at Loders, Dorset and his last with past and present Salisbury Guild Masters at North Bradley, Wiltshire in celebration of the 125thanniversary of the Salisbury Guild.

Patrick’s proudest ringing accomplishments came in his efforts to promote the change-ringing of catholic bells. Whilst participating in an open day at Wimborne Minster, Patrick was approached by two teenage Sacred Heart parishioners (James Barton and John McCarthy) who were interested in putting ringable bells in the tower. Backed by the two enthusiastic priests including Fr. David Buckley, who has since been influential in other Catholic installations, the six bells were installed into Sacred Heart in November 1983 with Patrick becoming tower captain; he continued in this role for the next 27 years as well as becoming a pivotal member of the congregation. Coinciding with this was the formation of the Guild of St Agatha, a Guild dedicated to the Catholic towers of England and Wales. The guild was established on St Agatha’s Day (5th February) 1983 in the Sacred Heart presbytery with Patrick and Fr David as two of the founding members. Patrick began as Ringing Master for three years before becoming President of the Guild in 1986 and remaining in this post for 25 years. During his tenure the Guild has grown from strength to strength with over 550 ringers being members over the years.

Patrick was by no means a one tower ringer and was a member of the band at St John’s, Surrey Road for 35 years before taking on his second tower captaincy in 2003 and serving as captain until his ill health restricted him from accessing the notoriously cold tower. During his time as Sacred Heart and St John’s captain both bands grew in strength and numbers. You would always find ringers of St John’s at a Sacred Heart practice night and vice versa. With Sacred Heart being in the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocese and St John’s being in the Salisbury Diocese, Patrick was influential with both associations. For the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocese Patrick served as District Chairman of the Christchurch and Southampton District from 1992 to 1995. With the Salisbury Diocese he acted as Assistant Secretary from 1978 to 1987, was Central Council representative from 1978 to 1986 and served on the general committee from 1974 to 1997. Patrick became Master of the Salisbury Diocese in 2005 before having to step down due to ill health in 2009.

Patrick was diagnosed with cancer in 2009. Although his health was deteriorating he managed to continue ringing through the most part even managing a few quarter peals. Ringing remained an essential part of his life even to the last-proven four days prior to his death when he managed to convince Kim and I to wheel him in a wheelchair to Westminster Abbey to the Ringing World Centenary celebrations which he enjoyed as much as he could before making us wheel him to Westminster Cathedral which aptly was the last of many churches he visited in his lifetime. Many may be surprised that he has even managed to tower grab here when he rang the single bell for the visit of the Queen. Patrick passed away on 31st March 2011 after his courageous battle with cancer. He served as an inspiration and a role model to many friends and ringers He will be missed by all.

ANTHONY P. MATTHEWS

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CC
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers