Obituaries

Eric Brunger

Eric was born 8th February 1938 in Dartford, Kent. He was taught to ring by Bernard Collins and others at St Peter’s, Tunbridge Wells in 1954.

He was chairman of the East Grinstead and District Guild in the late 1950s and became a member of the Society of Royal Cumberland Youths in 1959. He wasn’t a great lover of peal ringing but enjoyed ringing quarters and teaching others bell handling and the early steps of change ringing.

He married Jenny Langsdon at Blean Parish Church on 1st October 1960 and they rang together at Tunbridge Wells and in the South London area until moving to Hertfordshire where they rang at Tring and Aston Clinton.

After a break for family commitments they started ringing again, after moving to Ranworth in 1987 from where Eric commuted to London for work, which didn’t leave much time for ringing. In September 1991 he had a massive stroke from which it took him 12 months to recover enough to try some simple ringing again. Jim Startin, Ranworth tower captain, was a great help, too, and slowly over the next few years Eric became more and more involved with ringing in Norfolk, becoming a members of the NDA in 1998. He joined the band at Blofield to ring on 8 bells which was his favourite number to ring on and gradually taught his brain to concentrate and learn to ring the ‘Standard Eight’ Surprise Major. In 2003 he was made Eastern Branch Ringing Master of the NDA – a post which he held until shortly before he died. Eric was also a valuable member of the Bell Restoration Committee where he brought his considerable engineering skills to bear in many Norfolk towers. He also was a member of the NDA Education Committee and helped to run the Training Day which was dear to his heart.

Those who met Eric in the early years of this century would not have known he had ever had a stroke, such was the recovery he made, due to his single-minded determination to lead a normal life.

In 2010 he was elected as an NDA representative on the Central Council and it was a great disappointment to him that he became too ill to attend any of the meetings.

He died peacefully at home after a long illness, during which he was looked after by his wife Jenny, on 25th September 2012.

A family funeral service was held at St Faith’s Crematorium on Wednesday, 17th October, followed by a service of thanksgiving for Eric’s life at Ranworth Church. Here the bells were rung half-muffled before and after the service, at which both his sons Robert and David spoke about their father. This was followed by refreshments at the visitors centre adjacent to the churchyard from where the bells, guided by Gilbert Larter, could be heard.

Later in the day a quarter peal of Cambridge Surprise Minor was rung at Martham by the following group of his friends: Judy Frostwick 1, Nicola Hems 2, Verity McGalshan 3, Richard Hems 4, Chris Harrison 5, Kenny Frostwick (C) 6. All rang regularly on Wednesday evenings with Jenny and Eric.

On November 3rd a quarter was specially arranged and rung half-muffled at Martham in the presence of Jenny and Eric’s family who were all given a chance at back-stroke as a taster of ringing, after the quarter.

1260 Grandsire Doubles: Jenny Brunger 1, Liz Sutherland 2, Anna Frostwick 3, Chris Harrison (1st Grandsire inside) 4, Kenny Frostwick (C) 5, Brian Laing 6. Norman Cossey who was unable to ring wishes to be associated with this quarter.

Peals were rung in Eric’s memory at Shoreditch in London and Felmingham, Norfolk and quarter peals at Cromer, East Raynham, Gressenhall, Happisburgh, Kessingland, Loddon and Somerleyton.

KENNY FROSTWICK

Eric Brunger – an appreciation

Eric Brunger’s contribution to ringing in Norfolk was immense, not only in the tower but also as a key member of the NDA team.

His readiness to roll up his sleeves for the practical side, as well as to take on complicated arrangements, will be greatly missed. His ability and enthusiasm was such that any task undertaken would be carried out with meticulous attention to detail.

Many restoration projects have benefitted from his help. His practical contribution at Surlingham and Loddon are notable amongst these and helped to contain the overall cost.

Eric’s careful stewardship was in many ways responsible for the successful opening of the Paul Cattermole fund. The smooth running of the venture owed much to his attention to detail.

Personally I gained much pleasure from his company and from being regarded as his friend. My lasting memory of Eric is his infectious enjoyment of being in the company of his many friends, his warm smile and strong handshake, even when gravely ill.

PETER ADCOCK
NDA President

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CC
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers